Sunday, April 19, 2009

Road Trip!

I'm on vacation this week. Thursday I began my road trip to "points South". First, a little background. I left my native South and moved to Rochester, NY in 1974. For many years, I didn't see my cousins who I had grown up with and who, as children, we were close. My father died six years ago and for the first time in 30 years, I saw many of my cousins again. Amazingly, we picked up where we left off all those many years ago. At my dad's memorial service, I saw Kenny again for the first time since my wedding day in 1970. "Kid," I said to him, "the last time I saw you, you were a skinny little shy kid." To which Ken quickly responded, "Yeah, well last time I saw you, you weren't an old woman!" (Never try to get the last word in with Ken. It ain't gonna happen.)

So the first stop on my vacation was to Butler County, Alabama. This is where my father and his siblings were raised. There is rural land here that has been in my father's family for over 100 years. My cousins and I have planned for several months to meet on this land for a family reunion. I brought one of my camp dutch ovens and prepared a pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Aunt Ileen and her children, my cousins, Pam and Kenny, came from Jacksonville and brought a salad. Rita and her husband, Kip, from Andalusia, brought an oreo pie that she made. Kenny and I, "certified gun nuts" brought our guns to do some target shooting. . . that was REALLY fun!!! Bruce and Richard came up from Pensacola. June and her husband came for awhile. It was just a fun day, getting together again on land that my father and aunt and uncles lived and played on generations ago.

Although it was a long 1200 mile drive from New York State to south Alabama, I enjoyed the ride. I watched Spring come alive as I drove South. The dogwood blooms in the woods through Kentucky and Tennessee were beautiful. I played many of my CDs on my car stereo as I drove along. But probably most important, this drive was a pleasant change of pace from my everyday work life. "Why don't you just fly down?", someone asked me before I left. I think there is something very refreshing about driving along, enjoying the countryside, letting your mind relax, free of stress and the rat race.

Watch for more posts in the coming days and when I get back home, I'll post a few pictures.

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