So yesterday Bill and I sadly had to take Mum and Dad back to the airport after having spent a lovely time with them visiting for Easter. While they were here they wanted to have an American Experience so we did our best to oblige.
Monday 5th April
Bill and I took off from work early and headed to the airport to pick Mum and Dad up. I was very excited and bouncy, and my tummy did lots of little nervous flips while we waited for them to emerge from the depths of Hartsfield-Jackson into the Arrivals. It seemed to take ages for their flight to come through immigration and Bill and I tried to spot the Brits out of the crowds of travellers, judging them on their attire. The flights that came in with people baring their knees obviously did not originate in London!
Squealed lots when I spotted Mum and Dad and was very happy to see them. Gave them lots of huggings and was shocked to discover it had been touch and go as to whether they were going to make it or not as Mum had had to get clearance from a Doctor on the day before they flew. Thankfully it wasn’t anything really serious and I could just strangle Dad for the way he told me about the problem. He marched off to reclaim his baggage after telling me this news, and then took his time explaining what the actual ailment was. Gah!!
Poor Mum and Dad were quite shattered after their queuing to get through the airport and had had enough of Atlanta Airport by the time we found them, unfortunately we had to extend their stay though as Dad had to pick up his hire car. Hoorah! More queuing! Bill then took Mum and the luggage back to the house in the truck, while Dad and I boarded the shuttle bus and went to pick the car up.
Made it back home and introduced Mum and Dad to the new member of the family. They could hardly believe Genghis is the same dog that they saw on the streets at Christmas, he’s just so soft and lovable now. The rest of the evening was pretty much spent feeding Mum and Dad, letting them relax and seeing what bits and bobs of mine they had managed to fit into suitcases and bring over with them.
Mum and Dad retired to bed and I stayed up and made some Cheese and Potato Pasties for them to sample while they were here.
Oh yeah and I think I surprised Mum with my hair. 🙂
Tuesday 6th April
A beautiful sunny day. Bill had to work but Dad, Mum and I ventured out for an exploration. We headed North in search of Red Top Mountain but ended up detouring East looking for somewhere closer to stop and have a picnic. We found a little pull off by the Chattahoochee River that had some picnic tables and devoured some provisions we had bought at Publix that morning.
After we’d eaten we then followed our noses and walked along the track by the river. There was a little covered area at the end of the path where several men were fishing, very quiet and pretty. Mum and Dad both disappeared into the undergrowth at this point, curious folks that they are, while I decided not to risk scraped and scratched legs and waited on the trail.
Onwards we travelled in the car up towards Roswell after that. There was a Nature Centre marked on the map and we decided to investigate. Had a very pleasant time wandering around the centre, where the major attraction was a beaver, and along the River Boardwalk Trail. It was very warm though and we all wilted somewhat.
Did some frustrating navigating through chaotic Atlanta and managed to make it back to the house eventually.
Had a nice evening meal at The Heaping Bowl in East Atlanta.
Oh and today Dad noticed I’d chopped my hair off! Not very observant!
Wednesday 7th April
Baseball Day!! Whooo! I’d booked tickets online to take Mum and Dad to a Braves game and today was the day. This was their second game of the season and I was looking forward to giving my parents the experience that is baseball at Turner Field. But first…
We had a fairly lazy day in anticipation of a packed evening. Although Mum and Dad’s definition of relaxing around the house is certainly not the same as mine as they both donned rubber gloves, got a bucket of warm soapy water and attacked our front porch and driveway until it gleamed. Blimey! Had to drag them away from scrubbing to go and meet Bill for lunch. They got a tour of BrightHouse and I think were rather impressed by the place and it’s creative spirit, and very amused at finding Michelle stealing snacks from someone else’s desk! Bill and I then took Mum and Dad to a great little pizza place we discovered a few weeks ago. Apparently popular in the evenings with Georgia Tech students The Rocky Mountain Pizza Company is a good looking place with plenty of American Sports ambience without being laddish and overpowering. Bill and I drool over their Buffalo Chicken pizza and I think Mum found their Sweet Potato Chips (aka Fries, aka Sunsticks) to be to her liking.
Delivered Bill back to work and returned to the homestead with full tummies. I then went to take a nap and conked out for most of the afternoon, and Mum & Dad napped but managed to prise themselves away from the bed again and enjoyed the rays sat on the front porch with some good books until Bill came home. Supplied them with my special pasties for tea and was very happy that they liked them and thought they tasted better than the shop bought ones. Whoo! Go me!
And then…BASEBALL BASEBALL BASEBALL
I was very glad we’d had Bill added to the car hire agreement so he was able to drive us across to Turner Field, gets rather hectic there on game nights it does. Parked in the Orange Lot and walked across to the stadium, the atmosphere building up as we approached. I remember the first time Bill took me to a game and the whole entrance and crowd amazed me so I hope Mum and Dad had the same sensation.
We arrived just as the National Anthem was being traditionally massacred by a rather dubious looking bunch of men in green kilts. We didn’t make it to our seats for this, but caught it on the giant TV screens that grab your attention as you enter the stadium.
Anthem over we proceeded to our seats via Scouts Alley (had to walk Mum and Dad through there!) and en route I almost lost Bill to a pink hussy. Judy Jetson grabbed him and made with the hugs, grrrr, can’t have that!
Our seats were the cheap seats, but that didn’t matter. We were right up on the top storey, directly behind Home Plate. Not only did we get a good view of the game, but we got a fantastic view of the city skyline, especially as it turned to dusk and the sun set.
Chose a good game to go and see too. It was the Braves vs the Mets and very exciting it was too. In the third inning the Braves went from being very down and looking out of practice and out of the match, to turning the game around. They got 11 runs in that one inning and went on to kill the Mets. Hoorah!
Daddy was very amused by all the crowd participation involved with baseball, all the interval sponsorship and cheers. He got very into his tribal chants…”CHARGE!!!!”…and “Go BRAVES go!!!”… I think we should have maybe provided him with a red foam tomahawk to crush the enemy with too.
One of the items Mum and Dad brought over for me was a pair of binoculars that used to belong to Nan and Grandad. I took them to the game with me and we were able to scan Turner Field and look at all the details. Could zoom in and see the guys with the drums doing their thing on the other side of the field. Lots of fun.
Thursday 8th April
Red Top Mountain was Tuesday’s destination and we didn’t quite make it then, so we tried again today. Took Quince along too and he had a great time. Wish Genghis could have come but he’s still in Heartworm Recovery.
Had the strangest experience in a restaurant at Red Top Mountain. When we got there Mum and Dad were parched and fancied a coffee. A restaurant had been marked from the road so we followed the signs and arrived at this lodge. It was weird. The place felt like it was an exclusive buffet for hotel guests. There was no sign of a till o
r prices for the food which was laid out on the counter as a buffet or like at a canteen.We’d asked before going in if we could just have a cup of coffee and a cake and had been told that was fine so in we went and helped ourselves from the dessert bar. No sign of any drinks though. We sat confused and finished our cakes before Dad grabbed someone who looked like they worked there and managed to snag some coffee. We had to then order a special bill so we could pay for what we’d consumed (though no one had actually taken any notice of what we’d taken from the buffet) and when we paid the guy commented that “maybe next time we’d come for lunch properly” Strange.
Next odd and baffling experience was paying for the car park. Several signs had declared you had to pay but there was no indication as to how or where to do this. We headed for a trail with Quince and finally came across our answer. There was a box with envelopes in which you had to put $2, tear off a receipt to hang on your car’s rearview mirror and then push the envelope through a slot into the box. Okay, fine. Problem came when we had no bills, only coins, and the envelope wasn’t sealable. Getting our payment through the thin slot was an ordeal as the coins threatened to fall out of the envelope, and also had to lie flat in order to fit. Grrrr. Got there eventually but got rather flustered and irritated in the process.
So finally we made in onto the trails. Hoorah! Was a gorgeous day and we had a nice walk. Quince had a great time. We saw some deer and Mum spotted a turtle basking on a log in a lake. We also saw some snakes swimming in a pool and I was very glad I hadn’t let Quincy go into the water. I have no idea what the snakes were but they’re not going near my dog!
That evening we decided to take Mum and Dad to Twain’s in Decatur to play some pool. I was supposed to be going to TaeKwon Do while Bill entertained my folks but decided I didn’t want to miss a minute with them, don’t see them very often and have no idea when the next time will be. I am terrible at pool on these huge American tables even though we did play by UK rules which was comforting and anyway, they make far more sense. Basically Bill won every game no matter who partnered him (we kept switching around). I did manage a few shots I could be proud of though. Dad and I almost won against Bill, at least we would have if Dad hadn’t potted the cue ball with the black on the last shot. Rats!
Made Mum and Dad try Twain’s Honey Mustard Chicken Wings and got liquored up. Mmmm.
Then on to The Earl to see National Grain play. Practically the entire audience consisted of the BrightHouse crew. Ben, one of the guys in National Grain and with whom Bill works, and several others had also attended our wedding so Mum and Dad were able to recognise a few folks.
Milledgeville beckoned today. We packed up the dogs and drove in convoy down to see Bill’s parents, Mum and Dad took Quince and we had a very excited Genghis in the back of our truck.
Down in Milledgeville we went out to lunch with Fran and had a walking tour of the town, that is until my feet started to get sore as I wasn’t used to walking around in flip flops. We browsed through several junk/curio/antique shops and got treated by Dad to huge helpings of ice cream when we needed to cool off a little.
Bill then took us on a little car tour of the town’s asylums and prisons, and Fran made us detour to a little spot by the side of the Mental Hospital. Here there were rows and rows of little brass markers sticking out of the ground. Each one represents the grave of a mental patient who had died at the institution. There are no names, only numbers. These brass sticks are gravestones that have been recovered from the undergrowth or from where they had been put to one side or pushed deep into the ground to make it easier for hospital crews to mow the lawn 30 years ago. It’s quite a poignant and unnerving place. Further from the road, amongst the trees and remains of other graves a solid brass guardian angel has been placed to stand guard over the nameless graves. The graveyard is being restored and turned into a proper memorial to the unknown dead who lived their lives emprisoned with mental illness at a time when it wasn’t understood. When we were there the sun was shining, the trees were in bud and the area should have been peaceful and reposed. Instead however, juxtaposed with the solitude of the dead there were the jarring shouts and freaky noises travelling down from the prisoners at the penitentiary across the road.
*deep breath* …to be continued