This post is about the journey.
I'm a northern girl, and while I have been to Florida before I have not been to South Carolina or Georgia (Atlanta Airport notwithstanding), and I have certainly not driven to Florida.
I've had very little experience with the true south (other than Southern Living, and my old roommate the Pianist) so when we saw these at a gas station in South Carolina, it was a combination of horror and wonder. Almost like being offered a roasted cricket.
|You're not in New England anymore.|
I was also impressed with just how much of the south was swampy. At least along route 95, South Carolina and Georgia have a lot of swamp. And you can smell it.
|those are pine trees acting like palm trees|
We met Scarlet in Georgia. Who knew she worked at the welcome center.
Also in GA, there were large, noisy, starling-like birds sitting in a tree loudly gossiping about the people at the rest stop.
The sun was setting when we hit Florida. It was a really pretty sunset, which I could not capture from the car. We also hit traffic in Florida, and as usual the last leg of the journey was by far the longest.
But we rolled in and collapsed into beds in our motel around 11pm. Alive. Tired, but alive.
The next day was filled with emotion and exhaustion and flowers and tears as we joined the family to say goodbye to the father of 7, grandfather of 24.
After the funeral the family gathered at the grandparents' apartment. Among other things, the celebrated the birthdays of everyone whose birthday fell within 2-3 weeks of the event. I guess that is one of the things that makes family--standing around singing 15 different versions of happy birthday after a funeral. It was a beautiful moment.
Speaking of beautiful moments, we also had the opportunity to go through their old photo albums--with a whole slew of family present to answer questions about who was in the pictures. I wish I could have written it all down! This is Zorro's grandmother on her wedding day, what a picture!
As you can imagine, bedtime was late, and everyone was even more exhausted than before. But I really feel that the day was a good celebration of life. Zorro's grandfather is with Christ now, and he had a full, vibrant life and lots of vibrant children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It is fitting to weep, but it was also fitting to still remember everyone's birthdays.