Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 and the Folkston Funnel

We had a good Thanksgiving. Hope all of you did, too. I swear the trip to and from Brunswick gets longer and longer every year. The Google Maps app helped us take some super secret ninja shortcuts around the traffic, though, which was nice. It only took us an hour to get from North Avenue to Jodeco Road. That's unheard of on a normal day, much less the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As we drove, we kept flipping through the SeriusXM Radio stations. I finally got to hear all of Adele's Skyfall theme song from start to finish. If the theme songs for Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever had a baby, you would get the Skyfall song. No doubting it is a Bond theme! We also had Christmas music to keep us company. Now, I am normally opposed to listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but I also knew I wouldn't have to monitor the songs quite as closely to make sure they were "safe" for little ears. We actually arrived at my parents' house before 11 PM! I wasn't even thinking we'd be there by midnight. Yay, more sleep! Except that I then stayed up until 4:30 AM talking to my brother. Oops. But it was worth it!

Thursday was ultimately very low key, just the six of us and lots of good food. If you've ever wondered how to make the best cornbread dressing in the world, we're showing our secret in the above picture: destem your sage leaves (and cut out the center vein), then fry them in butter! Mmm-mmm-mmm. It is anything *but* healthy, but oh so yum. Thursday night, DH and I went to see Wreck-It Ralph at the theater. We were hoping it would be a good one for Luke, so that my parents could take him to see it while we went to see the new James Bond. Alas, it didn't work out that way. (Read my full Wreck-It Ralph review here.)

Friday was supposed to be spent visiting my grandfather and my mother-in-law, but we ended up not seeing my grandfather. As badly as we wanted to go, they had a stomach flu virus running rampant at his care facility about 10 days ago, and there are still cases of it in the building. Stomach flu is not something any of us can afford to have right now, so I was not keen on willingly exposing everyone, especially when we still had to drive home in a couple of days. I am still terribly sad that we couldn't go, but as a mom and wife, it was the right call.

With our unexpected "free time," we decided to finally visit the Folkston Funnel. My dad heard about it several years ago, and we've been meaning to take Luke for quite a while, but we never "found" the time until now. Per their website:
"The Folkston Funnel is a double track which serves as the main artery for railroad traffic into and out of Florida. From the viewing platform in Folkston, visitors can see trains passing on their way to and from Jacksonville, Florida in the south, and a split north of town where trains go west to Waycross, Georgia, and north to Savannah. The platform features lights, ceiling fans, and a scanner to listen in to radio traffic between trains."

Typically, there are several trains an hour that go past, but being the day after Thanksgiving, there was very little traffic. One of the platform volunteers was there with a laptop, monitoring the track traffic. He said there was a train that was 30-45 minutes out. We had intended to watch 2-3 trains for 30-ish minutes, then go eat lunch. I know my child, and he needed to eat soon, but we didn't want to miss the *one* train that was within waiting distance. So, we decided on an impromptu picnic. Mom and I left the boys at the tracks and went to grab food, which turned into more of an adventure than we intended. First, the Michael's Deli where we planned to get food was now out of business. Plan B was Dairy Queen, but they were out of milk for the kids meal. I knew Luke would be crushed, so I walked across the five lane highway to the teeny-tiniest convenience store I've ever seen (my living room is bigger than the floorspace in that store, I kid you not), but they didn't have milk either! So we stopped at a second convenience store for milk, and just about then, we heard the train. ::sigh:: At least the boys got to see it.

As fun as the train was, I think Luke was more excited about the picnic! He is always begging us to eat outside, usually when we walk up to a restaurant that has outdoor seating, which means I didn't have any of my sun protective gear. Ms. Melanoma here usually has no choice but to nix the idea, but not knowing how much shade might be there, I had prepared for some sun exposure (had my shirt and was wearing sunscreen, plus borrowed one of Dad's sun hats from his car). Trains *and* a picnic? I'm not sure life gets any better than that for an 8-year-old boy.

We hoped another train might be "on the radar" by the time we finished eating, but the next closest train was over an hour away. We will definitely make some time to go back the next time we're around on a non-holiday weekend (whenever that may be). We packed up and headed to MIL's house. She is still quite weak from her ordeal back in February and March, and though she is doing *much* better, she had some rather distressing news for us. Her kidney function never did improve after leaving the hospital, so she will be starting dialysis after the holidays and will be added to the transplant list. Her family (siblings and children) are all still trying to decide what to do about getting tested and/or donating. I envision next year being a very long and possibly traumatic one. If you could keep all of us in your thoughts and prayers, I would appreciate it. Other than that, the visit was very good. Luke is both thrilled with and a little afraid of her dog, and they mutually tired each other out.

After much debate, we finally decided to head home Saturday evening instead of waiting until Sunday with everyone else on the planet. We didn't get home until about 1 AM, but I still think it was the right call. With Luke still getting over his sinus infection and everyone just being so tired and worn down from all the stress of the last few weeks (with the new job and all), it was nice to have a down day before plunging into another week. A very very busy three days, but well worth it. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Currently feeling: full of turkey

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