Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What In the Name of Hee-Haw Junction Was I Thinking???

FireDaddy and I have planned a Hillbilly Holiday trip.

What was I thinking?

The current plan is to shove off from Point A immediately after school on Tuesday of next week. We will drive to Atlanta and crash with some friends for the night before it’s on the road again in the morning to complete the long journey to the back hills of Kentucky.

And when I say “back hills”, I mean it.

No internet. No mall. The nearest Walmart is more than 30 minutes away – and you practically need a compass to find your way. Cracker Barrel is known as a “Big City Store”.

The last time I visited Kentucky (which was also my first) I realized near the end of the trip that I had not eaten fruit the entire time we were in Kentucky.

It is like travelling back in time.

Now, I need to clarify – these people are the sweetest, kindest, most loving people on the face of God’s great planet. They love, love, love you all like family – even before you’re family. On that trip, my girlies and I met for the first time FireDaddy’s eldest aunt (who still lives in the same house in which she was born – the home that did not have indoor plumbing until FireDaddy’s Daddy was grown, in the Army, and PAID for the plumbing to be installed in his Mammaw’s home), and she sent them both home with two 15-inch collectible dolls from her den just because. They just do that kind of stuff. FireDaddy’s uncle routinely takes him out to the shed, or hat closet, or wherever he keeps his crazy stash – and gives him a new Kentucky Wildcats hat every time he sees him. Every meal, when you visit, is like a feast, complete with pies and cakes and gravy and all the fixin’s. These people love my husband, they love my babies, and they love me. And, for that, I am immensely grateful and touched.

However, when we get right down to it – I AM A CITY GIRL. I am spoiled. And, to top it all off, I am a FLORIDA city girl. I don’t do cold very well at all. I’ve had trouble dressing my darling girlies this year on the few “cold” days we’ve had (high in 50s) so far – much less clothing them for a week of wet, cloudy days with temps in the 40s and 30s! So, that’s one panic…

Another is, OH. MY. GOSH! This is happening NEXT WEEK, PEOPLE!!! NEXT WEEK!!!!

My mind is racing with all the things I need to do before then – and only have one weekend left to accomplish. Things like:

1. Tear my house apart looking for the portable DVD player (which I haven’t seen since the summer months) that will prevent FireDaddy and I from strapping our girlies to the roof of our car all the way between Georgia and Kentucky.

2. Purchase and pack a week’s worth of chocolate pop-tarts, gummy snacks, apples, Wheat Thins, Diet Dr. Pepper, CapriSuns, Oreos, and other “survival basics” for the car ride (and sneaky snacks while we’ve there).

3. Refill every prescription known to man – Ibuprofen 800, Prozac Weekly, Prozac daily, muscle relaxers, and anything else you may be able to suggest - that will help me survive being trapped in a Pacifica with FireDaddy and my babies for like a gajillion miles. FireDaddy and BabyGirl don’t always see eye to eye…especially in the car.

4. Sew and wrap presents for the family we’re going to see there….because, have I mentioned? I’m doing a handmade Christmas this year…(i.e. more evidence supporting my claims to insanity)

5. Print photos to insert in my Christmas cards so I can mail them before we high-tail it off for a week.

6. Find a loving, temporary home for my two darling four-legged children….because if they were going too, I might elect to stay home.

7. Get those same darling four-legged children groomed so their winter camp counselors, whomever they wind up being, don’t think I’m a neglectful mother.

8. Wash the twenty-five loads of laundry that has accumulated in the last week at my house.

9. Find an adorable dress suitable for LittleGirl to wear to school all day and straight into her holiday program TOMORROW NIGHT.

10. Continue to plan for and survive the remaining 5 days of the 2009 school year, including (but not limited to) writing detailed sub plans for the last day of school prior to the holiday break (for which, I will not be present), feed my family, and generally go about my life as expected by the world around me.

11. Fight off this sinus infection that is threatening to attack me any moment.

12. Continue to work towards producing and packaging the other handmade gifts I’ve planned for my friends, family and my daughters’ teachers.

What was I thinking?

Scratch that. I know what I was thinking.

I was thinking that these people - this family - are important to FireDaddy and our girlies and I. These are people that aren’t getting any younger or healthier as time wears on, to say the least. These are people that are worth the hassle and heartache that accompanies traveling long distances in a car with short people. These people are part of my daughters’ heritage, whether they understand this or not, and they need to know them. They need to know where they came from. And so does FireDaddy. And so do I.

In the long run, these are small prices to pay for the memories that will be made.

Perhaps I should focus on the feeling that overwhelmed my whole being the moment I stepped foot in that 1920-something home that Auntie and Uncle have owned since their own youth. The feeling that brought tears to my eyes so boldly that I could not stop them from falling down my cheeks. The feeling that instantly, gently, amazingly carried my soul hundreds of miles away to a little home in Louisiana where my own family member had lived. The feeling that said “home”, even though it was all new to me.

Perhaps I should focus on the pictures of babies frozen in time. And brides blushing beside their grooms. And Olan Mills portraits of wrinkled eyes and smiles. The creak in the floorboards. The slow, soft sound of tired feet shuffling to the kitchen to set the morning pot to brew. The cheery yellow wall hangings in a tiny, tiny kitchen. The kitchen stove that doesn’t know the meaning of a day off.

Perhaps I will focus on these.

Oh, what a happy holiday it will be.


  1. I feel your pain and your love. Every Christmas we do the same thing. We pack it all up and cram in the car for the 1,000 mile drive, and though there are some tears of discomfort, there are more tears of joy. We are building memories of belonging and home and for that I am grateful. I would change it for the world.

  2. It sounds like the visit will be well worth all the stress you're feeling now. I hope your last two days of school are good and that you have a wonderful trip!


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