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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lulu and I Had a Whirlwind 6 Day Visit Up North

The Everhart Klan - front - Elizabeth Askew - Keith - Jack - Robin - Kate - Drew - back - Harry - Lulu

The Cox Klan - front - Lulu - Lori - back - David - Betty - Jackie

Best Friends - Harry - George - MaryRuth - Nancy

Christmas isn't Christmas without you. So at 6 AM on Dec 23rd - Lulu and I piled all our gifts in the back of the Prius and headed to Jacksonville where a non-stop plane had us in Washington DC at noon. Keith and his lovely girlfriend Elizabeth were waiting for us. Since Liz's dad was out of town for the holidays - we settled into his beautiful home for a few days.

On Christmas Eve - we met up with Drew and his family for dinner and to exchange gifts. The kids really added the excitement in Christmas that we all remember and love.

Christmas Day was spent at Keith and Liz's condo where we exchanged presents and enjoyed a fantastic lobster tail meal. We exchanged gifts and Nancy and I walked off the extra calories with a stroll by the White House through a quiet but chilly downtown Washington DC.

Next came 36 hours in the Coal Regions - good old Tamaqua PA. Lulu's mother is an excellent cook - and her turkey dinner for 14 was another masterpiece. It has been a long time since Betty and her 4 kids lined up for a group photo - but everyone showed up with bells on for Lulu's homecoming. We spent the night with Lulu's cousins Georgeann and Jim - you heard of them recently from the New York City trip. They have a lovely home in Owl Creek - Jim even waxed the shower stall and changed the toilet seat in the master suite just for us. He heard that his half-assed cousin was coming to town. I love their gigantic basement - a feature Lulu and I plan too emulate in our new home.

No trip home is complete without a stop by best friends' George and MaryRuth Taylor's Lehigh Street mansion. Most of our talk was of their son Brandon - a writer in China - and Michael scoring 28 points in a Penn State University basketball game. Norman Rockwell could not paint a better picture of an American family.

Next the rental Ford Focus headed north to Scranton to meet my sister Gail and her sweet school librarian daughter Susan Roberts. The Lackawanna Train Station Hotel was perfect for this most important Everhart family meeting. The perfectly restored old lobby was beautifully decorated and the piano man was playing Christmas tunes. Anything was fair game for that conversation. It was wonderful sitting at a table with 3 of the sweetest Everhart girls - wishing Judy - Robin - Sharon - and Kate were there - but maybe another time. It was foggy and rainy outside - about 40 degrees - but inside could not have been warmer.

At 2 PM - we piled into in the rental - and we started a 6 hour marathon from Scranton to Washington DC. Traffic was bad in some places and the 39 degree rain provided quite a bit of fog. A stop at the Schuylkill Mall in Frackville broke the trip up just enough. When we lived in Pennsylvania - it was our main shopping place and also the number one stop on the way home from following Drew and Keith's basketball teams.

After heavy traffic around Harrisburg and DC - we got to Keith's condo at around 9 PM. We talked - took a few pictures - then spent one last night in the Askew homestead - flying out of Washington National Airport around 8 AM for a short 1.5 hour trip to Jacksonville. A clear blue sky and 55 degrees greeted us back to our new sunny home. Lulu piloted our Christmas red Prius full of booty to Tallahassee at noon.

We pulled into the remote controlled garage to find the door to the kitchen locked - the Dawson's had locked us out before they left on a one week cruise. Of course our spare key was locked in their house - and our key to their house was locked in our kitchen. After 6 hours of gnashing our teeth - and several drinks at Logan's Road House - our neighbor Lee came home and had a key that we gave him 8 years ago. After 6 days and about 3000 miles of road work - we were home.

Since we are paving our street/driveway on Dec 30th - we decided to stay home from the Florida State/Notre Dame bowl game in Orlando.

Next trip Jan 1st - to Pasadena and the Rose Parade - then on to Hawaii until Jan 11th. For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.

Christmas Day at the White House. We saw President Obama's helicopter taking him to the airport for his Christmas in Hawaii. We will be there Jan 3rd.

Lulu always wants library pictures. Here she is at Cabela's Gun Library in Hamburg PA

Jackie introduced the family to his lovely Southern Belle - Tami

Lulu is very proud of her student-athlete niece - Dana. She is 5th in her class and plans to be a pharmacist. That is 5th out of about 200.

David and his girlfriend Kelly spoon under their new Seminoles snuggy

A drive by the old Everhart chalet pleased Lulu. We raised a family of 4 in that cute little box of 1000 square feet

Cousins Jim and Georgeanne put the Everhart's out back in swaddling clothes lying in the manger

Harry and Jack exchanged presents. Jack "made" Christmas this year

Keith's Christmas tree was a true "Everhart Original." It was made of several highly finished wooden slats - tons of room for Lulu's extensive ornament collection. Note the real orange tree to my left - growing in their downtown Washington condo window.

Drew got a telephoto lens for his iPhone - Lulu found an Apple gadget he did not have.

Below - Keith and Liz just got back from the Maui Invitational Tournament in Hawaii where Duke and Georgetown played. I wonder how Liz talked Keith into buying a Duke shirt. The shirt says - "Duke Champions"

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