The last day of a short trip is always a nice one in which to sleep late. But Mr. Drysdale and Granny were up at the crack of dawn and ready to go. Granny had once again called with the suggestion that the group meet at Golden Corral for breakfast. Mrs. Drysdale was agreeable to this plan, since this would put them several miles farther into Pigeon Forge, and they could drive on to Cades Cove, for a peaceful trek through the rustic community. But Drysdale objected. "Don't you remember last time we were here on a holiday weekend? How terrible the traffic was, leaving? How it took us over three hours to get to the interstate? I'm not doing that again!" He really did have a point there. He suggested that, since Granny's crew was all packed and ready to go, they drive up to his place and they'd decide from there where to go.
So much for Cades Cove.
Drysdale watched hurricane coverage on tv while his wife packed. Prince Charming packed his and Cinderella's things while Cindy showered and dressed. They were all ready to go when Granny's group arrived. Mrs. Drysdale felt a bit guilty showing off their fabulous condo. Granny, Elly, and the three Jethros had all spent the last three nights in one room at a Days Inn. But, the Drysdales had tried to get them to stay at the Water Resort, so it had been their choice to not do so.
Once down at the cars, Drysdale explained to them why he didn't want to go farther into Pigeon Forge to the Golden Corral. "Why don't we just drive toward the interstate and stop at the first McDonalds we see?" he asked.
Really, is anyone surprised?
But, after the groups had gotten into their respective cars, Granny came running over to the Drysdale car. "Um...Elly says she's tard of McDonalds. She wants to go somewheres else."
Someday Mrs. Drysdale will embroider a picture that says God Bless Elly May.
"Well, where do y'all wanta go?" demanded Drysdale. "Anywhere, you choose it," said Granny. "I already chose it: McDonalds! Y'all choose something!" said Drysdale. "Well..." Granny trailed off. "Somebody needs to just choose something!" Drysdale said, exasperatedly.
Elly and Mrs. Drysdale had stepped out of their cars, to join Granny and Mr. Drysdale in the big breakfast decision. Mrs. Drysdale had by now determined that her husband had an inate inability to pick up on subtle hints, and so she decided to make the decision. "Well, if it's up to me, we'll go to Cracker Barrel. It's just down at the bottom of the hill." Drysdale looked at her and said, "I HATE Cracker Barrel's sausage." Granny said, "Oooh, I LUUUV Cracker Barrel's sausage!" Elly said, "I love their pancakes!" And Mr. Drysdale said, "Well, I hate their sausage."
So much for Cracker Barrel.
They ate at the IHOP.
Mrs. Drysdale had the Bananas Foster Pancakes special: two pancakes with bananas, sauce, and ice cream, ham, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. Superb, but too much food. She had a bite of Cinderella's Apple Crisp pancakes, and it was also excellent. The waitress was incredible: she remembered the orders of all nine of them, without writing anything down! Some people had even made changes or ordered extra items, and she still remembered!
(A curious thing about the restaurants they visited: at Cracker Barrel the first night, their waitress spoke with a heavy Russian accent, and in conversation, confirmed that she was, indeed, Russian. At IHOP, all the wait staff that they encountered had heavy accents, and their waitress said she was from Poland. Why such an influx of Slavic people at Pigeon Forge restaurants?)
Fully sated now, the groups parted ways. Charming and Cinderella were off to Chattanooga, and Granny's group and the Drysdales left for Nashville. In Ozone, they stopped to walk the short path back to Ozone Falls and spent quite a time there. Granny ventured no closer than twenty feet to the edge, and was worried half to death that Big Jethro, her "baby boy" was getting too close and would fall in. (Big Jethro is 30 years old and looks like a wrestler.) She kept hollering at him to move back. He completely ignored her. Little Jethro thought this quite amusing, and entertained the Drysdales for several minutes with gossipy little stories about Granny amd Big Jethro.
Ummm, we'd better not tell those.
Off again, for the last time. Now, Mrs. Drysdale made one last-ditch effort for a great meal. It seemed that her favorite chain restaurant, Cheddars, had a branch in Cookevile; in fact, it was right off the interstate and she had seen it on their way to Pigeon Forge. Cheddars was a place she didn't get to visit often, because the nearest one to her house was over an hour away. As they neared Cookeville, she said, "Look, they've got a Cheddars!" Mr. Drysdale said nothing and drove on.
Oh, well, she was still full from breakfast, anyway.
Mrs. Drysdale could only assume that Mr. Drysdale was perhaps already planning to take her to Cheddars on her birthday, the following weekend.
Mrs. Drysdale sincerely hoped that Mr. Drysdale had had a most pleasurable time at Dollywood, because he most certainly would not be having a most pleasurable time at home for a while.
PS Mrs. Drysdale has already planned their next trip. It will be to Disneyworld, in November, just she and Mr. Drysdale. She has already made their hotel reservation, bought 10-day park-hopper passes and tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, and made reservations at a very nice table-service restaurant. She will also be taking an extra empty suitcase, just for all the souvenirs, Christmas ornaments, and gifts she intends to buy.