Another Year Later

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

What a change from last year!  We drove to Alabama to visit Dianne's mother and help her celebrate her birthday.  Last year was birthday #80 with all the attendant hoopla of a major party where dozens of family members and friends helped with the celebration.  This year's celebration was much calmer and more relaxing.  Steven, our 7-year-old nephew, was visiting "Nanamama" for a couple of weeks.
Ours is a card-playing family, and, like his sister Rachel when she was younger, Steven can hold his own with the adults with only a wee bit of coaching from Nanamama.  Uncle Jim, who lives nearby, is a card player also and visited to join in the games.  We were relieved to see him looking so hale and hardy after some serious health problems in the last couple of years.

While we were in the area, we visited Old St. Stephens Historical Park. Though now a ghost town, St. Stephens was once the center of activity in the area.  During a brief three decades-- from the 1790s to its decline in the 1820s-- St. Stephens was the site of a Spanish fort, an American fort and trading post, and the Alabama Territorial capital. Alabama's first Governor, William Wyatt Bibb, presided over the first meeting of the Territorial Legislature at the Douglass Hotel on St. Stephens' High Street.
Today the area that was Old St. Stephens is a park, which offers a variety of recreational opportunities for visitors including horseback riding, boating or swimming in the 100-acre quarry lake, hiking, camping, and fishing.  Students and staff from the University of South Alabama Center for Archaeological Studies are conducting ongoing archaeological digs to shed new light on the people who lived and died at Old St. Stephens.  We hope to plant a series of letterboxes in the area to help tell the story of this once bustling area.
While visiting Dianne's mother, we had the pleasure of meeting the newest member of the family, a beautiful yellow tabby kitten named Freda.  This little bundle of energy provided much entertainment as she boldly scrambled up trees and across the frame of the swing.  It was hilarious to watch her lying in the tall grass, stalking the soccer ball that Ken and Steven were kicking back and forth.  No tiger ever concentrated harder on his prey.
Steven's favorite activity when we get together with him is playing Cash Cab. He has watched the show enough to know the ins and outs and all the rules and procedures.  Moreover, he has an incredible store of knowledge for a seven-year-old.  As a result, he had a big smile on his face when we left, and we wondered where we'd get gas money for the trip home.