Posted by: bree1972 | November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving with Midge and Clay 11.30.09

Here it is, the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I don’t know about your waistline, but my slacks are fitting a little more snugly than they were last Wednesday evening!  There is no way I can tell you about our Thanksgiving day in one post, so this will be a two-day story (and I hope I can get it told in TWO!)

We were up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, with leaving at 7 o’clock as our goal.  We had a three-hour drive ahead of us to Midge & Clay’s house in Rayle, GA.  I had taken Bear and Maddie to the kennel (excuse me, the dog spa – another story!) in Albany on Wednesday afternoon, so there were no four-legged creatures we had to worry about.  We actually were on the road at 7:10 – and Ted never once had to tell me to “come on” or “hurry up”.

Have I told you Ted bought that truck he went to look at – a Ford Sport Trac.  He’s been driving a Sport Trac for several years now, and he really liked it, so when time came to trade, he wanted another one.  The difference is, the new one has two or three “features” our old truck didn’t have – like a navigation system and a gizmo that lets you talk on the phone “through the truck”.  Now I think the phone gizmo is great because it keeps your hands off the cell phone while you’re driving.  The navigation system is not one of those with the screen on your dashboard.  This one has to be programmed through your computer before you leave for your trip.  You put in your “start” and “end” points – naming your “end point” with either the address where you are going or the person’s name who lives there.

Ted had spent two hours Wednesday night figuring all that out and programmed in the Rayle address, naming the end point “Midge”.  I kept telling him that Midge had already emailed me the directions to their house (they live out in the country, and it is a little complicated to find them).  But – you know men – he had a brand new toy, and he was going to play with it. 

I should say right here that we already had a navigation system that we had bought several years ago.  It’s one of those portable ones that you can put in any car, program for your destination, and it will “talk” you there – plus it has a screen you can follow.  Guess what!  Ted programmed both the old one AND the new one and thought it would be fun to compare what they said as we sped toward our destination.  “Yes, honey,” I said lovingly, as I slipped a copy of Midge’s directions into my purse, “that will be great fun!”

The first obstacle that we had to get over was the navigation system apparently does not understand SOUTHERN English.  We are sitting in the road in front of our house.  Ted turns on the system.  The system says “What would you like to do?”  Ted says, “Services”.  The system says, “What service would you like?”  I say, “I’d like a cup a hot coffee – with cream and two  Splenda’s.”  Ted says, “Please don’t do that – this is serious!”  System says, “I’m sorry, I did not understand that command.”  Imagine that. 

 Ted says – again – “Services.”  System says, “What service would you like?”  Ted says, “Directions.”  System says, “Please name a destination address or a person’s name you have programmed in as a destination point.”  Ted says, “Midge.”  System says, “I’m sorry, what was that name?”  Ted says again – slowly, “Midge.”  System says, “I’m really sorry, I did not understand.”  Ted says to me, “YOU say it.”  I say, “Miiiidddgeee.”  System says, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.  Please say another command.” 

After sitting in front of our house for 10 minutes, we finally got the system to understand their address in Rayle, and we were on our way.

We traveled to Macon without any other problems, listening to TWO navigation systems tell us how to get to a town we have driven to approximately 562 times over the years.  We didn’t get lost once.  After we turned off I-75 and started out into uncharted territory, things got a little dicey,

We had been off the interstate about 30 minutes, speeding along a two-lane road, when New Navigation System (NNS) said, “Proceed to State Road 33 and turn right”.  At almost exactly the same time, Old Navigation System (ONS) said, “Proceed to State Road 22 and turn right.”  I looked at Midge’s directions, which said something entirely different from NNS or ONS. 

I said, “I really think we need to follow Midge’s directions.”

About that time, my cell phone rang.  It was Blake, calling from China to say Happy Thanksgiving.  So I’m talking to Blake on my cell, trying to tell Ted where to turn according to Midge, and two syrupy lady computer voices are giving different directions to the same point – loudly.  In the middle of this, Ted’s truck rings – yes, I said the truck rings.  It’s his cell phone ringing through the truck.  He answers it, and daughter Julie’s voice is added to the mix, coming out over the truck speakers.  So now we have – Julie talking to her dad (and vice versa), me talking to Blake in China, me telling Ted to ignore NNS and ONS and follow Midge’s directions, syrupy lady computer voice on NNS saying, “You are off-route, you are off-route!” and syrupy lady computer voice on ONS saying, “Make a U-turn, make a U-turn!”

Well, let me tell you, it’s very strange to be one of only two people sitting in a truck and be hearing SIX different voices!  Ted told Julie he would call her back, I talked with Blake a few minutes, and we decided to turn off ONS.  After that, we easily found our way by following only Midge’s directions, leaving on the NNS just to see what it would say.  It did not use the same directions as Midge, and we got really concerned when it asked us to turn into the middle of an old cotton field, where – according to syrup lady – there was a road (there wasn’t).

Even with all that, we arrived at our destination a little after 10 a.m., and entered a house that smelled wonderfully of turkey and dressing and all the fixins’.

Midge and Clay's home

Bales of hay can be seen in the field across the road.

Midge and Sharon have the ham out of the oven, ready to slice.

Don’t you love how a home smells at Thanksgiving!  Christmas doesn’t smell the same.  I don’t know why because usually it’s basically the same foods cooking both holidays.  But for some reason, Thanksgiving smells better! 

Midge and Clay’s home is beautiful.  It was originally built in the late 1800’s, as a farm house, by Clay’s great-grandfather.  Clay and Midge have been renovating and adding on to the home for several years, and all the work has been done by master carpenters, who kept the integrity of the old “home place”, while adding all the modern conveniences. 

Julie and Brett say hello.

Sisters Sharon and Wanda had arrived the day before to help third sister Midge, who had to work all day Wednesday.  That’s the blessing of big families – there’s always someone who will say, “I’ll come” when the need arises.  Once the grandchildren started arriving, everyone else took a back seat.  We have five in the family now, although only three are “babies”.  Wanda has Dakotah, Daylon, Hank and Drew.  Sharon has Jack.

Wanda and Drew - with HIS favorite "baby".

Sharon, with Jack, and Wanda waiting her turn.

Hank and Wanda

Have you ever noticed that in big family gatherings like this the men gather in the living room around the TV, and the women gather in the kitchen?  Same here – although the guys would wander in occasionally to test something off the stove to “make sure it tasted ok”.

Matthew and Scott, discussing matters of world importance - like how Georgia would do against Georgia Tech on Saturday (Georgia won!).

Scott, Ted, Adam, Al, and Ronald - men and their TV's - a universal attachment.

Midge and daughter Brett - putting the finishing touches on the turnip greens, butter beans, and corn.

Brian and Brett


Clay handles the tea-pouring duties. By the way, in the South, no one asks if you want your tea sweetened or non-sweetened. It all comes with sugar!


Drew and mom Mazie look on from the staircase.

With food spread out over three counters and the stove, we all gathered for the blessing, thanking the good Lord for providing for us all year and asking for His continued blessing over our family, our soldiers, and our nation.

Wanda, Daylon, Dakotah, Scott, Adam, Matthew (you can barely see him), and Ted.

Left to right: Al, Mrs. Walker and her mom, Drew on the stairs and his mom Missy, and Clay.

Left to right: The top of Ronald's head, Al, Mrs. Walker and her mom, Jack (on the stairs) and his mom Missy, and Clay.


A Thanksgiving feast!

After we had all had three helpings of everything – including dessert – we went out to the front porch for pictures.

The first cousins - Sharon, me, Ronald, Midge, and Wanda.

Family - some were missing, but they were still with us - and we will continue to grow in size as more spouses come into the family and more grandchildren are born.

Tomorrow – we go on a hayride “over the river and through the woods”!



  1. WOW, great pics of the first cousins & THE WHOLE GROUP…thanks Brenda. Can’t wait to hear all about
    the hayride.

  2. The best part of it is that the missing family can go on line and see yall’. Well done and just for the record,I have christmas music and decorations all around as i read my fav. blog with my hot coffee(cream too sorry Jill),my flannel PJ’s and a little white dog in my lap. With the dark sk I could almost be in Mackinaw 🙂 Love to all especially Bear

  3. Thanks for the early morning laugh Brenda. The trip there sounded hilarious, but I’m glad it all turned out fine. Missed your writings over the holiday but I wouldn’t of wanted it any other way then for you to spend it with your family. And what a family it is. Quite lovely!

  4. Wow, your story of the navigation systems sounds like it could have happened to Jim and I, That’s if we had an in truck system and portable. As it is we only have the portable but I have a map on my lap the whole time to make sure the system tells that right info. I love when the system tells you to make a legal u-turn. The food makes me want to eat right now. I’m sure the hayride story will have us all laughing.

  5. I enjoyed your blog about our Thanksgiving together. Wouldn’t our parents have been proud! The pictures are great and I can’t wait for the blog tomorrow about the hayride.

    I got a good laugh out of the story about your trip to Midge’s. Did anything crazy happen on the way home?

  6. Oh Brenda what a neat story about the trip to Midge’s!! I usually read your blog in the morning but today I hadn’t been on the computer until a couple hours ago..I got reading it and started giggling and my husband wanted to know what was so funny..sooooo…I read it to him and he started laughing right along with me!! We have a phone in his truck which is a Chevrolet Silverado , (he retired from GM lol) anyway we use the phone once in a while but we have a portable GPS and we have a guys voice and we have named him Girard..we laugh and laugh at some of the stuff he says..especially when he says “you are over the speed limit!” It was great to read the whole blog and the pictures were great…but your story about the trip was “outstanding” and we both really enjoyed it!! You are such a good writer!! Keep those stories coming!! Blessings to you! 🙂

    • Thank you! It is always so good to hear from you. I know you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all your large family home. I just heard that the first snow fell on Mackinac Island today!

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