The drive home was long, but much quicker than I expected, as the cruise control was essentially set at eighty miles per hour, and there were no accidents or stoppages, which is a rare occurrence. Still, many cars zoomed by me at nearly one hundred, which at times was quite perplexing. Didn't love the rented car (Sonata), but it did its job and was fairly stingy in gas consumption, and the sound system was decent. Most importantly it got the three of us to all our destinations to spend time with family in Florida and Georgia. Couldn't have happened without some help from Paul.
First we dropped into Alma for Thanksgiving with my sisters Beth and Bobbie, Essie and Brad, and their handyman(?) Aaron. We had a nice time relaxing, watching football, and even playing a charades-type word game after food festivities. Mostly it was just nice to sit around and chat. Saw the new antiques/furniture/flea market Beth and her husband have established in town. Got to chat with Brad some, though little pitchers have big ears. It is quiet out there in the lowland plain, just north of the Okefenokee swamp, about halfway between Valdosta and Jacksonville. Temps were pretty chilly and we hardly left the house.
Then on Friday it was off to Jacksonville. We stayed off of Neptune Beach (not far from where the girls used to have a place). Most of the time we stayed at Illiana's house closer to Jacksonville University. We did a lot of eating and watching football. I had nice conversations with Paul and Oxana, got to see Patty (who I haven't seen in a while). Illiana was recovering from her thyroid surgery and looked much better by Saturday, and that made everyone happy. I liked her beau. The only downside was that the weather was horrendous, and we only got a short walk on the beach just before heading out. The boys saved a injured brown pelican that was under attack by three dogs. Despite the rain/wind, it was still nice to be near the surf. Sadly, numerous homeless stalked the walkways and beach access (probably even worse in better weather), panhandling people as they walked to the sand. Even late at night. I went to a local bar one night, next to the hotel, but I definitely do not fit in any more (if I ever did). At least I was able to watch a little of the college games, while I drank my. . .diet coke. Ok, and I also did a little women watching. It was loud and smokey.
On Sunday I got to finally introduce Chimo and reintroduce Joey to their great aunt and uncle, Marijka and Bob. And we were lucky to have our cousin Anya join us for dinner. What a beautiful house they have there; we admired the art and pysanky, chatted about Scouts. The boys even went for a nice walk with Bob, which was something we Tidd kids enjoyed doing with him whenever he came down to Florida to visit my parents. We wish we could have stayed longer, but the long haul beckoned, especially if we were to get home in time for the boys to get some sleep for school the next morning. We made it in just a bit past 12.