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Posts tagged ‘Virginia’

Over the River (South) and through the Woods to Grandmother’s House and back again to Texas

Since I had missed last Thanksgiving in Virginia due to back surgery, I was committed to going this year. We started off on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in the midst of gloomy cloudy and some rain. Sunday was even worse with misty swirls of rain and even the semis would not drive much faster than 55 through all those hills of Tennessee and so forth. Monday was a beautiful Sunshiney day and we made it in mid afternoon.

On Tuesday the cows got out and we got to chase them about a bit, trying to find where they had escaped;on Wednesday i was assigned the culinary duties of the jello molded salad–something I have not done in many years==and the pumpkin pies. Fortunately Mike, my oldest son, arrived late Wednesday night to take up culinary activities on Thursday morning.

Glen and I played frisbee outside for a short time until my fingers were too cold to catch the frisbee and i was too lazy to get my John Deere gloves from my truck.

We started back on Friday–did I mention we had snow???–So all through the mountains of Shenandoah National park we saw snow and I tried to take a few photos from the window of my truck while driving. I had perfected the technique while riding motorcycle in Mexico–rule one–never put viewfinder to eye (wearing glasses or helmet) and aim more down than up or you will end up with lots of sky photos, try to aim ahead rather than directly to one side as there will be less motion blur.

Returning home is always a relief–but I still hold my breath until we go inside to see that we have not been burglarized while gone. Although I stopped the paper delivery-I found three papers on the sidewalk—a sure sign that we are not home–or at least me–as Glen sometimes leaves them out on the sidewalk and sometimes it is hard to find them stuck in the shrubbery.

Then it’s off to pick up the dogs from boarding–they are so thrilled to see us that they can hardly sit still.

It’s good to travel and see family and friends and even better to come home.

Over the Hills and Through the Woods

View from the Upstairs Balcony

Virginia is a long two day drive from Texas but we were well-prepared with several audio-books including The Man who Corrupted Hadleyberg and Other Stories by Mark Twain and Tarzan King of the Apes. We stopped for a late lunch/early supper at what turned out to be local greasy spoons. The waitresses were friendly and kept our coffee cups filled but we certainly got our monthly quota of grease.

Most of the trip had been on major interstates with few turns but once we got close, we had to play close attention to road signs and TomTom’s directions. Even so, I made a wrong turn. Driving in a relatively strange place in the dark and fog is never fun but somehow we managed to find our way and things began to look familiar. Carolyn met us at the entrance to the road and we slipped and slid out way through snow and patches of ice and slushy gravel to their house.

Snow covered the fields, but the fireplace was warm and particularly inviting as the heater fan had died in my truck just two hours earlier. I was pleased to see the snow as I had brought along some of my liquid dye on the off-chance there might still be snow so I, too, could try out snow-dyeing.

Snow dyeing in Progress

The next day, Glen and his brother-in-law Tom went shopping and did some repair work on some farm equipment. I was delighted when Tom bought me a canvas drop-cloth for me to do my snow-dyeing and Glen bought me a model Ford 8N tractor and T-shirt. Tom also generously shared his Heavenly Hash ice-cream.

One of the projects was converting slides and old movies to DVD’s or CD’s so they could be viewed on a computer screen or on the big screen TV. Some of the photos had never been seen by the siblings—photos of their maternal grandparents who had both died long before most of them had been born. We spent a pleasurable evening looking at old photos and the next day I sorted through the boxes of slides, movies, and photos selecting two large boxes of photos to take home with us to sort out.

Another project was to clean out my mother-in-law’s refrigerator and her stash of plastic containers. It’s one of those fiddly tasks that no-one likes to do. Snow melted on the fields and my dye project; the wind rattled the standing seam metal roof, and I had to chase after my dye pots that had escaped into the pastures amidst the cattle.  We had a brief tour of Tom’s remodeling job (very nice although he didn’t think much of my idea of a bead curtain in the bathroom to solve the problem of limited door opening space), chatted and took a few walks despite the biting wind, but the time seemed to fly by and on Friday we packed up and headed for home. We had planned a short trip through Shenandoah National Park so we could get a stamp for our Parks Passport, and take some photos but it was closed due to the snow. Glen convinced the ranger to stamp our passport and although the dates are wrong—she wasn’t wearing her glasses—the year is correct and we’ll have to try another time to see the park.

We stopped in Chattanooga and had a surprisingly excellent meal at a Café attached to a Best Western. Neither of us needed much after our ample lunch at a Bob Evans restaurant and we thought we might have just an appetizer. We shared a Greek platter with French Fries to rival McDonald’s along with the spinach pie, Greek salad, lamb, etc. Both of us were stuffed too full to even contemplate the wonderful desserts displayed at the entrance.

The final day of our drive was uneventful as we occupied ourselves with listening to The Song of Hiawatha and Huckleberry Finn. We stopped at Landry’s in Lafayette for some fabulous Cajun seafood but most of my supper came home with us—the Sashimi  appetizer and salad quite filled me up. It was dark when we arrived in Beaumont and for a few minutes we thought we were in Mexico as a car drove up and down the streets with Mexican music playing loudly—maybe a wedding? Our driveway still had the huge pot-hole filled with water and mud even though I had hoped it would have magically disappeared while we were gone. Catching up with mail and telephone messages is always the part of being away that I dread facing upon return.

It is good to be home.

Mother’s Day in Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mother’s Day in the Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia

 

Virginia was cold, wet, and dreary. It was so unwelcoming outside that the suggestion we sit around watching an old movie and mate socks seemed like a great idea. However, the weather did clear a bit for me to go walking about and take a few photos.

 

My mother-in-law suffers from macular degeneration and can see very little but gets around quite well and is amazingly upbeat. She has always loved birds and there are three birdfeeders outside her kitchen window. The birds didn’t seem to mind the nasty weather and feasted within a few feet of our view.

 

One of my fondest memories of early married days were Sunday dinners at my in-laws house. After the meal—usually large and prepared by my father-in-law with assistance from his daughters, we would make a large pot of tea and the ‘girls’ would all choose a teacup and sit in the living room with our tea. I don’t remember what the boys were doing; perhaps taking Grandpa home or out looking at a motorcycle or some other project. I usually got the teacup with the violets on it; my sisters-in-law choosing the ones with the thistle. My mother-in-law usually chose the one with little pink roses—I learned this weekend it was from her Aunt Sarah. I made tea several times; only this time I had a gorgeous deep blue/gold teacup from Russia.

 

My sister-in-law has raised garden beds with asparagus and lettuce. I begged her to let me pick the lettuce; the asparagus was strictly hers according to her husband as she had spent many hours planting and nurturing those two beds. I ’m not sure why I thought it so fun to pick lettuce but I did that—after I cleaned out my mother-in-law’s refrigerator for her. I also cut flowers for arrangements inside. Lilacs and iris and roses and peonies were all in full bloom.

 

Besides the family gathering and inspection of my in-laws basement rec room re-do—it’s beautiful and I could see living down there—and winning at dominoes—there were lady slippers blooming in the woods.

 

It was a short weekend but it was time to go back to Texas.