As the photos I posted a few weeks back attest, Katie and I took a cross-country trip to see friends and family. The trip took us to Mississippi, Arizona, and California. The trip was great, but it is, of course, tempered by the knowledge that these trips and visits are also “goodbyes.” We’ll see several of these folks again before we head off to Tanzania, but the emotions are still there in the back of our minds.
We spent a few days in Vicksburg, MS to see my family. On the way into town, we stopped over in Jackson to have dinner with my old pal Ian and his girlfriend, Mary. Now, I have to publicly state something here: Ian’s been one of my closest friends for 16 years now, but with his close proximity to Vicksburg, it has been difficult over the years to get in a substantial visit. There's other people around, or people waiting for us to arrive in V'burg, or there's a project to be done, or SOMETHING. I know this, so I want to state for the record: Ian, I know you kinda get short shrift on the visits. But I still love ya, man. I didn’t get a picture from this visit, so this one will have to do:
Of course, we visited my mother, as well as my grandmothers and multiple aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of the family. We also made our requisite trips to the Attic Gallery / Highway 61 Coffeeshop. But the most notable part of the trip was that we sold my mother's house. This was a prayer answered to have this burden taken away before we head overseas. The house was a good house but also an albatross around our necks, so when we sold it, I called my sister and said “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over,” at which point she pointed out that the house was located on National street, so my quote was especially appropriate.
Anyway, the trip was a good one. I managed to see some cousins who I had not seen in years. Got in a dinner visit with my cousins Emily, Austin, and Jamie. I am a lot older than these cousins; in fact, I’m twice as old as Austin. I just don’t know these cousins very well at all, but they’re good folks, and it was really good to see them. After the dinner, Jamie joined Katie and I for a bad game of pool, some half-assed darts, and some good conversation (and salt and pepper in my water- thanks, Jamie!) at the Biscuit Company. I’m glad I have had these chances to get in these visits, but I am sad that I’m taking off overseas for a few years and that will be that many more years before I get much of a chance to see these guys again. But hey, there’s always facebook!
Here’s a shot of some of my family gathered for a dinner, generously funded by my grandmother and Aunt (as was the hotel room where we stayed for 4 nights). Thanks!
To see some more pictures from our Mississippi leg of the trip, CLICK HERE.
At the tail-end of our trip, we flew back from San Diego to Jackson since we left our car at my Uncle Carl's house in Mississippi. We crashed at their house that night and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting around and talking with Carl and Mischelle. Since I have been unable to make it to any of the family reunions in recent years, it was great to catch up. Super cool aside: Carl found a letter tucked away in an old torn up family Bible. The letter was written by my Great-great-grandfather, Tavner Hed Elliott (for real, y'all) when he was a young recruit in the Rebel army in the Civil War. Anyway, it was perfectly preserved and it is written on Confederate States of America letterhead, watermark and all. Pretty amazing. It was written almost to the day that we were at my Uncle's house, so it was surreal to be reading a letter written 150 years ago.