A hundred years ago when Brad Pitt was still cute and Thelma and Louise had recently made their infamous road trip, JL and I made our own first road trip together to Lake Wales and Bonita Bay, FL. DM's Wheaton College baseball team was doing Spring training in Lake Wales and my boss, RWW, had just built a lovely vacation home in BB and offered up the opportunity for us to use his home for a few days.
We talked our way to Lake Wales in central Florida--the trip from Illinois down took about two talking hours (the trip home took two days!). The BB team practiced and played inter-collegiate games at a LW camp and in the evenings the very gracious and hospitable Rockness family hosted the boys and a few parents at dinner. MR's home was a reflection of her artistic soul and her conversations with these young college men were deep and insightful. We helped out a bit with the meals and basked in the warmth of the family home.
DM had transferred to Wheaton from UVA at the semester and was thoroughly enjoying the camaraderie of his team. He's a natural story teller, and by the time we arrived on the scene he'd gained the nickname of Goose, as in Mother Goose.
After a couple of days we journeyed on to BB and Naples--loving the beaches, ocean waves, and clever shops and great restaurants while staying in the brand new house. RWW's wife had compiled a list of their favorite food haunts and tiki bars, which we thoroughly explored.
We did experience a quandary--how could we leave the sheets clean while departing in the early morning hours for our return to Lake Wales?... There didn't seem to be any extra sheets stashed anywhere in the house. We ended up washing and drying our sheets, remaking the beds, and then sleeping very lightly and cleanly together in one bed!
All this reflection to say, JL and I are on the road again for about the 15th time. We are driving to Omaha for LE's second birthday. The BMW is LOADED with gifts and food and hand-me-downs. There're Barese sausages, steak fajita and chicken taco meat mixtures, Havarti and Romano cheeses, D'Amato's tomato bread, Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style white and yellow corn tortillas, sandwich wraps, jalapeno giardinera, vidalias, and bell peppers--all from Caputo's. And, a stuffed pork tenderloin wrapped with a skirt steak. There's an authentic French baguette from Ambrosia and white and dark chocolate anise-flavored biscotti from Caputo's A feast!
There's a bottle of Krystal hot sauce for MS sent by PW from New Orleans and some special beer that CA sneaked into the trunk. JE gets a few new kitchen utensils, while JA is surprised by a new red light saber and the return of his favorite blue guitar. Most of LE's gifts are wrapped for Saturday, but she unwraps her bright coral tutu and matching shirt. There's a brown-pladish 5'5" x 7' rolled rug and an end table for the guest room. Marielle has been grandma shopping for two weeks at the bargain racks in Kohl's and Meijer's, TJMaxx and Marshall's.
We laugh and hug and then eat a fantastic meal of roasted chicken gyros. It's guaranteed that we'll enjoy wonderful food and lots of fun during our four-day visit. The big party is on Saturday afternoon, while tomorrow night we're going to a pre-school fund raiser at The Pizza Stop where karaoke is promised! And, we'll be beginning a search for a studio or one-bedroom short-term lease for July-August-September when the new little baby boy(!) is due.