We had the opportunity to go down to Plains, Georgia this 4th of July weekend for a very special family reunion. We left town Friday afternoon and made our first stop in Greenville, where we spent the night with my sister Laura, her husband, and my one-month-new nephew. He sure is a prince.
On Saturday we grabbed our Starbucks and made our way to Atlanta where we stopped for a classic lunch at The Varsity. This famous eatery has been serving up delicious hot dogs, burgers, and orange drinks for decades and is truly a part of Atlanta's history. I got two chili and slaw hot dogs with the orange drink -- I think I made a rookie mistake by not specifying the FROZEN orange drink though. Next time.
Four hours later we arrived in Plains, Georgia. The neat thing about this family reunion is that it's on my father's side, and it is hosted by former President Jimmy Carter. He is my late grandfather's first cousin ... they grew up playing together! When you think about all of the humans in the world you could be lucky enough to be related to, Jimmy Carter is a pretty spectacular one to claim as a family member. Republican, democrat, libertarian, whatever you are -- he is one revered man for his humanitarian accomplishments. A national treasure, as someone on my Instagram feed referred to him.
Saturday afternoon was the meet and greet where family members stood up at the front of an auditorium and said a bit about their branch of the family. Later that evening we all got together at the community center and enjoyed dinner and some time together before donning our family reunion tshirts and taking group photographs outside. We had some nice time to chat with President Carter and other family members, and Camille played chase with some new little friends.
Sunday morning was Sunday School, where President Carter gave the lesson. If you are ever in the area, you can attend his lessons -- just click here for more information. I attended with Charlotte while Ian stayed at the hotel with Camille.
At one point of the lesson they invite the congregation to take a photograph (and then cameras and phones are promptly put away). I felt a little awkward taking a photo in church like this, but years down the road when my brain space has been overtaken by school schedules, ballet lesson times, household to-dos, and other memories, I wanted to be able to look back on this photo and remember what it was like that day.
By luck, we ended up in the front row which was awesome (and it also made it very convenient for a hasty exit when Charlotte unexpectedly let out a HUGE cry, stopping President Carter's lesson and making the congregation laugh, as I sputtered out an "I'm so so sorry!" with an apologetic and horribly embarrassed wave ... and his reply? "No! I like it! She just sounds so genuine!")
I retreated to the overflow room for the rest of the lesson where three sweet ladies brought me a rocking chair so I could rock Charlotte and watch the remainder of the sermon on a television. I was pretty embarrassed at first, but you know what -- babies cry, that's just real life. If you are reading this now, you probably cried at an inopportune time and embarrassed a parent. :) I know I did!
That afternoon the boys golfed and I took a nap in the hotel room with the two girls. Evening festivities started at 6 with a cookout, bluegrass band, and young cloggers at the community center!
I can't think of a more American way to spend our fourth of July ... with one of the most prolific Americans that we are proud to call our own, the 39th President of the beautiful USA.