I always look forward to Thanksgiving.  For us, it is vacation time and the beginning of the holiday season.  (I’m admittedly a bit of a holidayaholic!)  It is also the time we get to spend a few days with my Mom and Bonus Dad.  Every year for at least the past 18 we have met them somewhere in the southeast for the four or five days prior to Thanksgiving.  It gives us some good visiting time and also helps alleviate the stress of getting the big meal together at her house later.  Over the years we have been  to Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Savannah, Asheville, Blue Ridge, and Helen to name a few.  We used to stay together in their RV (or MW’s family house outside of Helen), but now that we have Penelope, we spread out a little more.  We shop and find good restaurants; really anything to get out and enjoy the time.

This year we went to Franklin, NC.  (There was a little bit of miscommunication early in the game, and MW and I were going to head for Franklin, TN.  Luckily, we worked that out before departure!  It would have been funny, but I’m afraid MW would not have seen the humor.  LOL)  We stayed at the Pines RV Park, which was a great little place.  They are open year-round and have nice, clean bathrooms and showers.  There is a playroom with a ping-pong table, pool table, and lots of board games and puzzles.  They have plenty of sites, and some are on the creek.  Pat and Lou do a good job of keeping the place clean and are very nice and easy going.  Lou was in the process of putting up LOTS of Christmas decorations when we were there.  Overall this is a great place with good prices.  The 30-amp sites were $32 per night and the 50-amp were $36.  They also have some primitive sites that were less.  The only negative was the road noise from the four lane, but I believe some of the sites on the creek may be protected from that somewhat.

We visited several local restaurants.  Most notable was the Frogtown Market in Franklin, NC.  We ate there a couple of times, and they are experts at fried oysters, fried shrimp, and meat loaf.  We all recommend it wholeheartedly.  The runner-up was Motor Company Grill.  This is a 50’s diner-type place with hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, and a soda fountain.  We ended up eating here a couple of times and sampling the ice cream, too.  As an added bonus both places had GREAT music!

This year we had a few technical difficulties.  Mom and Larry had a blowout on the way to meet us.  They have an A-class, which has dual wheels, so that was a blessing.  Apparently the tire is an odd size, though, so finding someone who had one proved impossible.  Their GPS said that they were still 30 miles from the campground, so after talking with several places and realizing that they wouldn’t find one easily, they decided to limp on in very slowly and deal with it when they got there.  They started out, topped the first hill, and saw the Pines RV Park.  Turns out they were only about a mile or so down the road after all.  On Saturday morning we went to several tire places, finally settling on one who said they could get it on Tuesday morning.  That would put us home later than usual, but we would still be able to meet Brooke and family on Tuesday night and Mom and I would be able to get the food done on Wednesday that we need to.  Tuesday rolled around and guess what?  No tire!  Someone forgot to put it on the delivery truck!  Ugh!!  On to plan B…Mom and I headed to her house in Brutus and Penelope.  Larry and MW stayed behind to wait for the tire delivery on Wednesday, then head home.  I think MW was a little nervous when he watched me drive off towing Penelope.  I’ve towed her before and practiced backing up, but he has always been there.  He might say he wasn’t worried, but I think he was.  Especially since, in order to get her set up at Mom’s, I would need to turn her around in a relatively small space.  It all worked out fine, although getting her turned around in the dark was a challenge.  Mom was a good director, though.  (I did rub a tire against the curb a little in the grocery store parking lot, though.  Shhhhh….don’t tell MW!)  I also slept in Penelope for the first time alone.  That is good practice for when I drop him off on the Appalachian Trail to hike for a week next Spring.

Wednesday we visited with Brooke, Jason, Kylie, and Jaxson and got the food prep taken care of.  The tire showed up when it was supposed to for Larry and MW, so they made it home late in the afternoon.  Yay!  We were all tired, but everything that needed to get done was taken care of.  My sister, however, ended up stuck in Valdosta for the night when her truck broke down.  Thankfully, our stepsister, Tracy, lives there (as do our other stepsisters), so she will be able to ride up with her tomorrow and deal with the truck when she gets back.

Thanksgiving has always been a highlight for me.  When I was young, we always went to my grandparents house in Brunswick, Georgia.  It was the one time every year when I could visit with all of my cousins (on that side) and have great food.  I missed going one year (1985) when I was pregnant with my son and the doctor wouldn’t let me travel.  I was 23 at the time and spent Thanksgiving being miserable and feeling sorry for myself.  (Seems a little silly now as that beautiful baby boy was born just a couple of weeks later and was a blessing.)  After my grandmother passed away and my grandfather went to live with my aunt, the holiday celebration was moved to my Mom’s house.  I’ve missed that once, too, in 2014 when I was in Texas for the birth of my sweet little Missy Booger.  (That time I wasn’t miserable.  While I did miss the family gathering, I would not have missed the birth of that little angel for anything!)

Today is the big day, and soon the house will be filled with 20 or so relatives (some years it is 40 or more).  It is always, hectic, crazy…and fun.  I find it more important to me the older we all get.  Most years my Dad and Bonus Mom are also here, which some folks find odd as my parents have been divorced for forty years, but we think it is awesome.

It is almost time for arrivals, so I am going to sign off for now.  I am thankful for this life and those that I am blessed to share it with.  Whatever your tradition, I hope you are enjoying this wonderful holiday and counting your blessings, too.