I love the Southeast United States for its sweet smelling air, especially at night. It’s so welcoming, so calming. I also love the Southeast for the friends & family who feed us on the beginning of our 5,000-mile road trip journey!
We started our trip outside of Atlanta with my cousins and Missy’s boys. To be honest, we did not feel like we were on vacation until we got there. The trip to their house felt so familiar; we’ve traveled the East coast many times. But once we stepped into Missy’s house and consumed the B.E.S.T. hot dogs in the world (Zweigle’s, in case you’re wondering), we were officially on vacation! Batman made an appearance, too. Good thing he was there… he saved the day once or twice! We were so relaxed and re-energized after we left; it was the perfect way to start the trip.
Then we rode to Opelika, AL, for our first overnight stop with our friends KD & Brian. I actually jumped out of my seat when we passed the “Welcome to Alabama” sign because I thought, finally! A place I haven’t been! It’s not as flat as I thought it’d be, but it’s just as small-town charming as I thought it’d be. And I got to see Auburn University! Up in NY, college football is a joke. Down here, it is the air they breathe. So much tradition, so much passion, I love it. I don’t have an affinity for any team, but I love observing the culture. The most interesting thing we learned was about the Toomer Oaks. I’m sure some of you know this, but it was news to me. So, in the downtown area of Auburn there is Toomer Square. There in front of the university, at the end of College St., used to stand two live oaks, affectionately nick-named Toomer’s Oaks. Every win Auburn’s highly-esteemed football team acquired would warrant a full, heavy toilet-paper rolling of the Toomer Oaks. It looked like this:
The Toomer family was/is a prominent Auburn family, so on the corner of this square is also a Toomer’s lemonade stand and I think a drug store? But unfortunately, no more Toomer’s Oaks. In 2011 it was announced that a non-Auburn fan poisoned the oaks. The once-lively and revered trees died a slow, sad death. In April 2013 the town/school/loyal fans from around the nation, held one last “rolling” before the poisoned trees were officially removed.
Just a bit of Auburn history that I found quite interesting.
We also visited the Tuskegee Airmen museum, saw some of AU, had some good pizza but even better ice cream (from Kroger, my 2nd favorite grocery store ice cream), and had this conversation:
Elisa: I gotta find your anniversary card. I don’t remember where I packed it.
Greg: Yep. [looking kind of … vague]
Elisa: Do you have an anniversary card for me?
Elisa: Is it at the store? Unpurchased?
Greg: Could be… [smirk] I like to keep it safe, you know? So I know where it is.
Greg: How about this? Your anniversary card is right here in my heart.
Elisa: Nice try.
The funniest thing is when I was growing up and decided I wanted to get married right out of college, I wanted that so I could have 65 anniversaries because that’s how much I cared about anniversaries. Now, having started my marriage with the first three anniversaries apart, I know the day doesn’t matter. Yes, it’s nice to celebrate and remember. And yes, I have been mushier today than normal. But every day matters. The fact that we’ve been together for 7 years matters. The day is special, but there are 364 other ones in the year that matter just as much. Happy 7th anniversary, Greg! Looking forward to many more (and a card sometime in the near future). 🙂
Next stop: Jackson, Mississippi! (Yes, I hope to be playing Johnny Cash when we roll into town!)