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Montreat, NC

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here's the setting:

Black Mountain, NC: Information Center. It's getting dark and the two loveliest ladies in the land, most commonly known as Dandylion and Caulherflower, haven't the slightest idea where they will be laying their sweet heads for the night. After a lengthy conversation with Mr. Bob Information from the tourist center, they are directed towards Montreat, a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the moutains where they are told there is both an Inn and a College that might have a place for them to stay. It didn't take long for the two avid travelers to find the Inn. After pounding on the door and tapping on every window they could find, they were finally greeted by the woman who's office light had fed their persistence. She was very friendly and wanted so badly to let them stay at the Inn, but the Inn was closed (probably an appropriate scenario for this time of year) and while she was the director, she was sincerely appologetic for being unable to let them stay in one of her rooms. Madam Director did, however, take the gems on an ever-so-short tour of the place before sending them off into the cooling evening air.

Still without a place to stay, the adventurers wandered across the street to Montreat College. They squinted through the darkness and soon set their eyes on the Student Center. Walking masterfully into the building they discreetly checked each floor and room for an inconspicuous place to lay their heads. It was a bright, cheery place with plenty of waterfountains, restrooms, couches and *gasp* a piano! Caulherflower was convinced that this was it, THIS was the place to spend the night! Dandylion preferred to keep looking.

Back outside in the damp darkness the brave souls continued to scour the campus. After a few turns they spotted a light on in what looked to be an academic building. Peering in a window they spotted a man.. a proffessor, perhaps? They entered an unlocked door and tapped lightly on the next. Not loud enough. They pounded. The man came to the door. He appeared to be fairly young despite the lower half of his face being hidden beneath a thick brown beard.

"Um, Hi! We're just traveling through the area and are looking for a place to stay for the night. Bob from the Information Center thought there might be a place on campus we could just crash for the night. Would you know anything about that?" (By the way, apparently Bob wasn't as well known as he thought he was).

*Just out of curiosity, what would your response have been??*

He summoned the damsels into his office, offering them a seat as he made some phone calls. Telling them it would be 30 minutes or so before he heard back, the dynamic duo retreated to the other part of his building where they had spotted a chapel of sorts, complete with *gasp* a piano! Caulherflower played this beautiful grand in the empty chapel.. it was meant to be.

The bearded man returned and said, "I talked to my roommates, it's cool with them if you come back and stay with us for the night. We have an extra room. It's not heated, but you can stay there." He was quite expressionless and nonchallant, but seemed a bit fond of the idea.

*Here is where storytelling mode ends*

How to describe this fella. He was probably in his late 20's, working in the Journalism department of the college. He was well read and probably quite smart, but also rather quiet and a bit.. hmm..
(note: we've been given permission by by Michael, Scott and Julie to write whatever we want to about them.. how fun this will be!)
So Michael..
We followed him back to their house, which was about a 2 minute drive from campus. It was a tiny little home surrounded by other tiny little homes, though it was pitch black out by then so we couldn't really see much of where we were. In the front room we were met by two dogs - a pug and a black lab mix. The pug, as we would quickly discover, made constant snorting sounds.. almost like he was snoring, but ALL the time. It didn't seem to phase Christy and Scott. Michael thought it was disgusting. We found it pretty odd and a bit gross as well (sorry guys!). In the small livingroom area we sat with Michael for a bit and discussed Annie Dillard, Donald Miller, and Thoreau (quite a combo, huh?). Michael, though quiet in demeanor, had no problem keeping the conversation flowing. He shared some stories about hiking and road trips with his dad.. an interesting fella, this Michael.
After not too long Scott and Christy, who are married, arrived home. Scott works at the college as well and Christy coaches volleyball for the college. She was tall and blonde and had a strong, beautiful sense about her. Scott seemed like a pretty laid-back, cool guy. Christy made pasta for dinner in her small kitchen and we sat around on the couches eating dinner and talking about...

--whether it's okay to just pop in on people and rely on others to house you and take care of you
--is this "sharing life" thing (as Caulherflower likes to put it) something that people should do more often or is it imposing??

(we would like your input on this as well as we both have our own ideas)

So we all talked about this for awhile and then we went for a walk around Montreat.. following Christy and Scott into the dark woods without so much as a second thought.. but they seemed like the kind of people who probably got over their axe-murdering phase in college and by this time it was feeling pretty normal to be with them... they were so welcoming and un-phased by us being there that it just seemed normal. Back at the house they taught us how to play Mexican Train, a dominoes game... and then we all got tired and went to bed. In the morning everyone was gone by 7. We grabbed our pillows and hit the road in pursuit of The Lookout (photos on greybeard mountain post) as soon as we got up.

And thus ends what became perhaps our most adventurous endeavor up until that point in the trip. The whole thing lasted about 12 hours total and then poof! It was over. But perhaps this is what life is about.. encountering people and sharing ideas and perspectives and then moving on, not owing each other anything but grateful for what was shared during the time, however short or long, that we had together. We'll always look back on these three fondly and remember them as the first people on our journey to show us extreme kindness to the point of taking us into their home for a night though we were complete strangers.

To Michael, Scott and Christy, a sincere and heartfelt: THANK YOU!! :)

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