I know it's been a while since I've posted, but there's been so much going on here, and every time I sit down to write, I get sidetracked, or I feel like the post is going in 20 different directions at once. Not good! Plus, I kinda justified it by thinking that my Grammy's post needed to stay up as long as possible.
But, well, now I think I need to get crackin' or I'll never catch up!
First off, is "Wow - where did the Summer get off to?" It seems like I've barely been on break, and now it's time to go back! The Boy and I are planning our last two weeks of Summer, and it's hard to squeeze everything we've been meaning to do into this little bit of time. Seems like our time has been "borrowed" by many different sources - half day camps (suck, we won't be doing them again next year!), family issues, trips, and other obligations really split our time up!
We got back (late) Sunday evening (actually Monday morning!) from our family reunion in Bessemer, Alabama. Nice. We learned a lot of the history of the family, had great fellowship together with many, many, many (many) family members - there's usually 200-300 people at these events - and kept busy, taking full advantage of being in a new city. Well, as much as we could without transportation. Friday we flew in (The Boy was only TOO excited to be flying, and loved every minute of it. He thought the takeoff was the coolest!), got settled in (The Boy and his Gaggi, of course, went to the pool in between), and went to the "Meet and Greet" at the Bessemer Community Center, recently taken over/purchased by my Uncle Bobby Clayton. He's looking into restoring the place, fixing up the old, historic schoolhouse (my grandmother went to elementary school there - it was built in the 1890's), and creating a museum on the site. Should be lovely. (pics to follow, promise, 'cause it's awesome!)
Saturday we got up early for a tour of Alabama. The first stop was the 16th Street Baptist Church. Yes, ****that**** church. Awesome. And how about the ***Wales Wall***? Got a great picture of my Dad underneath that one. Simply awesome. And a picture of my son, zooming through the now renovated portion that was blown away in the explosion. The tour guide that we corralled (he wasn't really supposed to be giving US a tour - he was just unlucky enough to be early for his 10:00 tour - told us that in that fateful blast, a strange thing happened - the stained glass window depicting Jesus that was NEXT to the blast area? The only thing that happened was that the face of Jesus was blown out, and a piece from his robes. The rest stayed intact. Gotta find some pictures of that - I'm sure it was divine intervention somehow. I'm not a very religious person, but you gotta wonder how the heck that happened!
While there, some of the group went into the Civil Rights Museum, just across the street from the church, but I knew I'd need longer to look, so my family and I opted to go to the park just across the street. It's a beautiful park, again, dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement. It contains awe-inspiring sculptures, like Police Dog Attack, and one on segregation, whose message reads "I ain't afraid of your jail" on one side, while turning the idea of segregation on it's head on the opposite side, declaring "segregation is a sin." Loved it. Here's my Aunt Betty and Uncle Butler at that sculpture.
After the tour, we headed back for a good ole' family reunion barbecue. They had a moon bounce and slide for the kiddos, and an air-conditioned eating area for the rest of us. It actually wasn't that hot, though - in the shade it had to be only about 75-ish. In the sun? Now that's a different story, so we won't go there. Suffice it to say that I was very impressed with my deodorant that day, for not allowing me to be funky coming out of that event. I was shocked and pleased! If you need to know - it was Secret Platinum, Asian Pear scent. I swear by the Platinum line anyway, but the Pear? It's the only thing I'll wear now!
Later that night, there was the usual dinner dance to go to, and this one was very nice. Just as I was commenting to my mother that we hadn't taken the usual "group" pictures at the picnic, they announced that the states' pictures would be taken before the dinner. In case you hadn't figured it out by now, my family is HUGE. And that's an understatement. My dad was the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters, and apparently, big families are the thing for us, because there's always tons of people. So many that I rarely remember names, and usually go around saying "hello, cousin!" the entire weekend! The Aunts and Uncles I pretty much have down, but there's no way I'm remembering everyones names. I feel really bad, especially when they remember mine, but hey - I'm one of a very few "mixed kids" in the bunch, and everyone knows my mother and father, so they've got an advantage!
So, all said and done, I have extended family in:
Tennessee (where the next reunion - in 2009 - will be)
Washington DC (includes MD and VA as well)
And I think that covers it. There's a few in other states due to military/job type stuff, but the "gangs" are in those states listed. I totally had a paparazzi moment when we took those pics, all the different cameras flashing, and standing there smiling for so long. I felt like I was on the red carpet! Fun!
They kicked us out of the Civic Center at 11:00, after much line-dancing (ever do the Latin Shuffle? - great one!) and reminiscing. It was a very nice night, and everyone looked very elegant in their black-and-white themed dress. Just lovely.
The close of the reunion is always a church service and brunch, so we headed back to the community center where my Uncle Butler gave a short sermon about being as prepared to go to heaven as you are to take a flight. Really nice.
All in all it was a great weekend. If we hadn't been delayed 4 hours coming home due to the thunderstorms in the Baltimore area Sunday afternoon, it would have been perfect. But, thanks to my mommy moment for the year, the surprise set of leggos that I had hidden in the carry on kept The Boy entertained for almost one entire hour of that 4 hour delay, and his cousin's Game Boy did the trick for the rest. Might have to invest in one of those things the next time we fly. Amazing! The leggos were pretty much fun, too. He didn't think he could do them at first because they were so small (first time with "normal" sized leggos), but he got it, and created space ship after space ship that looked, well, nothing like a spaceship, but YOU GO BOY!!
I promise to catch up with knitting related events tomorrow, if not later this evening, and to add pictures to this post as well!