Over the highway and through the woods we went to Grandma Grace's.
The one time of the year that I see my paternal side of the family. We've all flocked to Grandma's every year for that one special day of Grandma's cooking.
Grandma doesn't cook anymore. She looks confused and Aunt B told me that she had tumors near her brain.
But I made her famous orange cranberry cake and even though it wasn't as good as Grandma's I was proud to see everyone attack it.
And my kids got to play on the rope swing. I spent hours and hours of my childhood whirling on the rope swing outside of Grandma's.
See those blue stairs with the big E behind Finn? Crumpled now, but still strong when I was a child, we would climb to the top and jump on the swing. A cousin or uncle would grab the hanging rope and pull me high enough to kick branches.... sending spanish moss and acorns into the air.
The kids were so excited and once I was assured that the alligators had vacated Grandma's pond they jumped into the water fully clothed.
Their incredibly smart mama packed clean clothing for just this reason.
I never missed an opportunity to get in that pond, smooshing georgia red clay between my toes and catching minnows with my hands.
Grandma used to beg me not to leave...holding onto our arms and making fake crying noises to make us laugh. But this time she accepted our hugs and didn't really seem to have the strength or clarity to protest.
It was a strange way to leave.
But oh how lucky are my kids that they know their Great Grandmother?