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It’s family vacation time!

By Clif Knight  

This week is annual vacation time for Geanell and me, our children and their significant others. The 12 or so of our family gladly push back on other matters so we can have a few days of rest, relaxation and fun together. 

We jump from beaches to mountaintops from year to year, depending on the desire of the majority. This year it’s Gatlinburg, Tenn., where we’re likely to get a glimpse of a mama bear and her cubs and can depend on enjoying some mighty fine food as well as a classy live theater production or two. 

Our vacations are all about good planning and management thanks to the leadership skill of our daughter, Pam Gray. Nothing is left to chance. Planning begins as a family function well before the departure date.  

Each family member assumes a particular function, and activities are planned for each day.  

Several years ago, we vacationed at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The schedule of activities was so demanding, a time-out was called at midweek. Everyone’s desire was for more sleep and less action.  

The result was a sleep-in getting preference over another half-day of visitation at one of the theme parks. 

The youngest and most active member of our family is granddaughter Layla. She’s the daughter of Justin and Amber Fullerton and a second-grader at Crestline Elementary School. She’s the apple of the eye in group activities and happy as a lark when drawing or playing in the indoor or outdoor swimming pool.  

Her whereabouts, however, is an ongoing concern when she is bored by adult speech and turns her attention elsewhere. 

Eating in sit-down restaurants and going where you please without wearing a face mask is now normal in Gatlinburg. The only exception is a party of a dozen arriving at a restaurant without a reservation and asking for a table seating the entire group.  

The fun is in watching the manager and servers scurrying around to meet the request. 

The schedule of activities this week includes a dinner theater with the Hatfield & McCoy cast, a tour of a mountaintop shopping and amusement venue, a day at Dollywood theme park and shopping in downtown Gatlinburg.