Sept. 2, 2014
Good afternoon to all of you. Allyson has returned from off days, so I'll be taking leave of writing High on LeConte for a while. First, though, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Pat Lawley in our continuation of LeConte Lodge crew profiles. Pat completes the group of new crew member biographies, as he rounds out his first season on the mountain.
However, I'll pass along the weather update first. Labor Day on LeConte turned out right pleasant, which makes it a little easier to celebrate Labor Day by laboring. We had a high of 69 and low of 54 with a mixture of sunshine and clouds but no precipitation. Today's been much the same. We're currently sitting under bright sunshine, but we did have a brief shower earlier this afternoon.
Now I'll turn the update over to Pat, who has penned the following profile.
"Hallelujah!" "Wow!" "We made it!" "We are here!"
Those are just a few of the comments I hear people say upon arriving at Mt. LeConte Lodge. Hi, I'm Pat, one of the crew members at Mt. LeConte Lodge. I was introduced to the lodge in 1998 by a friend. I can call him that now, but about half way up on that first trip I was not so sure. I did not think we would make it to the lodge. Well, we did and, after a cup or two of the best hot chocolate in the world, we fell in love with this place.
On about the third year's visit Jeanie (my wife) and I started talking about working here when we retired. Well, it happened. We both retired this year--me Jan. 10 and Jeanie March 3. We started work up here March 14.
It has been said, "Be careful what you ask for." It has been a great year. We have met people from all over the world. People want to know what it's like working here. Well, it's great. However, the phrase "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but the grass still needs cutting," is true. It is hard to imagine all that goes into giving a guest a first-class Smoky Mountain experience.
Oh, well, a little about me. I am 61 years old, married to my crewmate Jeanie 41 years. We have a wonderful son and daughter-in-law back home in Mt. Olive, Ala.
This is only the third place of employment I have had. I worked at Sears after school and weekends while attending Gardendale High School. Two weeks after graduation I started a 42-year, 7-month career with Alabama Power. It's ironic to work for a company supplying electric service to people for 42-plus years only to now work at a place that has no electricity.
I enjoy camping, backpacking and day hikes. I enjoy working with stained glass in my spare time. I encourage you to get out and visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One last thought, spend your time wisely. It is a non-renewable resource. Not one of us can gain one second back after it's gone. Well, that just about does it. Come see us!
Thanks to Pat for sharing his story. Thank you all for reading. Happy trails.
9/2/2014 09:09:03 am
Had the pleasure of meeting Pat during my first stay at the lodge this past spring. He was gracious enough to provide our party with an extended and entertaining conversation, despite his main concern of preparing the cabins for the next visitors. Thanks to Pat and the rest of the crew for providing such an enjoyable experience at my favorite lodge.
9/2/2014 10:06:49 am
Love reading these bios on the crew. Nice hobby Pat; lovely stained glass. Couldn't help but notice the fall leaves in Pat's photo. When will the leaves start turning up on Le Conte? So ready for fall!
9/2/2014 02:04:49 pm
Sure enjoyed reading about Pat...great retirement experience for him and his wife.
9/2/2014 02:06:36 pm
Hello to you Pat! You sound like an awesome fellow... and I love the stained glass! The photo today is another beautiful one. I love it when those clouds are so thick the look like a giant pillow. And Doug Y... good luck on your surgery, I know it's coming up real soon. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!!!!
9/2/2014 04:43:10 pm
Known Pat for a number of years. You won't find a more genuine, down to earth, honest person on this planet. And I miss him! But I know he's living a dream. Best to you and Jennie ( she makes the best pound cake on the planet too), have fun, maybe we will see you this winter.
9/2/2014 05:21:50 pm
Go Rockets! Glad to see a fellow alabamaian on the mountain....it's not hard to fall in love with that place...I follow this blog and start planning my next trip up as soon as I come down... Maybe one day I'll actually spend the night lol thanks for sharing your story
9/2/2014 10:18:18 pm
I've seen Pat at the lodge. What a hard working man. And such a wonderful experience to share with your wife. Thanks for all you do!
9/3/2014 11:25:22 pm
Hi Pat. I grew up in Pinson, AL. Small world!
9/4/2014 02:01:16 am
Jerry I had the pleasure of staying up on the mountain last year and look forward to it again sometime in the near future. I also love to do stained glass and I enjoy it. You are much better at it then me, but I am just a started so to speak, for about 5years now but only work on it in the winter. I hope you will be there when me and my husband try to get at reservation in a few years from now. We have a few other mountains we like to hike first
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