The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

road trip!

By the time you reach your late thirties, the words ‘road trip’ just don’t have the ring they once did. Nevertheless, that’s what we did over the weekend. We took a road trip. To Tennessee. We live in Georgia. We didn’t really go that far.

We spent Friday night in Chattanooga where I, as any good mother would do, tried desperately to teach my children the song, Chattanooga Choo-Choo. You see, anytime we take a trip, we (and by ‘we’, I mean ‘I’) have a theme song. Last summer when we took a cruise, it was Zac Brown’s Where the Boat Leaves From. It was perfect! My family, on the other hand, just doesn’t know how to be jolly.

We spent Saturday at the Tennessee Aquarium and it was fantastic. Two buildings full of creatures you have seen and tons you have not. Here’s the thought that kept running through my head: there are so many beautiful colors! Salt water fish are stunning. Beats the heck out of a Georgia National Fair goldfish, that’s for sure. And, just in case you haven’t seen one up close, penguins act just like their cartoon counterparts. They had me laughing out loud! ‘Course, not everyone saw the humor and irony that I did. True to my profession, I created a small list of things my children were doing to drive me crazy aquarium etiquette points.

  • Running ahead in the exhibit and yelling back what you see spoils it for those who have yet to round the corner.
  • Running ahead in the exhibit then running back to Mom tapping on my  her arm saying, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Come over here!” spoils it for the Mom that has yet to round the corner. Additionally, all that incessant tapping will give the Mom a nervous condition.
  • It is inappropriate for Moms or Dads to ask the volunteer guides at the shark exhibit how one might get into that shark tank then threaten the children with a ‘swim with the fishes’ if they don’t act right. It’s just too much for those around you to comprehend. Discuss the Swim with the Fishes opportunities before you get out of the car.
  • One’s appearance is never a joking matter. So, it should go without saying that Husbands should not gaze at the biggest, ugliest, fattest sea turtle in the world, drape an arm around each child and say, “Doesn’t your mama look good, kids?” (I would have frogged him, but there was a very distinguished looking lady with a beautiful hair color job carrying a Chanel bag that seemed appalled enough.)

After a painful stop by Starbucks and a long discussion about parking meters (country-come-to-Chattanooga), we got back in the car headed north.  Yep, further into Tennessee and into the unknown. Our 9 year old son, who we’ve decided doesn’t get out nearly enough, asked what hotel we would be visiting for Saturday night. I told him and he said, “Gosh, I hope it’s nice.” This, from the fella who stood on the street outside the Hardrock Café in Atlanta (a whopping 103 minutes from home), spread his arms and feet wide and yelled, “Heeellooo New York City!”  Like I said, he doesn’t get out much.

Sunday, we went to church with relatives to see a beautiful baby cousin christened. She wore the christening gown her aunt wore, a gold necklace from a great aunt, we ate pimento cheese and marinated beans with old family sterling silver for lunch, had pound cake and coffee for dessert and laughed about the idiosyncrasies of our family. While we were definitely north of where we call home, the southernisms lived on and it was a perfect day.

Interestingly, we are taking another road trip today. Our 12 year old daughter and I are going to Birmingham to visit the Southern Living magazine offices. We will see, first hand, how they put together the pieces that make up a traditional and southern lifestyle.

As if we don’t know already…

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4 responses to “road trip!

  1. Tara Poole November 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I absolutely LOVE reading your blog! Too entertaining!

  2. Thom Benson November 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Kate – Thanks for the fun story about your visit to Chattanooga and the Tennessee Aquarium. Your writing makes us smile! Glad you had a pleasant trip and we hope you come back soon. Keep up the good work!

  3. Kate November 19, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Tara,

    I’m really glad you like to follow along! Thanks for saying so!!

    Kate

  4. Kate November 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Thom,

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope we will be back there soon. We had a blast! We even slid down the hill that day, but don’t even ask for a picture. 🙂

    Kate

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