Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Loop Around the South

We weren't able to visit either of our daughters this Christmas, nor they us, so we took off on a loop around the south to visit our fathers. We left two days before Christmas, spending the first few hours driving through the Carolinas. When we reached Jacksonville, Florida, we called my father, who lives in the Panhandle, and informed him the Christmas fudge I made would be hand delivered that night. It took him a moment to catch on. When he did, I could hear the smile in his voice.

I asked if he would like us to find a hotel close to him or on Pensacola Beach, the scene of several wonderful vacations over the years. When our girls were younger, we would visit each June, and in addition to walking the beach and the pier, we would spend a great deal of time fishing. He said the beach, but the hope of reliving some of those moments diminished when my husband and I stepped out of the car and what felt like thirty-five mile an hour winds slapped us. With a wind chill of twenty seven, there wasn't much to do outside, but we spent warm family moments together indoors while still enjoying the view.

Given the midweek placement of Christmas this year, we ended up leaving Florida on Christmas morning, and we spent the day driving through the south on our way to Texas. Our route took us through Monroe, Louisiana. When we stopped for gas, for the fun of it, I checked to see where the now famous Duck Commander warehouse/store was located. We've only seen a handful of the shows, but it was enough to get my husband interested in hunting. As it turned out, it was less than a mile away. Needless to say....okay, so I won't...

As you can see, there really is a pile of duck decoys on the roof :)

We spent the next few days in Texas visiting with my father-in-law and catching up. We also enjoyed a bit of regional cuisine. In this case, Cajun food, which we rarely find in eastern North Carolina. Gumbo there is Lowcountry style, which means the base is tomato not roux. And the ENC version of a beignet is a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. Not that I don't mind a hot Krispy Kreme right off the conveyor belt, but a beignet is better.

We left Dallas early on Saturday morning and began the two-day journey home via the mountains. We had hoped to make it to Cookeville, TN that night, but a heavy downpour hit two hours southwest of Nashville. We managed to make it to Nashville, where we spent the night. Thanks to many prayers on our behalf, the rain cleared up around Sevierville, and we made it through the winding, narrow pass between Tennessee and North Carolina without incident or having to deal with a line of trucks as we usually do. We arrived home at eight thirty that night.

It was a long journey--over 2,800 miles in the end--and I doubt we'll try to fit in a visit with both fathers on the same trip again, but it was a memorable Christmas for us all. And we had a nice tour of the south. A great place to be on Christmas.

No comments: