Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

en famille

We got up Saturday morning to make the four and one half hour drive to Camden, Arkansas, where my parents live. We picked up a fresh watermelon at a stand by a gas station on our way down. It's too early for local watermelons, but this one was from McAllen, down near the border.

We arrived to find that my Aunt Rose had already gotten to my parents' home. We all went together to Wood's Catfish Place, where we had half-orders of fillets. Fried catfish is done better in my part of the world than almost anywhere, so we had a fine meal. Along the walls were frames containing vintage advertisements for the artificial fishing bait company run by an earlier generation of the Wood family. Little multiple hooked bass lures shared the box displays with advertisements from the 1940s, all painted-sketch-ish.

My wife and I drove twenty miles to Stephens, a town of 1200 where my sister and her husband have just purchased a home. The home is delightful, a two story yellow number which a prior couple had completely renovated, only to be transferred elsewhere within a year. The home cost far less than a home in the Dallas area. Its cost would be rounghly a down payment on a home in Los Angeles. Stephens has one stop light--their home just down the main street from the light, across the street from a charming little brick Methodist church.

My cousin Hope, Aunt Rose's daughter, was over at my sister's place. She's really nice, although, as with any relatives, I remember when I was 12 and she was 2, and therefore wonder a bit now that I'm 44 and she's 34. The years are kind to her, so that she looks a stylish 22, but she's a bit older than the 2 I always picture, in any event.

My two male nephews and younger niece wished to fish, so Hope and I loaded them into a car, while my wife stayed behind with my sister, the older niece, and my brother in law. We drove to Lake Columbia, near nearby Magnolia. The kids started to fish, but I did not fish because I did not have a non-resident license. Hope caught me up on her life,
while the kids tired within an hour of fishing. I noticed that the portion of the shore I had taken them toward was shallow for some ways out, so I was not a good fishing guide uncle Saturday. I bought a non-resident license on the way out of the lake area, for next time.

We went back to my sister's house, where my cousin Steve, my Aunt Betty, and my Uncle Jake were there from Mississippi. It was good to see them again--they used to live in Camden. Steve's eldest girl is in college, which always reminds me that I'm getting older. We had a wonderful dinner of BBQ which my sister had picked up. Sadly, I showed my lack of familial debonair by promptly falling asleep on the sofa when everyone was talking.

Today we'll go to my parents' church, then stop and see my friend Gene in Texarkana during our drive home, and then
be home again. It's been a nice trip.
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