Bryson City Seasons — The Invitation (Part 1)

This is from the seventh chapter from my best-selling book, Bryson City Seasons, which is the sequel to Bryson City TalesI 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.


Barb and I drove across town and up into the hills just south of the main traffic light. After a little dogleg around the library, we pulled past the Frye-Randolph House and into the parking lot of the Fryemont Inn. We had left the children with Dorinda Monteith, their most frequent and most favorite babysitter.

After parking, we strolled up the front driveway toward the main entrance—a large front porch with several occupied rockers—and stopped to gaze at the nearly endless view across town and up Deep Creek Valley. The famous Smoky Mountain haze was setting in as the sun retreated behind the distant peaks. The air was just starting to cool down from the warm summer day.

Barb and I stood arm in arm for a few minutes, slowly and deeply breathing in the clean mountain air. There was no particular fragrance to the Smoky Mountains this time of the year—but the ever clean, crisp air and the view and surroundings were all invigorating to us.

Barb sighed. “This place has really been growing on me.”

I thought a moment and then replied, “Me too.”

Barb gave me a hug. “And these romantic dates really help!” I smiled as I hugged her back. I couldn’t stop thinking about my secretive planning for our tenth anniversary. That week I had talked to the manager of the Polynesian Resort at Disney World. He had found our registration information from ten years ago and would be sure we were registered for the same room in which we had celebrated our honeymoon. I was excited about being able to surprise Barb.

We turned and walked into the lobby—suddenly feeling right at home in the large, comfortable room full of rockers and over-stuffed couches occupied by the inn’s guests. Some were reading, while others were enjoying board games. There was no TV blaring—none even in sight—which we found to be very pleasant. The air contained the heady scent of an open fireplace, delectably mixed with the earthy smell of the leather sofas—aromas that beckoned us to sit for a spell. Nevertheless, we walked through the lobby, turned to our right, and followed the long, narrow, creaking hall to the foyer just outside the dining room—which displayed framed magazine and newspaper articles from scores of food critics and travel correspondents—all lavishing praise on the inn and its chef-owner, Katherine Collins. The pictures showed a beautiful woman with a stunning smile and long sandy-blond hair.

As I opened the entry door into the dining room for Barb, we heard in the background the familiar sound of the ever-playing 1940s music that Katherine so enjoyed. Just as Katherine intended for her guests, we were transported back into another era.

The dining room was nearly seventy feet long and about forty feet wide, with a floor of wide maple planks. Large, dark timbers supported the vaulted ceiling—and the room was packed with diners. Elizabeth Ellison, the maître d’, welcomed us and showed us to our table.

As she seated us and placed linen napkins in our laps, I couldn’t help but notice her hand. “Elizabeth, it looks like your hand’s healing well.” I hadn’t seen her since her chain-saw accident. Rick had taken out the stitches and told me that the wounds were healing fine.

“Oh, I’d almost forgotten!” exclaimed Elizabeth. “Here, look at your handiwork.” She stretched out her hand, palm up, and slowly opened and closed her hand.

“What happened?” asked Barb.

“Oh, just a silly accident with a chain saw. But your husband put me back together pretty well, wouldn’t you say?”

“It does look like you’ve healed very well, Elizabeth,” I noted. “And I have you to thank, Dr. Larimore.”

“Not really,” I answered. “We doctors can put the pieces back in order, but the healing really comes from the Great Physician.” “Well,” she commented, laughing, “I think that with you and Rick, he’s chosen some mighty fine assistants! Let me get you some water and lemon wedges.”

The Fryemont Inn had become our favorite place to go for a romantic dinner. Here in Katherine’s dining room we could escape the pressures of parenting, medical practice, and the many storms of modern life that bombarded us in the daily news. Her dining room’s ambience—that of an earlier time and another place— helped us break away from our day-to-day responsibilities and enjoy focusing on one another. Katherine’s exceptional ability to transform mere food into culinary creations was exceeded only by her skills as a hostess.

Better yet, she had become a dear friend to us—and an even dearer friend to Rick. Sadly, she was in the process of a divorce, so her and Rick’s relationship had been fertile fodder for the local gossip mill.

Although Rick had been single throughout his entire education, I had never known him to be lonely. During our residency and first days of practice together, I was sometimes jealous of how rich and full a life he seemed to live. However, Barb disagreed. She felt he was missing the experience of someone special with whom to share life and love—and I had begun to suspect she was right.

I must admit I enjoyed no longer being the town’s newest doctor. Unfortunately, at least for me, since Rick—the now newest doctor in town—and I were practicing together, we were together considered the town’s newest doctors, and it was a designation we would keep as long as we practiced in Bryson City.



  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  31. The Initiation (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)
  32. Home at Last (Part 1); (Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. 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.

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