We left bright and early on Wednesday morning because we had no idea how long the drive may take--according to other people and MapQuest, we were expecting about 10.5 hours. The drive through Kansas and Missouri seemed to go pretty quickly...but once we hit Arkansas time seemed to stop. Until we hit our first bayou outside of Pine Bluff and I knew we were in the South!!!
Two restroom breaks, one fuel stop and one McDonald's drive thru later and we landed in Justin's hometown of Hamburg, Arkansas--the home of basketball great, Scottie Pippen--after just 9.5 hours. We stopped by to see three of Justin's brothers and their families...and I was able to finally meet my nieces! I didn't realize it until earlier this week but I'm an AUNT! I always knew Justin was an "uncle," but I obviously had a blonde moment about the whole situation...but I was pumped to meet the girls and I must say they're pretty sweet. We've linked up on Facebook so I look forward to staying in touch with them!
Hamburg is a bit smaller than Clay Center...and like Clay Center, there's not much there. So we headed into Crosset for supper at Popeye's. I know, I know...not very gourmet but I'm a huge Red Beans & Rice fan and since we don't have the chain anywhere close to us, I was beyond excited!
The next morning, we--Justin, myself, his mom and youngest brother--headed to Monroe, Louisiana for Turkey Day...I have no idea how many people were there but his Aunt Rosemary cooked up a feast for us, Justin's brothers' families, all the uncles, cousins and their families. The food was never ending and delicious--nothing like a Midwestern menu but it was refreshing and I'm glad I already like southern food!
|Justin and 3 of of the 7 Williams brothers--Marques, Jeff, Justin and Skyler...at 6'4", Marques is the smallest of this group!|
Come Friday morning, Justin and I got up to eat breakfast and then do a little Black Friday shopping...little did I know that a traditional "Aunt Rosemary Breakfast" was centered around Fried Chicken (yes, Fried Chicken for breakfast--awesome!), biscuits, gravy, rice, scrambled eggs, sausage, smothered potatoes and I can't even remember what else! I could get used to eating like that in the mornings..but I'm not sure if my waistline could handle that!
Justin spent Saturday morning shooting hoops with Skyler and after lunch we had a birthday party for his baby cousin, Journey. She turns 1-year-old on Tuesday so they had TONS of people over to celebrate--way more than was at Thanksgiving but it was fun! After the party we headed back to Arkansas for the night and Justin showed me more of Hamburg, plus the park + after-school center that Scottie Pippen built for the community...And now I know where Scottie's mother lives as well! Word has it that Scottie's living in Hamburg but we never saw him :-(
This morning started bright and early so that we could get back to Kansas at a decent time...Skyler is a Freshman at the University of Arkansas-Monticello and his dorm was about 1/2 a mile off the road so we dropped him off on his way back...it was neat seeing part of the campus!
After several more stops, we landed in KC around 2pm and ate some Gates BBQ for lunch. Justin had never been there and it would be an understatement to say that he loved it! He at almost an entire meat platter by himself!
We made it back to Manhattan around 4:30 pm and have since been unpacking the car, grocery shopping, and turning on all the outdoor Christmas lights (so exciting!)...but now all I can think about is a hot shower and going to bed EARLY!!!
And for your musical enjoyment...