Okay, so I'm a little mixed up on the order of things...when we are out there, the days sometime seem to run together. Before we went to bed Saturday night, we spent some time playing games. We played several hands of "out of date" UNO first. It was a Christmas edition deck, with Christmas trees, snowflakes, bells and such on them, and J kept saying that he could not play with them because they were "out of date". Then we picked up the pace with a family favorite - Taboo. I love playing Taboo. The Youngest Princess and Unka just helped everyone in the guessing. I love how people get in a hurry and make funny mistakes...Like how at one point in the game I used to own a puddle when I was little (the word was puddle - the player was thinking poodle), someone else had us going to the Hickey Chip for dinner (the word was hickey - the player thought it was hickory) , and someone else wanted us to "just quiet!" (the word was quiet - the player thought it was quit). After the games - what? Who won you ask? That's not really important. But I do usually say, if you want to win, you need to be on my team (wink, wink). After the games, Aunt T passed out tickets and drew for prizes. The Oldest Princess won a makeup bag. The Youngest Princess won a jar with a chalkboard label. The Young Prince won an Army pocket knife. My prince and I won nothing, so we both got a $5 bill. That works for me! The Youngest Princess traded with me, so I could have the jar to use in my classroom, and she could have the $5. That works for me as well. Then we went to bed.
Sunday morning we all woke up and got ready and out of the door in great time, with none of the usual mishaps that usually accompany a Sunday morning. The Prince and I and the Young Prince and Oldest Princess rode in our car, and everyone else rode in Unka and Aunt T's car. We were following them, and the Oldest Princess made the statement that between us and them, we were owning the road.
When we got to the church, the Young Prince and I were the only two to get out on the right side of the car. Everyone else came out from between our two cars. The little man driving the golf cart tram pulled up to ask if any of us needed a ride. I told him we were all okay, and as everyone else poured out from between the two cars, he had the funniest look on his face and said, "That looks like one of those clown cars! People just keep pouring out!" To be fair, he may not have seen the first car pull in, and there were 10 of us...
We amazingly were able to find seats for all 10 of us together. As we were sitting there, L asked the Oldest Princess to look at a man and tell her who he reminded her of. She was thinking of George Younce of The Cathedrals group, but all she could remember was George. So she was saying, George...George...trying to think of his last name, and the Youngest Princess piped up with...Washington!
When church started, they had a tribute to the military, and they had a man from each branch of the military in his dress uniform come forward and salute while the song for that branch was being played. At about the fifth note of the first song, I became emotional, and cried the rest of the way through. As each man came down the aisle and turned to face the congregation with his salute, the men in the congregation who were also in that branch would stand and salute him back. It was very moving. I thought I was the only one crying, until we left and started talking and it turns out it touched us all. Made me miss my Daddy as well.
When we got home, we had a wonderful brunch, complements of the Smoke Alarm Cafe. M and J had to pack up to go home, and Sadie was still not feeling well, so we had to say goodbye to them that afternoon. So happy to get to see them, so sad to see them have to go. You would think that J's boss would let him have an extra day off, but I hear the man is drill sergeant. Not that I would know or anything. After they left, we played a few games of washers, and some of us took a Sunday afternoon nap.
The Youngest Princess wanted to pick wildflowers and take them to put on my grandmother's grave. Aunt T had noticed some the day before, so she went with us and we picked some on our way to the cemetery. It was very sweet, and I was glad that she had it on her heart to do it.
Back at the house, Aunt T knocked down some dirt dauber's nests, and folks, just let me tell you, nasty stuff comes out of a dirt dauber's nest. I was utterly. and. completely. grossed. out. ICK!
We were at the pool again when my cousin called to say that they had gone back to the house to see if there were any trails in the powder. Sure enough there were trails everywhere, and her daddy had the snake cornered in the hall but needed backup so to be sure it would not get away. So my Prince, the Young Prince, and Unka all go over there. L decided she would go as well, and after even more begging, I decided to let the Youngest Princess go with L. This round went to the hunters, and the snake will not get in the house anymore. They cleaned up the powder and put fresh powder out. And I am happy to report that to this point there has been no more activity. I stayed at the house with Aunt T for the third round and helped to clean up the kitchen. I had finished washing dishes and grabbed the sink sprayer to rinse out the sink, when I sprayed water all over myself. Their sprayer has the button on the front and every time I go, at least once, I grab it and give myself an unexpected shower. Ugh! Then everyone wants to know why my shoulder is all wet...so humiliating!
The kids did a little night swimming, and a lot of fighting swarms of flying ants. They were everywhere. They were even in our hair when we got back into the house. We were picking ants out of each other's hair like monkeys. Only we didn't eat the ants. Some of the folks, including the Youngest Princess who was VERY excited, went armadillo hunting. That lasted all of about 10 minutes. When they saw no armadillos, they came back to the house. Then we decided to play some more games. We played Catch Phrase this time, and we all found out that T believes that my Prince has no...sense. We laughed and cut up and had fun. My prince invented a new snack combining peanut butter flavored Captain Crunch and Hershey's Kisses. I do not recommend you try it yourself. We laughed at the habits people have when they are under the pressure of a timer. The Young Prince lets you know you are not on the right track by saying no seven times in a row, really fast. L gets louder the more excited she gets. T uses her hands - a lot. The Youngest Princess and I get right down to business. This is serious. No playing around on our turns. It wastes time and loses games. And we are not about losing! My prince has to slow down and think things through, which can really be bad if you are after him in Catch Phrase. Chances are the buzzer will go off on you, because he takes so much time. And for some reason rigor mortis was a theme that kept coming back time and time again.
We found out Uncle H did not bush hog the last of the peas, and one of my cousins wanted to come and pick the last of them. So we called it a night, and headed to bed in order to be able to get up early the next morning.
Pea picking take two. Only this time, everyone else slept in except for Unka, Aunt T, myself, and the Youngest Princess. She made it down one row, and then headed for the cab of the Gator. Where she refused an offer by my cousin to take her bucket and promptly slept through the rest of the picking activities. I was glad to be able to visit with my cousin and my uncle for a little while during the picking and shelling. My sweet aunt brought me twelve 1/2 pint jars of her delicious mayhaw jelly. YUM!
My uncle told us the story of how he would take fried cornbread for lunch each day. There was a boy in his class who loved it and offered to buy it from him. So everyday, my uncle would sell his fried cornbread to the boy, and then buy a Nehi drink with the money he made. Both boys were very happy with the arrangement. I wish I had asked him how much money he sold the cornbread for each day, but I didn't. Cousin C if you are reading this and you know, please let me know, or if you read this and don't know, would you ask him for me? Thank you in advance. There were no pictures or car washes this go round.
Unka took a morning dip in the pool, and Aunt T made a breakfast biscuit for him. The Young Prince delivered his drink, and I delivered his meal, and he enjoyed his breakfast while floating in the pool. The rest of us took our swim of the day after lunch. And a couple of my cousins joined us. We enjoyed watching little P, who is not yet two, show off her basketball defense stance and how to dribble, dribble, dribble jump and shoot. She is adorable! And the Young Prince had her laughing out loud before they left. So sweet!
We got dressed and went "to town" (yep, that's how far out in the country we were y'all!). We did some shopping, and the nice young lady checking us out at Old Navy gave us every discount she could think of, which meant that it took her a looooooong time to actually check us out, but we were very thankful for the savings, and only Unka complained. We then went on to another store, where the Young Prince was so happy with his finds that he came out dancing every time he tried on something new. And we found out that Aunt T really liked the shorts he had been wearing all day long.
We then enjoyed a wonderful Mexican dinner with "white gravy" on the side. Unka wanted to give us a special treat, so he declared that we all not eat another bite. We loaded in the car and headed for a cute little pink and green place with a frog on the sign. Everyone enjoyed their frozen yogurt immensely. We were sitting by the window when the Oldest Princess was the victim of a drive by flirting. Some boys in a red truck drove by waving at her, and my classy girl simply looked the other way. Then they parked and we thought that they might come in, but maybe the thought of facing 7 of us to get to talk to her was a little intimidating. So after a few minutes, they decided to move along. We left with our bellies much fuller and two stuffed frogs richer, and some cute pictures to prove we were there.
On the way home the Young Prince made us all laugh by declaring that he "couldn't help it if he could not control his spastic drumming." Yes. Indeed. Speaking of, the next day, he turned Unka into an impromptu drum set, using his belly as the bass, and the brim of his cap as the high hat. He definitely keeps us all laughing.
At home, the kids put on a fashion show so we could all see their new clothes. Unka and the Young Prince both came away from that shopping trip more of a "hot dog" than ever before.
The Oldest Princess spent some of her spare time bagging ice for Unka, and he told her he would pay her for each bag if she used the money she earned for a mission project that she had started raising money for this summer while she was in the Dominican Republic. I think she earned a little over $100 for her project just bagging ice.
I finally got R to break out the WD-40, and oil some creaky hinges. I told him that I knew because he is his father's son, that he had a can of it somewhere, as well as a roll of duct tape. My daddy thought if it couldn't be fixed by WD-40 or duct tape, that it couldn't be/didn't need to be fixed. The Young Prince would add dental floss to that list as well.
The Oldest Princess received a history lesson on Carpetbaggers from Unka. But, he had them in the wrong time frame, and my Prince had to set him straight. The rest of us could not remember, so after a quick Google search, my Prince was right. As much as he hated to, Unka had to admit he was wrong. That doesn't happen often, so the rest of us reveled in the moment.
Unka passed out hugs and kisses and parting gifts, and loaded up and headed back to H-town, and the rest of us cried for hours because we missed him so much. "July!" you say again. And you are right. We were so happy he was taking the grumpy dog with him that none of us cried. But the kids did send him off in style, and I have a video to prove it. The rest of our day/evening was pretty uneventful. We played another couple of rounds of Catch Phrase and the Youngest Princess played "by herself" with a little help from L now and then and surprised us all with her playing abilities. I told them she gets it from me, and everyone totally agreed. Okay. Not everyone. But I'm telling y'all, the girl is good! She guessed the word smuggler. Like a pro! I made everyone get dressed up so Aunt T could take some family photos of us, and they were totally thrilled. NOT. It had just rained, and it was almost unbearably humid, but we got some pictures that I will treasure for life. L may have some photographer in her, because she recommended some great poses.
As you can tell, we had a blast. And as always we felt as though time flew while we were there. We had another uneventful trip home. I think the kids were absolutely exhausted from all that fun in the sun and country air. The Oldest Princess was feeling very sick in the car, but got home and got still and felt much better. We are thankful for a wonderful, safe trip. And thankful for those here at home who stood in the gap and filled in for us while we were gone.
And now you know...the rest of the story. Until we visit the country again...