Monday, December 29, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

This year, we drove to Georgia for Christmas and celebrated with my brother and his family. My parents went, too. It was the first time since 2010 that my entire family was together for the Christmas holiday. It was a long drive to northern Georgia - it took us 12.5 hours to get there because of holiday traffic & accidents. Ugh! 

In the past year, my brother purchased several acres of land, sold his house, and built a new house on the newly purchased land in the mountains. We stayed in the small town at a hotel, not at the new house, and the first time we drove to the new house, my brother had to meet us at the intersection of his dirt road and the paved road because the turn is very difficult to spot. It's not marked. Then he gave us a lesson in driving our car up the mountain road of dirt and gravel and warned us to keep it in first gear, keep it at 10-12 mph, and beware of going too far left or right and into the ditches! 
It's so beautiful and peaceful at his new home. His dog met us in the driveway. She is a fantastic dog! Oh my goodness, I wanted to steal her. I kept telling my brother I was going to lure her back to Pittsburgh with leftover holiday ham. She's calm, mellow, friendly, gentle, not at all jumpy - I never saw her jump on anyone. She just wanders around and hangs out. She doesn't bark just because someone arrives at the house or walks past her.

She does, however, beg. She would look at me with those sad, hopeful eyes and I would be suckered into sharing my food. She won't touch any food unless it is offered to her. You can leave a plate of food on the coffee table and walk away and she'll just sit there, staring at it. She's allowed some people food, but she also likes dog biscuits, which is what she's eating in the below photo.
There was lots of laughing, playing games, meeting our niece's "special friend," visiting with my SIL's family, opening gifts, and of course, eating. The weather was beautiful, especially on Friday, so my brother fired up his smoker and smoked some ribs and pork loin. It was so strange to be sitting outside on the porch without a jacket on December 26 and not be freezing cold!
 His smoked pork was, as always, delicious and had a great smoke ring.
We got to see my niece's car and she received lots of car stuff from Santa (car wax, car air freshener, etc.). She just turned 16 and after a year of permit driving, she can now apply for her permanent license, as soon as she can nail the parallel parking part of the driving exam.

My dad got to drive my brother's big red tractor:
And SP got to fire our nephew's shotgun. Yup. Shotgun. Things sure are different in the GA mountains! Actually, a lot of people where they live hunt, and my brother wanted to be sure his son knew about guns and gun safety. The guns are kept locked up and the ammo in a separate location and nephew isn't allowed to use any unless his dad is there to supervise. It was SP's first time firing a gun. The one they took out was a 20 gauge shotgun. I didn't try it. Everyone said I'd shoot my arm off (ha ha) but my brother has a designated "shooting area" on his land and since I couldn't get to it in the wheelchair, I didn't get to try out the shotgun. I'm kinda bummed about that.
My brother also has an outdoor cat for keeping small critters away. I do not like cats. At all. I suppose this cat is OK. It sure seemed to want to be my friend. It walked all over our car, leaving tiny paw prints. My brother dumped the evil critter in my lap then cackled at my subsequent freak out. I was happier when it stayed away. Far away.

I'm already looking forward to our next visit. It was so nice to hang out in the mountains, have a fire in the fire pit, smell the smoker smoking meat, gaze up at so many stars in the clear sky, enjoy a gentle and calm dog, and terrorize the cat.

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