The next morning, I woke up to voices and footsteps in the kitchen. Everyone was awake, except the kids, and Kirsten and I. We all groggily got out of bed, and stumbled into the kitchen. Shortly after, Aunt Janice, and my parents started on breakfast. Biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes with veggies was what we all feasted on that morning. After breakfast, my parents and sister started to gather their belongings, while the rest of the kids went outside to pet the goats and throw the football. It was definitely a chilly morning, and the bright sun shone on us. Aunt Janice, all of the siblings, Kirsten, and my parents huddled around my parent's car as they said their goodbyes.
After we came back inside, Josh, Kirsten, Caleb, and I devised a plan to visit Roaring River, then head into Cassville to do a little bit of shopping. We piled in the car once more, and drove the scenic road to the state park. Listening to Childish Gambino, we stared out the window to see the drop-off from the road. No rails, just the concrete road and then the grass, leaves, and soil. On our way there, we saw gravel trails on the side of the road, for the state park goers to pull off the road and enjoy the views. We decided to stop on our way back, at one particular one that had the best view.
Once we arrived, we parked by a playground by the river and hopped out of the car. We began our trek up to the hatchery and the cave where the water streams out of. Stopping briefly, we skipped stones into the river and took photos. The blue sky's reflection lit up the water and mixed with deep green. The bare trees and white rocks reminded me of winter, while still having the benifits of the crisp fall air.
The water trickling out of the cave was a lot less compared to when I was here last, in the summer. But the water was still a refreshing blue. It was so nice to come back to the river, this time in the fall. All seasons have different things that make them beautiful (even if I hate summer with a burning passion). Everything was bare, and open. I felt that I had seen more of Roaring River's skeleton, and I loved it.
After Roaring River, we started our drive into Cassville. The original plan was to go to Whitley's Pharmacy, a cute store right off the road and next to the courthouse, in a cozy shopping center. Whitley's was indeed a pharmacy, but it was safe to assume that one could find nick-knacks and other gift items in their "gift shop" section. But, as we approached the storefront, we realized that Whitley's had closed two hours ago. So, we decided to walk the short distance to a hole-in-the-wall shop, with posters covering their four windows and door window. Words on the signs read "COMICS" and "RECORDS", but we noticed that there was no store name anywhere that we could find.
The shop had comics, records, action figures, knives and daggers, pez dispensers, NASCAR cars and trucks, and more. We must have spent a good hour in that shop. Right as we were getting ready to check out, the owner asked us if we had been to the other two levels of the shop. Our response was "No... we're allowed to go up there?". We climbed up the stairs to the second level, and saw nothing but comic books. The third floor had Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia, and three card game tables for people to play at. The stair case had shelves of beanie babies, and Garfield plushes.
The things we ended up walking out with were mostly from a rotating case with vintage nick-knacks on the shelves. I set my sights on two lighters, a black one with an eagle and the words "American Legend" painted on it in vibrant reds, yellows, and blues. This one was to be for my boyfriend, Austin. The second one was for me, a silver lighter that was tall, and depicted a cloaked and bearded wizard with a burning candle on his right, and a red glowing crystal ball on his left. I also purchased a blue and black marble dice. Kirsten got a Lord Of The Rings or Narnia esc dagger, and a glass thimble, with cacti and desert animals on it. Caleb got himself a matte black vintage zippo lighter, and Josh got a Buccaneers belt buckle that he would use for decoration because it could stand up on it's own.
After walking out of the shop pleasantly surprised, and satisfied with what we had found, we headed back to the car. We drove back through the small and cute town of Cassville, and past Roaring River. The sun was starting to get softer as we approached the scenic stop on the side of the road. Once we found it, we parked the car on the gravel road. We took photos of each other and the view.
We told our Aunt about what all we had found, and informed her that Whitley's closes at 1pm on weekdays. The rest of the evening was spent in my Aunt's living room eating Pizza Hut and editing photos, watching the OU game, reading The Fault In Our Stars, and watching Doc Martin on Netflix.
Overall, a memorable vacation. Each time I visit my Aunt and Uncle, I always have a new exploring experience, but always the same love and hospitality from family.