On The Road Again

Gifts are wrapped, the car is loaded and the dog is the first one out the door and in the car. We are traveling the backroads of Texas to visit my mom for an early Christmas celebration. My brother, niece, and their respective significant others are coming in from the opposite direction.

Road trips for us are always the same: hubby drives and I knit, or play on my phone. This trip is no different. I’ve knit a little and played a little. That’s my newest project, a sock, posing on the dashboard. I love to knit socks. But back to the story.

This is a trip we’ve made more times than I can count over the past twenty five or so years. It is a road well traveled and one filled with memories. And so here we are…on the road again.

Continue reading “On The Road Again”

Notes From The Road, Day 2

Today is the day we planned on spending the most time wandering and looking. Alarms set. We slept well.

Bright and early this morning, we packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and headed to a little cafe I had found online. How did we ever travel before the internet?

The Coney Island Cafe has been operating in this same location since 1923. Started by Greek immigrants, the cafe has a set menu posted on the wall.

A pay phone and a picture of Merle on the wall.

I think there have been many a folk to set on this stool, eating a meal, sipping coffee, and swapping stories.

We were greeted with a smile and “Hello” from Sabrina, who also cooked a fine breakfast. Her smile lit up the room.

After breakfast we gassed up and headed north to Laurel. This was only about a forty-five minute drive so we arrived before most of the businesses were open. We also beat the heat of the day so we parked the car and walked around the downtown area.

We saw many of the places and streets seen on the promos and introductions to the show “Hometown.” This town is special to us because it is the town where my Hunter-Gatherer was born.

His mother was born and raised in this house in Laurel, and this is where she came to give birth to her first born. His dad was in graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin and it just made sense for her to be home with her parents instead of living in married student housing in Austin.

In the late 1950’s H.G. and his brother, and later sister, would spend time with their grandparents. He has very fond memories of listening to baseball on the radio, and eating all the good food his grandmother cooked. While I’m sure there was difficulty and strife in the world, to these kids, life was simple and full of potential.

Annie, Mrs. Foley to her students and most folks in Laurel, would warn H.G. and his brother to be careful crossing over these little bridges because Billy Goat’s Gruff lives in the creek, under the bridge and he would get them. The vivid imaginations of two young boys went wild with this information. While they never went in the creek, they always looked very carefully before playing near the bridge.

The Busy Bee was another favorite place for the brothers to visit. Grandmother would give them fifty cents, with which they could occupy themselves for hours. Ten cents would get them into a movie and then they would stop at the Busy Bee for some candy and a glimpse at the “men’s” magazines. Fortunately those magazines then were not what they are today! His saintly “Methodist Grandmother” would have had a fit if she knew that’s what they were spending their time doing!

I enjoyed seeing all this through his eyes once again and making memories along the way. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of our day in Laurel.

Tomorrow we’ll be in Alabama and Tennessee. See you on the road.


Road Trip

We are leaving tomorrow for a seven day road trip to Sparta, North Carolina. I said yes to an opportunity to teach at a fiber festival in Sparta so that we would make this trip which has been on our radar for about five years. Thus the life of two procrastinators living together for thirty years.

Other than teaching, the purpose of the trip is to go through some of the towns where my in-laws grew up and to gather a bit of family history for my husband. One of those towns is Laurel, Mississippi which is also home to the HGTV show “Home Town” which I believe will have begun filming again. We will be there in the middle of the week so hopefully we might catch a glimpse of some of the action.

Normally I spend hours trying to figure out what project to take with me. Not this time. Simplicity and Focus are my guiding words which will be evident in my packing and my projects. Hubby is kind of nervous because he knows how I would get in the past if the project wasn’t right. I’m not that person anymore.

I want to be fully present on the trip and aware of everything around me. I want to really see the countryside, the people, the buildings, everything there is to see. My plan is to keep a travel journal. I will take pictures, sketch, write, and observe. I’m taking my iPad Pro because I am learning how to sketch and letter using it, but I really want to go old school: paper, pencils – sketching and color – as well as a mini watercolor set. I want to use my other creative abilities to record our adventure.

I will take fibery stuff for the class, and I am going to a fiber festival, so this trip is not going to be void of all woolly loveliness. It will just be in perspective with the excursion.

You see, when I work on knitting, crochet or especially spinning, I loose myself in the process. If we were traveling on a well known path and the destination alone was the focus, this would not even be up for discussion. But, we’re not traveling that way. Everything on this trip will be new to my eyes. I’ve been to parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee before, but not these parts; and I’ve never step foot in North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains just create a certain visual for me, I don’t want to miss anything. The beauty of my fiber arts is that if I capture the trip using these other methods, then when I come home I can translate those memories into fiber art. It really is a win-win situation. Hubby will have to experience it to believe it. He’s a perpetual skeptic.

Blue Ridge Fiber Festival here I come.

It’s going to be a grand adventure!