Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Busy, busy, busy

We are back at Elkhart Campground after about a month away. We are on site 203 and we really like this site. They rarely put anyone in the two sites to the east of us which means we have a really large front yard! It makes it nice to sit out. We don't have anyone right next to us and can see a large part of the campground. They've had a lot of rain this spring and summer and the grass is really green. Our friend, Roger, is helping Bobby with the mowing at the camp this year and he is doing a really great job. The camp looks better than it has in years, we think. He also makes sure the dog park is mowed frequently.

Last Friday, the 24th of June, Jocelyn, Tom, Aenea and Ronan along with their dog, Pepper, arrived very late. We were still at the Passport America Rally, so we didn't see them till the next morning. They came to help surprise Mom and Dad. My sister, Nita, had planned a surprise for their 70th wedding anniversary. We were able to visit with the kids quite a lot on Saturday after we left the rally.

On Sunday we drove Phaeton Place down to the Warsaw fairgrounds so we would have a place to leave our dogs while we went to dinner. It's hard to leave Butterscotch for very long with her bladder cancer. We got there early and got set up and then got ready to go to dinner at Mad Anthony's. All the nieces and nephews and their families were able to make it except for Brandon and his family. I know he felt badly about that, but he changed jobs in December and this week has been the end of his quarter and he couldn't take any time except the weekend off. That would mean he would have to fly up on Saturday and back on Sunday. Just no way to do that. I'm sure they will try and come see Mom and Dad when they can. They do make a good effort to do that even though it's so far away and it costs a considerable amount to make the trip.

The plan was to wait in the room we had reserved. Jim and Nita were taking Mom and Dad to dinner and sat them at a table out in the restaurant. The great grandkids all walked out to their table and said they they had a better table in the back and wouldn't they want to come join them? So when Mom and Dad got into the room, everyone else was there. They were very surprised and quite touched by the fact that so many of us were there. All together there were 29. That includes one "girlfriend" of one of the boys. LOL We had a lovely time at dinner. Terry and Jim split the tab down the middle so none of the grands or greatgrands had to pay anything. A fun time was had by all.

 The first picture is all the great grandkids in attendance. They have one more, Brynlee.

 The second picture is the great grands and the grands with their spouses. Missing are Brandon, wife Megan and daughter Brynlee.

Last picture is the kids (Nita and I) and spouses, grands and spouses and great grands.

Afterwards, we went over to the motorhome to let the dogs out and then we followed everyone to Nita's house south of Warsaw. There we had cake and ice cream and the card games commenced. I played one round, then Terry and I decided to head for the motorhome. A storm was approaching and we wanted to make sure we were with the girls when it hit. They were doing fine, but glad we arrived. It actually blew through rather quickly and all was well.

We left the fairgrounds the next day and drove over to the Elkhart Campground on Monday morning and plan to stay a month.

Till next time. . .


Monday, June 13, 2016

Reunion, 2016

We are here in Mississippi for the Pace-Stevens family reunion. We have fewer people who come every year, but we still enjoy visiting with those who do make the effort. We have lost many members since we started coming. We have only missed one time in the last 20 years, I think, since Terry's Dad died. The year we missed was the year we went to Alaska.

The night before the reunion, we visited with Shirley and Paul and Gary and Jo at Shirley's house. Vikki and Johnathon and Preston were there as well. Shirley and Gary are siblings and are first cousins of Terry's. Gary and Jo fixed dinner of pork chops and baked sweet potatoes, so we ate very well. We usually see Gary and Jo a couple times a year because they live close to the path we take when we cross the southern U.S. They live near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so it's a short drive to their place.

We met Saturday for the reunion at Ramey's Restaurant in Marietta, just down the road from where we used to hold a picnic. Later after we realized it was really too hot to have it outside, we moved over to the Marietta Community Building which was air conditioned and a welcome relief for those of us not accustomed to the humid heat of the south. Now we meet at a restaurant so no one has to cook!

This year Uncle Bob was with us. He is the last remaining child of Ma and Pa Pace, so it's mostly the younger generations that come now. He did not make it last year. He, unfortunately, has Alzheimer's. But he was having a reasonably good day and we got to visit with him. It was good to see him. He is in his mid 80's and appears to be in good health. He was very touched that we all came to celebrate with him.

We came back to the motorhome after the reunion. We were camped at Piney Grove on Bay Springs Lake, which is part of the Tenn-Tom Waterway. That is the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, a series of lakes, canals, and rivers that link the Tennessee River with the Gulf of Mexico. It's a nice park and we always reserve the same campsite every year. We know we fit well on it and it's easy on and off the site.

After we rested and fed the girls, we went back into Baldwyn and had dinner with Cathy and Bill and their son Matthew and girlfriend Sarah. Cathy and Terry are first cousins as well and she is Uncle Bob's daughter. She made us doughburgers. These are similar to hamburgers, but have a couple extra ingredients and have a little more flavor than a regular hamburger. She knew that I liked them and I really didn't do a good job duplicating them the one time I made them, so it was a special treat to eat hers! We visited with everyone and stayed till after dark before we made our way back to the lake. It's about 22 miles from her house.

We had some lightning on the way back. It almost always storms at least one night when we are there for the reunion, but this year it was all for show. The storms were mostly north of us and we didn't really even get any rain at the camp. We did have one bad/loud/scary thunderclap that sent me and the dogs scurrying for cover while we were out walking. Fortunately we were right near the motorhome, so I got them in easily.

This morning we broke camp and headed into Red Bay, Alabama. We have an appointment at Bay Diesel  at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Ugh. But we want to make it as easy on them as we can and it is super hot here. So the earlier the better. We are staying at a new campground here. It's west of Red Bay, just outside of town by about a block. Full hookup for $20 as are all the sites in Red Bay. Nice gravel and spacious enough sites. We went into town and got our mail and the laundry is running in the bedroom. Life is good. Depending on when Chris gets done with our coach, we may be staying here another night or rolling on north later tomorrow.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Family time!

We left Elkhart Campgound Friday morning, June 3rd, and went to the storage condo for a night. We were able to wash Phaeton Place who has needed a bath for a loooooong time. So now she is clean. . . or at least she was for a day.

We drove down to Warsaw and found a spot at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds in Warsaw. That is the closest place to Mom and Dad that we can camp, so we settled in and then took off with the girls to visit the folks. They enjoyed seeing Butterscotch and Duchess and the girls enjoyed all the treats Mom gives them when they visit. We got to see their new bathroom. They took out the tub and put in a large shower with the same footprint and put sliding doors on it. Now Daddy can get in and out of it much easier. For Father's Day, Nita and I bought him a shower chair with a back and arms to make it easier for him. He is getting less and less mobile as his back caves in on him, but we are trying to keep him able to do things for himself. They also put in a higher toilet which made a big difference in his ability use it more easily. Hopefully these things will make life a little easier for him and Mom.

We left Sunday morning and headed south. The family reunion is the 11th and we like to get in a few days early to visit with family. Our first night out was spent at a Jellystone campground  in Scottsburg, Indiana. They take Passport America during the week, so we got a great discount and it was a decent park. We rolled on the next morning and spent the next two nights in Amish country in Ethridge, Tennessee.

The campground was a big disappointment. The story is that there is a new owner and they are investing money and things will be better the "next time" we stop. Not sure there will be a next time. It wasn't a bad place, but the sites were narrow and they are in the process of digging for drain lines and water, etc., and it doesn't look like they are working very hard at it. The amenities weren't too bad, but we had full hookups, so it was okay with us. But they certainly charged a high price for those sites, so we won't be back.

We did decided to stay here and take a look around at the Amish in the area. These are Swartzendruber Amish, among the most conservative. They are very different from the Amish in northern Indiana and in the Berlin, Ohio, area we often visit. In those places, the Amish own businesses and don't mind talking with you and sharing a bit about themselves. And they appear to be mostly prosperous. I remember as a child that the Amish farms in northern Indiana appeared many times to be run down and in need of makeovers or just upkeep. Now they look quite different and have beautiful flower gardens and well kept lawns. The Amish in Ethridge appeared more like the Amish I observed long ago. They do not have any stores. . . they do sell goods directly from their homes or stands in their yards. The fruits and vegetables looked very good and I bought some of those. I bought one basket at the local Farmer's Market that was handmade by a deaf Amish man. It is very neat and is signed by the craftsman. The women do not wear the white mesh caps here, but a heavier cloth cap and many times a black bonnet. At one household where we bought goods, all the five children on the porch wore black clothing and caps. They would only talk to transact business, they would not talk otherwise. Very different from others we have met. All of their schools were one room and built the same. A rectangular building with four windows down the side and two outhouses out back. The leaflet I read said they do not have running or hot water in their houses either. Very conservative and different from other Amish we've met. But that is their life and their choice. I might add that my own family is a few generations from low-order Amish. Perhaps that why I find it so interesting to visit their communities and learn what I can about their lifestyle.

Once we left Ethridge, we had an easy 90 mile drive to Bay Springs Lake and Piney Grove Campground. Of course, we took the Natchez Trace which is my favorite drive. We made our usual lunch stop at the rest area on the north side of the Tenneessee River. We figured we have been coming every year for about 20 years, since Terry's Dad died. We had come off and on before that, but try not to miss it now. Most of the older ones no longer come. Many are gone, leaving just the younger generations to carry on the tradition. They aren't always interested, but we still want to come and visit with the cousins and other family in the area.

We drove into Pulaski, Tennessee and found this beauty sitting in a parking lot. We don't know what it is, but it appears she is used. I could live in this, that's for sure.

Last night we drove into cousin Shirley's and had dinner with her and husband Paul, cousin Gary and Jo, Vikki and Jonathon and Preston. It was a great supper and we enjoyed visiting with everyone again.

We went into Booneville and Baldwyn today and visited Paul and Rusty at the flea market. We just missed Gary and Jo who had taken off to go yard sale-ing! We went into town to get some supplies I needed for a craft project and then headed back to the camp. We drove back on the Trace again and stopped at the Indian Mounds. We got back about 3:30. The girls were glad to see us!

Tomorrow is the reunion! We will be leaving a little early so we can visit with the family. We are having it at a restaurant so we don't need to cook anything. Whoo hoo! That's even better!

Till next time. . .