We had planned to spend tonight with good friends in Nashville,TN. Instead we are staying in a roadside motel about forty miles south of Nashville. The ride up I-65 was uneventful for most of the day,but then we hit a big winter storm. Trucks and cars littered the roadside testifying to the ice and snow. Driving was getting pretty scary. We have not seen a snow plow. No salt has been spread on the road. The wisest thing seemed to find a safe place to wait until the storm has passed. So we are warm and dry, looking forward to a quiet peaceful evening.
Two days ago we enjoyed walking along the white sandy beaches of Florida's panhandle. The sun was shining and we were enjoyed temperatures in the mid-sixties. These are some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. Several people referred to this pretty place as the Redneck Riviera.
We have enjoyed our time in New Orleans. Jackson Square was as beautiful as I had expected it would be.
The beignets at Cafe' Du Monde were as messy and yummy as they looked.
The French Quarter was fascinating with all it's unusual shops, bars and restaurants. We walked down Bourbon Street about five in the evening, before the nighttime crowd arrived. Even during the day Bourbon Street made my eyes pop out and my jaw drop open.
This morning we took a city tour. We drove through the ninth ward where the greatest damage was done after hurricane Katrina. The damage done is still overwhelming.Then we rode through the Garden District where the rich and some of the famous live. There was a crowd in front of Manning house. A couple of famous football players grew up there.
So far this road trip has been all we wanted it to be. Tomorrow we head towards Panama City.
In a small house about 20 miles from a small town in northern Louisiana is a young girl who calls me Gramma. We have spent a wonderful week-end together. We have played Wii games (I lost everything I played), but I am the champion of our Parcheesi tournament. We drove an hour to the mall where we shopped, built a bear, watched a movie and rode the carousel. We went to church together. Worshiping together with a grandchild is a special blessing. We created some wonderful memories.
Our youngest granddaughter moved to a small town in Louisiana last year. She had been living in West Virginia, just a day's drive away, but it is much farther to go see her now. We have not seen her in over a year, much too long. She sent us her school picture for Christmas. She looks almost grown. Time passes so very quickly and children grow up too fast, so we are making a road trip to Louisiana to see Michaela.
One of the blessings of retirement is time to do things we have not had time to do before. Since we have a long drive no matter how we go, we have decided to take a meandering trip south. We will stop in Fayetteville, NC, and visit with Dennis's brother and family. From there we are heading to Atlanta where we will stay a couple of days. We have never been to Atlanta and decided to stop and enjoy the sights. Has anyone been to Atlanta? What is something fun to do there? The next stop will be a small town in the northeastern corner of Louisiana where we plan to hug our little girl and spend time enjoying this almost grown up eleven year old. She will have to go to school, so after a long week-end with her we are driving to New Orleans. We have never been there. I am excited about spending time in the Big Easy. We plan to drink a Hurricane or two and eat a po' boy. What else should we do in New Orleans? From New Orleans we are heading to Panama City, Florida. We are hoping for some warmer weather so we can walk along the white sandy beaches. I have a niece there that I have not seen in many years. It will be fun to spend some time with her family. Then we will head north toward Birmingham, Alabama. We have never been there either. What is there to do in Birmingham? We plan to take my cousin Dot out to dinner. I have not seen cousin Dot in over 50 years. We have some catching up to do. Before heading home we will stop in Nashville, Tennessee, where we have many old friends. It will be about 3000 miles of road with lots of new scenery and old friends.
I welcome all suggestions for things we ought to see along the way. What do you do on a long car trip to make the journey more enjoyable?
When I was in the sixth grade my parents bought a new house. It is a wonderful, sacred place in my memory. It had a wonderful yard full of trees, a big unfinished basement that included a shelf full of old National Geographic magazines dating back to the 1920's, and a collection of interesting rooms that had been added on over the years. The very best thing about that house was that I would finally have a room of my very own. I loved that room. It was sort of a funny L-shaded room wallpapered with millions of bright flowers. I tried many times to count those flowers, but always lost count. My bed was next to the big windows. When I woke up in the morning I looked out over the tops of our orange trees and felt on top of the world. When an earthquake rocked southern California I would lay in my bed and watch the sky rock back and forth, thinking it was a wonderful ride. I never understood why people were so afraid of this gentle rocking that I felt in my bedroom. The very best part of that room was my balcony. I had a door leading out to my own private balcony. Actually it was the tar paper-covered roof that had a rickety rail around it. I could stand there and see for miles. Occasionally I could see the faint outline of Catalina Island. I spread a blanket out on that balcony and lay in the sun and dreamed of the day my prince charming would come. I dreamed of so many wonderful adventures.
I heard this song recently. It was a favorite song of my daddy's. He would sing it as a happy song about this house that we all loved.
My main occupation since the beginning of this new year has been trying to stay warm. My nose is cold. My ears are cold. My feet, hands, legs and all the rest of me is cold. When I go outside I waddle like a duck because of all the layers I wrap around myself in an effort to stay warm. The thermostat in my house says I should be warm, but it lies. I am dressed in warm clothes, wrapped in a blanket and I am still cold. I think they have canceled global warming.
We have a large bookshelf in our kitchen. When our kids were younger and the dinner conversation led us to a topic where we needed more information, I remember one or the other of us often pulling the World Book encyclopedia off the shelf and looking for answers. We had some interesting, unusual, perhaps even weird dinner conversations. Over the years the books have changed. I was sad when we decided to give away our encyclopedias, but the kids were grown and we no longer used them. This week I purged the kitchen bookshelf of books we no longer use and donated them to our local library. We got rid of dusty old Bible commentaries, novels I will never read again, collections of coffee table books with beautiful pictures and several reference books we no longer use. We needed to make room for some of the books my retired man has brought home from work. The shelf is now packed with books I want to read or read again, many travel books for dreaming about trips we would like to take, and lots of bird books for my husband the birder to peruse. There is a whole shelf of children's books. I just can't get rid of them or the memories that go with those books. Perhaps one day my great grandchildren will read them. I think a kitchen is more complete when it contains books.
We ate dinner at my daughter's house last night. After dinner the adults enjoyed a long, meandering conversation while the kids played Rock Band in the basement. I think singing with Rock Band is a lot like singing in the shower. You sing with great enthusiasm, but you really do not sound as good as you think you do.
I am reading, “Mysteries of the Middle Ages,” by Thomas Cahill. It is a wonderful book. Who knew a book about the history of the middle ages could actually be a fascinating and wonderfully enjoyable read?
1.Laugh loud and often. This shouldn't be too hard because I do love to laugh. It just makes the world better when I can find something to make me laugh. When was the last time you enjoyed a good belly laugh?
2.Don't worry. Worry doesn't accomplish anything and just wastes a lot of energy. One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 24:19. “Fret not thyself.”
3.Say thank you. I take so many people and so my things for granted. I am going to live with gratitude and tell folks how much I appreciate them.
4.Just do it. I am going to quit talking about cleaning out the closet, reading the book or calling my friend. I am just going to get up and do what needs to be done.
5.While I am doing all this I think I will also bring about world peace, end global warming and eliminate hunger around the world.