A reunion 90 years in the making

7 Jul

I am more proud of myself for flying alone with an almost two-year-old (when did airplane seats get so small??) than I am of graduating college. Twice. Some of you may know my previous debilitating fear of flying and would agree with me that it was probably harder for me to get on the plane without dying of panic than it was to go to class every day for six years. Walter had no problem, of course, and spent the entire hour opening and closing the plane window, despite my pleas to leave it open because it makes me feel better.

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Not phased and ready to get on that plane.

The poor lady sitting next to us was sandwiched between us and another woman transporting a rather large Jack Russell Terrier. She informed me that a lesser woman would have had to take some Valium to get through that flight in one piece. I didn’t disagree with her. She also told me that she was a pharmacist, and it is completely safe to give small children Benadryl to tranquilize them for flying. I almost asked her if she had anything good for me.

The reason for our flight was to make it easier on myself and David (and I suppose Walter too) to get down to Bartow, Florida and back in one short three day weekend. Dave’s very sweet Granny turned 90 today, and the whole family traveled from near and far to reunite and celebrate this weekend. To be honest, I was not looking forward to so much traveling, but the weekend far exceeded my expectations and I spent lots of great time getting to know David’s family better. We received open invitations from everyone to come visit, and it made me wish David had more vacation time so we could go see family more often. I think we will find the time to visit either way.

Dave ran the Peachtree Friday morning, and we drove down to Bartow after lunch. Walter took the car ride in stride like a true champion. I was impressed with his ability to entertain himself and not cry the entire time like he used to do when he was younger. He only napped for 30 minutes a couple hours into the ride, and I thought for sure we were in for the worst. But he kept his good humor the whole way.

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He loves his giraffe friend!

I love driving through southern Georgia. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Though cops like to give out tickets down there, knowing everyone on the highway is in between home and vacation, and they were certainly out in full force for the holidays. We drove about three over the speed limit just in case.

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But we finally got to stop at the Lane Peach Farm on the way, which I’ve been wanting to do for the past two years. We browsed the store, saw them pack peaches in the factory, and bought half a bushel, which I can’t wait to eat.

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 We arrived a little after 8:30pm, already Walt’s bedtime, and were greeted by numerous family members before we could even go inside. Walt was a bit shy at first, but he warmed up quickly and wasn’t shy the rest of the weekend. He enlisted family to help him reach the light switches, which he is currently obsessed with. He loved Granny’s house. Lots of chairs to climb, light switches to play with, and rooms and hallways to explore. After a bite of dinner, everyone headed out for fireworks. We were going to go straight to the hotel, but Jan rode with us and knew right where to stop to see them over the lake perfectly. Only in Florida with all the one story buildings is that possible. I thought Walter would be terrified, but maybe since “lights” is his favorite word and we kept pointing at the lights, he liked them. When we got to the hotel, he was so wound up that I think I fell asleep before he did.

The next day was easy-going and we napped in the morning, trying to catch up on Walt’s lack of sleep, and ate lunch at Zaxby’s. I ordered a salad and Walt demanded that I share some of it with him. What two-year-old loves lettuce?

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I love the moss on Florida trees. This was on the driveway to Zaxby’s. Certainly don’t see anything pretty like that at a fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Bartow is such a small, quaint town, I immediately imagined myself living there.

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Relaxing, playing with Mama’s purse, and putting on chapstick. I love this boy.

Granny’s party started at five o’clock and of course it was storming, so all our plans for taking awesome family photos outside was reduced to taking awesome family photos in the back of the church hall. But I had fun with it anyway since I love Photoshop.

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Look at this group! Not many folks missing from it.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful family.

The party continued at Granny’s house with an array of desserts, drinks, even more family, and more fireworks. Walt’s older cousin set them off (you could tell he was having fun at it), and we all stood around Granny’s back yard. Watching Walt’s delighted face and hearing his laughter was even more fun than watching the fireworks. Eventually, we finally took a tired little boy back to the hotel. He was such a trooper and a true party boy. He didn’t have a melt-down once until 7pm Sunday, when I attempted to put him to bed early after we got home. He was crying so hard I wasn’t sure he’d be able to fall asleep, but I calmed him down and he went to bed in five minutes. I fell asleep only a few minutes after him, waking when David got home to give him a hug and a kiss and go back to bed.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and a beautiful celebration of the family that Granny made. Happy birthday, Granny!

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Granny and her older brother Tom.

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