Day three started out the same way as day two: rainy, though not “flash-floody” this time. The continental breakfast was, as I guessed, better than our first experience. Everything was very fresh and they had really good coffee, which seems to make any breakfast better, that is if you’re a coffee drinker like we are. Grammy and Papa drink decaf coffee because Grammy says caffeine makes her have to go to the bathroom too much. Papa says nothing makes him go to the bathroom too much. Yesterday at lunch, Papa drank two glasses of tea and Grammy said:Grammy: Don’t you think you should use the bathroom before we leave?
Anyway, after breakfast, we began our final day of driving to Panama City. We drove through Destin and while passing by the massive number of condominium complexes, we each commented on whether or not we would like to stay in each of them. Grammy likes the small, cute ones and Papa likes the ones that look expensive. I don’t really like condo’s or the ocean. After driving all morning, we once again struggled to find a place for lunch, and after many wrong and life-threatening turns, we ended up at Olive Garden for soup and salad. After lunch, Papa was nominated to be driver, since he hadn’t driven all day. We started out toward Panama City, and after about 20 minutes, Papa started yawning:Papa: I’m getting tired.
Finally, we arrived at Aunt Dotty’s house, Papa’s sister. I knew they were related right when I walked in the house because Aunt Dotty had Fox News blaring from the TV in the living room.
Let me just say that I love family. Aunt Dotty’s daughter Carolyn (my first cousin once removed) came over and we all sat around and talked about the family I’ve never met. Turns out, I always thought my mom’s side of the family was small because I’d only met my uncles and their families, but in reality it is huge! Listening to these stories is really incredible. Papa and his eight siblings grew up during the depression in a small mining town in West Virginia called Mullins and it is amazing how far they have gone and how much each of them has achieved. We talked about Granny Green (aka creator of my beloved Granny’s Pickles that we eat with our grilled cheese sandwiches) and how truly good she was.
Reasons I wish I could have known Granny Green:
1) She created Granny's pickles. Enough said.
2) Carolyn said she had a special gift of making everyone feel like they were the most wonderful, special, beautiful and loved person in the entire world.
3) She helped anyone who needed it with anything they needed. No matter what.
4) She used to help deliver all the babies in town. Aunt Dotty said that sometimes she would be out all night helping the new mothers and would then come home and take care of all of them.
We went to dinner at Boondocks, which was awarded the Best Dive Award by Southern Living magazine. On our way, Grammy, Papa, Aunt Dotty, and Carolyn talked about all the health problems that I have to look forward to inheriting, such as:
-That “Green Family Cholesterol.” I can’t wait for that one.
-Thyroid problems. Carolyn said she had thyroid problems and it made her so tired she could hardly walk up her front stairs. Papa was diagnosed with thyroid problems, but after taking medicine for a few months, he decided he was cured and didn’t need medicine. I think Carolyn convinced him to go get that checked out again, though. Thank goodness.
-Hearing loss. I think I’m already getting this one. I used to think it was from my childhood ear infections and the fact that my family is loud, but now I think I’ll blame it on genetics.
-Knee problems. Apparently, lots of people on Grammy’s and Papa’s sides of the family have knee problems and I already have some knee pain, so I’m guessing it is only time until I have a knee replacement. I better start taking glucosamine now.
-Memory loss. Aunt Dotty’s husband, Sam, lost his mind toward the end of his life, but Carolyn says that is because their house was infested with black moss. I hope she’s right. One time, Carolyn said she walked into their house and Uncle Sam was throwing tater tots all over the living room because he was “feeding the dogs,” though they didn’t have any dogs. She also said that when she was little they never got to eat anything good because Uncle Sam thought that he had allergies, but really he just slept with his head in black moss.
-We also discussed all the different pills that everyone takes to treat their different ailments. I can’t wait to grow older. I’m definitely going to get a pill-a-day container, that’s for sure.
We had to get home because our Mizzou Tigers are in the Sweet Sixteen, and we had to watch them beat Memphis! When we came in, Aunt Dotty told us: “I’m going to take my medicine” and then she came over and whispered to me “I’m a pill junkie” and walked away laughing. I love it.