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Carry Me Back, Part 3

At this rate, I might get done with the posts about my trip to Virginia before I forget all about it, and/or just in time for the holidays, when the next one might be on tap.  Oh well.  Here’s the link to Part 1, here’s Part 2.

Saturday rolled around, the day of my grandfather’s big birthday party – ostensibly the whole reason we made this trip.  First, though, in an effort to appease the little ones, my mother and I took Boy back to the swimming pool – this time with my nephew in tow as well.  The idea being to wear them the hell out a little bit before all the older people showed up.

I took a bunch of pictures this time around, which I’m not sharing primarily – and sadly – because I don’t like to post pics with only kids in them because pedophiles creep me the holy hell out.  So you’ll just have to imagine the series of pictures in which my nephew would take a bite of his ice cream sandwich…hold it out at arm’s length and look at it, squinting one eye…take another bite…hold it out and look at it…and so forth.  Heh.

You’ll also have to figure the frustration of a 4-year-old trying to hang with a 10-year-old – frustration on the part of said 10yo who doesn’t want to be held back, on the part of the 4yo who just wants someone to “wait up!,” on the part of the adults who wish that the two whirlwinds could whirl in the same direction for just a few minutes.  But I digress.

We got the boys home, cleaned up, and so forth before everybody started arriving for the party.

A fixture in my grandfather’s birthday parties is ice cream.  Supposedly when he was an infant his mother fetched ice to make him ice cream, and so it’s been a tradition every year.  The family breaks out the homemade ice cream freezers, tosses in a batch of chocolate or banana or peach (or all of the above), and settles in outside on the carport or deck or wherever (depending on whose house is hosting) with the whirring of the electric motors providing a droning background noise along with cicadas and such.  This time was no different.

We were having the party at my folks’ house this time, as the largest house amongst the immediate (and nearby) family, so we cleared our cars off of the carport, set out some chairs and tables, and waited.  My aunt came up from Georgia with her husband – her middle son having already come up a few days earlier.  My other aunt came from down the road, as did her younger daughter and husband.  My brother came by, bringing his new-to-him Jazz Bass to show off to me.  My grandfather’s cousin, his good friend growing up who later hired him to work for his trucking company, came along with his wife.  That was nice; I hadn’t seen either of them since I left home, probably twenty years before.

We laid out a great spread – my grandmother made him a cake, of course, and everybody had plenty of cake and ice cream to go around.  Finally the freezers stopped, and we could all dig in.  Which we did, with great aplomb, as everyone milled around visiting with each other.  While the core of the family still lives within ten miles of each other, the rest of us are spread out from here to Atlanta, and so catch-up time was par for the course.

Why don’t I shut up for just a second and visit, then?

The guest of honor and his best gal – married sixty years.  And a half.

He doesn’t look too terrible for a guy that just got out of the hospital a day before the party, eh?

My brother and nephew (sister-in-law was still busy bachelorette-ing with her college pals)

Really, kiddo, the cake was good!  Why the face?!?

My son using my nephew’s t-ball gear to hit tennis balls to my first cousin’s dogs.  That’s a (different) first cousin to the side.  (I particularly love the boxer’s stance in this one, just poised to go bound after the ball.)

After a while, it rained.  A lot.

What lifts your spirits when the party gets rained out?  How about some moonshine and peaches?

I usually hate peaches, but that stuff was good.  Thanks, Dad!

Everybody eventually finished hanging out and went off to do their own thing.  (This is one thing that I like about my family.  Dys’s family with its “when we hang, it’s an all day thang!!!” mentality, took me a lot of getting used to!)

My brother and I took that opportunity to hop over to his place for a while.  It turns out that the drummer of his new power-trio was a guy I knew from high school, and he’d left his drum kit set up over at my brother’s house to reduce hassles in between band practices.  My nephew, at 4, had an open invitation to play anytime he wanted.  So my brother figured that invitation could surely be extended to me and Boy.  I wasn’t about to pass it up, so I loaded my amp, guitar, and Boy into the car and scooted a few miles down the road to my bro’s.

I let Boy pound on the drums for a while and he had some fun.  DUH moment:  drums are fun for little boys, but they are also LOUD.  Especially when they’re set up in somebody’s dining room.  Boy isn’t a huge fan of loud noises, so he didn’t spend as much time with it as I’d thought.  Afterward, he and my nephew adjourned outside and had quite a bit more fun than I’d anticipated with my brother’s new cornhole set.  (I hate that name, but I didn’t make it up.)  Usually tolerating my nephew for more than 10 minutes is a chore for Boy, but they spent 45 minutes or so out there relatively happily.

Meanwhile, I set up my rig and handed my brother – who can play guitar fairly well but has never owned an electric – my Les Paul while I sat behind the kit.  Folks, I’m here to tell you, years of Rock Band practice does pay off.  I could actually play fairly well – well enough to make me happy, which is a far, far cry from the one and only prior time I’d sat behind a drum kit.  (At the end of this episode, actually.  My uncle’s drummer indulged me for a minute.)  The only bitch I had?  I must be following that Rock Band track too closely.  I could play just fine, I just couldn’t for the life of me remember how the damn drum beats to most of my favorite songs went!  Heh.

The feel of sitting behind the kit was really nice.  And honestly the kit played even better than the fake RB kit – particularly his kick pedal, even though mine is built upon a real one.  That was really cool.  But as loud as it was, honestly, I now think if I was thinking of doing something like that I might save a little more dough and buy one of those electronic kits.  That way I could headphone out – or plug into my amps if I want to be loud.  But I wouldn’t have to wake the neighborhood just to have fun.  (I wouldn’t have to, you notice.  Don’t assume that I never took my amps outdoors and cranked them the hell up when I was a teenager.)

We went back home, and my brother and nephew came over again for dinner.  Another quiet night with my “family of origin” plus two kids watching Spongebob in the other room.  Strange, but nice.  As it always is on a visit home…


5 Responses

  1. “At this rate, I might get done with the posts about my trip to Virginia before I forget all about it, and/or just in time for the holidays, when the next one might be on tap.”

    Ditto about the Maine recaps, except my next trip is going to be next spring.

    You were there longer than five days, and have been planning the trip a LOT longer! I don’t blame you for taking your sweet time and savoring the experience.

  2. This post reminds me of my father’s family saying “after a while” in that inimitable Kentucky way that they do.

    You should visit my family someday. If you can understand them at all, you’ll pick up a lifetime of Southernisms in a weekend.

    • How often do I have to explain…I was born in Charleston. I was raised by Southern parents, largely in the South. I know the isms. I AM Southern.

      My bad. But I still say that ten minutes in a room with my grandfather and a couple of my uncles and you’d long for an interpreter. My family isn’t just Southern, it’s a particular breed of classic rural redneck Southern. Not even twangy hillbilly Southern, but gutteral almost-swampy Southern.

      We’s special. 😀

  3. Electric ice cream makers? When I was a kid, we had one with a hand crank. That was a bitch. Totally killed my desire to make homemade ice cream ever again.

    I’ve seen the hand-crank ones, but ours were always electric. Even though the original one still had a wooden bucket.

  4. Hand crank ice cream makers!?!?! When I was a kid we had to beat the cream against glaciers! You and your fancy gadgets!

    …And we LIKED it!

    I’m suspect of any game that offers instruction for it’s players to make their own cornhole. I don’t think my Mother would let me play with people like that.

    Is the winner called Cornholio?

    You would think the loser would be required to pull his shirt over his head and give the speech.

    How many people who’ve made their own cornholes do you think have paint it to look just like a. . .well. . .I should stop here. This is a family site after all.

    I’m afraid to Google it. Because you KNOW there are high-res photos out there.

    Sounds like you had a hot damn of a vacation there, TB.

    Certain events aside.

    Yes on both counts!

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