Last Friday, we left our babies in the capable hands of our friends, the PRs, and headed back to Virginia to spend time with family. The PRs bravely took on two 70 pound golden retrievers EVEN THOUGH they had both sets of family coming into town. Thankfully the corn turkey-substitute and the majority of their stuffed animals survived our dogs.
We had a great time in Virginia. Chris’s grandpa celebrated our arrival with a full Thanksgiving dinner, and on Sunday Chris’s mom made a roast. We did some shopping and watched Hunger Games on Monday and ate dinner with Chris’s high school friend Laura. On Tuesday, we drove with Papa through the rain and wind to North Carolina to see the family farm. Weird thing about me: I love family farms and graveyards. Our visit to the family graveyard was especially illuminating as I learned more about the story of Chris’s great grand-parents:
Many years ago, Nat King, a handsome local of about 25 began coming around the Eaton household and courting the farmer’s daughter Belle. As time went on, however, Belle began to figure out that Nat was actually interested in 16-year-old Zora. Nat and Zora didn’t want to tell her dad the truth. Instead, they eloped and were married under an apple tree by a friend of Nat’s who had just become a pastor. They were married for over 50 years and had two fine sons.
In our educated day and age, that would be creepy but through the lens of time it’s romantic and respectable. Why would that be ridiculous nowadays? More education? Extended childhood and adolescence?
Chris’s papa treated us to BBQ at Ralph’s, a famous buffet, and his dad took us to Q, a great Richmond landmark. Both places had great BBQ but the treatment was completely different. Ralph’s was completely country with great pulled pork, amazing banana pudding with meringue on top, delicious meat loaf, and a red sauce so sweet it tasted like candy. Q was very urban and polished; the corn pudding was delectable.
We also went to visit our friends Mike and Tater. Mike just had the worst month ever but he is much, much better. It was great to see them; they are a big part of the reason we have golden retrievers and have cared for us through some rough times.
We spent Thanksgiving with the Boswell clan and had a great time with all of them. When I was growing up we usually just had Thanksgiving with us and the grandparents; it was never a big affair. So it is interesting to experience the Crowd Phenomenon where there are more than 6 people present. The extroverts were all mingling outside and in the kitchen; the introverts were curled up in corners on their phones or watching the game. As an extroverted introvert, I did a little of both.
On our way back to Minneapolis we broke our streak of early flights when our plane had computer issues twice. They even had us all get off… we thought we were goners (in the flight actually taking off sense). “Can we fly into Rochester? How are we going to get our luggage and our car from Minneapolis?” It brought back memories of my two night stay in Chicago during the winter storm of 2006. That time, I ended up flying to Omaha where my mom and brother had to drive 7 hours to pick me up so I could be home for Christmas.
Thankfully the plane ended up taking off about 2 hours late and we got to Minnesota just fine. We were reunited with our bags, car, and doggies and are settling back into real life with only a slight holiday hangover. “You mean I can’t sleep in til 9? I have to go to work? Family members won’t take me out or make every meal?”
Waking up is hard to do!