Thursday, November 6, 2008

As Good As It Gets

My “Smalltown”, Georgia has a name. Soperton. Or for a more descriptive title “The Million Pines City”. Julia, Brighton and I just spun out of a whirlwind four day weekend in my hometown. As far as small towns go, this weekend was as good as it gets.

On Thursday night, as we turned off the interstate around 10 pm , Brighton asked if we were “in the pine trees” yet. The towering trees resemble walls on either side of the 2 lane road that leads to our lengthy driveway. Once in the garage, the first glimpse of light I saw from my parent’s open front door included a silhouette of my Dad on the floor after being affectionately tackled by Julia and Brighton--a grand hello for sure. The grand hello for me was the 12 layer chocolate cake Denise had made and dropped off earlier in the day for my belated birthday gift. Yes, 12. You truly cannot imagine.

Early Friday morning, we had our own personal alarm clock to rouse our Texas time bodies from slumber. Who else but Uncle Blake? (I had faintly heard the “Go Vikings” text message arrive before that.) His demonstrative excitement is infectious and no matter how misplaced (or poorly timed), it’s still always forgivable. Before Brighton’s feet hit the floor, he eagerly started the weekend of merciless teasing and rough housing by telling his uncle he had a “knuckle sandwich” ready for him.

One of the first things I wanted to see on Friday was “the store”. For the last 35 or so years, the first weekend of November has always been The Million Pines Arts and Crafts Festival. It draws people from all over south Georgia into our little town. For the last several years, my Dad has had an interior decorator come in and, in every way possible, “deck the halls” and deck them again. A myriad of trees, wreaths, sprays, mantle drapes, chandelier additions are all for purchase including all the stuff to do it yourself. This was the first time I got to see it. Wow. Indescribable. As I have said before, the store is always full of lovely things- a standard my Mom set years ago. This trip I actually remembered to pack an extra bag for the sole purpose of filling it with things from the drugstore.

Later that day, we spent some time outdoors at Nanna and Papaw’s. My city girl longs to be a country girl. She “fits” well on a fence, can coax a horse to her side, is content chasing aloof “barn cats”, can climb a tree in clogs, knows how to make a broom out of pine straw and a stick and can most definitely lay on a accent right THICK.
She warned me on the plane that I would be “talking real Southern” when we left Soperton—something that is hard NOT to do. On Saturday, she let me know that I wasn’t talking funny yet. Once she said, “Mom, I said something Southern! I said, ‘Whacha gone do?’” She was proud. Another time, she said, “Mom, did you hear what she said about me? She said, ‘You’re so ‘purty’.’” The only problem with that is that I heard my friend say it and didn’t even notice.

Our main reason for making the trip was to watch my newly 16 year old nephew quarterback my old high school football team for their last regular season game. Very strange. It would be my first time to watch him play and my first game to see since I graduated from high school. My Dad left early with a VERY excited and jersey clad Brighton so he could play around on the field while the team warmed up. As I walked towards the stands, I heard the announcer introducing the parents of seniors, the students and all their accomplishments. The two first names I heard were friends of mine I graduated with………………with their daughter who graduates in a few months. I think that is all I need to say about that. Yow.

My two favorite comments from the night:
My 11th grade English teacher TRIED to tell me that I looked like I was “just out of school” and I promptly told her she needed to wash her mouth out with soap and to come a little closer. After telling her I just turned 38, her eyes got wide and then sympathetic. She placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “Whoooaaa. You are holding up pretty good.”

I spoke to an older brother of one of my friends—are you ready for this? He said, “Krista, you’ve been gone too long. You sound like a Yankee.” Let’s just say, he only revealed that he doesn’t get out much and hasn’t talked to a Yankee in a very long time. Maybe never.

On the sideline with Uncle Blake........talking, of course

My niece, Hunter-- always a favorite, who incidentally played quarterback for the Powder Puff game this week and scored a touchdown!!

We won the game 27 to 14 and RJ had one of his best games ever. He was 9 for 13, passing for 133 yards which included a touchdown pass. Could you hear me yelling here? To make my very fun night even more memorable, I got a small low wave from the side lines from my handsome nephew. I think he even smiled. Truth be told, I would have come for just that- and a hug from Hunter. After the game, he graciously offered for Brighton to come to the locker room with him while he changed. You would have thought he’d asked him to go to Chuckee Cheese.

His half time catches

Still talking.....

The rest of the weekend was full of first experiences for Julia and Brighton like seeing deer in the beds of pick ups, putting a penny on the train tracks, finding out barbed wire isn’t for grabbing hold to steady yourself, eating lunch at a gas station, finding deer antlers in the country (thanks to Uncle Blake), seeing “chufa” (turkey candy) and how it grows, discovering old tombstones in the woods, and seeing zillions of stars in the country where it is REALLY dark.

Needless to say, when it came time to leave for the airport on Monday I had two very “torn” kids. They missed their Daddy but they also knew they would miss their Soperton family too. They were NOT ready to leave. Julia and Brighton spent their last morning chasing cats and trying to put them in a big basket they had filled with pine straw. (I sense a strong need in the near future for some Lotrimin.)

In every way, I left with more than I came. I checked one more bag on the way home than I did on the way there and my heart was filled with even more love and appreciation for the sweet family and friends that are making life in a small town as good as it gets……..anywhere.
Looking for tombstones on the Lothair property

This pastor died in 1869.

Thanks everybody for such a FUN time at home. RJ, I sure wish I could be the "yeller" in the stands tomorrow night. You have no idea how badly. B will have his game day shirt on. Savannah Country Day is in for a big surprise! Go Vikings!!


Anonymous said...

We did have a good time, didn't we? Sounds even more fun when you write it. The kids are so special that they make it all fun. Loved your all being here. Mom

Dondra said...

I love this post! If I shut my eyes, I can almost picture myself there! What great memories for Julia and Brighton.

tanya said...

What a fun visit! Thanks for sharing your sweet memories!

And, the reindeer in the background of the Christmas tree picture is adorable! Do they ship?! ;)

Anonymous said...

Cool ! More fun than I remembered. Squeeze em. luv bsd

Sarah said...

Can I come next time?

Raechelle Ivy said...

I want to go to Soperton!!!
Those pictures are amazing!!!
Your children are soOOOOOO blessed to have you and Jeff as parents!!!!

Alyssa said...

Love those pictures of B talking to his cousin! And Julia posing with the bow with her trusty sidekick armed and ready is priceless!

Tori said...

We heard all about the big football game in class this week. What fun! Glad you got to spend such sweet time with your family and friends back home. I know how rejuvenating that must be!

TJ Wilson said...

ok, now THIS is my favorite.
Well, it's between this one and the ocean post from last summer.
And all those other ones you've written...