May 14, 2015 (by Angela)
A week ago today, the three of us (Jim, Chewie, and I) hopped into our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid loaded with clothes, gifts, food, folding chairs, a cooler, and dog supplies and began our trek from Savannah, Tennessee, to Savannah, Georgia, with an overnight stop about half way near Atlanta. This long-awaited weekend was the subject of an earlier post, Time to Celebrate. While that post explained the celebration still upcoming at that time, this past weekend was the real deal. My side of the family converged on Savannah, Georgia, to celebrate graduations, birthdays, and Mother’s Day. It was a whirlwind of a weekend; it was a wonderful weekend.
Nathaniel and Rachel, the graduates and one of the birthday “kids,” were already in Georgia. Nathaniel had been there about a month wrapping up his doctoral work, and Rachel joined him the week prior to graduation after completing her SPED student teaching in Tennessee. The next to arrive were Nathaniel’s Dad and step-mom and his older brother Matt and his family. Since Matt and crew would be bunking with his father and step-mom, their schedule had to mirror Steve and Gretchen’s, so Matt and family arrived on Thursday evening, joining them in a condo on nearby Tybee Island. Amanda’s family was the next to arrive midday on Friday. Unfortunately, Amanda and Brett’s son, Sammy, experienced some sickness in the car. They got settled as soon as possible into the hotel in which they would spend the weekend. We were the next to arrive, and our first stop was to check on Amanda’s crew; happily Sammy was doing better, so we found the house we had rented for the weekend, unloaded our things, and then went back to spend some time with Sammy while his parents had a little while to be adults out and about child-free. I’m not sure exactly when Rachel’s mother and sister arrived, but they were present for Rachel’s hooding ceremony on Friday night, graduation, and briefly at the luncheon party. The last family members to arrive were my dad and brother, David; they had flown from Nashville, delayed of course, and finally made it to stay with us at the rental house about 11 p.m. Friday evening.
Out and about early, those of us staying at the rental house and hotel got to the Civic Center early enough to have some fantastic seats for the Commencement Service, and we were proud as Nathaniel led the graduates into the room. He was the first of the doctoral candidates to be hooded and receive his diploma, and not too long after, Rachel (already hooded) received her Master’s degree. The place was packed, so we did not feel guilty about quietly exiting the building to prepare for the graduation lunch and party; many others were standing, waiting for their friend or loved one to graduate, so some were able to take our seats; there were hundreds of undergraduates yet to walk.
Picking up food as we made our way back to the house, we found the cakes made by Lydia, Nate’s sister, had been delivered, and by the time the new graduates arrived, we were ready to eat and enjoy visiting. There were about 20 family and friends there, not counting Chewie, and a good time was had by all as we celebrated. Mid-afternoon to early evening, folks dispersed to do whatever it was they wanted to do.
Then, the “kids” joined together again in the evening for a Haunted Pub Crawl through Savannah. Matt’s dad and step-mom kept his children, and Dad, David, and I kept Sammy. The biggest kid of all, my husband, joined the 20- and 30-somethings. I’ll not elaborate here on specifics; I’ll just say that all had a good time and some had more of a good time than others. The siblings and their spouses, good friend Vince, and one old fogey who thinks he is a kid (LOL) certainly had an evening that will be talked about for years to come. It was good to know these grown kids were having fun together.
Sunday found nine of us at the Diner on Abercorn for breakfast; again, both food and conversation was fun. When it was time to leave the eatery, Amanda and crew left for their home in Virginia. Soon after, Rachel and Nathaniel left for their much-earned week of vacation in Panama City Beach. Dad and David did the touristy thing and took a boat cruise. Jim and I got to go sit for two hours waiting to have our flat tire repaired, and then we went out exploring on Tybee Island, visiting an RV park and having a late lunch at The Crab Shack. Matt and his family, along with his dad’s crew, headed back toward Tennessee.
Dad, David, Jim, and I were the last left in town, and we visited, ate leftovers, and played cards Sunday night. Monday, we prepped the house to leave, packed our bags, loaded our cars, and left Savannah, Georgia, a beautiful place we never tire of visiting. Dad and David spent a bit more time touring around Savannah before heading to Charleston, SC, where they would spend the bulk of a couple of days doing the same. Jim and I hit the road to drive all the way back to Savannah, Tennessee, in one day. The drive back to our RV at Green Acres outside of Savannah, Tennessee, was much easier and shorter than the drive to Savannah, Georgia, All I can say is that despite some snags in travel and a few unfortunate issues like a flat tire, it was a marvelous and memorable and happy family weekend that I’ll always cherish.