Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hey-dee ho, boys and girls! We’ve been out of easy wiFi range for a couple days. Now headed north on 75 from Atlanta after a wonderful visit with Aunt D, the Blount cousins, spouses, second cousins, and yes, third cousins. As Tansey said, “Mom, everyone here my age already has four kids!” And those kids are gorgeous. Aunt D looked exactly the same as the last time I saw her over 20 years ago. Beautiful and kind, warm and loving, and skin any woman over 30 would envy. Plus, she sent us to her hairdresser for haircuts, and here’s a tale whose irony is too much to believe:

T1 and I have searched Maine in vain for a decent haircutter. Money spent galore, haircuts that sent us into hiding for months, just one disaster after another. And who do you think Aunt D’s haircutter was? An amazing, talented woman from, of all places, Belfast, Maine, minutes from where we’re from! She gave both me and T1 great cuts at a very reasonable price, all the while all of us enjoying the unbelievable irony that she was the ONE hairdresser it would seem that we hadn’t tried in Maine. I’m still not over that one.

Cousin L, who organized a wonderful spread last night for us all, everyone brought something, has become the most amazing artist, painter. Looking at her paintings, which gave me chills, I asked her what medium she used. And she answered in a low tone, “Oh, oil of course”, nodding her head as if to say there simply was no other medium worth her time. I loved that. The sign of a serious artist, but that’s just me being old fashioned. The visit with all of them and with Aunt D warmed my heart. Going over old family photos from way way back, stories with D, and laughter and gorgeous babies all round with the cousins. I loved it and T1 did too.

Ok, Georgia tips: first of all, Georgia drivers get our vote as Most Polite so far on this trip. Rush hour (7 pm) Atlanta was a breeze. None of that ruthless cut you off at the knees, advantage seeking driving you see in New Jersey or Boston. Everyone here driving in full faith that they will get where they’re going in good time, few folks changing lanes to gain advantage, and not a holdup anywhere, smooth despite zillions of cars, more than I’ve ever seen on a ten lane highway anywhere.

Second tip: boiled peanuts are not all they are cracked up to be. But I have this peach cider I’m looking forward to, and some peach preserves for breakfast tomorrow, and of course, corn chow, like they only make down here.

We are just now at the foot of the Appalachians, the Tennessee hills. Tomorrow in Chattanooga we aim to climb Lookout Mountain with Will. Both me and T1 could use some exercise after all this driving and sitting and visiting.

Shoutout to Fritzy, Aunt D’s dauchshund, who let us take him walking and was a perfect host, and who, whenever he spoke his mind, sounded like someone moving furniture across a wood floor! We adored his sweetness and enthusiasm.

Thanks again to Aunt D. We love you and can’t thank you enough for all your patience and time spent going through old family info to set us on the road to genealogical enlightenment this week as we head toward western Tennessee and, hopefully, some answers to the missing link ggggg-grandfather.

Here’s a bit of family lore I picked up from Aunt D: according to her there’s an old photo somewhere in her things of I.T. and Wm. Faulkner playing in a band together when they were at Ol’ Miss. You just gotta love that!

It’s only been 12 days on the road and feels like we’ve been traveling forever. And I love it. Every now and then I do the dishes somewhere just to plug in to domesticity. We miss T2 and D and hope she’s enjoying her new throne.

Life is good.

Evening: Who knew Chattanooga is the coolest town ever? I could live here in a heartbeat. Artsy and airy and greened and the fab Tennessee River, more on that tomorrow.