Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Acting Like Glue, or a Rambling Telling of What I Did on My Trip

I am back in the office this morning after returning home around midnight. Yes, the trip ended up being wonderful, but how could it not when you like everyone you are around and also it is in a part of the country which is majestically beautiful? We drove through the night Wednesday (I should be honest and mention I never drove this trip. I hate driving other people's cars as I have less confidence in my own driving than other people do which I then project on others in order to influence and often undermine their opinion of me--this is a pattern as if I am dodging certain aspects of adulthood in the vain attempt to remain ever youthful and irresponsible) and arrived at my aunt's doorstep early Thursday afternoon. I should warn people that the highways and interstates in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama can be rather rough at times while Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina seem to value smooth roads.

The only aim I had when I reached my aunt's house (other than greeting my grandparents and aunt) was taking a shower. It ended up that my grandparents and aunt were at a doctor's appointment when we arrived so I went straight for the shower missing them when they came home very briefly between appointments. My need to be clean once again causes minor problems. Still, I did end up seeing them a few hours later and they are in much better form and spirits than they have been for a while. Of course I missed the Move which I hear was quite horrendous for everyone involved but most especially for my dad's youngest brother. I don't imagine he will ever read this blog (in all honesty I have not disclosed to any family I do blog--strange how we sometimes keep aspects of ourselves from even those we are closest to), but I still wish to acknowledge the huge effort he made.

Thursday evening my grandparents and aunt took us to a model home similar to the house they are presently building and then we went to their house which is framed in and will soon be sheet rocked. I can't tell you how happy my sister and I were to see how excited and giddy my grandparents are about building their house. My grandpa for all his years still has this childlike smile which lightens his whole face in glee...it is truly an awesome thing to see and warms this blogger's little heart, dear reader. Their house is coming along very nicely and I can't wait to see it when it is complete.

Friday late morning found us all on the road caravanning to the Seabee reunion in North Carolina. The city of Asheville is rather lovely nestled by the Smoky Mountains. Asheville is also a college town with wonderful artistic character and charm. The downtown is peppered with little cafes, shops and galleries. We did walk around downtown a bit and go through several antique shops in search for a dough bowl for my mom (or biscuit bowl as she calls it) and the next day we were triumphant in our quest (that occupied much of our two afternoons in Asheville). Friday afternoon on our return to the hotel there were a few familiar faces: my dad's older brother, his wife and also as a surprise for my grandparents, my uncle and aunt's oldest son and his girlfriend. It ended up that our party of 10 made up a third of the Seabee reunion and we were 4 less in number than last year. I think our family is infamous (be it good or bad) among the regular attendants of the Seabee reunion, so much so that when my dad pulled up in my sister's car with it's Texas license plates the man who organized this year's reunion (his father is a Seabee) who happened to be in the front of the hotel immediately called out our family's name (they know a contingent hails from Texas).

We were a happy bunch Friday evening keeping amongst ourselves in one of the rooms of the hospitality suite, chatting and catching up. By happy accident we all sincerely like each other. We all have our faults, but in the end we are easygoing, intelligent (without being too esoteric), fun people who know how to enjoy family and laugh often and well. I think we feel a little guilty that we have used the Seabee reunion as an excuse for the past few years for a family reunion. In fact it looks like next year we may bypass the Seabee reunion (depending on the grandparents' health otherwise someone will take them) in favor of an actual meeting around the area my grandparents and aunt now live. Still we will miss the great people we encounter at the Seabee reunion and the numbers are decreasing as the years pass. My grandpa was one of the younger of his unit as he went into the Navy at 17 and it is very interesting to listen to the gentlemen speak about their time stationed in the Pacific. My life would have been far poorer for not meeting the men stationed with my grandpa and their families.

On Saturday night there was a banquet for the Seabees including a silent auction. A daughter of a Seabee donated several custom framed items (all really well done by her) to the auction including a lovely Seabee postcard. My dad bid on it (as a gift for my grandpa) only to have my grandpa outbid him, then to be outbid by my ornery, mischievous uncle. I finally outbid them all and won the item only to immediately hand it over to my grandpa. We had a laugh because all the bidding was for naught, but the money did go to a good cause and it will make a good story to tell within the family.

Sunday a bit after noon we once again found ourselves on the road this time returning to Georgia. We all wish to return to Asheville when we have more time to devote to the area and its many options (no, dear reader, I hadn’t even a chance of even seeing Biltmore Estate to my chagrin). I drove with my aunt and grandma home and my aunt arranged for me to be picked up by a friend of hers after she dropped me off from a fantastic used bookstore I had visited on an earlier trip to visit her on college spring break whilst everyone else went to check out the new house. Find me a well stocked bookstore and I am purring with pleasure. My aunt knew it was a grand gift to me to give me that opportunity.

We capped off our final evening by going to a restaurant with my aunt's friend, followed by an evening talking in my aunt's living room laughing about various stories we told. I know that around my father's side of the family I feel more than accepted, I feel wanted as if they had all the options in the world they would still choose me as a family member. Honestly, I feel the same way.

I think this trip really solidified just how important family is to me and also made me more aware of what my position affords me. As a female I believe we usually are the glue of a family (I am not sure if your family is the same, but if a woman doesn't like her in-laws there is just not that much contact unless her husband is mightily forceful about keeping ties with his family) and as I have no significant other (and certainly no children) I have even more of an ability to devote time and effort on the family of my birth while other family members are building their nuclear families. So although I am sad that I seem destined for a perpetual single status for whatever reason, I am not alone in anyway and I can strengthen an already promising and receptive familial bond between our members.

Also, what I acutely noticed during this trip was the fantastic network of friends my aunt has created and fostered. A friend of my aunt wished to extend her hospitality to my sister and I whilst we were in Georgia. She and her husband were extremely gracious and generous to the extent we each had our own room, a bathroom to share between us and hot coffee waiting for us in the morning (my sister dislikes coffee, but I gladly drank a cup as I am not a morning person at all and I was regularly waking up around 7:30 am eastern time--6:30 my time this trip). Of course there was also the other friend who without hesitation picked me up from the bookstore. I am glad I had the chance to meet both of my aunt's friends again. It was fun to try to find a personal thank you gift for our hosts in Asheville (we both did a little investigating of their house to come up with alternatives which we believed they would enjoy--don't worry it was nothing intrusive, just observing our surroundings) and we settled upon a stained glass dragonfly sun-catcher as our hostess had a collection hanging from the windows of their eating area.

Monday morning we were again on the road--our final leg of this trip. We spoke for an hour or so about all we had done and about our family and we all ended up very happy with the trip and the family we were fortunate to be born into.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great trip Shay...family is so important. You are very right about women being the glue...it is proven for sure in my family. You were missed by a few of your online friends including me...
Talk to ya.