"Park's closed, folks. Moose out front should'a told'ja."
no, it wasn't really a vacation, but we did do some traveling in the family truckster this past weekend.
we piled a lot of stuff into grandma's minivan and headed down to arkansas to visit my sister and my aunt's and uncle, nieces and nephews, and even some cousins. on the way down, we picked up hanna. hanna was very close to my aunts because they stayed with my mom for a number of months while she was sick. she would go stir up the house for a while, and it always made my mom and her sisters very happy.
since then, patsy, the youngest sister, has become ill herself. i really didn't want too much time to go by before hanna was able to see her again, and mrs k, tyson and elijah haven't met much of my family. so, this was a perfect time to get everyone together.
after a loooooooong drive in the dark, as well as numerous stops, we finally came to batesville, a quaint little town in north central arkansas. my neice and nephew were also there, and they entertained hanna and tyson to no end. pooper was a big hit, of course, and he was in a great mood all weekend, showing off for the relatives.
saturday, we traveled to evening shade, the itty bitty little town that my mom and her family grew up in. even though they were having a parade that day, it was evident that the sleepy little town may be on the way out. main street, literally only a block long, is nearly void of business. but, i was able to show the kids a lot of the things that i remember as being special when i would visit my grandma's. first, her house. it has been repainted, but i could still picture the pale yellow paint that used to adorn the little home. we drove past the one room jail house where my aunt used to bring food to prisoners at lunch time. i showed them my great aunt audrey's house, the dairy bar, the old post office, the wishing well, the old barber shop, the old pool hall, grady's grocery, the gas station...memories that flooded back to me as i told it to them.
after the trip to town, we went to the evening shade grave yard. i have generations of family buried there. it was pretty crazy to walk down the rows, seeing some of the old stones that dated back to before the civil war. my cousin shannon, who spent much more time in arkansas, gave us a guided tour. surprisingly, the kids really thought it was cool. they didn't feel any of the sadness that goes along with grave yard visits, so they really got into the dates and names. i showed them my grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts, mother...it was crazy.
then it was off to uncle jim's farm. he has a ham radio collection, a classic car collection that he carved out of wood, and 4 horses. the kids were interested in the horses, i was interested in the radios and cars! hanna and tyson were able to feed and pet them, which was a big hit.
as long as this day was, we still had one more errand to run. my sister and her husband are building a house on the white river. it's in a beautiful remote spot, only 100 yards down from merl haggard's vacation home. super cool. and, the kids were treated to the dog chasing a stick in the deep, cold river. cocoa is a crazy brown lab that my sister is crazy over.
we were so lucky to get as much of the family together as we did. living in different parts of the country makes it hard, but i'm sure the kids are going to remember the trip for a long time, and so will the mrs and i.