What a FABULOUS weekend! Family, friends, even some knitting!
The biggest reason I begged Dan to endure the winters of the Northeast (he is a Texan, you know) was to be near my family in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. They're only a five to six hour drive away (not counting the Friday before Labor Day when everyone and their brother seemed to be headed the same way we were...). We've been so busy getting settled in that we've only been up there for once right after we landed back in the States.
Joe got a little taste of what I loved to do as a child. Go pick dinner out of Gramps' garden. Fresh potatoes, tomatoes, cukes... nummy.
My grandfather is the best gardener, historian, teacher (not professionally) and philosopher. I love sitting and listening to him talk about anything. When I was a little girl we weren't close. I lived with them for a while after my parent's divorce when I was four but he was working (they were very young grandparents - their youngest of eight, my uncle, is only a year older than me) and busy with his own kids. Age has mellowed him but he still doesn't sit down for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Even at 81 he still works hard keeping the up with the land and home he's built for them up on the mountain. I remember being about 11 and he and my grandmother would be walking us through the woods next to the house he was born in, telling us just where each room in their house would be. I thought they were nuts at the time. Funny, here we are, about 30 years later... yesterday morning Dan and I were walking in the woods with my grandfather having him show us just where we should put a clearing for our camper so we have a place to stay when we go up to work on our little cabin we're going to build down the road from them. It will be right across the dirt road where his grandmother's house stood more than 50 years ago. I love family history and I love going home. I love showing my boys through the little town where my roots go way back. Lots of people have that every day but growing up military and then raising military kids... that's one of the things I miss the most. Roots.
Years ago Gramps used to make these spicy pickled green tomatoes. As he got older he stopped making them and my Uncle Chet started. Dan and I always managed to get a jar and we'd savor them for as long as we could. If you remember, my Uncle Chet passed away suddenly less than a year ago. Gramps and I made a date for this past Saturday to make those special little treats and I couldn't help thinking Uncle Chet was up there grinning down at us and probably thinking we'd never make them as good as him. He's probably right. lol. It was so much fun to share this with my grandfather. He showed me how it was done. When we were leaving this morning he told me I could take half the jars and he gave me a few pounds of green romas so I could make some more. I wouldn't take more than two jars and I plan on bringing some back to him on our next trip.
The other big treat was getting to finally meet someone that I've considered a friend for quite some time now. Dan and I felt right at home in Kim and Ken's wonderful home. They live only about a half an hour from my grandparents so I know we'll be seeing each other again and hopefully have the chance to spoil them as they did us. I brought my camera. I really did. I have no idea why I didn't take any photos because they would have been great. When we got back to my grandparents and were trying to describe the day I hit myself in the head in disbelief. Kim and I have so much in common and it was so fun to finally meet her family and her beautiful little dogs. It was funny to see four little Cavs go sniffing at Aggie (who is a little alpha and used to being in charge). The hubs kept busy talking the whole time as well. The boys even had a great time playing in the pool and rolling around with all the dogs.
I even got a little knitting done on the trip there and back. Just a sock but it feels good to have the wool and needles in my hands again....
I leave you with a before and after picture of the town store that my great-grandparents ran for years. It's so sad to see it as run down apartments now.