Trip Back Home, Part 1

This past weekend, the other half and I took a trip back to South Alabama to see the family and to attend my nephew’s graduation.  It’s that time of year when many teenagers are getting out of high school and deciding what they would like to do with their lives.  Some will go off to college and others will not be going but rather staying at home and working.  Either choice will be whichever they feel is best for them.  The cost of higher education is also a big influence.  Not everyone will have access to the funds necessary to go to college.  It’s sad…but it’s true.

The ride home was uneventful.  We stopped just before crossing into Alabama to buy a Power Ball ticket as Alabama has no lottery.  You know…it’s sinful and causes the downfall of every family in the country, even if no one in that family buys a lottery ticket.  It’s that powerful!  Two dollars later, we were back on the road until we stopped in Evergreen for some gas and a bite to eat.  A honey bun and a bottle of water gave me fuel to finish the journey.  We had almost arrived in my hometown when we ran into traffic caused by road construction.  We sat there for a while until I decided to follow others’ example and drive down the shoulder until I arrived at a road I knew would lead us farther up into the county and I could get back around to my brother’s house.  It was a small price to pay to not sit in dead still traffic for what could have been over an hour.

The old town is looking bad.  I don’t know if it’s the town people or the town government that is blocking changes.  Whichever it is, something has to give.  In the 1990s, my home town was such a great place to be…in my opinion.  There may not have been anything for teens to do, but it at least looked decent.  The streets were clean, parking lots were all cement or asphalt and not mingled with weeds and grass breaking through the cracks, and the buildings looked nice.  Now, I just shake my head when driving through.  There are a few newer buildings, including the high school, to brighten up the scenery.  Everything else has gone into disarray.

Some years ago now, a bypass was built around the town.  It was needed because two major highways crossed in the “downtown” area next to the hospital.  Many have been lucky that a hospital was that close.  Because of such a sharp turn, there have been quite a few incidents of log trucks or transfer trucks turning over.  It became a dangerous turn.  The ALDOT decided it was high time to build a bypass around the small town, taking all through traffic away from the town.  It did solve the accidents at that intersection…while at the same time killing the business inside the town limits.  Unless you have to go to the county courthouse for tags, licenses, or court cases, you really don’t have to go there anymore.  Once again, something that is sad.

What wasn’t sad was the 100 graduates of my old high school.  It was also not sad that I saw many people I know and love while there.  One family in particular is one I have known all my life.  Some of them are my cousins and others are those I know through our families being in the area together for so long.  I walked up into the bleachers and sat down with my family.  After seeing one of my schoolmates, I realized that I was sitting among the entire family.  Every time I see them, the family has grown larger and larger.  It’s amazing and wonderful since it shows me that a family’s love and bond did not stop with the generation before mine.  That makes me very happy.  The young man graduating from their family…was a baby when I lived back home.  His sister, also very young when there, just graduated from The University of Alabama.  Talk about feeling old when you see grown kids….

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