2014 in Review

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Looking back on 2014, we remember some of our mini-trips that we didn't blog about but greatly enjoyed.  In January, we spent a long weekend at Tasker Cabin with the Prager family.  A continuation of a family Blowing Rock tradition begun in 2004.
Waiting for the other game players in Blowing Rock
Dianne lured her shoe shopping friends to Callaway Gardens for a weekend girlfriend trip in February.  Thanks to the camaraderie, games of Fictionary, and a good supply of adult beverages, a rollicking good time was had by all. So good, in fact, that shoe shopper trips seem destined to become an annual event.
Shoe shoppers at Callaway (L to R):  Cathy, Diane, Mary, Tina, Karen, Dianne & Dottie

March was a profoundly sad month as the family gathered in Alabama for Woodie's funeral.  Thanks to his brilliant wife and soulmate Kathy, the service was everything he could have wanted.  
In his memory, we shared an old tradition with a couple of new generations.  When we were kids, we would walk about two miles on an unpaved road to visit a small country store where we could buy two handfuls of candy for 10¢.  Even though the store has long been shuttered, those of Dianne's generation led the younger ones on the same walk.  Happily, there's a creek along the route for those who want to stop and play for a while as we always did when we were kids.
Walking the old road  (L to R):  Gina, Alex, Lizzie, Carson; Avery up ahead
Carson, David & Alex in the creek
Some of the many family members who gathered to honor Woodie's memory and mourn his loss
April in May saw us attempting to circumnavigate the world, only to be thwarted by a respiratory illness we both picked up early in the trip. On a positive note, however, our early return allowed us to attend Rachel's high school graduation in Tennessee the day after we arrived back in Atlanta
Rachel, new high school graduate!
After a pleasant trip to Newfoundland's chilly clime in June, we were braced for the heat and accepted an invitation to celebrate July 4 with family at Gina's house in Hattiesburg.  Food, fireworks and festivities, we had it all and most importantly making memories together.

July Fourth celebrants by Gina & Myles' pool
From the holiday celebration, we drove on to Mobile, Alabama, to connect with Uncle Jim and his family.  Both his children have relocated back to their home town of Mobile, so he is loving having both nearby.
Jim and Dean (L); Debbie and Tommy (T); Andy and Robin (B)
Just a week later we were fortunate enough to help celebrate the 90th birthday of cousin Hans.  Though we failed to capture a single photo at the party, we have to share his wonderful smile here.
Everyone had a laugh after David broke Gina's swing.
Then it was New York for Nanamama's 85th birthday and planning for our "wander down under" trip to Australia and New Zealand in September.  After we returned, we split up for a weekend as Ken went to North Carolina to help celebrate Marion's 70th birthday while Dianne picked up Nanamama for a trip to Tennessee to see Steven in The Music Man at his school and to observe Woodie's birthday (same date as Marion's).
Steven (in band uniform) performs in The Music Man
Marion is definitely surprised at her birthday celebration.
In November, we took a long drive to south Florida in search of a particularly stunning cemetery marker called a weeping angel.  We had found a vendor in Bonita Springs who sold the sculpture but they were unable to connect us with anyone who could install it in south Alabama.  So sadly we had to give up on the idea.
Hans turned 90!
But we did take the opportunity to visit Everglades National Park and the Cape Canaveral Space Center on our way back up the east coast.  We arrived in Tallahassee just in time for Thanksgiving, which we enjoyed with Bruce and June at their home.
Thanksgiving dinner with Bruce and June
We finished the year in a retreat to a condo in Perdido Key on the Florida panhandle coast.  It's our favorite time to be at the beach when we can walk down the shore and encounter only a snowbird or a heron or maybe two.  December seems to always offer up beautiful sunsets over the beach.  Maybe the sunrises are nice, too, but we usually sleep through those.
Sunset view from our Perdido Key 11th floor condo
 Like 2013, we will remember 2014 as a year of deep sadness.  Woodie's death in March from the cancer he had battled so valiantly for three years dealt a profound blow to our family. Only 58 years old, Woodie was a kind-hearted, humble man beloved by all who knew him. He was a devoted husband, a proud and enthusiastic father, a gifted photographer, and a man of deep inner peace. Through his quiet example, Woodie taught us the importance of assuring children that they are cherished, capturing and preserving life’s precious moments, appreciating nature in its most intricate detail, and accepting and embracing our own uniqueness. We miss him terribly.

Woodie in January 2014