A trip with friends through the N.C. mountains

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Sherrill C. Mullis, Special to The Lancaster News

The Rev. Harriss Ricks, pastor at Douglas Presbyterian Church, is a good friend of mine – and everyone else, for that matter. He has a very nice family home just off Lousiana Street in Montreat, N.C. He invited all of his friends and church members to go up to Montreat for a day on June 11.

Twenty three of us took him up on his offer, including me and my special friend, Martha Hendrix. Herman Steele and his wife, Gennette, rode with Martha and me in my van. When everyone arrived in Montreat about noon, the sweet ladies of Douglas Presbyterian had prepared a picnic for everyone to enjoy.

Rev. Harriss’s home in the hills was immaculately furnished with beautiful antique furnishings collected through the ages from his grandparents, father and other family members.

After lunch, Rev. Harriss took us on a personal tour of Montreat – and it was quite a treat (no pun intended). Our caravan followed him first to the big South Carolina home given to Montreat by us South Carolina natives. Many rooms were available for lodging.

Next, we toured part of the “Fresco Trail,” which included an unusual painting, “Return of the Prodigal,” in the Montreat College chapel. They say fresco is a ‘tenuous art.’ The wall must be the exact temperature, humidity and dryness before it will accept the paint.

Our next adventure took us to the Assembly Inn across from Lake Susan, built in the 1920s and 1930s. The exterior of the building was mostly mountain rock, and the historical building had all types of historical artifacts displayed there.

I had previously toured the Assembly Inn in October 2012 during the Presbyterian “Wee-Kirk” conference, sponsored by some of the larger churches in the Presbytery. I assure you, it is a beautiful place that’s definitely worth your while to visit.

Later in the evening it was time to head home for some of us – maybe some had cows to milk or hogs to slop.

Fortunately, I had neither. Rev. Harriss and several others headed west into  Tennessee to travel to Jo-Ann Sneed’s son’s home, and that gave them another day of sight-seeing and fun. However, Herman, Gennette, Martha and I headed back to Lancaster.

Near Shelby, N.C. we had to stop to give them our “rest room” business. Bojangles always has a real clean restroom.

Later, after traveling for 300 miles or so it was time to stretch our legs a bit and stop for a mini picnic. I knew I had only two drinks left in my cooler, but Herman saved the day as he had several packs of Lance crackers he took in case anyone got car sick. I found four straws in the dashboard of my van. Four straws, two drinks and two packs of Lance crackers make a pretty good leg-stretching picnic.

With the good Lord as our co-pilot, we all made it home safe later that night.

The Lord also blessed all 23 of us with safe travel, and you can’t get much richer than that. Who was that man who was the rich oil tycoon? What was his name? Seems like they called him “Rocky-feller” or something like that. Well, “Mr. Rocky-feller,” you don’t know what you are missing until you come and travel to visit the N.C. mountains – especially Montreat.