October 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s a short drive from Birmingham to Moundville, where I was mostly reared and where my parents live still. The scenery along the 60-or-so miles changes little and bored me often in the 3 years that I lived “back at home” recently. Especially as a teenager, living so far from my friends was isolating and cause for age-appropriate levels of despair on Friday and Saturday nights before I could drive. Now, of course, the trek to the country feels like the getaway I most need. This weekend filled me up, just being in the company of my brother and parents for several days. We also celebrated my dear mom’s birthday today, and everyone was off work. I myself timed it perfectly to my whole week off work, I must say. I’m trying not to overly book the next 4 days, but mostly just enjoy and appreciate the shift in my daily routine.
As we lazed around and ate and talked and tried out the new TV and Blu-ray player that constituted my mom’s gifts and ate some more, I made a few observations.
1. Sleeping in a twin bed has the strange ability to make you feel both old and young at once.
2. My family loves me so well and it makes me want to love others as completely, or at least try to, so they’ll know how great it feels.
3. Listening to my brother and father debate politics and faith is both edifying and hilarious.
4. All my father’s home improvement projects are unlikely to be finished in my lifetime.
5. My dad and brother will always frustrate my mom and I’s desires to get anywhere, specifically church, on time. Having only one shower already puts us in a bind, but still.
6. Making my family laugh is its own reward.
7. The fall season will not be complete until I hear my mom scream with both delight and dismay at her Auburn Tigers football team.
8. I will always be a country girl at heart.
9. My mom will never tire of listening to me prattle on, through laughter or tears. Such a gift.
August 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
On mornings like this, when I wake up tired and a little out of sorts, It’s good to have a reminder of certain truths. Namely, that not everyday is full to overflowing with busyness, and I’m thankful to have a job, even if its daily grind is wearing at me. And, other days have been had: days of rest and leisure, days of beauty, days of light. A quick trip to the coast of Alabama this weekend netted my roommate and I several of those days, including Monday. The wind whipped and the sun shone and the sky and the sea met in a riot of my favorite blue.
There are other truths to remember as well to buoy my spirits. I am not alone, and God is still at work. His truth truly never fails if I’ll but seek it and remember it.
March 13, 2013 § 2 Comments
This weekend, finally, I packed my bags and headed north to visit a kindred spirit, my friend Alison. Life has taken her and her husband Jared to Nashville, and it had been 3 months too long since I’d seen her. I like a good road trip, especially if I’m smart and build in enough time for pit stops along the way. After the experience of blowing a tire on the way to Thanksgiving last year, I’ll admit that a few of those stops were just to check the roundness of my tires. I swear, every time the asphalt changes, I start to feel antsy. Thankfully, my trip was uneventful in that regard. I arrived Friday night and surprised Alison and her dog Scout during their evening game of fetch. Hugs and rapid-fire conversation ensued and by 10 o’clock we’d worked up an appetite…for something sweet. On my short list of places to visit during the weekend was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Apparently, it topped other people’s lists too as the line of hipsters and couples and parents out-on-the-town slowly meandered from the outside in, inching closer to the cold cases. The tasting was holding up the show, but I couldn’t complain; I planned to try as many as I could get away with. The goat cheese with red cherries was surprising and creamy, if a bit too tangy for my tastebuds that night. The Savannah Buttermint tasted exactly like its namesake, those soft, pastel mints offered up in crystal bowls at many a wedding celebration. As my eyes wandered back and forth over the menu, I spied mention of a cherry cheesecake parfait about the same time as Alison did. That was our choice, and an inspired one it was. We watched as deliciously flecked Ugandan vanilla bean ice cream was scooped into a bowl and layered with cheesecake sauce (what?!!?) and sour cherries and graham cracker crumble and then topped with whipped cream, a cherry and mint sprig.
Sharing this parfait kicked off a wonderful weekend of catching up, cracking up, and occasionally tearing up and tearing in to some delicious eats. We started off a cloudy Saturday with a brisk walk around Radnor Lake, along with just about everyone else in the nearby vicinity. We explored Leiper’s Fork, a preserved/restored village of sorts just outside the city. Country Boy Restaurant gave us great fried chicken, biscuits and cornbread, plus spiced fried apples with the skins still on, which I had never seen before. I oogled a set of Jane Austen’s collected works in a rare bookshop called Yeoman’s in the Fork. Jared and Alison took me and their friend Josh out to Whiskey Kitchen before we watched the Nashville Predators play, and sadly lose to the Minnesota Wild. On Sunday, Alison and I finally got into the kitchen and my friend Bethany who also lives in the city came by to enjoy spicy poblano burgers stuffed with cilantro and spices, topped with a cilantro chipotle cream and pickled red onions. It was like old times: Alison wouldn’t touch the raw meat and I had to wrest the red pepper flakes from her while prepping the sweet potato fries. Alison’s sweet mom also treated us to pedicures and popsicles from Las Paletas, which I’d been wanting to try. (Note to self: always go for the creamy ones!)
Sunday night and my drive back home came all too soon. I never wanted to leave the sleepover when I was in school, and I still don’t. At this time in our lives, with careers taking precedence or spouses or other life changes, I cherish the time spent face-to-face with my friends even more. Last weekend was certainly one of those times, and I left feeling thankful for it and the ability to make the trip.