My trip back to Georgia this past weekend was a mix of nostalgia and happiness, all rolled into a ball of emotions that at times made me teary-eyed, then rolled over and made me laugh out loud.
I had called Wanda, a first cousin, on my way into town. She wasn’t home, but I left a message, and just as I was about to leave Sylvester, she called back. I swung by her house and stayed for a good hour, catching up on all the Sumner family news.
I stayed with Dawn and Stevie both Friday and Saturday nights, driving to see Helen during the day on Saturday.
Saturday night, after I got back from Helen’s, Stevie grilled ribs, and I stuffed myself silly. Then we boarded the golf cart again and rode up and down the street, stopping and visiting as we went. That’s just the way it’s done at the ri’vah, and I have sure missed it. Soooo good to see everyone – love y’all!I left their house Sunday morning and instead of turning left on Hwy. 280, I went straight across to Flintside Drive, where Ted and I lived for so long. I drove down that road that wanders the curves of the Flint River for almost five miles, every mile making my heart hurt a little more. But, when I slowly drove by our place, it didn’t affect me as much as I thought it would. I loved that house. It was home for a lot of years. But as I turned around at the end of the street, and started back out to the highway, I realized it was the people and the ri’vah itself I miss so much – not the house. Ted and I have been married 29 years, and we lived at the ri’vah almost 20 of those years. It was a big part of our lives together. I’ve missed it.
I connected back to I-75 and drove toward Florida, stopping at the Florida Welcome Center just over the Florida-Georgia line.I smiled and walked inside for my free sample of orange juice. Then I was back on my way further south.
Even though Florida is now where I live, and Mackinac Island has my heart, Georgia will forever be where I come from. I love its red clay and pine trees, its peanut and cotton and tobacco fields, its slow talking Southern drawl. I was born in Georgia, and it’s where my children were born. It’s where my mama and daddy are buried, and it’s where my relatives and many wonderful friends still live.
I loved going home again.