Food, fun and family make for good time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My girls and I very rarely have the opportunity to go out of town on a “vacation.”

Between work, school and the sport du jour, it’s somewhat difficult to have the energy to pack the bags, let alone pile into the car and drive for two hours.

So, when the birthday party invitation came across my calendar for my niece who is technically my cousin, I toyed long and hard about taking a road trip.

Eventually, family obligation won out over thoughts of spending the weekend in our pajamas, eating popcorn and watching movies. And as hard as it may be to believe, I’m glad it did.

I left Andalusia Friday around 6 since the plan was to pick up the girls from ball practice at 7 before driving down to Orange Beach.

At 6:55 – which was coincidentally the same time I pulled up at the gas pump because my fuel light was on – I realized I didn’t have my debit card. Nor did I have any cash, since part B of the plan was to stop in Crestview at the bank to get some.

What I did have, thank God, was my momma, who had elected to ride down with us instead of taking a separate vehicle.

Let me just say right now, aside from the fact that she paid for the gas, I love my momma.

Not “Mother,” mind you – she hates that, and it’s the quickest way for me to get in trouble. Apparently, I have a certain “tone” when I say it that she thinks is condescending or some such nonsense.

When I was growing up, she, my brother and I made this same trip several times to visit her sister, mother of said birthday girl. Those trips up and down I-65 are the reason I know the words – or at least the chorus – of almost every 50’s and 60’s song known to man.

Family time is what it was all about, and I was convinced that our current escapade was happening. Period.

We finally arrived about 9:30-ish, after an extra 30-minute drive back to my house to pick up said debit card and a sandwich and only one bathroom break.

We then spent the next two days having a fantastic time.

If there’s one thing I love about huge family gatherings, it’s the huge family gathering – the loads of laughter, food and good times.

At ours, there was a bouncy jumpy thing for the girls; enough cake, ice cream and chips to feed an army and a host of friends and family.

Saturday was followed by a Sunday drive home through Pensacola with shopping and a giggly shouting match about where to eat dinner – Chinese won after it was discovered by the youngest that Chili’s doesn’t actually serve chili and chicken McNuggets were not in the running.

By the time we made it home after two bathroom breaks and a stop off at Wal-Mart, we were all tired, but it was a good tired.

Despite the rocky start, the trip proved to be a restful, rejuvenating experience that I’m glad my family had the chance to experience.