A post from my daughter’s heart…

A post from my daughter’s heart…

Each of my children has the gift of writing.   Sometimes with a bit of humor mixed in with the serious.  I wanted to share my daughter’s wonderful post about turning 45 on the 4th of December.  Although it just seems like yesterday to me…

Turning 45 today….here’s what I’ve learned so far

For what it’s worth.

–  Move.  Move. Move.  The older you get the easier it is to begin to live a sedentary life.  Don’t.  Move.  Walk, run, do something.  Because the older you get, the harder it is to shed those pounds.  Tis’ true….unfortunately.

–  It’s never to late to start something new.  Take up a hobby – like farming.  So what, if people think you’re crazy and are doomed to fail.  What do they know?  They are young and naive. You’re old and wise.  Like Yoda.  Except without the wrinkles.  Okay, maybe some wrinkles.  Well, lots of wrinkles…ugh, now I’m depressed.  Next one….

–  Skinny jeans.  Don’t go there.  Ever.  Just leave those bad boys on the shelves.  Trust me.  Weren’t made for a 45 year old.  If you do, you’ll look like your going through a mid-life crisis, all squished into those things.  Just back away.

–  It is completely normal and quite expected for you, the parent, to freak out regarding your teenager.  Totally normal.  It means that you are a loving and caring parent.  You are not the only one whose raised teenagers.

–  Pray.  Spend a lot of time on your knees.  This goes with the previous one.  Because you are going to need all the help you can get.

–  Embarrass your children.  Sing Christmas carols LOUD while you shop with them.  Do a mo-town dance while waiting to check out.  It’s a perk, really.  Count it as paybacks for all those late night feedings and changing of diapers.

–  Never wear hoodies into a bathroom stall.  (see yesterday’s post).  I don’t want to talk about it.

–  In the eyes of your teenager, you know nothing.  They think you’re more like spongebob than like Yoda.  I hear that turns around sometime later, but I’m still waiting for that one.

–  Start your marriage with someone you are crazy about and every so often, remember why you are crazy about him.  Laugh. A lot. And yes, sometimes relinquish control of the remote….I said sometimes. It makes for a great marriage.

–  Be happy.  With who you are, right now.  With your kids.  With life.  There are no do-overs.  You get only one shot at this.  Make the most of it.

–  Last one.  45 is not old.  Not even close.  I may be over half way done, but watch out….because I’m just getting started.

 

The featured image above is one of my favorites…here she is a freshman in college a few years ago!  

Although time seems to me more like ths pic below of her on her inchworm.  Where did the time go?!  

The bold link above will take you to her delightful blog.  I’m sure she would love to have you as a follower!

 

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On her beloved “inchworm”…

 

 

Birthdays…

Birthdays…

I was talking with my younger son and his family during their recent visit at Thanksgiving.  We were sitting in my living room watching television when he looked at me with a somewhat surprised look.  We had been talking about birthdays.  “Mom!” he said, “you’re going to be SEVENTY next year!”  ”

“Yessss?” I answered.

He agreed that I neither looked my age nor acted it thankfully.    I can also remember the exact time when I realized that my Mama was aging…that she wouldn’t be young forever.  That I would not have her forever.  I think it helps my kids that I think young and try my best to feel that way!  I’m thankful that on December 1, I entered my last year in my 60’s with joy and thankfulness…for I do have a lot to be thankful for!

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I’m thankful that 45 years today, my precious daughter was born!  What a joy and blessing she has always been.  I’m reposting this video about my amazing baby girl from my blog, “My Southern Heart…the Memories”.  Enjoy!

 

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My Amazing Baby Girl…

It was December 1969 and our special Christmas gift arrived two weeks early…a beautiful baby girl. She was born fifteen and one-half months after her big brother. We were blessed and so thankful to have two healthy babies. What a wonderful time this was in our life…Enjoy the pictorial video below of the first few years of my daughter’s life.

 

Thanksgiving…

Thanksgiving…

My younger son and his precious family arrived on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving in the midst of falling snow and a cold, cold wind.  I had not seen them for six long months and I was literally “bananas” waiting to grab my beautiful little granddaughters in my arms.  I was afraid my 15 month old granddaughter would not remember me (though we’ve talked on FaceTime).  I held her in my arms and she sweetly studied my face.  I smiled at her and said “it’s Grandmommy!” and she gave me an enormous smile which reached those beautiful blue eyes!  Needless to say, my heart melted.  I knelt down to embrace three year old granddaughter and planted kisses on her cheeks and sweet little head.  I kept saying “I’ve missed you so, so much!” and she said “I missed you too, Grandmommy!”  Again, my heart melted!

 

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s home was a wonderful time with two of my children, two of my other children (my son-in-love and daughter-in-love), six out of nine of my grandchildren, Doug and his sweet 95-year-old Mom and two granddogs, Kiana & Bernie!  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of really good food!  My daughter had purchased a 26 pound fresh turkey from a local farmer.  She brined it overnight before cooking it and the result was a moist, delicious turkey.  She prepared all the wonderful side dishes and three different pies which were excellent.  My daughter-in-love put together the large vegetable tray and made one of my favorites – a spinach-artichoke-garlic dip served with pita chips.  Delicious!  With Doug’s help, I made a cheese ball and baked dozens of different cookies the day before Thanksgiving because I knew once my little granddaughters arrived, I would just be playing!  Which I did!

A happy, blessed grandmother…

 

My daughter falling in love with her baby brother’s baby…

 

Doug and Mary, his sweet 95-year-old Mom, enjoying Thanksgiving with my family…

 

No better place to be than in the floor playing with my grandchildren!

 

In the midst of all the excitement and joy of being together, I had to pause and reflect for just a moment.  

I have so much to be thankful for and I truly am…

To Montana and back…

To Montana and back…

When you spend two long days in an automobile with someone, you get to know them pretty well.  Doug and I left on November 12th for the 1,130 mile journey to Montana for a sweet visit with my firstborn and his precious family.  Over the course of a couple of days, there was a lot of conversation and just as much laughter.  Thankfully, we have like tastes in music and enjoyed it at a volume we could actually hear!  We both sing along with the music and that’s fun.  We also have similar tastes in reading material and we both like mysteries…which made listening to a couple of books on tape enjoyable.  When we took breaks, we were anxious to get back to the mystery to pick up where we left off.  I think that I can honestly say the time and the miles actually flew by.

For the most part, we were blessed with good weather, marvelous scenery and light snow!  The funny photo below was one of several cute “photo ops” at the Wyoming Welcome Center.  I confess the one of me on horseback was funnier but won’t be published!  ;-)

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Rafting in snowy waters photo op at the terrific Wyoming Welcome Center…

We loved our time with my son and his family.  One day we drove about two hours to the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, Montana.  Patagonia is expensive but a terrific 40% off sale made their prices look a whole lot better!  It was a beautiful drive with awesome scenery along the way…including several impressive Montana ranches!  On the way, we also made a stop at Montana Wheat Bakery & Deli for lunch and a visit to the bakery & gift shop.  On the evening before we left for the return trip home, Doug treated us all to pizza at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company in downtown Bozeman.  We had such a good time, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye.  I miss them all already!

On the return trip, we took the two-lane road through the Black Hills of South Dakota which made for some beautiful and interesting scenery.  We stopped for a break to check out a very neat place, the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It reminded me very much of the lodge in the movie Christmas in Connecticut.  It would be a great place for a winter vacation with all the snowy trails and snow mobiles for rent!  It would also be a great place to meet the family for a fun vacation in the Summer.  It is not far from Mount Rushmore, our next stop on the trip and only 2.5 miles from where the film Dances With Wolves was filmed.

I must be one of the few remaining people on earth who had not seen Mount Rushmore – along with Doug.  It is an inspiring, captivating place.  A place borne in the heart of a dreamer and sculptor.  To say it leaves an impression on you is an understatement.  Seeing it with snow covering the mountains made it extra special I think.  Not to mention the fact that on that bitter cold windy afternoon, we were two of only a handful of people in the entire park.

Enjoy the slide show below of our visit and our journey back home…

A snowy walk in Montana…

 

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Veterans Day 2014…

Veterans Day 2014…

Today is Veterans Day.  Here in this United States of America, we have FREEDOM because it has been purchased for us – over and over and over again – by those who have defended that freedom for you and me.  Many have come home with life-changing injuries and scars – some visible, some not.  Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice and given their very lives.

The bitter lines of politics sadly divide this country, but still the fight relentlessly goes on for our freedom.  They are on battlefields across the world…representing you and me in the different uniforms of our country.  I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been in airports across this country and have seen a young man or woman in uniform.  As a mother of young adults and a grandmother, I feel comfortable and privileged to give them a warm hello and often a big hug…and I’ve been known to do just that.

A friend of mine was a photographer during the war in VietNam…armed with a camera.  He has written a powerful and moving piece on his time stationed there in Vietnam, along with his two brothers.  I can only imagine what his parents felt knowing their three sons were living each day in harm’s way.  You can read his beautifully written blog post here:  To my brothers in arms…literally.

If you know a VETERAN or a brave young person in uniform today, call them…write them…send them a package…tell them you love them, but most of all tell them THANK YOU!  Be sure to support and thank the families who are left behind as well!

By all means, put your hand over your heart and give a big salute when you say the Pledge of Allegiance – and mean it – because freedom isn’t now…and never has been…free!

 

 

Parts of this post were originally published in My Southern Heart.

The last few days…

The last few days…

The past few days have been eventful ones.  Doug and I spent a cold, windy, Midwest Friday afternoon traipsing through his family cemetery and checking on names, birth dates and death dates from the tombstones for his “family tree”.  I confess to enjoying the family history clue chase…even if they aren’t my personal ancestors!  We also copied photos of his family’s ancestors to create a book for his 95 year old mother.  We did find one photo on Ancestry.com of his grandmother when she was young and his great-grandmother.  It was actually a photo his mother had never seen!  She loved it and, of course, recognized her mother and grandmother immediately.  I’m glad I was there to see her happy reaction…much like mine would be if I could find photos of my ancestors online that I had never seen!

 

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We spent Saturday helping my daughter and her family out at their new six-acre farm site complete with big red barn dating back to the late 1800’s, 62 apple trees, large garden site and a long stand of black walnut trees.  Doug and my son-in-love worked hard taking a large portion of an old tree down…a tree that was growing around a pup tent that had been in it for years!  My oldest grandson worked hard hauling limbs and brush back to the burn pile.  My daughter had prepared homemade chicken noodle soup the evening before.  I stayed with the three youngest grandchildren and got the cornbread ready for our lunch.  After lunch, we headed back out to the farm.  My two youngest grandchildren and I helped haul branches.  It’s going to be a beautiful place for their new farm house!

 

Doug sawing on a large fallen branch.

My oldest grandchild hauling one of many fallen tree limbs to the burn pile.

 

Huge conifer by the driveway.

 

My daughter with her new toy on the apple orchard farm.

 

A view of the apple orchard…

 

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Sunday morning began with a lovely church service and then to Walmart to buy items to fill two Operation Christmas Child boxes…one for each of us.  I think we’ll specify two girls – one in Brazil (he supports a young girl in Brazil named Eduardo) and one in Peru.  If we pay the $7.50 shipping fee online through Operation Christmas Child, we will be able to see where the boxes are delivered.  I think that would be neat!

Afterwards, we headed out to his house where we began preparations for a dinner party on Sunday evening – for his 95 year old Mom and her primary caregiver, Joan.  We were very much looking forward to it!  I had put the roast in about thirty minutes earlier and was getting ready to prepare the winter roasted vegetables.  I had unloaded the dishwasher then did something that changed the course of events…and I knew better!  Years before, my mother had fallen over an opened dishwasher door and broken her hip, so I knew better.  But I left the dishwasher door down and left the kitchen to ask Doug if he had a pan for the vegetables.  He followed me back inside to look for a pan – about ten feet behind me.  I had forgotten the dishwasher door was down and my eyes were not adjusted coming back indoors from outside.  In less than a split second, I tripped over the dishwasher door and went flying across the kitchen…landing with the right side of my face and head – not to mention my right knee and the right side of my body – hitting the closed oven door with full impact!  My glasses slammed into my nose and broke.

Needless to say, Doug flew to my side, scared to death of what he would find.  After determining I could move and eventually stand up, we headed to the Methodist Hospital Emergency Room – a level I trauma center!  Although they did not have a room at the moment and there were five people in front of us, they managed to get me in rather quickly.  They put me through Cat Scans of my head, neck, chest and back…and x-rayed my painful right knee.  With a history of neck and back surgery in the past, they were not taking any chances.  THANKFULLY, nothing was broken!   Guess I’m a pretty tough cookie after all.

So a word to the wise:  never, ever leave the dishwasher door open!

 

Feeling the effects of pretending to be Wonder Woman and flying through the air!   Not planning on doing this again anytime soon!    Can’t believe he took a pic of me in a cervical collar!  ;-)

 

Beggars’ Night 2014…

Beggars’ Night 2014…

Here in the Des Moines area, Halloween is called “Beggar’s Night”.  It is celebrated with everyone decorating their homes and yards…and handing out lots of good candy.  This year my good friend Doug and I accompanied my two youngest Iowa grandchildren, who were splendidly dressed as Elsa from Frozen and Wolverine!  Doug and I were dressed as Winnie-the-Pooh and Grumpy the padded dwarf!  My daughter made the wonderful Elsa costume and the train flowed behind my granddaughter in the Autumn breeze.  Of course, my five year old grandson had a bit of difficulty grasping candy from the different bowls with Wolverine’s claws but he managed!  To receive candy, each little fun-dressed beggar has to tell a joke!

Afterwards, we returned to my daughter’s home and had bowls of delicious broccoli cheese soup made from the Pioneer Woman’s recipe!  Alll in all, a fun night in October…

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Autumn in Iowa…

Autumn in Iowa…

It has been an Autumn to remember in Iowa.  Trees with leaves  the color of gold, crimson, bright orange and deep amethyst.  Great temperatures.  Skies a gorgeous blue with snow white clouds, bright sunshine and a cool brisk breeze…and lots of pumpkins!

Last Friday was the perfect day to travel to Center Grove Orchard for a day at the pumpkin patch with my daughter, three of my precious grandchildren and my good friend Doug.

Located in rolling hills covered with pumpkins and a beautiful farm setting, Center Grove Orchard was a pleasant surprise.   We began our tour with the little duck race propelled by old fashioned hand pumps.

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Visiting with the goats (especially the little kids) was, of course, my favorite.  Then the rest of the farm animals:  the ducks, turkeys, chickens, pigs, sheep and horses.  Need I say, I love farms!

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There were tractor go-carts for the kids, a huge inflated jumping deck…
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and then, of course, the giant slide (it’s longer than it looks!!!)  that the grandkids talked grandmom (me!) into doing down.  You’re sitting on a large feedsack and sliding down…very, very quickly!  If you’re wondering why I’m reclining while my grandchildren are sitting up, well…I wasn’t prepared that it was so lightning FAST and it knocked me down.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Grandkids: “Grandmom! You’re SUPPOSED to sit up!!!” Grandmom: “You didn’t tell me it was so FAST!!! I can’t sit up!”

 

And what’s a trip to a pumpkin patch without a fun hay ride on a tractor-pulled wagon loaded with bales of hay and a memorable trek through a six-acre muddy corn maze?!  My first time in a corn maze!

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Since the pumpkins fields were so muddy, my daughter purchased 4 pumpkins and 2 bushels of apples which she has ALREADY turned into delicious apple butter and apple sauce!  The Country Store also sold lots of other homemade goodies!

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Going home…

Going home…

This has been a week for loss and sad news.  My precious daughter-in-love’s dear mom lost her battle with Parkinson’s and went to be with the Lord a few days ago.  A precious Christian, Joan loved the Lord with all her heart.  She went to sleep on this earth and woke up in Heaven.  What a blessed way for a Christian to leave this life on earth!   Please remember my son and Jeanine and their family as they make the long journey from Montana to East Tennessee to say goodbye.  My heart goes with them…

 

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My precious sister Gerry has now been in Heaven for three years.  I have missed her more than words could say every single day.  Her husband of 65+ years and the love of her life has missed her even more.  He is lost without her.  He is now in a coma with his children at his bedside…waiting to go home to be with the Lord and  his beloved.  He is a strong believer and has sung in the choir for many years.  Just as I imagine my sister Gerry is cooking heavenly biscuits while she sings praises to the Lord, I imagine my brother by marriage will be singing in Heaven’s choir…and once again strumming his guitar.


Gerry and Sonny…at “the house on the hill” in the 1980’s.    She would fuss at me for posting this pic since she is wearing her 80’s “big hair”!  Nah, she’d probably just laugh with that wonderful laugh of hers!

 

 

My last year of nursing was spent as in Oncology, and on the walls of the unit there hung this beautiful poem below.  This is how I imagine death and dying…and I have seen several leave this earth during my long nursing career.  Hallelujah, our souls never die!   Thank God, He has made provision for us to spend eternity with Him through His Son!  

The Sailing Ship

What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes” – and that is dying.

Bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929)

UPDATE:  Wednesday, October 22nd.  Sonny passed away peacefully last night at 11:47 p.m. with his and Gerry’s family by his bedside.  There may be sadness on earth, but there is rejoicing in Heaven as he joins my sister Gerry and the rest of those who have gone before.  What a wonderful, blessed hope we have in Jesus!
Two weeks in the South…

Two weeks in the South…

If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time at all, then you know I’m Southern.  I was born in the Delta of Mississippi and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee.  My roots are there.  I fell in love and got married there many years ago.  My children were born there.  I have a long list of family and friends there.  And, yes, I still have a Southern accent…
 
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It was the first day of October and a Wednesday I’d been looking forward to.  I was flying home to the South.  It had been three long years since I had flown into Memphis…and that had been on the sad occasion of my beloved sister Gerry’s funeral after she had lost her courageous battle with ALS.  As the plane circled and descended into Memphis, I picked out a few familiar landmarks:  the winding Mississippi River, the Memphis-Arkansas bridge, the “Pyramid” and LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.  Soon the plane was landing.

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Memphis skyline from the air. (Wikipedia)

Penny and Mike picked me up at the airport and we headed back to their home.  They were headed south to Gulf Shores the following morning for a few days, so this gave us some time together until the following week.  Penny fixed a delicious meal (including one of my favorites – Southern Fried Okra!) and we enjoyed time together before they drove me 45 minutes out to Sharon and Tommy’s home.  I call Sharon “my baby niece” but she’s actually only two and a half years younger than I.  She is my beloved late sister Dot’s only child.  After the death of her father when she was four months old, we all lived together and Sharon and I grew up like sisters.

I had flown with painful “fluid behind my eardrums” diagnosed by my doctor on Monday and once I arrived in Memphis, it proceeded to get much worse.  Unfortunately, I was sick!  My long-time Memphis allergies had hit with a vengeance.   Sadly, I missed my dinner with my dear friends from Lakeside Hospital where I had worked as a Registered Nurse with emotionally disturbed children for ten years.  I hope to make it up to them in the Spring!  Sharon took me to her doctor on Thursday where I got a shot and a CBC which verified it was allergies.  I was a sick puppy nonetheless.  The shot was a big boost and I felt much better the next day.  Sharon and I made it to the luncheon at Grisanti’s with my high school friends I had not seen in so many years!  It was wonderful to see everyone and, somehow, the years just melted away.

Below:  My KHS buddy David and I.  David is the youngest member of our graduating class and I am the next-to-the-youngest member!  We had not seen each other for 51 years!!  He is the same wonderful guy as always.  He has a PhD and is a well-loved professor at a local university!

 

Below:  Kathy is my best friend since the ninth-grade at KHS and I’m amazed to say that’s 55 years!  She is as beautiful as ever!  We see each other after any length of time and just pick right up where we left off.  We had a “sleep-over” one night during my visit and her sweet husband patiently put up with us pretending we were sixteen all over again.  We had the 60’s music playing in the background and reminiscing over days gone by.  Before we knew it, it was 1:00 a.m.!   Her sweet husband Bill treated us to a delicious dinner at Houston’s, a Memphis landmark for the past 31 years.   I enjoyed meeting one of their three sons, a very handsome young man.  I also introduced her and her sweet grandson and granddaughter to ancestry.com and we began a search for their family tree.  Her grandchildren thought that was cool and will be a big help with it!

 Below:  I was so happy to see my cousin, Joy, and fellow KHS graduate at the luncheon as well (although she’s 6 years younger than I).  You can tell by looking at us that we come from the same strong McGregor stock!  Her grandmother was my father’s sister and one of my favorite aunts!  We took one look at one another and marveled at how much we favored one another!

 

I loved my time with Sharon and Tommy.  Sharon is a wonderful cook and made several terrific Southern meals – including delicious homemade meatloaf, her amazing mashed potatoes, Southern vegetables and hot cornbread.  Another night she made delicious homemade chicken noodle soup and salad.  I was getting a bit spoiled!

The following Tuesday, we headed to the “hills” of Mississippi for a visit with my precious sister Eunice and her dear husband Eddie.  We had so much fun with them!  They live on 5 beautiful, treed acres with a barn and a beautiful horse named Cherokee.  Eddie is the “horse whisperer” and can make a horse do anything!  Unfortunately, since his hip replacement, he can no longer ride but still enjoys Cherokee.  Eunice is a great Southern cook and made a delicious dinner of pork chops, mashed potatoes, squash, green beans and hot cornbread.  Sharon made the dessert which was one of my favorites – banana pudding.  Another day, Eddie took us all out to dinner for another Southern feast.  They have a wide front porch all the way across the front of their home and each morning would find us out there sitting in the rockers or porch swing, enjoying our coffee and visiting.  Eddie recently turned 83 but doesn’t look a day over 70 and gets told all the time that he looks like George W. Bush!

While we were there, we all drove to Pontotoc, Mississippi, to visit the cemetery where my parents, grandparents and other ancestors are born.  The old white church has been taken down but, other than that, it looks the same.  I took photos of a lot of the tombstones to use with my family history research.  After the Guinn Cemetery, we drove over to the Springville Cemetery where my maternal grandparents and other maternal ancestors are born.  Again, I took photos for the family history book I intend to finish when I’m snowbound this Iowa winter!

 Below:  my beautiful sister Eunice at Guinn Cemetery.  She is 11 years older than I am.  We are the remaining two of the four McGregor daughters.  I promised her I would be back in the Spring.  We cannot wait so long to see each other again!

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We left Pontotoc and headed for New Albany, Mississippi, where we visited their very neat town square…complete with several quaint antique shops and my favorite bakery:  Sugaree’s!  I can’t begin to describe how delicious everything they bake is!  We bought one slice of their amazing white cake with homemade caramel frosting and two chocolate cupcakes to share four ways!  I would love to have bought the whole caramel cake!  They ship frozen by the way, so check it out.  It’s unbelievable!

On Thursday afternoon, we said a sad goodbye to Eunice and Eddie and headed north to visit my niece Cindy.  We ate dinner out together that night at McAlister’s (although I skipped my favorite sweet tea since it was so late!) and enjoyed our visit and laughter.  Cindy teaches music history at the local college and could easily have been a concert pianist.  She entertained us later with a few numbers which I loved.  I videotaped it but I’m under strict instructions not to share it!  But I will say she’s amazing!

Below:  Cindy, Sharon and I attempted a “selfie” with my iPad (an iPad photo isn’t too flattering) but I think it turned out cute!  

 

On Friday, we drove over to Greenwood, Mississippi, to eat lunch at the Crystal Grill.  I had a Southern vegetable plate with cornbread muffins and a slice of their famous chocolate pie with mile-high-meringue!  It was so good!  After lunch, we trekked around downtown in the rain, enjoying the well-known Mississippi shops.  I purchased a small pottery candle holder and a ceramic cross.  Sharon bought me a beautiful robin egg blue/green ceramic soap dish which I love.  (Thankfully, I made it home safely with everything!).  That night, Cindy prepared a delicious tortilla chicken casserole, fresh green beans and salad.  She had also made a wonderful apple spice cake!

Below:  In the Delta of Mississippi, Greenwood is “the cotton capital of the world”.  We saw field after field of beautiful snow-white cotton.

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On Saturday, we said another sad goodbye and headed back to Memphis…to Penny and Mike’s home.  We enjoyed hanging out together, having a delicious Southern dinner and watching a few favorite shows on television.  Penny and I did some shopping the day before I flew back.  I did manage to get it all in my suitcase and it wasn’t over the limit!  On Wednesday morning, Mike and Penny drove me to the airport – in the midst of Memphis rush hour traffic – but we made it with time to spare.

It was a wonderful two weeks filled with lots of memories and I’m looking forward to returning in the early Spring!

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