Ages 22 and 95

October 25th we woke up and got cleaned up, Jimmy and Becky were already up and I got to see my other cousin Bret for the first time in quite a while. I have loved seeing family that I barely remember but have always heard about. Having my own memories and relationships with them has not only enriched my trip but will be a gift in to the future.

Our first adventure for the day was to the nursing home where my great-aunt Betty, Kittye Mae’s younger sister is living. She has a hard time hearing and the pitch of female voices is particularly tricky. Betty is extremely lucky as her vision is still good so she can read and watch things without much trouble. She seems very happy and good-natured, she declared more than once; “I am the oldest woman in the whole wide world!”

After our visit we headed to the waterfront for a delicious lunch, the biggest problem of all was figuring out how to eat my fried shrimp po boy there were so many fried shrimp piled on top! Then a big decision awaited us: Should we go on a boat adventure or do something else?

Well, as usual when confronted with the choice of doing something involving a boat and just about anything else I voted boat and so did the rest of the crew! Jimmy hitched up the boat and took Rach, Bret, and myself on a boat ride! We cruised along the back Biloxi Bay (god help me if I remembered that right!) and it was just lovely. Our favorite sight? As we passed along a narrow water way there were two barges to the right, one completely empty and higher out of the water than I’ve ever seen a barge and the other, precariously skewed with one end loaded and the other awaiting its burden. On shore, atop a huge pile of scrap metal, a crane busily worked away grabbing heaps of angular rusty bars and sheets then dropping them all at once in a heap on the barge. We only got to see the crane make a couple of grabs but us three girls up front all looked at each other grinning and Bret said it all, “Cool.”

Back ashore we made our way back to the house where Becky was prepping up a storm for the Betty’s birthday lunch the next day. We enjoyed a quite dinner and heard some great family tales, even watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars (that one pro-dancer was uber cocky, and they were way mean to Cher’s son- don’t mess with Cher man).

The next morning I woke up with a giant smile on my face, it was here, MY BIRFDAY! Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy birthdays, especially mine own but not everyone may know why. I love my birthday because and any birthday really because they are the best excuse to see so many friends and people, talk to someone you haven’t talked to in ages, and really just connect when so many other days you might be too busy to be. Birthdays are also fun because you get to spoil people rotten, and when its your turn, well, you get to be spoiled rotten. 🙂 hehe

This year I was lucky enough to share my birthday with one classy lady, Mrs. Betty Collins. I had forgotten until we got closer to Mississippi that Betty’s birthday was just the day after mine and so we could all celebrate together Becky hosted a wonderful luncheon at the house.

After some breakfast blue berries muffins (the beginning of being spoiled- Thanks Rach!) we cleaned up and awaited Betty’s arrival. Most of the day was in fact spent eating! What else could you ask for?! Becky served up a delicious ham, cornbread, green beans, just to begin with. There was a chocolate pie, a birthday cake for Betty, AND cupcakes for me to round things off! The food coma was battling with the sugar high for total domination. We were roused from our stupor by a call from Jimmy who went out to pick up their dog from the “hotel.”

“Tell the girls to get ready, I found a dead armadillo!” Bret had inspired us all, we were desperate to see an armadillo and as it would be easiest to see a dead one, our eyes had been peeled along the road but we hadn’t seen one yet. As silly as we could be we grabbed cameras and hopped in the car once Jimmy returned, “I have a great ‘dillo eye” he said, adding “ya gotta be patient when looking for armadillos.” Patience had paid off, there it was just before the overpass nice and partially squished. There was a break in traffic as we ooed and aaahed, snappe a couple of photos and called it good!

CLICK HERE ONLY IF YOU WISH TO SEE A SQUISHED ARMADILLO

Not long after we made our farewells to the Collins clan, thank you all for such a wonderful visit!! With evening approaching we set off in the valiant vehicle with so much to look forward to: a bomb partner-in-crime at the airport, an unopened bottle of honey Jack D, another great sunset, and a birthday celebration in New Orleans. Just you wait 🙂

With love from the road,

Cara

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