Spring 2003

The best thing that can be said about this past winter is, surely it’s almost over! However, the cold, cold weather and the overcast skies may have just been a backdrop to make some ordinary events extraordinary.

You never know how fantastic a sunny day is until most days are overcast, 50 degrees seems cold unless the days have been in the 30's for weeks, and the beauty of a bright red cardinal is twice as spectacular when seen against the backdrop of a lovely green Holly tree whose leaves hold a soft, wet, white layer of newly fallen snow.

The Holly tree outside our kitchen window acts as a haven for a number of birds waiting to take their turn at one of our four feeders. The blue jays are almost too large to fit as they perch precariously between the limbs: however, the titmouse, wren, and black-capped chickadee easily find a place to call their own in the full branches.

One of the oddities of nature that astonishes us every year is the junco. Now there's nothing odd about the bird itself. What strikes us as unusual is the fact that we never see a junco unless it is about to snow or the ground is already covered with that fine white powder.  The small blue-gray bird seems to miraculously appear and stay around for a short while.

Jim has a theory that there really is no such thing as a junco — it's really a sparrow in disguise (the sparrow changes its suit to go with the weather). Without the cold, overcast, wet days would spring and warm weather thrill us quite as much? I think not.

So, I guess in the long run we just have to be thankful for what we have and look forward to sunny days, fragrant flowers, green grass and fluffy clouds that float by in an azure sky.


Bob, Bill, Bob and Jim have been working over the winter months as usual. One of the additions that will be most evident are the new curved steps and walk from the parking lot side of the office down to the fishing lakes.

That seemed to be the way people wanted to go, so we gave up and put a nice concrete path there — it really does look great! While they were into pouring concrete they also poured a new front porch for the miller's house.

The weather this winter was not really conducive to working on the house, but there are plans to get started again as soon as things warm up a little. It seems as we get older cold weather just isn't as much fun. There was work to do inside though. We have a new ceiling in the hearth room of the cabin and also new carpet in that room. The carpet is a lovely shade of — no, we won't spoil the surprise — come down and see for yourself. 


There is one other project we have underway at the present time. The dam at the lower end of the Catfish lake has recently developed a large hole — not good! Fortunately no fish were lost, but the level of the lake did drop rather drastically. 

We are in the process of getting the dam repaired — which is no small job. If by any chance there is still work going on when you come out, now you know the story.

Many of you have asked that we publish the names of the winners of our employee pumpkin painting contest. The voting was close in some areas, but the final winners were Tracey Cooper (one of our servers) for Favorite, Jo Ann Silvis (our baker and Dessert Barn server) for Most Artistic, and Toby Minton (our restaurant manager) for Most Original.

We had a lot of fun with our contest and hope you did too as you pondered your most important vote in this event. 

Each year we are so fortunate in having a number of our employees return to help us make your experience with us a most enjoyable one. This year we are again blessed with having several outstanding people come back to work with us.

Ryan Childs is going to be our Kitchen Manager. Ryan has been with us for six years, working all areas of the kitchen and evolving into one of the best servers ever. Jo Ann Silvis will continue turning out those delicious pies, cakes, and cobblers.

Bill Gibbons has stayed with us through the winter and we are so thankful he will be here to help us keep the place up and going. Anthony Smith and Tyler Guldan provide invaluable help in the fish cleaning, and maintenance department.

As many of you know, Jim's brother Bob is semi-retired — the semi part being the much appreciated and greatly needed help he gives us with raising our trout, maintaining our gardens, and various other tasks. We are doubly fortunate because his wife, Nancy, also gives us her assistance with the spring and fall school field trips as well as sharing her artistic talents with us. We have a good nucleus group, but we still need to hire about 20 to 25 more people for this year. Wish us luck. 


Sugar, the Cricket dog, has been having a fantastic winter. Unlike her human companions, she seems to love cold weather and snow.

Frolicking in the fresh snow, burying her nose in the cold wet stuff and snuffling a path for a yard or so is her ideal of great fun. Chasing any and every lump of snow that may drop from a tree or off a bush is a blast!

She will prance like a puppy — at least for a little while — running in circles and up and down the hill. She will then turn around and look at us, urging us to join in the fun and wondering how in the world she got stuck with such a bunch of old fogies.

The campground has had quite a few families staying over the winter and this has also been a source of pleasure for her. Several people are walkers and joggers and it seems to be a part of her job description to accompany them on their outings (although she's really not too crazy about the jogging part) She has to be certain they make it down the hill and back up again without getting lost. Some of the families have children, and of course finding a playmate her size is just great!

Speaking of playmates her size — last fall we had three wild cats show up at our house. We are suckers when it comes to animals so of course in response to their pitiful looks we had to start putting food out for them.

Gradually they learned that the three blue bowls with food and the one blue bowl with water belonged to them. Then they found out that when they hear the bells ring when our front door opens they need to come running because we are putting the food out.

Next of course we had to buy them cat beds so they wouldn't have to sleep on the ground or the cold concrete porch. They are happy to eat the food, drink the water, sleep in the beds — but only the youngest has finally allowed the hand that feeds her to pet her. Getting close to the one that takes care of them is still a no-no.

This is the way our relationship with God sometimes seems to go. We are happy to accept the blessing He pours out, the care he provides, the love He offers. But, we don't want to get too close — and just like with the cats, it's our loss when we don't. There is a closer relationship just waiting, if only we would accept it. 


Our menu will have a few changes on it this year. Nothing really drastic, but we hope you will approve. Most of the changes will be with the side items we offer. Based on the response we get from you, we will not offer the onion rings, steamed vegetables or steak cut fries.

To replace those items we will instead be serving some new dishes which will include Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Greek-Cheese Spinach, Home style Baked Beans and a cold vegetable medley marinated in a delicious dressing (a nice substitute for those of you who only like sweet coleslaw). There may be a few other additions, but no changes in our basic menu — or our prices. Of course, we wouldn't dare change any of our desserts! 

Another exciting change we're making this year is with our gift shop. In the past we have carried a limited range in our shop and though we did vary our offerings time to time the number of items was usually limited to one or two suppliers.

However, this year we are proud to offer a wider choice of crafts. Many of them are from local craftsmen and some are from as far away as Newfoundland, Canada. 

Our closest craftsman happens to be Jim. He started working on a wood lathe last year. In fact, some of you may have seen a few of his items that we had available in 2002. This year we are to have a wider selection.

All of the items are made from wood collected here at "The Cricket" and he has fashioned them into intriguing mushrooms, bells, bowls and vases. They are unique (no two are ever alike) as well as being beautiful. Come see for yourself.

For several years we have had Trolls hiding under our bridge and now we are providing you with the chance to have your own Trolls. They are made by 5 Arts Studio in Cosby, Tennessee and are fun to collect or decorate with. 

We have located a lady in Kentucky who does Inkle Weaving (come find out what that is) and we are proud to add her bookmarks and key chains to our collection.

Heartwood Creations in Illinois also produces wood products — they are called secret boxes and we have been fascinated by them ever since we first saw them about three years ago. Mirrors, games, stamp holders and boxes just to keep "stuff" in — the list goes on and on. They are beautifully crafted and will be a pleasure for years to come.

Pewter, fashioned into lovely miniature birds, necklaces, and earrings is the treasure we found from a small company called Amos Pewter in Nova Scotia, Canada. Unlike anything we have ever seen before, they caught our imagination and instilled a desire to share them with you.

In addition to the Stuart Nye Sterling we have carried for several years (made in Asheville, N. C), we are carrying a limited number of sterling jewelry pieces made by an artist named Blaine Organ in his studio in Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland. The quality of his work is outstanding and we think you will be as impressed as we were. 

All of the crafts we are offering in our gift shop are things that we use and enjoy ourselves and we wanted to share them with our friends. 


Mark it down on your calendar because that's the day we reopen for the 2003 season! We are looking forward to having you come down to see us .

Dig into your memory bank and pull up the image of a sunny, warm day with a cool breeze gently dancing around. Place yourself and the people you most enjoy being with in that picture — then look around and realize, you're at, "The Crosseyed Cricket"! What could be better? Fantastic food, lovely scenery, good company and time to enjoy it all.

Take a step back in time to a slower, gentler era and let us help you make some memories. That's what we're here for. We really are unique you know. Come see.


"And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed"
Deut. 31:8

Charlie Cricket says, "Come to the Crosseyed Cricket!"