Rowland... A Trip to the Country

I learned something about my husband when we were planning our trip to the 5k... and it disturbed me.  He wanted the 4+-hour trip to start from home the day of the trip.  I knew the idea of me waking up to leave at 3 a.m. and sleeping on and off in the car before my first 3-mile run was a bad one so I began looking for alternatives.  But that wasn't what disturbed me. 

I realized my dad's hometown was en route to the festival and I was geeked!  I hadn't been in a good 15 years so I asked my dad where we could stay.  When he said my uncle has a nice trailer that he uses when he's in town, I was ready to hit the road!  I told Rashan it was country... He didn't know I meant cotton field country.  
Rashan was shook knowing cotton fields were in walking distance.
I was incredibly confused.  I thought Rashan knew both of my parents have country roots.  Straight country.  Cotton fields, dirt roads.  All of that.  He was uncomfortable when we hit the first dirt road.  And his nervousness started rubbing off on me.  Not cool.  And that was what disturbed me.  So it's not that you just like the city, it's that you've never been to the country and it makes you uncomfortable.  And most of all, there was nothing I could say to make him relax.  Umm... 

You know what's funny, though?  He asked me if one field had tobacco in it.  Okay.  I know I spent part of my childhood down here and my grandfather used to grow it but what do I look like being able to recognize tobacco in the field???  So funny.  After we dropped our bags, we went to see my grandparents' old house but couldn't find it.  I called my dad and he helped us out.  Turns out it was right around the corner.  It looks nothing like I remember it.  I had been warned it wasn't in the condition it was when my grandparents were alive so I honestly expected much worse but it was still strange.

My grandparents' graves
Next we went to "visit" the grandparents.  I felt like the graveyard wanderer.  Before December 2010, I hadn't seen any of my three deceased grandparents' graves in 15 or more years.  But in the last year I've now seen all of them?  I saw my mom's dad's grave while making my film about him over the last year.  That first visit was really emotional because I had learned more about him in a week than I'd known in my entire life.

At this grave site, I didn't get emotional in part because I kind of remember them but also because I was on the phone with my dad.  You know what he said, though?  That he was honored that I was visiting his ancestors.  Awwww.  I also saw my great grandma's grave (grandma's mom).  She was a landowner and business owner (a store called Rag Mop).  I didn't even know she was buried there.  We also saw the grave of my oldest uncle.  He died the same year as my grandma and used to call me JamesEllen (which at the time I haaaaated) because he said I looked exactly like both of my parents.  I thought of him on my wedding day because of that.  My SIL met my mom and said, "You look just like your mom!"  I said, "Wait til you see my dad."  LOLOL!  My dad walked in and she goes, "Whoa."  LOLOLOL!  So hilarious!  I definitely look like my dad's entire side.  That's cool but sometimes I wish I had some features readily identifiable as belonging to my mom's side.  You can see I look like my mom when I'm with her but I don't really look anything like her side.

The giant headstones
Back to the country in North and South Carolina...  Have you guys heard of South of the Border?  If you've driven anywhere near Interstate 95, you probably have.  It's only 15 minutes from my grandparents' house so it weighs prominently in my memories of them.  So of course a trip down there necessitated a trip to South of the Border.  Dad gave me directions there, too.

I had talked to my favorite aunt, currently the family historian on that side, who told me we have another family graveyard right next to South of the Border... on yet another dirt road.  Rashan was so put out!!  At this point it was quite hilarious!  Can you please calm all the way down??? Please??? Merci!  At this family graveyard, there were two family headstones taller than me (granted I'm only 5'1 but still).  Can I get one of those when I kick the bucket??  I don't know nearly enough about this side of the family so clearly I have some work to do on this side.  My aunt has traced back to 1865 and has agreed to pass it on to me.  Whee!
Sombrero tower ride
After grave time, we headed over to South of the Border!  This Sombrero tower had super cheap rides... IDK why we didn't hop on.  I went through phases with SOTB.  As a kid, of course I loved it.  The stores with trinkets, the rides, the bright colors.  As a teenager, I was obviously too cool for it. I'll let you know, I've turned a corner into nostalgia.  It reminds me of my childhood and the store is filled with things I would buy to amuse myself and others if not for limited space and varying levels of taste.

One thing my grandmother INSISTED when we visited her was that her children take her grandchildren to get ice cream.  So you know I had to go get ice cream, right?  Rashan was like, "But... you have to race tomorrow. You can't get ice cream."  I listened to that about 7 minutes then I said, "Pleaaaaase can I get ice cream????"  Why did I do that?  Like he's my trainer and/or controls what I eat?  I have no idea.  LOL

The ice cream parlor

Coffee ice cream $1.95
Afterward, we went across the street and wandered around the "pantry".  It was full of Southern jellies, jams, candies and snacks.  Some I approved of, some I was dismayed by...  Want to know some I was dismayed by?  Beet eggs (WAY TO RUIN EGGS!!!!), chicken skin cracklins (I'm crazy for this since I like pork cracklins... it's just that I've never even heard of chicken skin cracklins), packaged boiled peanuts (wait... you BOILED THEM, then put them in a can/bag. no.) and packaged fatback (I love fatback but fatback in a bag????).  I didn't want but was okay with scuppernong grape jelly.  You know what I didn't know you could still buy?  Candy cigarettes.  I told Rashan he should buy some for his nieces and nephews and he declined.  Then almost a week later, I realized they would've been PERFECT for my Donatella Versace costume!  Hater!
South of the Border at night!
My friend pointed out that that picture would've been even better if I was a few inches higher.  That sombrero would've been on my head... HILARIOUS!!!!

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant about 5 miles south and it was quite good.  Then we headed back to my uncle's place.  Y'all.  That happy face Rashan had?  Gone.  He couldn't get comfortable.  He couldn't sleep for more than 10 or 15 minutes.  Um... what?  He was making me nervous.  I had to go in a room and leave him to get some sleep.  Then I woke up at 2 and couldn't get back to sleep for hours.  I told him he needs to know we will be going to the country again when we go to Mississippi to see my mom's side.  He's not ready.  And I'm not ready for his nervousness.  -_-  Pray for us.


Adei von K said...

The countriest I thought you were was Jackson, MS. I like your grandmother's area! (maybe cause it's the capital) Now Rowland?? That's a whole 'nother beast! Poor, Rah!

Nerd Girl said...

Jackson, MS is not country! LOL!

Reminds me of the time one of my brother's friends came to Pine Bluff from California for a visit. He couldn't sleep because of all the noise. What noise? Crickets and frogs.

I can't lie - Jackson is about as much country as I can tolerate. Fields, no lights, dirt roads? Pass!

Sparkling Red said...

It's great to get to an age where you can appreciate things that were boring to you as a kid. The world becomes so much more interesting and hospitable.

ShaBoogiesince1982 said...

OMG that is hilarious! Po' huuuusban! The history lesson sounds awesome, I really wish I knew more about my family :-(

Trish said...

I'm kind of with Rashan. There is something about the deafening silence in the country that makes me a bit uneasy. I have a theory about that though... I blame the creators of horror films for having my mind thinking silence means that trouble is brewing.

Not So Anonymous said...

I think it's so cool that you went to the grave sites of your grandparents. And, even cooler that your aunt is going to pass on all her historical research to you.

Poor Rashan...the Country is the not for the faint of heart...be patient with him, lol.

Jameil said...

adei... you so didn't. you've been to Rose Hill w/me. That's way countrier than Rowland. Don't encourage him.

ng... lolol @ crickets & frogs! i have heard tale of city people talking about not being able to sleep in the quiet! hilarious! i guess going to those places growing up makes them more normal to me. i don't wanna live there but visiting is fine with me!

red... you're right! i never thought of it like that!

sha... lol. ask your family who knows the most family history. there's bound to be one person. if you can find some names and last names, that's a good jumping off point to learn more.

trish... LOL! deafening silence! i love that phrase! i also love that horror movies are to blame! around halloween, i re-remember to thank my mom for shielding us from horror movies as kids. they never scare me.

nsa... i looooove the historical side of life. idk what appeals to me about seeing the graves of my great-grandparents. maybe it's that that seems the closest i've ever been to them.

i promise i tried patience but when he snapped on me? i got indignant. and it ain't fixed yet...

Monique said...

South of the Border! When we used to live and DC and VA, we would drive down to GA for the holidays. we ALWAYS stopped at South of Border, regardless of the time, and spent at least an hour there. Best memories of my life.

Jameil said...

LOL! I never knew everyone who took 95 through there knew about South of the Border until I was in college. I was so amazed!