Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thanksgiving Updates

I had big plans for this post. We went to Mississippi for Thanksgiving to visit my mom's family and although I have stories, I don't have any visuals yet. It's getting a little late, so I decided to move on ahead.

The Gathering

The Thanksgiving trip turned out to be a full-blown family reunion. We went down, and we also saw relatives from Colorado, California, and Louisiana who had traveled to join us. We all met in what I thought was the Church of God's version of a cultural hall, but as I glanced around and saw a pulpit and drumset, I realized that we were sitting in the place where they held their services. Interesting.

The Dinner

The food was great! It was sort of a schmorgasbord potluck deal, but c'mon, how cool is it to eat fried okra, cornbread dressing and cajun turkey for T-day? Steve got his fill of peach cobbler. (My poor, peach-loving husband is peach-deprived because his wife detests them and never makes anything with them.) I decided that being pregnant during Thanksgiving (and through the holidays) is definitely a good thing.

The Family (Rednecks?)

When I told my bosses that I was going to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, one asked me if my family down there was a bunch of rednecks, and immediately the other one asked if they liked Nascar. I did see one of my cousin's wives wearing a Nascar t-shirt, and I saw a street close to where they lived named after Jeff Gordon. All in all I'd say only a few came close to being rednecks, though. But maybe growing up in Idaho has skewed my definition of what a redneck is. I might be a redneck to someone back East. (But I'd like to think that I'm not.)

It's always amazed me that a few of the relatives I have down there know exactly what's going on in our lives and are so connected with us, and I've only seen them a handful of times in my life. Most of them are my grandma's sisters and a few of my mom's cousins, who were the closest things to sisters my mom had growing up. Everytime we see them, it feels like we're seeing old friends who we know and love instead of semi-strangers that you hug because you share common DNA. A few examples:

Aunt Betty -- If you've met my grandma, then my Aunt Betty is just a slightly younger, a little more avid housekeeper (if you can believe that), and a little more southern sounding version of her. It's amazing how similar they are. We stayed at their house, and I would probably feel comfortable eating off the toilet seat, it was so clean. And might I mention the pre--buttered and toasted banana bread, muffins, grits, eggs, bacon, and biscuits for breakfast?

Cousin Sissy -- Probably my favorite of my mom's cousins. She's been "Sissy" for so long that I don't think I found out her real name until a few years ago. She's a great shopping buddy and will talk your ear off if you let her. She's great :)

Mabel and Elaine -- Mabel is my grandpa's cousin and Elaine is her daughter, and they live in Bastrop, Louisiana. We drove over one day and spent a few hours with them. Talk about two hilarious women. Mabel is 86, but doesn't look a day over 60. (My mom says it's the humid southern air. I believe it. My great-grandma on my dad's side lived in Idaho her whole life and she was already a prune at 70.) She's adorable. And still concerned about having lipstick on when she left the house. Elaine is in her 60s. She has been through so much in her life -- it's amazing that she's as optimistic and independent as she is. When she was 25, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair ever since. Shortly after, her husband left her, and a few years down the road her only child, a son in his 20s, died in a car accident. Anyone who had been through so much would have every excuse to be bitter and reclusive for the rest of their lives, but not Elaine. I could listen to her talk all night about getting used to her new motorized wheelchair and running into furniture while setting alarms off all over the house. She laughs about it! It's amazing what she CAN do in a wheelchair. When she found out we were coming, she made us a coconut cake and a chocolate pie. Double Yum.

Uncle Junebug -- I don't really have any stories about Uncle Junebug. I just like the fact that I have an uncle named "Uncle Junebug". Now that I think of it. . . I don't even know his real name.

The Sonics

I thought that McDonald's was taking over the world (hand-in-hand with Walmart), and they probably are. But they'll have a hard time taking the South away from Sonic. I have never seen so many Sonics in my life. Even the littlest po-dunk town had a Sonic. . . and a couple of Baptist churches :) And talk about fast service. The ones out here have a thing or two to learn.

The Coast

On Saturday, the boys wanted to drive down to the coast to see the wreckage from Katrina. (The girls went shopping, duh.) I actually have a picture from their trip. Steve said it was so bizarre to see a bunch of concrete foundations with stairs leading up to nowhere. Sometimes the tile in the house was still in tact.

The Weather

As much as I love snow and the climate here, I couldn't resist basking in the 70-degree weather down there. Sunny the entire time. When I got to work this morning it was 6 degrees with a windchill of -7. K, no griping about the weather, Nat, it's supposed to be cold at Christmas :)

More pictures to come.

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