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Back in December, I was the Guest Babe Of The Month over at 7 Babes A Blogging. As the guest blogger, I had to write at least one post per week. While I was trying to figure out what to write, I went to my mother’s 80th birthday party. I came home from that party and wroteA Tribute To My Mother. (this site is now defunct, sorry) I didn’t think much more about it, until this week.
On Sunday, Mama called me and told me that she got a phone call from her niece that she has not heard from in 44 years. Susan, my cousin, is the daughter of Mama’s sister, Lilly, who died in 1963 from an aneurysm. Susan was 12 years old when her mother died, and went to live in Oklahoma with her paternal grandmother, and never saw her relatives in Michigan again after that. She said she has tried for years to find them, but did not ever know any last names except for Grandmother Brouch, Mama’s mother.
Susan’s husband has been searching the internet off and on for several years, and Saturday night he googled “brouch michigan” and one of the sites that came up was 7 Babes A Blogging, the site where I was the guest blogger for December. When he clicked on that link and found my post, he knew right away he had found the right family. When he showed it to my cousin and she saw the pictures of Mama on that post, she said they looked so much like her own mother that she knew it, too. So, they looked up phone numbers for Strouds in Douglasville, and the first one she called was Mama.
When Mama called me, she was THRILLED! She was so happy. She did not know I had written about her. Mama told me that she had often wondered over the years what had become of her sister’s children. Then she asked me, Did you really write a tribute to me? and I said yes, and she said, “I never knew you felt that way about me.” Well, gee, she IS my mother!
So, Susan called me last night and she thanked me over and over for writing that blog, because she has found her family after all this time. She also told me that she has been trying to duplicate her mother’s stuffed cabbage all her life, and now she knows that she has found the right recipe.
This is not the first time our family has been reunited through the internet. Back in 1979, my youngest brother, Bobby, died in an accident. At the time of his death, he had a six month old daughter. After he died, his widow would not allow any of us to visit with her child, and we lost track of her. Earlier this year, my sister joined MySpace. She decided to do a search to see if maybe our niece was a member there. Sure enough, there she was. And since she had a very unusual first name, we knew it was her. She was in the Air Force, stationed in Arizona.
When my sister contacted her, she was delighted to find out she had such a large family, and when she came home to Georgia to visit in July, she was the guest of honor at a party to introduce her to the whole gang.
My sister also found our older brother’s two children from his first marriage. They are both living in California. While they have not visited us, yet, we do keep in touch with them through MySpace. I think we have found everyone now. How Exciting!
Owen is our newest FabGrandson. We have three now, but since he is the newest one, he is the one we get the most pictures of at the moment. He has so much hair that even though he is only 15 weeks old, he has already had his first haircut! My son and his wife, the parents of this fabulous child, have taken to calling him “the rock star baby” because no matter what they do, his hair sticks straight up on top os his head. I think he looks sort of like a baby Einstein.
We had a week off before we had to start working, so we drove all around looking at all the scenery and trying out new places to eat. We found a neat little restaurant called The Book and Table Restaurant in Fairfield, about 6 miles west of the campground. They serve a good tasting, very filling breakfast. For $3.95 you can get two eggs, toast, and home fries, and juice. Coffee or tea is extra. The waitress there are nice and friendly and keep your coffee cup filled. There are a lot of locals there every time we go.
In the town of Gettysburg, we went to a place called The Pike. It is a pub. They sell Yuengling Beer, which is from America’s oldest brewery. They have a pretty good lunch menu We had crab quesadillas, homemade beef soup, and a hot roast beef sandwich. They were all very good. They have bands on Friday and Saturday nights, and karaoke on a weeknight. FabGrandpa said the ale was good.
Also in Gettysburg is Dunlap’s Restaurant & Bakery. They have an excellent breakfast served until 11:00 a.m. Order the number three, it includes two eggs, toast, home fries, and coffee or tea for the shockingly low price of $2.50. Fabgrandpa and I can eat and leave a tip for less than $10.
Just for thrills I went to the KFC in town the other day. I told the little guy behind the counter “I want two legs and a biscuit”. He told me “If you order the number four, it would be cheaper”. I told him “I don’t want a number four, I want two legs and a biscuit”. He said “OK”. So I waited for my order, and when he gave it to me I went out to the truck to sit out there and eat my lunch. I opened the box and there were two legs and a corn muffin. The muffin was cold, I mean really cold, like it had been taken out of a refrigerator. So, I went back inside and showed him the contents of the box and asked him if that was a biscuit. I was thinking maybe since I was north of the Mason Dixon line for the first time in my life that what he had given me may well have been called a biscuit here in Pennsylvania. The guy looked at it and said, “No, that is a corn muffin”. I said, “Well, I ordered a biscuit.” He said, “Oh, you mean you really wanted a biscuit?” And I am thinking, YEAH, I thought that is what I said to begin with. I finally got my biscuit, but I do not think I will be going back to KFC any time soon.
On Sunday we drove down to Washington, DC to visit my son and his family. He is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. I was dreading the drive down because I have heard the horror stories about the traffic on the beltway around DC. But, it was not as bad as driving on I-285 around Atlanta on the weekend.
When we arrived at the gate to the base they were not going to let us enter. Then Seth drove up and showed them his ID and told them we were his parents and they let us in. We had to stop at a check-point and give them our driver’s licenses, the truck registration, and proof of insurance. They inspected the truck too. Seth said it is because that is where Air Force One is hangared.
Seth has a four bedroom, two and half bathroom house on base. It is huge! The living room is big enough for a sectional sofa, a regular sofa, a love seat, a big screen TV and a wall unit type of bookcase, and it doesn’t look crowded. I was really surprised at how nice the base housing was.
We drove around the base a little bit. Seth showed us the hangar where they keep Air Force One. He said there are actually several planes of varying sizes that are called Air Force one, and it depends on where they are going and who is going which one they use. How interesting. I always thought there was only one plane.
Seth took us to the BX, which looked sort of like a small mall with a food court. We got some lunch from Captain D’s. After lunch, we went over to the park by the lake and the guys went fishing while Sarah and I sat and talked. Seth caught a huge fish. Fabgrandpa said it was a pickerel. I have never seen one of those. I just know it was very big, because they were on the other side of the lake and it looked like a monster from where I was sitting. Michael caught mostly limbs and branches. We saw some sort of animal swimming in the lake. I don’t know what it was. We think it may have been a muskrat.
We finally had to head back home to Gettysburg. It was a nice day trip, only 108 miles from our house to theirs. We were hoping they could come up here this weekend, but the temperature went down and it started snowing this morning. By dark, there was 8 inches of snow and still snowing. Hmmmm, did someone tell me it snows in Pennsylvania in March?
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We have arrived in Pennsylvania for our job here at Granite Hill Campground. The trip up was very nice. We stopped in Concord, North Carolina the first night at Fleetwood Speedway RV Resort at the Nascar track. It is a good place to stop for the night, but I have no idea why they call it a resort. It just looks like a campground to me.
The next day we headed out to Williamsburg, Virginia. We stopped there for 3 nights at Anvil Campground. If you click on the link, you will see that they don’t have any pictures of their campground on their website. I think there is a reason for that. The place is one step away from being classified as a dump (in my opinion). It is right next to a railroad track, and trains roar by throughout the night. It sounded like those trains were going right through our bedroom. We wondered what those folks thought who were camping in tents right next to the tracks.
We met our friends Charlie and Lynn for dinner on Friday night at Outback Steakhouse. We had fun with them, they are really nice people. They said they were going to come up to Gettysburg sometime this summer. I sure do hope so. Then, on Saturday, we met Linda and Ron and Liz and Russ for breakfast at IHOP. Again, we were glad to see all of them. It was over way too soon. Linda and Ron are leaving Virginia soon for a new job in Florida. Maybe we’ll see them this winter.
After breakfast we drove down to Norfolk to visit Rebecca and see her new apartment. We went to lunch with her and Joe at a Mexican place. Then we drove out to Virginia Beach for ice cream. It seems like all we did in Virginia was eat, eat, eat. We hung out with Rebecca for the rest of the day. We got back home to the train yard about 9:30 pm, just in time for the Amtrack train.
Sunday morning when we checked the map for directions to Prince William Travel Trailer Village in Dumfries, Virginia, we realized that it was only about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., so we called Seth and told him where we were going to be. They decided to drive down and visit with us. We have not seen them in more than 3 years. They arrived about an hour after we got to the campground. It was sooo good to see them. Michael jumped out of the car as soon as they drove up and gave FabGrandpa a big hug. I got one next, and Michael told me he missed me a lot. I met Seth’s new wife, Sarah for the first time. She is so nice! We really enjoyed seeing them. We went out to Cracker Barrel for a late lunch, then went back to the trailer to visit for a while.
On Monday, we only had about 106 miles to go, so we slept late and still got here about 2 pm. The countryside in Maryland and Pennsylvania is beautiful. There are lots of farms with silos and red barns. Even with everything still being brown from winter it is still pretty here. The lakes and ponds are all frozen over, which surprised me. I knew it would be cold, but I guess I just didn’t think about it being THAT cold.
Last night it was 10 degrees! It is supposed to snow 2-4 inches tomorrow. We went out today and filled our propane tanks. Oh, and I had sticker shock at the grocery store in town—celery was $2.89! carrots were $1.99! and 5 lbs red potatoes $3.99! Yikes!
We also had to drive over to Hanover, about 14 miles away, to go to the mall. We got lost on the way, and wound up going into an industrial area, where we saw the Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel plant. It smelled like pretzels in the air around there.
Here in Gettysburg, we have already found a farm market and an egg farm to buy fresh food. There was a nice butcher shop in Hanover near the pretzel place. (I had to go in there to ask directions after we got lost, so of course I looked around to see what they had. The meat prices in there looked pretty good.)
There is a shetland pony farm about 3 miles from here, I want to take Michael and Sarah there, and Spencer too if he gets up here this summer. And of course, there is the National Battlefield Park, and I saw a Civil War Hospital on the way to Hanover. I’m sure there are lots more things to do that I haven’t discovered yet. So, that’s it for today.
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This past week has been really busy for us. It started with Thankgiving. I cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for Fabgrandpa’s family. Well, most of it. I made Sunday Best Roaster chickens, dressing, gravy, butter peas, creamed corn and sweet potato casserole using Linda’s recipe. It was all good, and the other family women brought things too. Let’s just say it was “challenging” to pull this thing off.
Then, on Friday, we worked again for a half day. On Sunday, we went for a long drive around the mountains with Gary and Faye. They had never been to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, so we drove up there. We were all excited about being able to take the shuttle to the top and being able to see 4 or 5 states from up there, but, no, the place was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so we did not get to do it. But, the drive was nice and had a nice long afternoon to visit with our friends.
On Monday, we went down to Gainesville to file an unemployment claim. They said we would hear something from them in 14 business days, but to go ahead and file for the week until we heard from them one way or the other.
We worked a half day again in the morning on Tueday, then we decided we needed to go to the grocery store. We did that and spent a ton of $$, but now we have everything we need to eat like pigs for at least three weeks, maybe four. On the way home from the grocery store, Fabgrandpa’s mother called to tell us that his Dad was admitted to the hospital. They were at the doctor’s office and they sent him to the hospital in an ambulance. One of their friends took Nana to the hospital since she does not drive, so we headed down there to see what we could do for her and to wait with her until she was ready to go home. She decided to stay, so we went home.
On Wednesday morning, she called us and told us they had not found out what was wrong with Poppa yet, and would be doing more tests, so there was no need for us to come to the hospital, so we went ahead with our plans to go to Douglasville.
We went to Becky’s shop to get haircuts, which we both desperately needed. After the haircuts, I went to my mother’s and Fabgrandpa and Becky went to the mall to hang out and go to a movie.
I had a very good visit with my Mom. She was nice and sweet and we had a nice conversation. She gave me a ham sandwich and one of Linda’s mince meat cookie bars and didn’t say anything about me being fat or anything. She gave me some home made pound cake with chocolate fudge frosting and some apple butter to take home with me. It was a very nice afternoon. Dick and Donna came by and I got to finally meet her. She is very nice and I am glad he has found someone to love and to make him happy. He deserves that in his life. When I got ready to leave to go and meet Emily and Spencer, Mama hugged me tight. It felt good.
I met Emily and Spencer at a place called Monkey Joe’s. It is an indoor playground-party place. It is full of things to jump on, slide on, run around on, crawl through, etc… for kids. Spencer was running at top speed, like a short cute little bullet. He is very fast and seemed to never run out of energy. I felt a little bad for Emily, because every few minutes she had to run like a mad woman to catch Spencer jut before he snatched an ice cream or candy bar from the counter and ran away with it. I brought him two little turtles (toys) and a glow in the dark t-shirt from Unicoi State Park. He took an instant attachment to the turtles. He named them Ned and Ted.
From there, we went to Fabgrandpa’s favorite barbecue restaurant, Hudson’s Hickory House, for dinner. There was me and Fabgrandpa, Becky, Emily, Tommy, and Spencer. It was nice to sit down as a family together and eat dinner. (It was also nice to have my favorite bbq ribs! Yum!)
We left Douglasville about 6:30 pm and drove to Gainesville. We stopped at the hospital to pick Nana up and take her home. She announced that she was going to stay another night, and Poppa said if she did then he was going to sign himself out of the hospital. He said it very loudly and with a lot of expletive deleteds. She got
her feelings hurt, but I do understand that he did not want any company. He was still in pain, and they had filled him up with laxatives in preparation for a barium enema on Thursday, so he was not in the mood for company from anyone. We took her home and stayed with her a while, and finally got home around 11pm.
Thursday, we worked a half day again, then went to Nana’s house and stayed with her until Mike got there to spend the night with her. He is taking her to a doctor appointment today, then down to the hopsital in Gainesville to visit Poppa for a few minutes, before he brings home. He is supposed to call us if he decided not to spend the night again so one of us can go over there.
So, that has been our week, very hectic and busy, some fun, some not,
but life is like that. I hope all of you are doing well, and having
some fun along the way. I am waiting to hear from you all.