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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the journey - 2

We arrived an hour early but a fair sized group was already present at this rural gathering place. Then it was the bringing in of food, arranging it on the long row of tables and greeting the many kinfolks, most of which had not been seen since last year. It was a warm feeling to realize that I was a part of this large group of folks, either by blood or marriage – mostly the former.

The group was called to order, grace was said and we fell upon the victuals and desserts with glee and even in a somewhat orderly fashion. With full plates, we sat around the long tables eating and sharing parts of our lives with our extended families. Abandoning my table, I started circulating, trying not to miss speaking to any of these family members.

This group descends from a common ancestor, John Collier, known in his day as “Hairy John”. This name came from the fact that he never, to anyone’s knowledge, cut his hair or beard. He and Matilda had 8 offspring and the folks of our group are descended from these 8 siblings. Our group’s main historian gave us a genealogy that went back much further than these 8, with records back to the 1700s in York County, Virginia.

The festivities started to slow and the call came for group photos – this seemed to be the impetus for several to leave – I guess they were afraid they would do damage to the cameras. Photos were made and the main group of folks gradually started to leave. The Spice and I finally got all our goodbyes said and departed. We had already repacked the van and about 2:45pm we were on our way to Texas once again.

We fueled up as we neared Tupelo, Miss. and then we turned onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is a federal road that passes through a national forest and even though the speed limit was 50 mph it was a very relaxing drive. I thought it odd that we didn’t come up behind anyone the whole time we were on this route. Several local folks did pass us at a much higher rate of speed – I guess the limit didn’t apply to locals.

We turned off on another road in order to reach I-55 and ran into some very hard rain in several places. Even after reaching the interstate highway, we were in and out of rain for many miles. Cell phone service was very spotty, even though we were on the service that claims to have the least amount of dropped calls. We passed a huge billboard with this claim on it just after we had been dropped.

We started trying to find a place to spend the night from the info we picked up from the welcome center. After five places told us they had no vacancy, we called SIL for assistance. He finally found us a place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and even though that was further than we wanted to travel, we continued on to this location.

We checked in at the motel about 9:30pm, and walked over to the Outback that was situated next door and partook of our evening meal. Even then we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. After the meal I trudged – due to my exhausted condition – back to the motel and we totally crashed for the evening.

TBC – ec

8 Comments:

Blogger Allison said...

You're in Baton Rouge?!

8/09/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

allison - We were just passing through on the way to Texas. ec

8/09/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Glad you had a good trip, and a good reunion. I would love to see a picture....

8/09/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - It was a very good reunion and much good conversation. The only bad thing so far has been the many miles we have driven and how tiresome it is to have driven them. ec

8/09/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Rice said...

The reunion sounded wonderful; but it also sounded like you had a very full day of driving. It is good to hear your report.

8/09/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

tim rice - There were three full days of driving - way too much for this old codger, but the Lord blessed us with a sage trip. ec

8/10/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

tim rice - That should have read 'a safe trip'. Not sure how sage it was. ec

8/10/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger itsboopchile said...

Your trip, visiting relatives, eating and eating, and seeing your kids, a wonderful trip.
But it takes a lot our of us, doesn't it!!!
Well, just go a little slower and enjoy it more.
So easy to read your blog.

See you,
Betty G

8/10/2006 10:54:00 PM  

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