Feb 09

On the Road with Thelma & Louise

babybootsI scurried out to the mailbox a few weeks ago and found a familiar site. An envelope addressed to Amber and Myself with no return address on the front. There was an address on the back and that can mean only a couple of things. Somebody’s getting married or having a baby.

Within the last 10 years, Amber and I have been invited to attend and be apart of over 30 – 40 weddings. In our wedding alone there were 23 people in the wedding party and that is all we could fit in the ceremony. The Lord had blessed us with a lot of friends and we had a great time at all of the weddings.

When you have that many weddings in that amount of time, a pipeline of baby announcements is sure to ensue and they have. We have seen more than our fair share of save the dates for baby showers and birth announcements. So when we got one on that cold January day it was no different…until I opened that invitation.

This one was for a baby shower for my cousin Lisa. She was recently married to her long time beau, Maverick Thacker and they are now expecting. We were ecstatic about going down to Valdosta for the shower. My cousin Rodney, who is more like a brother to me, and his wife Julie are the party hosts. Now that made us even happier because we have been dying to see the home they just finished building and moved into.

Waiting for the trip down was like waiting for the last day of school as a kid. We just couldn’t wait. We went back and forth about how we’d get there. Grandmas in the same car or Grandmas in their own car with Gabby. You name it we thought of it. Everything was mapped out and we were set to go. The plans were:

Friday – Get a good night sleep

Saturday – Get up, leave by 8AM (to be there by noon) and Gabby was riding with the Grandmas.

Gabby fell asleep around 9PM Friday night and I went to bed around 11PM. I heard her moving around and making noises, but that’s pretty normal for a three-year-old. The next thing I know, I am the recipient of a flopping arm in the face as Gabby rolls over in our bed around 3AM. I thought nothing of it, as it was pretty normal up until then. Just a few minutes later, she says, “Daaaaaaddy. My earrings hurt.” For the next hour and a half I wrestled with my sleep and her earrings and finally got them out.

Amber is still pointing and laughing at me because Gabby wasn’t talking about her earrings. She was talking about her ears. Amber, being the smart woman she is, decides to drill down on our little toddler,

“Your earrings or you ears.” She asked

“My ears”

“Inside?” drilling down.

“Yes, inside my ears hurts.”


As Gabby was growing through year 1 and 2 she was plagued with ear infections. To the point, infact is that she had to have tubes surgically implanted in her eardrums.

As parents, we both went into panic mode and then disaster relief control mode.

After much deliberation, we made the decision. Amber and Gabby would stay home and I would go and represent “the McKinneys” at the shower.

The grandmas were gracious enough to let me pile in with them. I would definitely miss my Ladies, but I couldn’t wait to see my family either. Amber can hold her own, but Gabby was sick. What would she think if her “Daaaaaaaddy” wasn’t around when she was sick?

Nonetheless, I left with 2 Crazy ladies bent on adventure. A.K.A. Thelma and Louise. On our route to Valdosta, we traveled the way I used to travel years ago when I was dating Amber and making the 4 ½ hour trip twice each week. It brought back old memories and was quite enjoyable. For once in a long while, I didn’t have to worry about whether we needed gas, or where we’d stop to pee, or when we would get there, or anything else for that matter. I was able to write, read, and sleep (if I could do that). It was a pleasure.

We stopped off in Nashville to visit with my Granny. She’s been in a nursing home there for a long time and I rarely get to see her. We both realized how much we missed each other once I arrived and it was good to catch up. Due to a stroke, she cannot talk in “real” words, but I understand her just fine. I always have. We shared a Pepsi and Mom and I made a promise to come back on the way out of town the next day.

Aunt Barbara had meal fit for a King ready for us when we arrived and I ate a King’s share too. She had a new batch of Jelly ready for me to take home. Amber and April (and me) all die over her jelly. It is soooo good. She makes it at home and it is to die for! Blueberry jelly this time. I actually contemplated not telling Amber or April, but thought I might not be able to explain the blueberry stains on my shirt collar to Amber. I called Amber and told her I’d be bringing home the goods when I returned.

We were all hurrying to get out to the Richardson’s for the shower.  The Richardson’s humble abode is gorgeous. Plantation style home with stained concrete floors. Their new home has all of the modern amenities while maintaining a southern charm and elegance that is unmatched. Blown away is so cliché, but it’s all that fits how I felt.

Lisa is the baby on my mom’s side of the family. The youngest of the cousins and now she’s having a baby. She was glowing. I guess that’s what pregnant women do, but I’m a guy. I can only notice and comment on so much. The baby was now having a baby. It drove home the point that my aches and pains do each day, I’m getting old.

I decided to borrow mom’s car to visit some friends I haven’t seen in 4 years or so while the ladies discusses swollen ankles and other things guys don’t discuss very well.    That night we talked into the wee hours about old times. The next morning we packed up and headed back. We stopped in to see my Granny again, this time arming ourselves with a half pint of KFC’s finest mashed potatoes and gravy and another ice cold Pepsi. Granny was delighted. I think she was happy to see us too.

Thelma and Louise let me be a kid again with no driving responsibilities on the way back and we meandered our way up 221.

I found out a few things on my trip. Gabby ended up with 2 ear infections, I found out my family are all doing well, and Thelma and Louise make pretty good road trip partners… as long as you don’t mind stopping in every other town.

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