We loaded up the car. I mean, we LOADED up the car. It is funny how much stuff we "think" we must take with us, along with a couple of things that we were delivering as well. We were so packed in the car that there was not "mushroom" for anything else. And then, we hit the road.
It was a pretty uneventful 8 hour trip. Except for the part where the kids decided to watch Frozen in Spanish...I guess that they have seen it in English so many times that they needed a change? I still think that the Spanish version of the song "Love is an Open Door" should say, "You know it's funny - how we finish each other's...Tacos!" instead of "sandwiches". But that's just my opinion. You are welcome for getting that song stuck in your head by the way. That was absolutely free of charge.
After squeezing an 8 hour trip into almost 9 hours (not bad for having to turn around before we got even a mile from home - it wasn't for me THIS time - and stopping for gas twice and lunch once), we arrived at our destination. A little piece of paradise in the country. In the middle of nowhere actually. We STILL don't get cell service out there folks. And the internet...is well...lacking to put it mildly. So all effective communication with the outside world must be done by (gasp!) telephone over the land line. But we love it!
As soon as the kid's feet hit the hot pavement, they were in their swim suits and in the pool, while we stood around and heard about the copperhead snake they found in the skimmer just the day before, and the snake they killed on the porch just a few days before that. Ick!! And the kids innocently swam on.
We enjoyed hanging out, while waiting for J and M to arrive. L gave the Young Princess a beautiful magnet to go on her car. Honestly, L could not have found a more purrrrrfect gift to give her. We enjoyed watching the four baby birds that were in the nest on the porch and how their mom would fly up and feed them. When J and M were able to get there, it was late, so we talked for a little and met the new addition to their family (Sadie, a golden retriever) and then we all called it a night. Sadie is adorable, and we loved her instantly. She made us miss our Tex. She also brings the dog total to 4. Unless my cousin's dogs come down to visit, in which case the total is then 6, with one of the 4 being very territorial. Which is important to remember.
The next morning we all woke up ready to celebrate. Preparations were in high gear. Tables were set up, hot dog and hamburger fixin's were flying in every direction. Soft drinks and waters were iced. Dogs and kids were underfoot. Table decorations were carefully placed. Door prizes were aesthetically arranged. Flags were flown, and lights were hung. The youngest princess had already volunteered to be Unka's personal driver, so when he proclaimed that he needed someone to drive him to hang the flags on the fence post, she was already cranking up the golf cart. I joined them so I could get a couple of pictures. One of the flags had come unstapled from its stick, and another was falling through the hole. So after my big brother and I put our heads together, we "McGyvered" those (thumbtacks and random sticks may have been used, but were not harmed in any way) and had them all in working order. Meanwhile, my Prince and J were doing some "McGyvering" of their own to get the star shaped lights strung. I have to say that the brother and I won the "McGyvering" contest, as only half of the lights worked after the hanging by the preacher and the engineer. Meanwhile the kids swam.
Family began to arrive bringing every delectable dessert you can imagine. Cuz brought some awesome red, white, and blue strawberries. The stories were flying and the pool was hopping. My Uncle H walked up telling us about 4th of July when he was a kid. My Pawpaw would not work at all. They would all go down to Big Creek and fish, catching little perch, putting them on a stick, cleaning, cooking, and eating them right there. He said it was a big deal. Those 4th of July celebrations. I hope our children remember 4th of July as a big deal too. I hope they know what a privilege it is to grow up in a country where we have freedoms we take for granted, that others only dream of. It was neat, as always, to listen to the stories of days gone by, and how times change. We also talked of what my Pawpaw would think if he were alive today. I don't know that he ever saw anyone swim in anything but a creek or lake. I wonder what he would think of the pool/outdoor kitchen if he could have been there. My Momo would have probably said, "Well, now, ain't that just somethin!?!" And then she would have giggled her little giggle. Meanwhile, the kids, and some of the adults swam, and some of us played washers.
After we had eaten all we could possibly eat, more adults joined the kids in the pool. And because we are not a competitive bunch in any way shape or form, there were only a few...little...friendly...competitions. Okay. I know. You are thinking, "'July!' You are a very competitive bunch!" And so we are are. And so some people may have come close to drowning or busting eardrums in order to have the title of "winner." I believe the Young Prince swam away (a little clumsily perhaps and with a little assistance from J) with the winner title in most of the competitions. It took several people quit, I mean quite, a while to recover from those competitions. And for future reference, it's not a good idea to see who can do the most back flips in a row (without taking a breath - clarification for the Young Princess).
There may also have been a few diving lessons, and a whole lot of laughter. Bless C's heart! We love her, but we're not sure she will ever get it! Good thing she is beautiful and can play basketball. If B ever sends that video to AFV, you all will KNOW what I'm talking about. And C, if you are reading this...everything that happens is fair game for the blog. Maybe I should have told you that...before...
And on the bright side, Little B now knows how to dive and is doing a great job at it!
I think that everyone that came brought at least 10 flies with them. No, seriously. Either that, or the flies got wind of the fact that there was LOTS of food, and invited every other fly they knew. Aunt T got the flyswatter out and proved that she has mad ninja skills with one of those things. You have anything you need annihilated? Call Aunt T. She will arrive with her flyswatter, and your problems will be solved!
We cleaned everything up and then were told by Sarge that we would ALL (except for the Youngest Princess) join him in the pea patch bright and early the next morning. So we all went to bed with visions of pea patches and drill sergeants dancing in our heads.
5:30 the next morning, we threw on anything we could find in the dark and stumbled out to the pea patch. We were trucking along down our rows when someone said something about taking a picture. I thought I had left my phone at the house (in my defense, it was was early, and I was still only half awake). Cuz said that she had her phone in her truck, so she went running over the pea rows like an Olympic hurdler...wearing work boots. She got her phone, took a few pictures of all of us, and then the Young Princess pointed out that my phone was in my back pocket. Again, it was early, and I was half asleep. And I really thought that I had left it in the house, because I didn't want it getting in my way in the pea patch. So...I took a few pictures as well, all the while Sarge was complaining because I wasn't working. And I'm glad I forgot that I had it at first, because if not, we never would have known how talented Cuz is at jumping hurdles...in work boots.
We took the peas to Aunt T's back porch and broke out the pea sheller. My brother wanted a picture of me in all my pea picking glory, holding a bushel of peas. So I obliged. He then quickly tried to sell the picture to the first person that could get it to our church secretary and into the bulletin. No problem, there were plenty of chances for me to take pictures and videos of him to use as revenge should that ever happen. With all hands on deck, we had those peas shelled in no time. We even let the Youngest Princess shell a few by hand, just to have the experience. And in all the shelling fun, Cuz got a free truck wash. Although I am not at liberty to tell you why.
The smoke alarm sounded, and we all, like Pavlov's dogs responding to the sound of the bell, assembled in the kitchen to enjoy a delicious breakfast. I am pretty sure that for the rest of their lives, my kids will run toward the kitchen expecting bacon every time they hear a smoke alarm. I must add that Aunt T is a wonderful cook, just for some reason when she cooks bacon in the oven and she opens the oven door to check the bacon, it makes the smoke alarm go off. We tease her about it mercilessly, and she takes it all in stride and cooks breakfast for us again the next morning. She is wonderful. Although, I am sure there are times that she probably wishes we would all "just quite!" I mean, quit.
After the breakfast dishes were cleared, and then kitchen cleaned (we work together like pros I might add) We headed to the pool for a day of fun in the sun. Unka always made sure we had music to enjoy from his little pill shaped speaker. One afternoon, we had a family sing/dance along. People would probably think we were crazy if they didn't already know us and know that we are not. Crazy, that is. But, there was the time that we were all sitting at the table making up our own dance moves, you know, things like: the chicken neck, sheer the sheep, milk the cow, pick the peas, put on the sunscreen, belly crawl, see a snake, and float!, when we heard J and M coming. We all decided to be doing one of the new moves when they walked in. So they open the door, and we are all sitting around the table doing our various dance moves, and they just start talking like nothing unusual is going on. I pointed out that it was a little unnerving that they did not even notice we were all being weird when they walked in. Maybe because we are weird all the time, and they didn't notice anything out of the ordinary was going on. So, I digress, maybe we are a little bit crazy. And maybe it was just that they were worried about Sadie having an upset stomach, and what they should do to help her.
We were relaxing in the pool when my cousin came over and said that she had found a snake in her house and that her daddy needed R to come and help to kill it. So R and J and my Prince and the Young Prince all went scrambling to dry off and get on boots to go help kill the snake. When they came back, they were all singing the Young Prince's praises. Telling how he grabbed the snake by the tail and drug it a distance of about 12 feet out of the house so that it could be killed in the yard. It makes for an exciting story, but a story is all it is. My cousin had already killed it by the time they got there.
We had fresh peas from the morning's picking for dinner that night. Along with fresh corn on the cob, crock pot roast and rice and gravy, fried chicken strips, homemade french fries, rolls, and a Boston Butt cooked by none other than the Big Green Egg souschef himself: Unka R. It was all delicious. And we were enjoying it immensely when there was the biggest ruckus from under the table. People and dogs went flying everywhere. We all just tried to get our feet out of the way and to safety. L was trying to get to her dog which was getting the worst of the the wrath of the territorial dog. Luckily, all people were safe, and L's dog came away with a small cut on her lip which healed quickly. The territorial dog was banished to the bedroom, and dinner was resumed. There were several more little incidents like this, over the time we were there. L and J had mentioned that they were going to write a book of the sayings that their dad says. I told them that one saying that they could not include in their book was, "I don't have a dog in that fight." because every time there was a dog fight, his dog was in it. If he had just gotten a puddle - I mean poodle - like I had when I was younger, then it would have been much more friendly and less territorial.
We were finishing up dinner when the phone rang. It was my cousin saying that she thought that there was another snake in her house, because some picture frames had been knocked down that were not knocked down before. So everyone but Aunt T and the Youngest Princess (who was BEGGING to go), all loaded up in the truck and drove over for The Great Snake Hunt Round 2. The guys went into the house to try to find it, while the gals stayed in the back of the truck. That snake didn't stand a chance! Except that it was a little...um...slimmer than the guys hunting it, and it went under the house. When one of my cousins suggested they go under the house after it, my Prince quickly pointed out that he had "simply married into the family", and "was not blood kin", therefore, he was exempt from the crawling under the house leg of this exciting adventure. Sad to say that Round 2 went to the snake. My cousin packed her bags to go spend the night somewhere else, and we were all loading up when my brother came up with the idea (or maybe he just saw it on a show about a family of duck hunters - but he is the one who remembered it at the time) of putting powder on the floor, so the snake would leave a trail, if it did get back in the house. So they powdered several main areas, and we all went home. Except my cousin, she went to stay with her grandmother. I don't blame her. Not. at. all.
We turned in fairly early that night, because we had to get up early in order to get ready for church the next morning. And because this is going way longer than I had planned. I will "call it a wrap" here too, and finish with part two another day. So for today, that's all folks!