While the parents were having the previously described coffee (which my mother deemed miraculous), Billy and I were out and about on the reservation. It was mostly located in the northern corner of Georgia, but also overlapped into North Carolina and Tennessee. It lay on top of a low plateau at the foot of the Rocky 's so that on one side you could go up into the Smoky mountains and on the other you could look down on the peach state (a.k.a. Georgia). People on the reservation would joke about how that was one way of getting white people to look up to them. Rumor had it that on clear days, people with exceptional eyesight could see the sun glint off the golden dome of the capitol in Atlanta... Though I tried, I never did see it. Not that it mattered because the view was was stunning, and you could see the road wind down the plateau, off into the green lands and orchards towards the nearby small towns, and away into infinity.
Of course, at the time, neither Billy nor I were much interested in beautiful vistas, but the mountains strongly appealed to our youthful adventurous spirits... well especially to mine. I eventually managed to subtly sledgehammer some of my enthusiasm into Billy. It took some doing because up until then he had been an all-American kid: drinking coke, playing little league, watching bad science fiction flicks at the movies, and collecting baseball cards. He hadn't taken much of an interest in his Cherokee history yet, nor in the great outdoors. I, on the other hand, had grown up with my mom's native-American bedtime stories, which had sparked my fascination for Cherokee legends, and Indian crafts in general. I had learned to work leather and to make bows and arrows before even learning to ride a bike. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our parent's became good friends over that coffee, and it turned out that Billy and I went to the same school. We started to hang out together, to do sleepovers, and we gradually became best friends. We would usually stay at his place during the weekends so that we could go off to spend a night or two in the mountains.
Uncredited picture from the national Smoky mountain park website.
Yes, it really is that gorgeous.