This is from the fortieth chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City Tales. I hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.
By June, Kate’s therapy had progressed far more quickly than expected—and her walking, although not normal, was far superior to any other form of mobility she had used in the past. When she tried, she could even run a few steps! With this increased ambulation came increasing independence—and when combined with the strong-willed nature of her brother, life became even more interesting for the Larimore household.
As was typical at that time of year in the Smokies, the days were becoming considerably warmer. The pool at the recreational park was open, and even though it was just down the hill from our house, we never chose to become members. Rather, we’d take the kids on hikes along Deep Creek and find a quiet, still pool where we could sit and read, and the children could frolic and play.
As much as we enjoyed our time at Deep Creek, we had never tried the most popular tourist event at Deep Creek—tubing. So, on this particularly delightful Saturday morning, we took advantage of the free passes that had been hanging on our refrigerator since Mrs. Nichols had given them to me the previous year.
“I hope they’ll still honor these passes!” Barb exclaimed as we closed the door to the house behind us. We—and most of our neighbors—never locked our homes. There was just no need to do so back then.
The short drive up the Deep Creek road brought us to the Deep Creek Tubing Center, which was located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Peter Nichols welcomed us as we entered the store. He helped us pick out two appropriately sized tubes and then helped me load them in our trunk. He then gave me advice on how to “tube the creek.”
We drove away from his store and headed up the creek. We parked at the end of the road. I carried the tubes as Barb held Kate’s hand. Her walking was so much better. Scott toddled alongside us, exploring every large rock, summer wildflower, and small waterfall along the road.
Any significant finding would elicit cries of “Dad, Mom, Kate! Come look!” We’d all stop to admire his discovery.
The creek echoed with the laughter and shrieks of others who were already tubing down the creek. I smiled as I heard the laughter.
After passing a waterfall that tumbled a hundred feet down from a small stream high up the side of the valley and then crossing an old bridge, we finally arrived at the tube “put in” spot. As we stepped into the tumbling creek, we all sucked in deep breaths. “This is ice-cold!” Barb shouted.
With Scott in Barb’s lap and Kate in mine, we launched and were off! Years and years of previous tubers had moved rocks and small boulders so that the “tubing channel” was obvious. As the tubes bounced off rocks and over small waterfalls, the children shrieked and laughed with delight.
Before we knew it, we had arrived back at the parking lot. “Let’s go again, Dad!” Kate and Scott cried in unison.
Barb smiled, and I laughed.
We hiked up and rode down again and again. We hiked. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I could still hear the pediatric neurologist’s prognosis: “She’ll likely never walk or talk. She’ll grow bigger, but she’ll never get better.”
Ah, I thought, if only he could see her now!
I had just finished seeing Mr. Walkingstick at the office one afternoon. The horrible wounds on his back were nearly healed. I expected the resulting scars to be lifelong, but I fully expected them to finally heal. As we were walking out of the exam room, he looked down and said, “Doc, I know you saved my life.”
“Carl, I admit I did a lot of work. But as I often say, the healing comes from God—not me. And the will to live comes from you—not from me. And, last but not least, those scoundrels you call friends added enough laughter to drive away any unhealthy morale. So, let me give you, your friends, and the Lord the credit. How’s that sound?”
“Well, Doc, I’m gonna give some to you and Dr. Cunningham. And I’ve got somethin’ for you.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small necklace. “I had this necklace made for your little girl. The woman who made it told me to tell you it’s a gift from her also. Her name is Mrs. Black Fox.” He handed it to me. The intricate beadwork was beautiful, and in the middle was a small piece of stone carved into the shape of a bear.
“Doc, in my tribe we believe the Great Spirit looks at a man and a woman before he gives ’em their first child. If the man and woman are strong and brave and spiritual, then the Great Spirit will give them one of what we call his special children.”
I must have looked puzzled. He smiled and placed his hand on my shoulder. “Doctor, we believe these are the children many white people call handicapped or defective. We believe they are wrong. We believe these special children are specially gifted—that they’ll have the ability to accomplish much for the Great Spirit, that they have a special call from him and a most special heart and spirit.”
I continued to listen.
“This necklace was made in love. It is given in love and admiration of a powerful healer. It is for your special girl and the gifts you’ll come to see in her. It is from me, the son of a chief, da-na-wa-ga-we-u-we-e u-we-tsi, to your daughter, who I call u-tse-li-dv u-we-tsi ga-na-ga-ti a-le tsi-sa.”
“What does that mean, Carl?”
He smiled. “The precious daughter of a doctor and Jesus.”
I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I looked into his kind, dark eyes. I knew this was a very special moment—and I vowed to remember and cherish it.
“Would you like to give it to her?” I asked him.
He smiled and shook his head. “It is best to come from her father—her a-gi-do-da. Dr. Larimore, there is great power in the father. No person can bless a child like a father. Do not forget that.”
“I won’t, Carl. Thank you.”
And I never have forgotten the lesson.
Or the blessing given to me and my daughter by this gentle giant.
TO BE CONTINUED
PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY SEASONS
- Dead Man Standing (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Eyes Wide Open (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Auspicious Accidents (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Answered Prayers (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
- Rotary Luncheon
- Death by Emotion (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3), (Part 4)
- The Invitation (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Barbecue and Bacon (Part 1), (Part 2)
- A Touchy Subject
- Family Time (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Chicken Pops(Part 1), (Part 2)
- Swain County Football (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Hospital Politics (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- The Bobcat Attacks (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Dungeons and Apples
- A Tale of Two Surgeons (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Tanned Feets (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- Wise Counsel (Part 1), (Part 2)
- An Anniversary to Remember (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Mrs. Black Fox (Part 1), (Part 2)
- The Littlest Cherokee (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Christmas Firsts (Part 1), (Part 2)
- The Silver Torpedo
- Another New Year’s Catch
- Turned Tables
- Doctor Dad (Part 1), (Part 2), (Part 3)
- The Phone Tap (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Labor Pains (Part 1), (Part 2)
- Staph and Staff (Part 1), (Part 2)
- The Ribbon Cutting
- Mountain Breakfast
- Walkingstick (Part 1), (Part 2)
- One Big Fish
- Memorial Day (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Parade of the Century (Part 1)
- Lost Boy (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Facing the Music
- Flesh-Eating Bacteria (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Best Medicine
- The Blessing
PAST STORIES FROM BRYSON CITY TALES
- The Murder (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Arrival (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Hemlock Inn (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Grand Tour (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Interview (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Settling In (Part 1); (Part 2)
- First-Day Jitters (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Emergency (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Delivery (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The “Expert” (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Trial (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Shiitake Sam (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina; (Part 2); (Part 3); (Part 4)
- White Lies
- The Epiphany (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Monuments (Part 1); (Part 2)
- My First Home Victory (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fisher of Men (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
- Something Fishy (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Good Day at the Office
- An Evening to Remember
- Another New Doc Comes to Town
- ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1); (Part 2)
- A Surprising Gift
- The New Year (Part 1); (Part 2)
- The Home Birth (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Showdown (Part1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
- Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.