Raymond and I decided to go to Illinois to visit the kids and my sister for Thanksgiving. According to my map program, it was 628 miles and would take around 9.5 hours to drive (it was way off). We decided to leave on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in the afternoon and drive till we got tired and stop for the night. It was fun packing clothes and goodies. I made three kinds of cookies and put them in containers: one for Christopher, one for Jennifer, and one for my sister, Laura. I also took the fixings to make pumpkin ginger bread, although I never got around to making it. Oh, and I took the Christmas tree skirt that I showed you in the last post.
Traffic leaving Chattanooga was very slow but after a couple of hours it thinned out and we could go the speed limit. We drove till Paducah KY and stopped for the night at a Holiday Inn Express. When we got up Wednesday, it was drizzling rain and ended up raining almost all the way, which slowed our progress.
We had one memorable experience in Paducah. In the hotel lobby, I found a brochure for the Paducah Quilt Museum. It was just a short ways and even on the exit we had taken. If we had had more time, I would have liked to stop, but we would have had to wait for it to open and that would have us arriving late. Happily, we will be going that way again and can plan around a stop at the museum.
Then when we leaving the hotel, Raymond turned to the right toward a gas station to fill up before we got on the road. As we were leaving the gas station I glanced across the street and saw the legendary Hancocks of Paducah, a fabric Mecca! It was open and we got to go in and browse. What a wonderful store. So many bolts of fabric. Wow. It was hard to leave, but again, now that I know where it is, we can go back. You saw the pictures of the fabric I got there in a previous post. It was a wonderful little side trip.
Back on the road, the rain was steady slowed us a bit. We didn’t get to Jenny’s house till after three pm. The next couple of days were spent between Jenny’s house and Christopher’s house where we slept. Thanksgiving day was great. There was so much food, and we ate and talked and played games, and talked some more.
Joe and James, my grandsons, are both taller than me! That was such a surprise. I can’t believe how much they have grown. And of course, they have gotten more handsome too. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the three of us. I also got to meet my two grand-puppies, Dexter and Buddha. Dexter is the beagle and Buddha is a great dane. He is only 10 months old, while Dexter is a year or two older. Both pups have the sweetest temperaments and are quite lovable.
The weather was not much cooler than it was in Chattanooga at the time, but we did appreciate having heavy coats and lots of layers of clothing. Sight seeing was at a minimum because the real purpose to go was to be with the kids. We did take a little trip across town to Robert’s Sew and Vac, where I got a couple more pieces of fabric. And I got to show Raymond all the high points of Joliet. We got food one evening at Portillos. http://www.portillos.com/, a great restaurant with a pretty good version of an Italian Beef Sandwich (which I have searched for in vain here in Chattanooga and previously in Florida).
It was so good to see my kids and grand kids and grand puppies. They are all happy and doing so well. I love them more than I can say.I also got to spend time with my friend Lynn, whom I also love.
We planned on leaving Saturday morning to have time to hang out with my sister before heading south again. We stopped at her house and the three of us went out to breakfast at the Chick o Dee restaurant in Wilmington. That was where Laura and I would have breakfast with Aunt Lena and Aunt Mae on Sundays before going to visit Gramma Webster at the nursing home. It was quite a tradition for several years. After Gramma passed, we still had breakfast with the Aunts.
After that we drove all over Wilmington, showing Raymond all the significant places of our childhood – where we went to school, all the places we use to live and hang out. He even got to see the giant astronaut at the Launching Pad drive-in http://www.il66assoc.org/attraction/launching-pad-drive were we use to get ice cream. Laura drove us over to Morris where we got to visit our friend Lorraine in her shop, The Birds and the Teas.
This is my sister Laura, Lorraine and me. Laura and Lorraine have been friends since they were in sixth grade. I think that is very cool to have a friend for so long.
The last leg of our tour took us through Mazon and to Verona to the farm where Aunt Mae and Uncle Paul use to live. No one lives there now, but it is a place full of wonderful memories of summer vacations and ponies and horses and sheep and tractors and corn and soybeans.
Eventually, we had to say good bye and headed back home. The day was bright, the weather was clear and we made good time, ending up staying in Paducah again, at the same Holiday Inn. Again, we got up and on the road too early to try to visit the museum, but one day I will get there. Traffic slowed down again as we neared Chattanooga.
As much fun as it was to go and visit and all that, it was also wonderful to get home. We had left the cats with lots of food and water and an extra litter box, and they managed fine without us.