Thursday, January 21, 2010

Climbing Mountains

After accomplishing one achievement, my brother-in-law, Jim, decided to award himself with yet another achievement. In December Jim completed his MBA! After three years of going to school in the evenings, class trips to Costa Rica and China to help understand their business models, and many papers, exams and sleepless nights, he certainly deserved an award. Jim, who is not a sit-still kind of guy, didn't want a party. Didn't want to just sit back and relax. He hopped on a plane the day after Christmas and headed to Africa. The climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I cannot wait to hear all about his adventure. As you can see by the picture he made it to the top! We are all so proud of you, Jim! It's obvious...there is no limit to what you can do!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Center Of My Universe

The boys and I traveled to Louisiana to spend Thanksgiving with my Grandmother. My sister and brother-in-law joined us from Denver. Tod had to work so he spent Thanksgiving with our neighbors. Jacob, Brady and I flew into Jackson, MS then drove the two hours to North Louisiana. It is a different world there.

Each summer my sister and I spent a couple of weeks with my Grandparents. (I'm sure my folks needed a break!) This small town in Northeast Louisiana seems to be forgotten in time, but still remains the center of the universe. My family has moved around a lot and each place we lived my Grandmother would say...."I know someone who lives there. Y'all call them." This person could be a distant cousin, a niece of a friend, or a grandson of her bridge partner. It didn't matter. We always called them.

When we moved to Cincinnati my Grandmother said, "Oh, we have cousins that live in Morrow, OH. Y'all call them." Well, we did and we visited each other many times while we lived up there. Whenever my Grandparents came to town we would take a trip up to Morrow for a visit. And it was the first time I ever saw a horse drink beer. A person doesn't forget a thing like that!

My sister and brother-in-law moved to Denver about ten years ago. My Grandmother said, "You know Fannie's granddaughter,Nan, lives there too. Y'all call her." My sister did and found herself a very best friend.

It is amazing how this small town seems to be the center of the universe. I believe there may be some connection in every town across the country back to Northeast Louisiana!!

Whenever we went to Louisiana there was a sense of freedom. My Grandparents didn't live out in the country, but they didn't live in town either. I also made some instant friends. Sarah Calvert and Mary Ellen Cochran were my very best friends when I would visit. I think I spent more time with them then I did my own family during those two weeks. Even as we grew into our teens, college, marriage, and parenthood we seem to know what is going on in each others lives. Either through our families or now through the wonders of facebook.

Well I was able to show Jacob the joys, freedoms, and wonders of this small town. I was glad Jacob was old enough to appreciate how different it is there. We played countless games of hide-and-go-seek using the entire yard. There were so many places to hide. Once Jacob hid close to the road (not to traffic) behind a tree. When I found him he asked me, "Hey Mom! What's all this white stuff?" It was cotton. Lots and lots of cotton. There is a cotton gin a few miles down the road. Some of the big trucks had lost a bit of their "white gold" and it had blown down to my Grandmothers yard. It was the first time Jacob had seen cotton.

I remember Sarah, MaryEllen and I climbing my Grandmothers giant magnolia tree. When I was little I thought this tree was huge. Well, as an is still pretty huge! We would climb as high as we could, until the branches became too small to hold us. We could see the roof of Sarah's house from up there. I was able to watch Jacob climb this tree.

Here he is getting started...

A little bit higher.

Can you see Jacob? He got REALLY high up there! I'm sure I have sat on many of those same branches.

Jacob and Brady are bouncing on the lower branches.

That's about as high as Brady got.

Brady was more interested in swinging than climbing.

In the back yard my Grandmother has a beautiful pecan tree. We spent a long time collecting pecans that had fallen to the ground. I shook some of the lower branches and Jacob raced to grab the pecans. I remember my Grandfather siting in a folding chair in the carport shelling pecans. He taught me how to hold two pecans in your hand and squeeze them together until they cracked open. I was amazed that I was strong enough to crack the shell myself. Well, I was able to show Jacob this same trick to shelling pecans. He thought it was the coolest thing. We sat in two folding chairs in the carport shelling pecans and eating all of our little treasures.
My Grandfather passed away in August 2008. There were many moments during this Thanksgiving trip that my eyes stung with tears. I wasn't sad. I was playing hide-and-go-seek down memory lane. I was reliving my childhood. I was able to show Jacob the sweetness of spending time in a small town.
And...if you ever move, I'm sure my Grandmother knows someone there. Y'all call them.