Friday, May 29, 2009

Carolina Low Country

Eight years have passed since I fell for an 18 year old named Andrew Flegal. Memorial Day weekend marks that historic meeting. This year, our 'anniversary' was spent in the company of Andrew's relatives in the beautiful town of Ridgeland, South Carolina.

At the River House
I'm disappointed that it's taken us 10 months to make the short trip to visit with this part of his family. They were truly a welcoming and remarkably down to earth group. Our connection to this part of his family tree is as follows,

The History:

Andrew's mother, Teresa, lost her Dad when she was a nine month old baby. Her father, Wickman McCormack, was tragically killed in an airplane accident. He was near the age that Andrew is now.If I'm not mistaken, Wickman is currently survived by his three daughters, two sisters and a brother. Andrew's Great Aunt Parnice, Wickman's sister, opened her home to our little family.

That's Aunt Parnice

Ridgeland is an important part of my children's history. As a young widow, Andrew's Grandma Helen, met the missionaries, gained a testimony and joined the Church. It's the place where this special piece of his family still grow and thrive. I'm so proud of my husband's heritage.

The Landscape:

Aunt Parnice lives on a 700 acre plantation. Kiwi, corn and other vegetables thrive here. Three fishing ponds grace the plantation, as well as a myriad of picturesque Oak trees that are adorned with cascading waves of Spanish moss.The Recreational Activities:

While 'out & about' on our self-guided plantation expedition; we discovered a small alligator. His refuge was an eight acre pond. Andrew wasted no time in harassing the poor thing... I say that like I was fond of the reptile.

Do you see the ripple in the water? That's where he made his escape!

I wasn't. His menacing stare and dangerous reputation had me shaking in my boots. Feeling a false sense of security, Andrew did his best to rile up said creature with the assistance of rocks, clods of dirt, sticks... you get the idea. He hurled the objects into the pond in an attempt to make contact. My father in law, who quickly caught wind of my worried/frantic state, laid a hand my shoulder and kindly advised me to take a Valium.

Fishing came next. Eliza was adorable as she tried her best to follow her Daddy's instruction. She insisted that I accompany them to the fishing pond. I'm glad I was there to watch her reaction as she reeled in her first catch. Her expression was a mix of triumph and fear.Eating was the third, and best, recreational activity. What made it so good was who we shared the time with...

The People:

The night of our arrival, we met with over 50 members of Andrew's extended family for dinner. Imagine 30lbs of shrimp, corn on the cob & sausage, every Southern side dish known to man, followed by the best blue berry dump cake/cobbler your mouth has ever tasted. Despite the merriment of the evening, I felt a pang of sadness as I thought Grandma Helen. She loved these people so much and would have delighted to be in their company.
Andrew's parents, sister Liz and her son Truman were there to enjoy the weekend with us. Living away, I've learned to truly cherish the time we have with our family. Time isn't wasted or taken for granted. Eliza cries every time one of them leaves. "I miss my Lizzie" or "I want Bubba to come back!"

The "Why-me" IncidentLadies, this question is for you. Is it odd that I only took one bra with me on our trip? I've learned the hard way that it would be wise to bring a spare. Sitting in Sacrament meeting, I felt an alarming 'pop.' The clasp of my "unmentionable" item broke. I was an extremely distorted, not to mention - distraught - mess as I tried to hurry myself out of the chapel.

Friends of the family waited in the foyer of the building to hug, greet and welcome our family. Praying that the near by Piggly Wiggly might be able to help me out, I did my best to side step these kind strangers. I clutched my diaper bag tightly as I made way to the nearest exit. Lesson learned: don't procrastinate the day of your next (and in my case, much needed) new bra purchase.

Congratulations to me for writing this lengthy recap. My eyes are burning. I'm sorry if yours are too.


Liz Green said...

I love how you add so much character to your stories that bring great laughter. Mark is often in the other room as I read your blog asking what's so funny?
So glad we could be there to enjoy the trip with you. What a great picture you got of Wickman's grave sight. It's crazy to think he was close to Andrew's age when he passed away.

B-dizzle said...

I loved every minute of it. I so wish we could have been there. They are such great people. They really have so much love. I laughed out loud when I read about my dad telling you to take a Valium. He says very similar things to me, too. :) Love you guys.

Allison and Josh said...

Happy "anniversary," Ali! haha. I can clearly remember being at youth conference that summer and you telling me about Andrew. And thanks for the cute comment on my blog! You'll have to give me your address and I'll send you an invite.

Keersten said...

Holy cow, that place is amazing! How cool to have such colorful and fun relatives and history! Truman is so big and Gary is so Gary! Love the hijinks and the pink cowboy boots.

Audra said...

Sorry about the bra! I hope it was remedied! Maybe you only packed one because bras are so expensive purchasing more than one is out of the question!

Melvin said...
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