Sunday, March 4, 2018

Parris Island and A cabin in the Smokies!


When we last checked in with the intrepid Cason’s, they were preparing to depart for South Carolina to pick up their young Kaylee Rae after her graduation from Marine Corps bootcamp.  The departure went off surprisingly well and they were on the road with their 15 passenger Chevy, a rented 15 passenger Ford (with the weird body-style) and the camera crew consisting of a Belgian journalist, and 2 videographers from Louisiana.  Heading South for the Muncie area to pick up one of the girlfriends and they immediately got separated from the second van as the 20 year-old driver was sure he knew the plan and had relied on the fastest route to the pickup point rather than Mom/Navigator Christi’s plan and the waiting game began.  This foiled the camera crew’s attempt to capture traveling caravan shots at first because it was hurry up and wait.  Soon enough, though, the group was reunited with Molly on board and booking it down the highway. 

Once they arrived at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, they were checked into a lovely foursome of very nice rooms in the Springhill Suites.  The gang all got a pretty good night’s sleep and had some continental buffet and it was off to the races again!  Down and around and down and copious potty stops later and they had arrived in Hilton Head Island South Carolina at the Marriott Surfwatch resort.  The 2 villas there were AWESOME!  The 3 bedroom units had very nicely appointed rooms each one rated to sleep 12.  The next morning the family woke and somehow hustled everyone out the door and into the vans and they were on the road once again, this time traversing the 35 or so miles to MCRD Parris Island.  Once through the gate they found the parking area, but no signage pointing to where they were supposed to meet their Marine.  They eventually found the venue albeit just a few minutes after the official dismissal for family day.  

Needless to say, the reunion was emotional.  Tears were shed, hugs were given, long and lingering and more tears were then shed.  Kaylee showed her family the barracks in which she lived and a little bit around the base.  Mostly they spent the hours enjoying each other’s company, part of the time at a lovely picnic area by the waterside right next to the NCIS office.  When the time came to return her to her platoon, more tears and hugs, but some relief because they would be right back the next day to see her graduate and take her home.  The graduation was incredible.  The ceremony, the dress blues, of which dad was clearly jealous, and the incredible release of emotion in that second they were dismissed….Awesome! 

Fast forward to that evening, the family is now getting closer to their next stop in this trip, the CABIN!  As of this point, Kaylee has no idea that she is not going straight home, still 6-8 hours driving away, nor that waiting for her at the unknown cabin is her sister, Jessica whom she was told could not come.  In cahoots with the camera crew, Jess is waiting for us in the cabin.  Kaylee was blindfolded the last few miles before arrival and walked into the cabin by her girlfriend Cierra.  When the blindfold came off, Kaylee was understandably impressed and happy with the location, but even more priceless was her reaction a minute later when Jessica revealed herself.  The whole thing was captured for posterity by the crew and the numerous cellphones present.
Mom, Dad and kids at the cabin

What followed was two fun-filled days relaxing and enjoying the luxury cabin with it’s hot tub and game room and spectacular views.  With a giant spaghetti dinner, Kaylee’s favorite, to fill the bellies on the last night of the stay.  Topped off by an epic throw-down of flipping and tumbling skills by one of the camera guys, Julian and one of the young men who now live with the Casons, Anthony.  It was like a romper room showdown!  Later that evening, the camera crew bid the Casons adieu and headed off to their next gig.

Christi, Trevor and the crew in the cabin game-room
All in all, the trip was a very memorable way to celebrate Kaylee’s accomplishment and bring her home to her loving family.

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