Today I took a road trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to see my sister Gail and all of her kids and grandkids. It was a long day on the road - 250 miles each way - but well worth the time and effort. Gail has four wonderful children and seven beautiful and very smart grandchildren. It was so nice seeing them all on this first day of 2016!
Today I met my newest grandniece, Landry Elizabeth Smith, for the first time. She smiles constantly and is cute as a button! Her parents are Justin and Lisa Smith, and Graham is hr proud older brother.
Congratulations to my nephew, Reed Smith, who will receive his teaching certificate at the end of the spring semester. Reed's wife, Jamie, is also a teacher, and together they are destined to bring education and inspiration to thousands and thousands of young people over the next couple of decades. Uncle Rock is very proud of them both.
My niece Tiffany Burke was there with her three small children: Brieanna, Brittany, and Aidan. Like most children, they are growing up much too fast!
Jason and Heidi Pfetcher were in from Chicago with their girls, Lauren and Ruby. Gail and I rode the train to Chicago in November to visit the Pfetchers and watch Lauren perform with the Chicago Lyric Opera. I always enjoy talking politics with Jason - he and I agree on most candidates and issues.
Gail made a big pot of chili while we were all there, and, of course, it was delicious. All of the guests except one moocher (me) brought snacks and other things to share, so there was a nice holiday spread to increase one's holiday spread! Gail sent home a new bed for Rosie - and she will be thrilled when she discovers it later tonight!
Observations from the road: Traffic was light and most tourist-oriented businesses along the way appeared to be open. A small portion of Route 60 East (just east of Springfield) was closed with water still across the road. I paid $1.59 a gallon for gas in Mount Vernon, Missouri - which makes me feel so bad for the big oil companies! And, I didn't see any bumper stickers along the way - political or otherwise - but lots of people got to see my "Bernie" sticker!
Happy New Year to one and all!