We had such a wonderful mini-vacation. I love taking mini-vacations. First - because it breaks up my vacation time so it feels like I get way more time off than I actually do. And Second - because it seems like the perfect amount of time to be away from home, but not so much time that you never want to come back. Let's face it, after my 12 days in Sweden a few years back I started wondering did I really need to work.....it certainly was appealing to just never come home. Nope mini-vacations are the way to go. Take off on a Thursday, come back on a Sunday and it feels like you had a whole week off, but you only used two days of vacation. Score.
As you might recall....or maybe this will be your first time hearing it, my mom's dad is from Louisiana. We called him Grandpa Gumbo. He was one of 10 children...talk about a good Catholic family. Anyhoodles, they were all separated when Grandpa was pretty young. His mother died shortly after giving birth to his littlest sister (I believe she was 6 months old) and his father went to prison for moonshining.....it is possible that his mother died during childbirth and his father didn't go to prison until 6 months later....I am not 100% on the deets. All I know is most of the older children went to relatives who had farms and worked there. My grandpa, who was the second youngest boy...I believe he's the fourth youngest, and a few of his other siblings went to a Catholic orphanage. The baby went to their grandmother...that was Aunt Sue. She is a riot.
Anyhoodles. Everyone was split up and I don't think they ever came back together. Grandpa didn't stay in the orphanage his whole childhood, but he bounced around to family members and it didn't sound like the experience went too well. The point is, he and his siblings reconnected later in life and started these reunions. I went to my first one at the age of 12. I think the majority of the siblings were alive back then. The tradition has stayed alive. They get together once every two years and rent cabins on a lake. It is a really cool location. We didn't miss the cell phone service at all.
Last time Grandpa Gumbo was alive and kicking. It was hilarious to see everyone fawn over him. We all had such a good time that we vowed to continue coming. He had rented a cabin and the plans were all being made, but of course he passed away last Spring. Andy, Big Butter and I were going no matter what. I felt like it would be the best way to honor him. Turns out my Aunts and Uncle all made it happen as well. So our side of the family was almost entirely there.
I thought it would be fun to fly in on Thursday and stay the night in New Orleans. I haven't been there since that trip when I was 12. We stayed the night in the French Quarter and woke up early the next morning to go exploring (Andy was so excited....NOT). Lessons learned - early morning is the best time to see the French Quarter because you get it basically to yourself, the locals, and the handful of old people who are also early risers. Early morning isn't the best time to photograph the French Quarter because there is too much shadow. Eh whatever. Here's some pictures from the trip:
Wearing his airplane pajamas
Our hotel balcony. Too bad it was too chilly for a swim.
Our early morning jaunt
The band is setting up.
This is fun....but I am going to fall asleep soon.
At Cafe du Monde
I had to get some because my mom always talked about how good they are. Turns out when you say "one order" they give you this many. Yay for will power.
Red beans anyone?
Shrimp, Po boys and catching up.
First arriving at the cabin. Jack has to get into stuff.
The rest of our immediate family arrives.
My Aunt Charlenie Weenie is a go getter. She wanted to rent a canoe and get out on the lake.
Big Butter locates a pay phone. They still exist.
I miss this face
Look I was there too!
Jack monitors the cooking
Go big or go home. Two big pots: one for dirty rice and one for jambalaya
My Aunt get's all up in their shit to get an early taste.
Butter distributes figs on toast. One of Grandpa Gumbo's favorites.
Grandpa Gumbo had a brother named Jack and this is his son getting a mouth full of baby fingers.
In the middle is Aunt Sue, she is the "baby" of the family. And such an awesome lady. She is Andy's favorite because she cusses and yells and dresses awesome. I mean hello! Leopard shirt and a jean vest. yes please.
Jack chases my cousin around the room.