Once upon a Mississippi there was an Uncle James and an Aunt Cara who flew back to the man-boy's homeland to see the relations. And see the relations they did, namely in the four "j's": Janae, Jaylah, Jameria and little baby James. [Okay, let's be honest, there were three more "j's" to add to the mix: James senior, Judy and Jessica. I feel like my name should be Aunt Jara.]
The deep south ain't NOTHIN' without the great state of Mississippi. And imagine to our great surprise, the delight of getting to spend a birthday evening at Chuck E. Cheese. I don't think the Salem, Oregon Chuck E. ever kicked it this hard:
togetherness (in one "car" ride, no less).
But Alas, the fun with Chuck E. and the boys could only last for so long, before the fun could begin across the freeway at the Red Lobster. On a Friday night. Need I mention that the entire town of Jackson seemed to be convening there for Lobsterfest as well, resulting in a 2.5 hour wait? [It was then that we decided to ask some patrons who just happened to be lounging and not eating or drinking at the bar to let us have their seats. What would you do? We claim west coast ignorance of southern rules of hospitality, but some have advised that that's a universal "no-can-do" rule no matter where one resides...]
Indeed, together the three of us shared two Lobsterfest plates and stuffed ourselves silly (thus only adding to the deep south weight gain that is inevitable regardless of visits to the Lob). We were especially excited that Cousin Gordie decided to make the trek down and back, just for dinner, from Arkansas merely to see his cousin James - now that's love!
And on to more family time it was: on Saturday morning we attended the Blacks in Government brunch at a local hotel. Yes, I was the only white woman there if you're wondering (and yes, that seems to be a normal occurance having married a black man from the south. We're used to it, the family's used to it, but the culture itself - need I say, but they aren't necessarily "used" to it yet).
Here resides some of the ladies of the family: cousin Charlotte, mama Judy and little ol' me.
JHM and JHM - I love their father-son smiles.
Let James and I never be too old to dance to live music.
Though SO much more happened while we were in the deep south, the pictures appropriately end here with some swingin' time in front of the Cracker Barrel. Might I get a couple of those for our settin' ...deck?
Till next time, Jackson...