We’ve escaped! We’re on the road for a month, away from work, cold, rain, snow, and routine. We’re spending the next few weeks in the South, seeing family, looking for sun and fun, relaxing, getting in some vacation and down time.
This month we’ll be in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida. We’re spending our vacation time driving, hiking, planning, writing, trading, eating, sleeping, and playing. We’re also going to experience our first-ever cruise, which we’ve been inspired to do after watching cruise ships come in and out of Ketchikan for the past three years. But we don’t need to do Alaska. We’ve opted for the Caribbean, which will be a lot warmer and, I hope, a lot drier.
This time will also allow us to reconnect with parents and extended family, and that will be good. I have some personal trysts to keep, a good-bye to say to my grandmother, who passed away in November. This trip will bring that reality home to me. A visit to the cemetery is in order, and my mom wants to take care of some legal chores during this visit. But in the midst of the serious and the sad, there will be smiles, joy, favorite foods, good memories to explore, and to create.
We’re also doing an eating tour, sampling our Southern favorites: barbecue, farm-raised catfish, Cuban food in Florida, my mom’s and my mother-in-law’s specialities. And along the way, we’re sampling whatever we find that stirs a memory or triggers a craving. Here’s the one we experienced today:
All I needed to see was the sign on the highway…exit now! And we did. Boiled peanuts are a Southern delicacy, a traditional favorite of childhood. These were really good: warm, just the right amount of salt, soft, but not too soft. Because the peanuts are sold in the shell, and the shells are moist from boiling, your fingers get a little shriveled as you shell the nuts and eat. But that’s just the price you pay for these warm little nuggets of goodness. Like the famous chips, no one can eat just one. “One more, one more,” they call to me, and I eat and eat, reminding myself that it’s not every day I find a boiled peanut vendor along the roadside. I’m practically obligated to eat the whole bag. Rob got a few, I’m happy to report. I was a polite pig.
Well, maybe you have to try them to understand. But if you ever have the opportunity, take it.
And now, let the vacation begin!