Friday, November 28, 2008

Goodnight, John-Boy!!

Goodnight, John-Boy. Immortal words in my mind since the TV show The Waltons was my favorite show of that era. Maybe my favorite show of all time. I loved the family dynamic featured on that program and how it played out each week on the 1 hour drama. I always wanted to have a family just like the Walton's had.

Thanksgiving has just passed and I spent some time reflecting on the changes in how our family now celebrates the holiday. We went for our 3rd annual Thanksgiving buffet at the Oyster House restaurant in downtown Olympia, Washington. It was so good. They have roast turkey and all the trimmings plus roast beef, baked ham and salmon, and enough desserts set out to feed the entire town. There were the usual suspects present again this year....all 7 of us. We only have our little, immediate family close to us these days. Bruce and I are the only ones that really enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner anymore so I've given up cooking it. Living in the motorhome, too, would make it a bit of a challenge to cook and host the feast. Therefore....away we go to the Oyster House. As I said, it was the 3rd annual.

I was remembering back to previous Thanksgiving meals through the years. We all lived in Southern California at the time. When I was a kid it was a pretty big deal for the "woman-folk" in our family to get the feast ready. Turkey's back in those days seemed to take a lot longer to roast than they do now. If we were having the family over to our house for dinner I know my Mom had to get up early and start work on that big bird so it could be ready for carving around 2 pm. A lot of the times we went to my Aunt Anne and Uncle Pat's house for big holiday meals. She is an excellent cook and loves to bake also. Back in the 50's and 60's there were usually around 12 to 15 people for dinner. The kitchen was a buzz of activity as Aunt Anne, Aunt Kathryn, Grandma and my Mom got everything ready and all the side dishes prepared. Aunt Kathryn made the world's best creamed onions and they were always a hit. Besides the usual pumpkin and apple pies Aunt Anne often made Apple Dumplings. Yummy! Aunt Anne didn't fix everything, of course. Each family brought something along to contribute to the feast. Grandpa usually got the honor of carving the bird as we all waited to dig in.

As I grew up and eventually got married, Bruce joined in all the festivities. Pretty soon our 2 children enjoyed these family gatherings as well. A lot of wonderful, happy memories were made at each special meal. Of course, being a family with lots of women there were times of bickering and squabbling about some issue or another. Sometimes someone would end up in tears (oh, brother). However, the hurt feelings never lasted and before we knew it things were humming along once again. After the huge meal was eaten and we could hardly move, the men would head out for the usual walk around the block to wear off some of those excess calories. Truth be told, they would have had to walk from Southern California to Texas to work off that meal.

During the 1980's the family sort of went off to different parts of the country to live and the huge family gatherings were no more. Never again did all of us have the chance to be together for Thanksgiving. Sometimes a few of us would get together but it just wasn't the same. Even the Waltons grew up and most of them moved from Walton's Mountain to different locations. I wonder if John-Boy missed those Thanksgiving meals with his family?

For Bruce and I, all of our parents and grandparents have passed on. We are the old folks in the family now. Unfortunately, we won't have the tradition of holiday celebrations with a whole bunch of family present to pass on to our grandchildren. But we can pass along other memories and they will always know the joy and happiness of being part of a loving matter how small it may be.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our Tumwater Hometown

We got back "home" to Tumwater about 9 days ago. Tumwater will always be our hometown even though our true "home" is our motorhome. We got a nice spot to stay for the winter at the Allimor RV/Mobile home park. It will suit our needs just fine.

We took 3 nights to get back up here from Pismo Beach. We stopped at the same 2 casinos and did some boondocking in order to save some money. Fortunately, the price of diesel fuel had come down a good bit since we left in September to go south so it cost less money for us to drive back north. We stayed our 3rd night at the WalMart parking lot in Chehalis because we had to go to Uhlmann's RV the next morning to arrange for some awning repairs. We'll take the RV back in a week or 2 to get those repairs finished. Uhlmann's has done a good job for us in the past and we like to return there for our service requests.

We also took the motorhome to the Cummins dealership in Chehalis to get the oil changed. While there we had them check out the engine also as it was having some "issues" on the drive back north. We have a 400 hp engine which should be lots of power. However, when we were climbing some hills and mountains on I-5 the engine would bog down to about 35 mph. That is not normal. They changed the fuel filter and said that it should do the trick and restore the full power we should have.

We were happy to see our little granddaughters when we got back home. Zoey, the 3 year old, was jumping up and down when her Mom told her we were back in town. They are coming over next weekend for a sleep over. They both love to come to the RV and be with us.

Last night we went over to the girls' house to go with them trick-or-treating. That was fun. It had rained all day long so I was wondering how Halloween night would be. Fortunately, it quite raining about 4 pm and the skies were clear later. Zoey was happy to get dressed up in her angel costume but then she got spooked about something and wouldn't go out. Go figure! She stayed home with Stephanie to pass out candy and the rest of us took Mackenzie out for some fun. We went to about 20 houses and that was it. That was more than enough candy.

We are into our normal routine now that we are back. We walk for an hour 6 days a week. It is dark when we go out at 6:30 am each morning but we get the job done. 3 days a week we still go out to McDonald's for breakfast and we go to church on Sunday. Same old thing.....but it is the familiar rut we like.

We will stick it out for the winter this year as we will be leaving for the east coast come March 14th or so. We are already looking forward to that big adventure. We haven't decided what route we will take next spring. A lot will depend on what the weather is like at that time. Driving east on I-90 through Montana and Wyoming might be dicey at that time of year so we may have to go south to I-40 and go that way. Time will tell.

No matter which route we eventually use, we are going to try to spend as little money as possible on rent getting back to Virginia. In 1999 we took a vacation to the east and we only spent $13.50 between Tumwater and New York for RV park rent. That was great!

Stay tuned to this blog and we'll let you know how we make out once winter really gets here! I'm sure the electric blanket will get a work out this year.