Last week, I shared a story about my (first ever) trip to Tweetsie Railroad during my family vacation. Well, that trip was not the only excitement of the week. I also learned several lessons along the way, some of which I want to pass on to you. So, here goes:
• It is possible for Diet Coke to go bad. When I arrived in the mountains I was desperately thirsty. So I went to the pantry, opened the doors and pulled out a can of soda. However, that first sip certainly changed my mind. I never knew canned soda could go bad, but it certainly led me to wonder what the expiration date on that particular case was. Apparently it had gone the way of the dinosaurs.
• The Mast General Store Annex is the place to go for candy. Sure the original store is cool with all of its knick-knacks and paddy whacks, do-dads and what-nots. But if you have a sweet tooth like me, the annex is like a little slice of heaven. I found candy I had not seen in years just sitting in barrels. Needless to say, we stocked up for the rest of the week on root beer barrels, chocolate-covered cranberries and Mary Janes.
• Having a cookout in the rain is no fun. When the rain turns to hail and the temperature drops into the 50s, it becomes even less so. Yet, the condo picnic had to go on so a handful of brave souls stood under the gazebo flipping burgers and roasting hot dogs while getting pelted and frozen to the core. Such conditions are also not conducive to having fully cooked burgers as the charcoal grill kept flaming out. Go figure. This leads me to my next lesson.
• People are rude. In the midst of the hail storm and the grill going out, some of those poor souls sitting inside the dry buildings had the nerve to complain that the burgers weren’t cooked enough for their liking. They complained that they had run out of burger and urgently needed more. Right now. This second. Despite the downpour. Then, when the burgers arrived, they complained that there was just too much food and what on earth were they ever going to do with it. Take a chill pill, or go cook the food yourself. If someone is nice enough to cook for you, especially in less than ideal conditions, the least you can do is say thank you.
• Speaking of hungry critters. The animals at the Tweetsie Railroad petting zoo are nothing to spit at, particularly the llamas. Those suckers will snatch your entire ice cream cone of food in half a second. There is also a rather nasty emu that likes to steal food from the burro and the miniature horse. Not cool, emu. Not cool.
• The Mystery House in Boone will mess with your mind. Hours after leaving the house with the bizarre force field I still couldn’t walk straight. The house is built into the side of the mountain and the force field causes you to be pulled to one end of the house to the extent that you can’t stand up straight. There is also a whole section of optical illusions where you can make your shadow stay on the wall long after you’re gone, put a friend inside a bubble and see rocks that glow on their own. Definitely a cool stop if you’re ever in the area.
The final lesson may be the most bizarre. We were sitting around the table one day eating and apparently talking about getting stains like chocolate out of clothes. Then my grandma offered up this gem: Your own spit will take out your own blood. That’s right folks, the next time you get a little blood on your favorite shirt, just spit on it. The remover of dust from shoes and dirt from the end of one’s nose just became even more powerful.
This just goes to show you never know from whence these valuable lessons will come so always pay attention to what is going on around you. Maybe you will meet the inventor of yet another use for spit one day.
Morgan Wall is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at email@example.com or 719-1929.