This is a LONG post, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, relax and finish the journey home to the South with me….
The days had flown by. It had been a wonderful week full of fun and memories. Soon I would get to see my sisters, and I could hardly wait! Sharon was having a mini-family reunion on Saturday for those who could come and my sisters and brothers-in-law were coming from Mississippi. The plan was that I’d go home with my sister, Eunice, for a few days and then they would drive me over to my sister Gerry’s for a few days. Sharon and Kathy would drive down to pick me up on Friday…then I’d fly back to Oregon on Saturday.
It was a fun mini-reunion. It was good to see my niece and nephew and great-nephews! Since we’re Southern, of course, it is all about the FAMILY and FOOD! The menu included wonderful Southern barbeque, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, dips, and homemade bread from a new nearby deli and bakery. Sharon had made brownies and a fantastic frozen layered vanilla ice cream and chocolate dessert.
My sister, Eunice and her husband, Eddie, live in the “hills” of Mississippi as Mama used to call it…beautiful rolling countryside, not far from where our parents grew up. My sisters and I have actually done family history research at both Pontotoc and Tupelo, Mississippi, as well as the family history library in Jackson. Eunice and Eddie live on about five treed acres which includes a barn. At one point, they had several horses, but are now down to one horse, “Cherokee”, a beautiful thoroughbred quarter-horse.
Eddie, Eunice and I enjoyed lunch out one day at a local restaurant known for their Southern cooking buffett (especially the banana pudding). Eddie picked fresh figs and I helped Eunice make delicious fig preserves. One afternoon, Eunice and I went shopping at several quaint antique and decorating shops. It’s a peaceful, relaxing setting there with the wide front porch across the front of the house with swings and rockers. The last morning I was there, the rain was softly falling but that didn’t stop us from having our coffee on the front porch.
On Tuesday, we drove to my sister Gerry’s home. She and my brother-in-law, Sonny, and my niece, Cindy, also live in a beautiful setting. Their house is nestled in the tall trees with a wide front porch across the front and an awesome view through the large windows across the back of the house. There is a swing on the front porch and the wonderful twig chairs with cushions. Often, you’ll find one of their two pretty cats, Molly and Biscuit, asleep on the swing enjoying the sun.
Gerry had a wonderful meal ready for us…her famous roast and mashed potatoes…and all the delicious Southern vegetables I’d looked forward to! We had a great time…with lots of laughter, as always, when we’re together. I was glad that Cindy hadn’t started teaching yet so I would have more time with her. She is beautiful, funny and immensely talented in music. I hated to see Eunice and Eddie leave to go back home. I promised myself that it wouldn’t be two years again before I returned. I admit I live in a beautiful place…on top of a mountain in Oregon…but it’s so very far from my family, much too far.
I’m the youngest of four daughters, and, regardless of the age difference, we’ve always been close. We lost my oldest sister, Dot, to leukemia a few years ago and I miss her still. Over the years at each gathering we had, there would be the “four sisters” picture where we lined up according to age. The one directly below was made when I was 15. The one below that was taken about ten years ago.
After our brief look at the Ole Miss campus, we met Sharon and Kathy for lunch at the City Grocery on the square in Oxford’s quaint downtown. The food was spicy but delicious, although I decided the chef must not be Southern because they didn’t offer sweet tea of all things! After lunch, we walked around the square visiting the quaint little shops, and I wished for an extra suitcase. After shopping, we drove through the winding country backroads of Taylor, MS, looking for a small restaurant called Emily’s (or something like that) that features awesome desserts. When we couldn’t find it, we stopped at yet another perfect setting for a movie…a neat little art gallery set right next door to an old dilapidated country store. The gallery owner informed us that, yes indeed, there was a tea room with awesome desserts but she closed at 3:00 p.m. The problem was it was now ten minutes after three. In the corner of the art gallery sat an old-fashioned container of ice cold Nehi orange sodas. I bought each of us an ice-cold Nehi (no moonpies there unfortunately), and we settled for those instead of dessert.
It was time to say goodbye now and travel back to Memphis with Sharon and Kathy, as Gerry and Cindy traveled home without me. I missed them already.
The next day it was storming…pouring rain as Sharon and Tommy drove me to the airport. I was sad to leave them…my beautiful niece who is so much more like a sister to me. Again, I promised myself I woudn’t wait two years to come home again…