Posts Tagged ‘ Alabama ’

What Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The Grandparents

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

On Christmas Eve, shortly after “the nice man” drove to Nonna and Papa’s house to bring me the 2014 Lexus LS 460 to review, you and your cousin Calla both crashed for a much needed nap.

Under the care of your grandparents, that meant that Mommy and I, along with Auntie Dana (my sister) and Uncle Andrew, could do whatever in the world we wanted to on that cold yet sunny December afternoon.

Given that there was a brand new Lexus LS 460 sitting in the driveway, we hit the road!

At this point in the letter, I need you to start the soundtack, which is a song called “Flowers In Your Hair,” by The Lumineers:

It’s just that the pictures you’re about to see and the randomness of what you’re about to read is best complimented by such an appropriate song.

We decided to hit the mountaintop freeway, aimlessly headed towards Little River Canyon, where we took you in the 2014 Toyota Tundra we borrowed for your 3rd birthday.

I suggested we hang a left turn onto a barely visible side road next to an old fishing tackle shop.

Fate would have it, the four of us would happen upon a perfectly Americana-style, old abandoned church.

So we checked it out, as any young Generation Y parents would do.

The doors and windows were all gone. A “no trespassing” sign was nowhere to be found.

As we entered the church, it felt like a mix between Jacob’s cabin in the woods on Lost and being in a music video for The Lumineers.

All that we could find in the church was what was left of an antique piano and a once comfy chair.

I liked how the ceiling was painted a dull teal color, for no apparent reason.

How in the world has this place been left in tact all this time? No punk teenagers or meth heads have taken advantage of the situation.

Not even a killer brown bear.

Just an old abandoned church that surprisingly wasn’t creepy.

While I was exploring the place, I thought about all the people, who have all surely passed on from this life by now, but who knew that church as a major part of life.

They learned about God and the teachings of Jesus and the journey to Heaven. Those people made their way out in the ice and snow and sun to see their friends and fellow believers each Sunday morning. There is even a river behind the church where they surely baptized those who were lost but had been found.

That church was a big deal to them. I didn’t take it lightly to be standing on what, especially at one time, was holy ground.

So there you have it. That’s the kind of thing your parents do when you’re asleep and your grandparents are there to watch you.

Isn’t it weird to think that, in theory, I have a life separate from you? To think that I seek entertainment and nostalgia and new memories too…

You get that from me, you know.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Lexus, for the purpose of reviewing.

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2014 Lexus LS 460: 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveJourney To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus WrecksWhat Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The GrandparentsGrandma Regifts As-Seen-On-TV “Perfect Polly” To Great-GrandsonI’ve Heard Of Sleepwalking, But… Sleep-Eating And Sleep-Playing?

2013 Avalon Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveA Family That Recycles Together Doesn’t Decompose

2013 Toyota Rav4: 2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Toyota Tundra: Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort OfNashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Toyota Sienna: We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now

 

 

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Journey To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

As I just got finished explaining in my last letter to you, we took the Lexus LS 460 on a “guys only” mini-road trip early Christmas morning.

Our destinaton was Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel (A.K.A. “Howard’s Chapel”) in Mentone, AL; just a few miles from the house I grew up.

I specifically planned this trip because I felt at age 3, you are officially old enough to at least half-way remember going to such a cool and quirky place.

Finished in 1937, the chapel was built into a huge rock.

As if that weren’t interesting enough, the creative man responsible for having the church built, Milford Howard, had a last wish of having his ashes “buried” into the rock of the church.

My entire life, anytime I have wanted to, I have been able to visit the chapel; the doors are always open.

It’s really fascinating!

We got to explore the small church, seeing up close how the building was built into the rock and where Milford Howard’s ashes are buried.

I have a passion for (and a hobby of) finding obscure little treasures that seem like they should be part of a weird dream that you sort of almost remember from your childhood.

Except this is obviously real. So I took plenty of pictures of your first visit there to prove to you that it wasn’t just a dream.

As we were leaving, I asked you if you liked visiting the chapel. Your response:

“No, I don’t like it. There’s no people here.”

That makes sense. You’re used to seeing friends and playing with toys at our shopping mall-sized church we go to.

So to drop into a church where there are no people, because they weren’t currently having a service while we were there, I’m sure it didn’t actually seem to you like being at church.

Oh well, I enjoyed being there.

I think you might have been a bit preoccupied about the “giant robot” that was next-up on our journey.

To be continued….

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Lexus, for the purpose of reviewing.

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2014 Lexus LS 460: 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveJourney To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus WrecksWhat Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The GrandparentsGrandma Regifts As-Seen-On-TV “Perfect Polly” To Great-GrandsonI’ve Heard Of Sleepwalking, But… Sleep-Eating And Sleep-Playing?

2013 Avalon Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveA Family That Recycles Together Doesn’t Decompose

2013 Toyota Rav4: 2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Toyota Tundra: Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort OfNashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Toyota Sienna: We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now

 

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3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

So the whole idea behind “getting you a monster truck” (a Toyota Tundra) for the week of your 3rd birthday was for you to actually get to go for a worthy ride in it. For your monster truck road trip, it was important to me that we didn’t just see cool stuff, like Little River Falls, but that we also got to take full advantage of driving an awesome truck in between in each stop on our tour.

I remember the last time I took this trip, it was challenging and a bit scary to drive up and down some of the roads along the canyon. I mean, incredibly steep and narrow passages.

However, being in our monster truck changed that.

There was one point where I had planned for Mommy to hop out and run down to the hill to take a picture of us driving down the ridiculously steep (and dangerous) road.

It wasn’t until the end of the road trip that I realized we had already crossed that point a ways back; I just didn’t realize it because of how well our truck handled it.

So, sorry Son. I meant for the trip to be a bit more… scary. I’m sure in a regular car it would have been. But I could tell you didn’t mind.

The whole thing was a dream for you.

By the way, it was so cold that morning. It started out at 32 degrees and ended at 36. This was the first time for me to get to experience dual control heat for the seats. As you can see from these pictures, I kept mine on 68, while Mommy’s remained at 75. Not to mention, the seats had their own heat controls as well. Classy!

Our next stop was the old abandoned theme park, called Canyon Land, then Canyon Mouth Park.

I kept peeking back at you during our ride. You didn’t say much, but you didn’t have to. I could tell this trip meant the world to you.

To be continued…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

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3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

After leaving the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Chattanooga, TN, we drove an hour across Lookout Mountain to my hometown of Fort Payne, AL for the next stop of your monster truck road trip for your 3rd birthday in the Toyota Tundra, which served as your “monster truck.”

We visited Little River Falls, which is just a few miles from the house I was raised. Growing up basically on the Alabama/Georgia/Tennessee border, in the tale end of the Appalachian Mountains, I identify myself more with all three states as opposed to exclusively Alabama.

The truth is, I don’t know much about the rest of my homestate of Alabama; pretty much just the part that is included in the tri-state area around Chattanooga, TN, which was the biggest city I was familiar until I moved away after high school.

I took you there because I wanted to introduce you to the version of being a boy that I knew from the 1980s and ’90s. I was a Cub Scout, so anything to do with the great outdoors, including forests, waterfalls, and huge rocks, I was there.

The reason I chose Little River Falls for your 3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip was ultimately to introduce you to that part of me; a part of me that very much illustrates who I am.

I want you to grow up truly knowing me, in real time. To know me, I knew you had to experience seeing that strong yet reserved beauty of not only the waterfall and canyon, but also the therapeutic drive through it.

You were able to see where they paved a two lane road around a big tall rock. How cool is that?

This is the version of the South that I grew up in… exploring nature and making a simple, yet memorable adventure out of it.

Speaking of, I want to tell you more about the drive through the mountains.

To be continued…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

P.S. You were here. By that, I mean, the red star on this map.

 

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To Be Colorblind, Racially Speaking

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

As you commentate in the backseat in regards to the people you see on the sidewalk or driving the cars next to us, I’ve officially learned the language of “2 and a half year-old.”

I’ll hear you say, “Look at that brown man. Where’s he going?”

Or, “What about that yellow woman? She drives a truck?”

Though I was pretty confused the first several times because I was looking for the wrong physical traits, I eventually realized that when you refer to a person’s color, you’re simply talking about what color their shirt is.

At age 2 and a half, you evidently don’t see skin color like the way I’ve been conditioned to as a 32 year-old man who grew up in Alabama.

Knowing about all the segregation that took place just a couple of decades before I was born, I was constantly aware how horrible judging a person on their skin color was.

The good news is, I don’t think you’ll have to deal with this problem as much as I have throughout my life. When you were born, the American President was of both English and Kenyan descent; or as he’s often referred to, “America’s first black President.”

You were born into the least racist point in America’s recent history. (Right?) I don’t think you’ll ever be forced to see the difference in skin color the way I have throughout my life.

It’s tricky for me. I never want to make it seem like I’m truly “colorblind,” because then it takes away from the value of a person’s ethnic heritage and culture.

I suppose at some point, you’ll notice the different shades of brown that all of us human beings have; just like the way you notice what color shirts we wear.

Until then, I envy your innocence.

 

Love,

Daddy 

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