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January 06, 2005

Christmas Part 1 or "Packing everything but the birdcage"

“How was your Christmas trip?”

That’s the gist of the emails I’ve received over the last week or so. Since we got back both of us have been swamped with work and my will to sit in front of the computer has been negligible. I know I promised an earlier write up but hopefully this will make up for it.

We left the Thursday before Christmas for Fabulous Babe’s parents. My wife packed everything she thought we would need for Jack. “Everything” as in “there isn’t a square inch left in the car for anything you may want to add so don’t try.”

On the way down Jack was a trooper. He slept most of the time and we only had one stop along the way. We got to Farmer Mom and Dad’s around 10. Unfortunately in her desire to wedge things into the car Fabulous Babe jammed up the front passenger seat. (Also causing an SRS Airbag message to flash for the rest of the journey.)

Christmas eve was low key. Jack was in a good mood. We went to Grand Ma Ma’s house and had dinner with some of the extended family. After that we headed back to the farm.

Christmas day was the next travel day. After lollygagging around in the morning we hit the road for My Old Kentucky home. (Politically incorrect lyrics won’t be reprinted here.) The drive was fine until we reached the last 20 miles of road in IN outside of Cincinatti. The roads were hardly cleared and we were one lane at 20 mph for a long time. After that the highways opened up and it was smooth sailing again.

We got to Ashland at around 8ish. My original plan had been to surprise my grandparents at church on Sunday morning. (I had told them we would arrive late Sunday.) Figuring some advance warning would be good we decided to go ahead and stop by. (Also allowing me to be free of that last damn Harry & David box whose companion was responsible for gumming up the seat.) When my grandmother opened the door she nearly went through the roof with excitement.

It’s hard on me to go so long without seeing my grandparents. The time that passes between my visits makes their aging seem all the more dramatic. Their excitement at seeing Jack the first time was worth the 950+ mile drive however.

By the way: If you ever pass through Ashland, KY on Christmas day make sure to pack some food. Nothing was open except for the really wretched “Asian” restaurants and a Subway at a truck stop populated by people that Fabulous Babe teased me about for days. “You ain’t from here are you?”

Sunday morning saw us head off to my old church for the service. This was the first portent of what was to come as Jack was a very unhappy baby throughout the service. I eventually got up and went downstairs with him. (I had enough sharp looks from some of the blue hairs that I took the hint.) I still got to see some people I used to know who all thought Jack was the spitting image of Fabulous Babe. *sigh*

After church we had lunch with my grandparents and Auntie Dearest who had come to the church service. (When she walked in I looked up to make sure the roof wasn’t going to hit Jack when it fell.) We tried to go to my grandparents 1st choice in restaurants but they were closed for the weekend. Such is life.

After lunch we took Jack to visit my other grandmother, Louise. I got pretty choked up when we placed Jack on her lap. She cooed over him and when she smiled and got him to smile I was struggling to keep it together. She fussed over him and I was lucky enough to get a pile of pictures and some videotape. (I’ll try to upload a piece of the video.)

I had one great grandparent growing up, my maternal grandmother’s mother, who I knew. (Granny died while I was a sophomore in high school.) While I know that Jack’s memories of this trip will be minimal all of last week was about making sure that the other people on the side of the great grandparent equation get to know him. I recognize that I can’t hope that all 4 of Jack’s great grandparents will survive long enough for him to have a relationship with them. I have to try to compromise which is something I abhor.

While visiting with Louise we had the luck of having some more family stop by: My aunt and uncle, my extended cousin Sarah, her boyfriend and her newborn son, Noah. (Noah was tiny compared to Jack.) They were in town to visit Sarah and Noah and had stayed to see Jack.

I should tell you that my uncle, my dad’s brother, is the source of many legends in our family. My personal favorite is that while in high school he was out with some friends, *cough* consumed some beer *cough*, and his friends walked him along the floodwall and got him to lay down and fall asleep. The problem: his arms and legs were hanging over the sides and he had a 10 foot drop on either side of him. My grandfather eventually found him and brought him home. My aunt, always one of my favorites, was my stepmother’s partner in crime when they went shopping for clothes for Jack.

By the time we left for the hotel because Jack was fussing like he needed a nap. Little did we know it was a portent of what was to come…

Posted by Jim at January 6, 2005 11:50 PM


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