December 2, 2010
Birthday and beach
My Thanksgiving week began with a special surprise for a very special lady.
My mother, Lavelle Burleson, turned 80 November 10. But the best date for her surprise party was Sunday, Nov. 21.
Erin (my 8-year-old) and I were challenged with getting Mother to the church building (Barn Creek Church of Christ in Marion County, Ala.) by about 2 p.m. but lying to her in the process.
My sisters, who live within a few miles of my mom, had done all within their power to keep it quiet on their end. Now it was up to Erin and I to pull off the rest.
I had called Mother a day earlier and told her we would be arriving about 1 or 1:30 p.m. to go do some visiting in the community.
After my family stopped by the church building first and assisted with the decorations and such, Erin and I got to Mother’s house about 1:35 p.m. We stalled a bit, since we were told to get to the church building at 2, and then left for our “visiting.”
As we approached the church, she saw all the cars and said something like, “What are they having at the church?”
Then I pulled into the driveway.
“Barry, don’t go in there. They’re having something,” she said.
When I drove her to the front door and she saw Andy, then she knew. I will cherish that look on her face forever. I did not think she was going to get out of her car.
Other members of her family, many in her church family and others greeted her inside. It was indeed a wonderful occasion for the best mother in the world.
And I did apologize later for lying to her.
Then on Tuesday of last week, after Andy’s ball game, we headed for what has almost become an annual Thanksgiving trip to the beach. Emma, who finished pre-holiday classes at the University of Southern Mississippi the same day, had already arrived at the reserved condo in Gulf Shores. We got there about 2:30 a.m. (Wednesday).
The weather Wednesday and Thursday was terrific – temperatures near 80 and sunshine. I enjoyed walks on the beach both those mornings, and Erin and I even spent some time in the gulf “catching some waves.” We built a sand castle and collected a few new shells.
One of two new dining experiences of the trip came Wednesday when we visited Papa Rocco’s. It was recommended by Christy Owens. The pizza and the oysters and the service were great – even being greeted by a friendly worker who found out we were from Mississippi and said he was from Belzoni.
Pam and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving night (November 25) with seafood (oysters and shrimp) and good entertainment at The Hangout.
She took in some early morning sales (the day after Thanksgiving), while I slept.
Friday night, we went to Rafters at The Wharf in Orange Beach for more fine food, plus the USM-Tulsa football game. The Golden Eagles lost, but we had loads of fun at another “new” place.
We gathered Friday afternoon for the Iron Bowl. Alabama’s loss to arch rival Auburn was tough to swallow, but did not hamper a fabulous family vacation.
Saturday night, we wrapped up the trip in Hattiesburg with a win by the USM men’s basketball team.
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