A weekend in South Alabama, now home again

After a 2 hour flight delay, rescheduled connection and 3 hour layover in Atlanta, I am safe at home. Where I have been since shortly after midnight last night. The trip was actually quite good and my time with Granddaddy and Ev (Everett is my brother) was nice. Most of the time was spent with Granddaddy and we had such a nice time.

Here's the way I spend time when I'm "running around" with an 86 year old man: first, you need to know we spend a lot of time drinking coffee...no matter where we are. In between our excursions we channel surf. Both fairly good-natured, accommodating people, we're considerate enough to make sure the other doesn't mind watching what we're watching. As a result we watched plenty of CNN and The Weather Channel. In addition, though, we watched Speed (he'd never seen the movie,) and random other TV shows. Then I was introduced to a new evangelist who uses a lot of mannequins to visually convey his point, and Granddaddy had the pleasure of watching part of not one but two episodes of What Not to Wear. Lucky him.

That wasn't the bulk of my time there, though. Granddaddy has the best stories and one of the things I realized was that while I've been back to this small South Alabama town at least once or twice a year throughout my life (until recently when we tend to meet up at my parents' which takes less time to get to,) I don't really know the places he mentioned. His family wasn't financially well off and so his childhood and youth-time stories include a lot of walking to and from town. I had no idea until we drove into the outerlying communities just how far he really did walk. No, it wasn't uphill either way, and there was no snow, but I'm quite sure he was barefoot much of the time, and didn't think anything about it. I heard the story about his first horse, Smut, who was solid black, and very gentle, and how he ended up agreeing to trade her for his first car. Which was great to drive until he needed a way to transport larger things. I asked, "Did you trade the car for a truck?" and he said, "No! I sawed off the back and built a truck out of it." Well duhhhhh. He's the original "I can make that" man, after all.

We went to a stock auction but were disappointed to find they didn't have horses at auction that day. We were there in time to see the goats but elected to leave before they brought out the swine. I figured just being there was enough. I do remember the time I went with my grandparents as a child, and it was fun although there was a disappointing episode in my little girl memory about someone drinking my grape soda. Oh the way the mind works. At any rate, I've now been to an auction for livestock and can check that off of my list. We'll go back next time I'm there, if they have horses, which I'm sure my Granddaddy wishes he still had.

We also went into a little shishi girly coffee shop called "Books and Bean" or some such, which is in the little boardwalk downtown area. Really quite nice, with an array of books and gifts and food, in addition to the coffee. I saw signs referring to both yoga and Bible study classes, and there was a flyer up about the arts community. The best part about that little trip, though, was when we walked out carrying our coffee cups and he asked, "How much was that coffee???" Incredulity in his voice. "I think," I quickly did some simple division in my head, "it was $1.35 a cup." Certainly I hadn't suggested anything as ludicrous as cappuccino to my purist Granddaddy. I figured we'd done quite well. His eyes grew huge, "Foot! You can get it for 44 cents at McDonalds!" It was pointless to mention that the quality of coffee we were now drinking was probably different from what a fast food restaurant served up, and he let me know, too. "It's not THAT much better!"

We went to a wake for his recently deceased cousin, Lilly, on Saturday night and I got to meet lots of people I never met before, but whose names I've heard. And aside from Lilly's very tall brother who mostly sat down since he has problem feet, I may have been the tallest person in the room. It's a frequent source of amusement, how my brother and I ended up with this much height. And my uncle who married my paternal aunt, jokes that he has to sit down to talk to people at family reunions. I am now reminded of why that is. It was an oddly familiar scene, with more than one person commenting on how sad it is that families don't get together unless someone has died. A little surreal, actually, but I'm glad I went with him and I know he was too.

Then on Sunday we went to church in the morning and visited my recently-returned-to-town aunt and uncle (the tall one,) in the evening. That was great fun - I haven't seen them in well over a year...maybe two. Thank God for email. After that, there were hardware stores and a pharmacy run on Monday morning before picking up my brother for the hour plus ride to the airport, and the rest is a blur of security personnel and changed tickets.

Next weekend it's home to see Mom and Dad. For now, I've got to do some serious organizing and catch-up with my work. It was worth the break, though. I can just work overtime for now...