After 6 years of talking about going back to Dollywood, we finally (over)packed our bags and made the 7 hour trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We left early, we stopped once for gas and once for coffee and made it there by check-in. We watched the landscape of Pennsylvania, with its still-brown trees and rushing creeks, expand into the lazy West Virginian mountains, which then flattened into verdant and beautiful Tennessee.
For me, going back was important. It was meaningful. It was where we used to go to when I lived in Kentucky, in Indiana. I've lost a lot of who I was then, growing up and older. I wanted to remember, to greet the town we spent weekends at when my mother worked nigh shifts and my father stuffed newspapers with coupons to make ends meet.
Each turn, each road, each store was in the grey space of memory and fabrication. I created fake memories, building on what felt familiar in the moment. I became my own unreliable narrator. Nostalgia became a tight rope and I tested the strength of how far I could go back in my mind with each foot step across town. I pushed ahead. Things weren't the same as they were; but I pushed ahead.
And in those moments of reflection and exhaustion, we filled the hours with new memories. Miniature golf while waiting for our tattoo appointments. We both got something done right before midnight: Nolan two hands and myself a fox and three rabbits. We ate large portions of dinner and dessert and walked it all off the next day. We rode the water rides two or three times and shared fries in the warm valley sun. We held hands, we shook the Ferris wheel cart. We bought postcards we forgot to send out.
We drove home on Easter, stopped for dinner, got our dogs and it all happened so fast, getting back into the routine of this new life in our new house.
Rose and Cocoa Nib Frozen Bananas
So two amazing things happened last week: we went to Dollywood and I got Kale and Caramel's (Lily) new book, The Kale and Caramel Cookbook! In my package was a little jar of rose and cocoa nib sprinkles. While we were walking around the amusement park, we came across a frozen banana stand. Well, I really wanted to celebrate both of these things--so I married them together into one easy treat!
Directions: Cut 4 bananas in the middle on a diagonal. Pierce each with a skewer or popsicle stick. Place onto a parchment-lined half sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes. Melt 12 ounces of dark chocolate in a small bowl, either in the microwave or in a double boiler. Remove bananas from freezer and dip into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with rose and cocoa nib sprinkles from Kale and Caramel. Freeze for another hour before you can enjoy!