When I went camping with my mother-in-law, I never anticipated what would happen

6. The Smokies

In addition to John, his parents, Patricia and Dan, his brother, Patrick, and my cousin, Jackson, we spent a Fourth of July camping in the Smokies. And, of course, I went too. I couldn’t give up this opportunity to bond with the inlaws.

It was finally time to leave our gated neighborhood and venture into the wild.

Since my father owned a mining company, I knew the Smokies quite well.

7. As He Could Be

When I was little, I spent lots of time with my father, roaming around the Mountains as he visited his different job sites. I knew all about sitting in his truck, the silent forest surrounding me, waiting for him to finish whatever he was doing, talk to whomever he was talking to.

As well as Jackson, he was excited to take the trip on some level.

In all honesty, he was as excited as he could possibly be when he didn’t really like my in-laws.

8. Shaconage

In Cherokee, the Smoky Mountains were called Shaconage, which meant “Place of the Blue Smoke.”

The Smokies, which the Cherokees used to consider sacred, were dominated by bluish mist, which you could sometimes see coming over the mountains. I knew they were right.

Eventually, John and I jumped in his truck, him at the wheel, and said goodbye to our house for now.

9. Something

It was a smooth trip, with me handling GPS directions and John fielding an unavoidable family request to visit a chain restaurant near the mountain range.

Our burgers and fries were picked up to go, with Patricia, my mother-in-law, staying in the car while Dan, my father-in-law, grabbed them.

After a short driving trip, we were on the bumpy dirt track leading to camp after a few minutes.

10. Good For Us

During the drive, the truck bounced around, but not so bad that we thought the suspension would give way. John and I talked about the mountains, avoiding the real problem until he finally said, “Listen. I think this will work.”


Yes, it’s been hard with family stuff, but I think we can bond this weekend. Or at least try to.”