Monday, November 12, 2007

Back From Visiting The Home Folks

Di and I celebrated November 1 by heading out on a long driving trip back to the Carolinas to visit my relatives. It was a physically exhausting but emotionally exhilarating trip; it was an absolute blast. It was interesting seeing my old home through Di's eyes. She marvels at things I take for granted, like kudzu, red clay, towering pine trees, and----at this time of year----an east coast autumn. Myself, I marveled at how much Charlotte has grown and the astonishing real estate prices there----$500K for a two bedroom condo in downtown Charlotte??? (I think that housing bubble will leave a nasty mess behind when it finally pops!) It was great to be able to pull into a convenience store and walk out with a cold Diet Cheerwine and a double-decker Moon Pie (I returned with six 12-packs of Diet Cheerwine, which will probably do me more good than all that chemotherapy did). I was also fortified by plenty of Bojangles fried chicken as well as Krystal burgers while on the road (all Krystal restaurants now offer free WiFi in addition to those cute burgers-in-a-box.)

On our outbound leg, we took Texas highway 79 through northeast Texas, passing through several colorful small towns such as Thrall, Hoerne, and Palestine, and joined Interstate 20 at Shreveport, LA. We then followed Interstate 20 to Atlanta and picked up Interstate 85 for the trip into Rock Hill, SC, which was our base of operations. The return leg involved taking Interstate 85 again but this time following it southeast past Atlanta to Montgomery, AL and then south to Mobile, AL, where we picked up Interstate 10 and followed it along the Gulf until we crossed back into Texas at Beaumont. We continued westbound on Interstate 10 until we exited on Highway 304, which took us home after 20 more miles. By taking this route, Di and I can now boast we have driven the entire length of Interstate 10 through Texas----El Paso to Beaumont----a total of 877 miles.

I brought along my camera, and here are some of the photos I took, beginning with my Uncle Grady:

And here's his wife, my Aunt Betty:

My Aunt Polly and my mom were sisters, and you can prove that by taking one look at Polly:

I also got to see my Uncle Hubert and Aunt Floy:

My cousin Cheryl has long been a contender for the title of "Weirdest One In The Family." While I have a deathgrip on the gold medal for that event, she easily beats out the competition for the silver. Here she is, explicating about. . . . . . . . well, something:

I also got to see my cousin Marilyn while I was there:

My cousin Susan seemed inexplicably happy to see me again; she was probably just gooned on Ny-Quil:

I have been very, very lucky to have the family I do. It is very easy to do some of the things I have, to walk that tightrope, when you know underneath you is a net of people who will love and care for you no matter what.

I wish I could find the words to accurately express how much I love these people and how much they mean to me.