The Family That Plays Together...

Thursday, November 24, 2016 Road Junkies 1 Comments

From Sea to Shining Sea, Days 11 & 12:  Jackson, MS to Vernon, AL

When my brother, sister and I were kids, we had the opportunity to get to know both our great grandmothers on our mom's side of the family.  The details about them that we don't remember first hand have been filled in by oral histories we've heard so many times they seem like our own memories.

These two matriarchs could not have been more different.  Minnie, our grandfather's mom, was formal, dignified, sedate.  A strict and demanding teacher, she had no time for foolishness and nonsense, and she believed the world worked best when others followed her lead.
(L) MINNIE PERFORMING IN A SHAKESPEARE DRAMA IN COLLEGE (c.1896)
(R) CLARA (center) AND FRIENDS ENGAGE IN A BIT OF FRIVOLITY  (c.1903)
Minnie's counterpart on the maternal side was Clara, who loved nothing better than making mischief and having a good laugh.  Whether she was helping her children dye the family poodle blue to amuse the neighbors, staging silly photo shoots, or carrying out a practical joke on friends or family, Clara thrived on levity.  And she believed it was her role in life to bring a little humor into the lives of those she encountered.

Both were wonderful people with a positive influence in our lives, each in her own unique way.  But Minnie and Clara's descendants who sprouted from our branches of the family tree definitely tend to follow Clara's lead.  When we got together for Thanksgiving at my sister's home in Alabama, we indulged some of our time-honored traditions and rocked the rafters with laughter.
12-year-old Avery mixed up a batch of homemade slime and demonstrated its many uses.  She even let the rest of us play with it, too.
In our family, we just love marshmallows, but not for hot chocolate or s'mores.  They're perfect ammo for marshmallow battles.  We even throw marshmallows instead of rice at wedding receptions.
After our concert of (almost) synchronized balloon screeching, the only balloon to survive came to life as Cousin Weeny Winey.  She seemed to like having fun as much as the rest of us do.
Family talent night always gives us the chance to see that we really do have gifts worth sharing.  Though they had just a few minutes to rehearse, Avery's ukulele accompaniment and Rachel's singing made us all proud.
The multi-talented Grant coaxed a tune from the ukulele, and Alex proved his guitar lessons are really paying off.
For our "stupid human tricks" demonstrations, we persuaded Steven and Rachel to show off their ability to perform the single eyebrow lift, an enviable talent they both inherited from their dad.
And we learn from each other.  After Ken did a brief juggling demonstration, Grant and Joey tried a juggling duet.
Kathy taught Grant, Joey and Gina how to use Ancestry.com to conduct genealogical research.  In the process, she located information about some of their paternal ancestors living in America in the early 1600s and converted at least one of them to the ancestor-hunting passion.
Nanamama taught Grant and Joey to cook her stuffed mushrooms, a holiday tradition and one of Joey's favorite dishes.  Now he can make them himself.  (But will he?)
The guys took advantage of the mild and sunny weather to toss the football around in Jeanne's expansive yard.  A teacher 24/7, Joey didn't miss the opportunity to incorporate a bit of coaching.
In the kitchen, many hands pitched in to prepare a delectable Thanksgiving meal.  And even more helped to devour the variety of enticing dishes traditional to our family's holiday repasts.
In a family our size, you don't get a seat at the adults' table until age forty is looming—if you're in the correct generation.  At our grandparents' house, my siblings, cousins and I never made it past the kids' table.
Is it traditional in every family for the kids to eat in the kitchen while the adults belly up to the dining room table?  It is in ours.
As Nanamama and Grant finished things off by breaking the wishbone, we mused about how thankful we were to be close enough to backtrack to partake in a little holiday play time with family.  Tomorrow we'll turn back west and move into Louisiana with all intentions of hitting Texas by Saturday.

WEDNESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER, & THURSDAY, 24 NOVEMBER, 2016

More Photos
FOUR GENERATIONS OF BEAUTIFUL WOOD WOMEN
JEANNE'S FRONT YARD HAS A BASIN THAT MAKES IT A NATURAL TO HOST "BOWL GAMES."
THIS QUIET BACKYARD SETTING BELIES THE FRIVOLITY INSIDE THE HOUSE.