Sunday, July 03, 2005

Looking in the Mirror

I am not a priss. Not a diva, a hard-to-please, never-satisfied woman who always finds something to complain about. I was never a Bridezilla. I don't think I'm a snob. I try to keep an open mind when meeting people from different backgrounds than mine. I don't assume everyone is like me.

But today, six days before we leave for vacation, I found myself digging into the Web to find out SOMETHING about our destination. We're headed to my hubby's family--dad, stepmom, and assorted siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins, uncles, aunts in a teensy town on the Tennessee River partway between Memphis and Nashville. Our marriage is a nice blend of North & South, and so far I've managed to get him and the kids to Massachusetts with me, yet we've never gone to his dad's side of the family.

At first, I was afraid there was "nothing there." I'm not big on small talk. I can keep it up for only so long, and then I get the urge to do something or talk about something meaningful. So I found out we're going to be near Shiloh Civil War battleground, the Buford Pussey Museum (of "Walking Tall" fame), and the Cherry Mansion. We could also rent canoes, but I don't think my father- and mother-in-law are very outdoorsy. I pictured us sitting around the house all week. Oh, please, not a week of small talk.

I finally felt more reassured when I found the Chamber of Commerce web site and a link to a neat little restaurant called Uptown. They serve Starbuck's and have a "California bistro atmosphere," according to their site. The couple who started the restaurant uprooted themselves from California after falling in love with Savannah and its people. The menu makes my mouth water. I don't think, though, that we could afford to go out to dinner when we're there. I'll settle for down-home barbecue and sweet tea any day, though.

What does this say about me? (See, toldja I'm not big on small talk. I wish I didn't try to analyze things so much, but I've given up on trying to change that part of my personality and just go with it.) I'm not sure. Maybe CJ's stories about his "hillbilly" relatives scared me deep down. I don't know. Maybe I wanted to see that there's culture there, or at least the kind of culture that I can relate to. Does that make me a snob? I sure hope not.

I am looking forward to building bridges with his Dad. The first time I spoke to him on the phone, I couldn't understand the man. He sounds like Boomhauer on "King of the Hill" with a mish-mosh choppy Southern accent. I did hear the regret in his voice, and that makes me think we're definitely going to have more than small talk. CJ was born when his mom was 16. His dad didn't want him or his younger brother (born 18 months later). They divorced not long afterward. CJ lived with his father once for about six months when going through a rebellious phase as a teenager, but never since. We go to visit family and strangers. It's going to be an interesting week. Maybe we can bring some grace with us. God's grace spreads far. After all we've been given, we can share.

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