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~Saturday~  Robert arrived at a little after 9:30 and a little after that we were on the road. It's been quite a while since I've driven to Jacksonville, evidenced by not being exactly sure which exit to take off I-40, but remembering that it was after the Warsaw exit and that there was a sign that said "Jacksonville" before the one to take. We arrived at just before noon, and Vivian and Jeff arrived about 20 minutes later.

Mom and dad gave us a tour of their garage, which Meagan (my niece) and Chris (her husband) had fixed up for them cleaning it out (no small chore, believe me), painting the walls, and installing some nice carpeting. It's become a playroom for the great-grandkids, whom my parents thoroughly enjoy, and I enjoy watching them enjoy them. Thank god my brother started that all off for them, or it's an aspect of life they never would have experienced.

The six of us—me, Robert, Vivian (my sister), Jeff (her husband), and mom and dad—met Meagan (my niece) and Ethan (her son, my great nephew) at Tony's Seafood & Steakhouse. Meagan had picked up a birthday cake for dad and had made arrangements for the wait staff to bring it out when we were done with dinner.

Ethan, my great-nephew is two years old, and this is the first time I've seen him, so he doesn't know me from Adam. What he does know is that I kept trying to take a picture of him, and what I know is that he really didn't want me to keep doing it. I was hard pressed to get any pictures that weren't blurry, plus I was using my camera phone.

Ethan with a french fry

Ethan looking ahead, but down

Ethan moving as I snapped another one

Ethan turning away

Meagan and Ethan turning away even more


He kept turning away and moving whenever I aimed and his body language was obvious that he didn't want pictures taken of him. And then suddenly, he verbalized it to his mother by saying, "Mommy. Man. Stop."

That absolutely slayed me. How adorable.

We had a delicious meal, which we started with three orders of their steamed clams appetizer, which all of us love. I'm partial to the drawn butter that comes with them, myself. Oh yeah, and we ate boatloads of hushpuppies.

For my entree, I had one of their specials, Honey Walnut Shrimp:

Honey Walnut Shrimp

and Vivian had their Crab Cakes:

Crab cakes


This is not the best picture of my parents, but the looks on their faces—particularly on my dad's—just makes me laugh:

Dad surprised, mom's mouth open

Here's a better one:

Mon & dad working their baked potatoes


And here's the birthday boy with his cake with the candles on it:

Dad with his birthday cake; Meagan and Ethan are in the background

My dad said several times over the course of the couple of hours we were there, shaking his head, "80. I just can't believe I've lived to be 80 years old."

His dad died when he was 66, and dad had never expected to live beyond that himself. The fact two of his older brothers have passed before him hasn't helped with that thinking, either.

As you may have noticed in that last picture, that cake was very blue:

Very blue icing on the cake

and after we'd all started eating it, I looked over at my mom and her mouth and lips were all blue. Then, of course, we had to have a picture of "blue tongues" and Vivian snapped this one of yours truly:

John's blue tongue

And here we are on the way out. It was hard to get a picture without the light behind them bleaching them out, and well, with a camera phone, this is as good as it got:

Mom & dad walking out each holding one of Ethan's hands



We didn't stay very long once getting back to mom and dad's, but everybody seemed okay with that. I know my dad was ready for a nap and I knew my mom was getting geared up to go to bingo in the early evening.

Vivian and Jeff set off to Greenville, and Robert and I headed back to Raleigh. A successful birthday celebration, as well as an early Mother's Day for mom. Life is good.

Thanks, Robert, for joining in the family milestone and fun.



Robert headed back to Durham right after we arrived at my place, and I headed upstairs and arrived in my bed about two minutes after that.

I slept until about 9:00, and then waffled about going out, finally deciding to stay in.

I only stayed up for about an hour-and-a-half before going back to the bed for the night. I'm quite sure I'll be up early in the morning, which won't be a bad thing.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
steven
May. 4th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
Wow, you look like your dad. (A younger version, obvs.)
dailyafirmation
May. 4th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
I can't remember ever hearing that before, but okay. I guess that proves I'm not the gay mailman's. :-) I just hope my hair is as thick as his is when I'm eighty, although I'm pretty sure you "get your hair from your mother's side."

Thanks for reading and commenting, my friend!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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