November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving in North Carolina

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by dgcombs

Yep. We went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Coley and Shannon both work for Walmart. If you saw any of the pictures of the Walmarts opening for shoppers, you know what kind of days they had around Thanksgiving.

So Linda thought it’d be a good idea to bring a Turkey with us so all they had to do was sit down and eat. So we did. We checked at a couple of places for the cost of a turkey. Yikes! It was $40 for a pre-baked turkey at most places! We settled (or at least Linda did) for a good sized bird we could pre-cook at home and bring semi-frozen to Coley’s house and finish the job.

Of course, Coley’s biggest concern wasn’t the turkey. That’s a given. He wanted to make sure we had plenty of potato dressing. This is stuffing made from potatoes rather than bread. It’s an Irish (what else!?!) staple and once you get hooked on it, there’s no going back. Out of respect for her grandkids’ wishes she cooked up some regular bread stuffing as well. But you know what? For my money, potato dressing is right up there with Eia Pei for turkey day!

When we arrived with Tyler, Justin and Cody had one thing on their minds. “”What are we going to do today?”” So after we got situated, we started looking for “”things to do.”” We didn’t want the poor children to get bored.

We looked for a place we had been before, a hands on science museum. We found it in the yellow pages and headed off on Wednesday. The name of the place we were going was the Play Station right down town in Raleigh. Now, of course, when you say “”Play Station”” to young kids… they get all excited. They don’t know that there is anything other than a “”playstation”” – uh, by Sony. So when we got to the “”Play Station”” we found that it was a big room with lots of pillows and doll houses and kids 2 to 5. Tyler (seven) was a little concerned. Justin (fourteen) looked completely put out.

So I asked the lady at the front desk in as polite a tone as I could muster what happened to the “”other”” museum, the natural history one? Well, she proceeded to tell me that I’d missed it by just blocks. And I would zip down the street, we could get in and it was such a wonderful place and we’d have a good time! The boys felt better. Destiny looked like she was a little cross about having to leave. Especially when we got outside and Linda asked her where her coat was. She smiled really big and said, “”I didn’t wear one!”” Argh!

So we went the few blocks and sure enough there as a huge Museum of Natural Sciences. It had four floors of nature exhibits from butterflies to dynosaurs to a fossil lab (And Tyler, our budding paleontologist stood and looked at the tools of the trade for a long time!).

Of course, there was also a live petting area. A lovely lady would watch you sit down next to a skeleton. And in order to get up, you had to tell her how many bones are in your body (206 if you happen to have someone stop you on the street and ask!). She walked over the the little glass cage and pulled out a beautiful (sorry, Dad!) corn snake. All the kids got “”ooooeee”” and “”ahhhhhhee.”” And then one boy asked the inevitable. “”When does it eat?”” “”Last Thursday,”” she said. “”See that lump? That’s the mouse it ate last week.””

I was OK with the snake. But when she pulled the giant cockroach out of its cage and started telling us how it was a miracle of nature. THAT’s when I moved away to find something that made my tummy less queasy.

On Thursday, the kids got up with one question on their minds. “”What are we going to do today?”” I told them. “”Eat.”” They all looked a little downhearted. But when Linda started piling up rolls and mashed potatoes and turkey and cranberry sauce and beans and of course, potato dressing they got much happier looking. And then we watched football.

On Friday, the kids got up with one question on their minds. “”What are we going to do today?”” So we found the actual hands-on science museum this time… with a real miniature train ride! This time we rode out to downtown Durham for Museum of Life and Science. It was magnificent. Exhibits on weather (the picture above is the kids waiting on a tornado to form)and small things (like thread) and origamy and a real live lunar lander. Then you walk outside to the train station where you can ride the miniature train. In the cold. Twice. Grampa wasn’t to thrilled.

But after the train ride, we went into the Magic Wings Butterfly House. Yup. It was steamy warm in there. And there were butterflies everywhere! As we were walking around admiring the, the kids were getting ready to leave – you’ve seen one butterfly – and a huge butterfly landed on Linda’s head. They all yelled at me “”Look at GRAMMA!”” I reached for my camera and checked out the shot – oh NO! After having been out in the 30 degree temperature and then inside to the hot steamy butterfly house, the lens had a dense coating of condensed moisture on it! I took the picture anyway. So when I show you a blurry picture that doesn’t look like anything in particular. Well, it’s Linda with a butterfly on her head.

On Saturday, we got up early. And the kids all asked, “”what are we gonna do today?”” Interesting question. We went home! But we left all the turkey and fixin’s at Coley’s house. So Linda went out and bought a small bird for me to cook up “”any time you want.””

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