Right at the beginning of the trip, on Highway 64, we saw one person stopped by a cop and another car with flashing blue lights behind it in process of being pulled over. I set the cruise to 65.
We were the first to arrive at my sister's place, at around 10:15. For the most part, it's usually just the six of us: me and Robert, my parents, and of course my sister and her husband, Jeff. This year, however, six additional guests were invited, which made it extra festive. They consisted of Jeff's sister, Joann, and her husband Larry, their son, Brian and his wife Corey, and a first-year-empty-nester couple, Rick and Sheila, good friends of Vivian and Jeff's.
Rick took some group pictures, which I'm awaiting via e-mail and will add here when they arrive. In the meantime, here are the ones I took:
(From top-to-bottom and left-to-right): Spicy Toasted Pecans, cheese straws, M&Ms, Robert's homemade caramels, raspberry mustard dip, pretzels, and a homemade olive cream cheese dip to go with those crackers. The big space in the middle was reserved for Sheila's cheese ball, which was really a cheese disk, and crackers, which arrived after I took the picture.
The Dining Room Table
Sheila, Vivian, Mom, Dad, me, and Robert sat in here.
The Kitchen Nook Table
Jeff, Brian, Corey, Joann, Larry, and Rick sat in here.
The Kitchen Window
Vivian is always decorating everything around the house. I forgot to get a picture of her mantle, which is always festively decorated, too. I should have at least got a shot of the wax art that resulted from that little fire that we had to put out when one of the candle arrangements collapsed upon meltdown. :-)
(Clockwise from the top): Deviled egg, mashed potatoes, broccoli salad, corn pudding, two biscuits, ham & turkey, another deviled egg, dressing with a chourico link on it, a dollop of Portuguese rice, and cranberry sauce.
There was a wide variety of desserts to choose from including, but not limited to: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pumpkin cobbler, and pumpkin cheesecake (from The Cheesecake Factory, no less).
After getting my parents' car backed out of the driveway and them safely on the road, Robert and I headed back. Mercifully, it was cloudy on the way, which meant the sun setting in the west wasn't in our eyes the entire drive back, like it usually is. And, as a welcome home gift, after passing a slight bit of rain on the way back, the skies opened to sunshine as we approached Raleigh.
Not surprisingly, as soon as Robert headed back to Durham, I headed in for a 1.5-hour reunion with nappy, setting my alarm for 7:00PM.
I arrived at Sarah and Andrew's at a little after 8:00, where Brad and his girls (Eleanor and Frances) already were, and where later, Anna joined us. I had a delicious turkey sandwich and some potato chips, along with one bourbon and diet.
We played a couple of games of Bananagrams, and had lots of interesting discussion—which goes without saying whenever Salon, or some portion thereof, gathers—including a somewhat serious one about the pros, cons, risks, and conundrums associated with opening up membership to Salon, as well as how it frames friendships, and the hows, whys, and when to end a Salon. Serious shit.
We were also entertained by no less than three plays, by (Brad's) Frances and (Sarah and Andrew's) Ella and Jonah. The plays had names such as: The Mean (or was it Angry?) Shopkeeper and The Slow Chef, and I learned a parenting tip as a result: You only have to pay attention when they say, "Hey you're not watching," and clap at the end of course. Oh yeah, and if you start clapping too early, even if it's just to try and make them think it's gone on long enough, they'll say, "Hey, it's not the end."
I left the Warren's house at about 11:15, 11:30, and stopped by Trailer Park Prize Night. It was crowded but not nearly as much as I thought it would, and evidently not as crowded as Flex thought it would be, as they had set up extra tents outside in the smoking area.
Glenn H. and Henry O. were out, and it was nice to catch up, since it's been a while since I've seen both of them.
Sitting at the very first table beside the stage, there was a mother there with her son, about which at first one thought, "How sweet is that." However, by the third time she'd made a huge spectacle of herself, including walking up on the stage bent over with a dollar bill in her mouth, when the performers usually come to you for their tips, one thought, "Oh you poor dear." About the son.
The show runs from 12:30 until 1:30, 1:45, and I left some time between 1:00 and 1:15.