Last Tuesday Lily headed back to Mossel Bay and Norm and I flew off for our holidays. We flew to Johannesburg then quickly connected to catch our next flight to Atlanta. The Delta flight had microscopic seats with so little leg room that it would only seat a toddler comfortably. It was so uncomfortable that I spent most of the flight roaming around the dimmed plane. But it was better than our flight the previous year as we had flown via Qatar and also had an 8 hour layover so this direct flight was about 15 hours shorter and much easier. Far more expensive, but easier. From Atlanta we caught a shuttle to Chattanooga where my mom collected us.
We were both severely jet lagged but we showered and forced ourselves to stay awake til 9.30 pm local time the first day and slept right through til late morning.
We have been relaxing at home in Ringgold at my Mom’s new house with her and Irie her crazy kitty.
Irie used to be wild but has calmed a bit now that he is old. He begs for human food and loves onion dip, jalapeños and sugar cookies. Weirdo.
Mom always has such stunning Christmas decorations and this year is no exception.
The next day Mom took me Christmas shopping and bought me some trousers for work, some bras and a gorgeous bracelet which is quite African in style so it goes well with my other jewelry. I love it so much.
We have been going out for dinner a lot. I am getting my fill of the things I miss eating in SA.
We went to The Home Plate in Ringgold after our shopping trip.
Mom had her eyes closed in every pic I took.
Home Plate is a cosy little cafe with friendly staff and Southern home cooking type meals. You choose a main and 3 sides and a ‘bread’ to go with it.
I had the prawns with fries, pinto beans and fried okra and chose hush puppies as my bread item. It was so delicious.
The following morning we were up early as my uncle Joe picked us up for a road trip. We drove from Georgia through Tennessee and then on to Alabama. The drive was around Lookout Mountain and along many lakes and rivers.
Our road trip included part of the Trail of Tears. Routes which saw the forced relocation of approximately 60,000 Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas west of the Mississippi River that had been designated as ‘Indian Territory’. Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves were forced to relocate. The relocated people suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their new designated reservation and approximately 4,000 died either before reaching their destinations or shortly after from disease.
Several years ago I had hypnosis for past life regression and clearly saw myself and my husband making this trek. I was pregnant and gave birth after we finished the journey and then my husband died shortly thereafter.
In my current reincarnation I had full blooded Cherokee great grandmothers on both my maternal and paternal sides and I strongly identify with this part of my bloodline, so this trip had a bit of melancholy associated to experiencing part of that journey.
We sat in a large booth. My uncle Joe and I sat on one side.
Mom and Norm sat on the other side.
The decor is fun and the walls are covered in little quirky signs and images.
We were all starving and we ordered some starters to share. We had onion rings which came with a spicy sauce.
We also had fried green tomatoes.
They came with a very unusual crawfish sauce.
Joe had oysters and scallops and I had oysters and prawns.
For dessert we ordered the bread and butter pudding with 4 spoons.
It was all delicious but we were so stuffed! Luckily we had the long drive home to digest. That night we didn’t have dinner as we were still full from our ridiculously large lunch.
We stayed in and watched a film and cozied up.
Saturday Norm and I were invited to a Christmas party by my cousin Warren and his wife Anita. I hesitated to attend as I am the Queen of Awkward in social situations where I do not know anyone but Warren told me my childhood friend Jackie was attending and so I capitulated.
The party was being held at the home of Denise and Jason who live on the water in Tiftonia. Warren has a boat and he knew Denise and Jason from the boating community. Anita kindly offered to collect us and we set off around 8.
The party was packed and the house was stunning. There were three Christmas trees in the lounge, one of them was the height of a double vaulted ceiling and everything was decorated beautifully. The hosts were lovely and very welcoming and we immediately relaxed.
There was a big fire roaring in the lounge and a big fire pit in the back garden. The 3 car garage had been converted into a man cave with a bar, various frozen alcoholic drink dispensers, couches, tables and seating areas, a stripper pole and a stage. Something for everyone.
There was a singer called Dallas Walker performing in the man cave. It was too dark to take a decent pic so I knicked one off of his IG page.
He is a country singer and was so talented! After his set they invited other people up to sing. There were some very talented singers and some very amusing bad singers and everything in between. A few of the men braved the stripper pole but the women were a classier bunch.
I saw Lisa, a childhood friend who had grown up across the street from my Uncle Harley. She looked so cute in her Santa suit. The pic was taken in the man cave so is a bit dark.
From left to right it is Lisa, Warren, myself and Anita.
I also saw my childhood friend Jackie and met her hubby Roger. They make a striking couple. I adore her, she is down to earth and genuine.
The majority of the guests gathered for a group photo.
We had such a brilliant night and staggered home at about 1am. Enroute we cranked the music up, car danced and sang like lunatics. We had such a fun evening.
I slept til 10 and in the afternoon my friend Peggy came to visit me at my Mom’s. Peggy has been in my life as long as I can remember as she was my parent’s friend and then when I grew up she and I were party pals and I love her dearly. She stayed for dinner and we chatted for hours.
It’s been a great first few days spending time with my Mom, family and friends. I am looking forward to the holiday celebrations where I will see more of my family. After Christmas I plan to see more of my friends. It’s been fun so far.
I hope you all have a wonderful week however you choose to celebrate it. I hope you are surrounded by love and good food.
Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo