Yesterday was the victorious homecoming after a week spent in BFE. I love my grandmother with all my heart, but I cannot understand why she chose to live in the middle of nowhere. The closest semblance of civilization is the dilapidated barn a few miles down the road from her house, and a few miles farther is the little village of Milton. There’s a gas station, a grocery store, a church. Not much else.

The thirteen hour drive was not that awful. We only hit one traffic jam, just east of Grand Rapids, MI. The rest of the drive went quite quickly, when I was able to ignore the constant arguing between my brother and my dad. Adam, my bro, enjoys going about thirty mph over the speed limit at any given time. My dad prefers that he try to keep it down to twenty over, max. This leads to bickering and excuses followed by ultimatums which are never carried through. So we continued to speed down country roads and most of Canada going a little over 100mph. The speed occasionally dropped down to around 80 when there was serious construction accompanied by a man with the coveted job of holding the SLOW sign on the side of the road while wearing a bright vest and helmet.

The week we spent in Vermont was quite boring, but seeing family is always nice. Especially when they live so far away. I had not seen my grandma since Tulip Time 2000. My cousins and I have been apart for four years, my aunts and uncles even longer. Here’s a list of the people I visited while there:

  • Grandma: we stayed at grandma’s house, so we saw her quite often, believe it or not. My brother and I got to sleep on the old bunk beds in the guest room, which I can remember sleeping on since we were really little. Anyway, grandma is very short and very sweet, with extremely long finger nails and thin arms leading to a kind face and sharp wit. She hasn’t been herself since grandpa died, though.

  • Uncle Joe : my dad’s older brother by four years and some months. That makes him about 53. Uncle Joe’s real name is Burton Frank II (named after grandpa), but he was dubbed Little Joe to avoid confusion in the household during his younger years. Uncle Joe is a retired Master Sergeant in the Navy, a very strong and very formidable man. However, he is harmless once you get to know him.

  • Kimberly : Uncle Joe’s oldest child, the middle of us three granddaughters. She is 21 and living with her boyfriend, Jason. She still speaks with a southern drawl, saying “ya’ll” instead of "you guys." I am trying to teach her the correct way of speaking. She has recently broken her habit of calling all pop "coke," and this is all the improvement I expect to see any time soon. Silly Louisianans.

  • Matthew : the youngest of all the grandchildren, and Uncle Joe’s youngest son. He is extremely sharp for being the thirteen year-old he is, and enjoys making fun of my brother in all his stupidness. Matthew has had a speech impediment since birth, but I am one of the few who understand him.

  • Aunt Barb : Uncle Joe’s wife and my dad’s sister-in-law. She’s very nice to most people, but has made Kimberly’s life a living hell. Aunt Barb is thin, smokes Misty Light 100s like a chimney, and has had the same hair style since the sixties. She is very polite and quite charming to those who can see past her many quirks.
Burton Frank III, Uncle Joe’s oldest son, is away at boot camp in Chicago, so he was not around to help everyone with the moving of all grandma’s possessions.

After five days of nonstop hauling and packing, my grandma’s house of 29 years was cleared. It was sad to see the familiar rooms and hallways cleared of their decorations and furniture, but that's the way it is. A certain Mr. Baxter stopped by several times daily to see how things were going, bearing gifts of food each time. He is one of grandma’s suitors. He’s nice, quiet, respectful, and 81 years old. Grandma says she wants a man in his 60s if she wants another man at all. She and my grandpa were married for 56 years, and she misses him with all her heart.

When I got home, I was ecstatic to see my new notebook computer waiting for me on the counter in the kitchen. It’s a Sony PCG-XG500 Pentium III, 700MHz, 128MB, 10GB hardrive, with an 8X DVD player, Ethernet card and a 14.1inch monitor. It’s very pretty. I’m waiting til I get to school this fall to hook everything up and get it running. For now I can stick with my dad’s computer.

I have spent today eating Papa John’s breadsticks, watching Lifetime, and sleeping. I plan to continue these activities until further notice.