Our Family Thanksgiving
November 15 - December 9, 2016
Bob, Shirley, David and lots of family and friends

This Thanksgiving Bob and Shirley flew to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit David; then Stephie flew in; and we all drove up to Scheller in southern Illinois to be at the fabulous family Thanksgiving dinner party hosted by Jeannine and Ray. Their house was filled with 31 family members and very close friends.

The above photo of all 31 Thanksgiving family and friends was taken by Shirley's sister Mary Kay, who each year makes a wonderful set of such photos. If you click on the photo, the full resolution version will appear.

The next photo shows just some of the wonderful dishes served at the "Adult Table". So much wonderful food it was not possible to eat all of it, though Bob in fact did his very best to eat all the chocolate fudge made by Bonnie. Further down you will find a photo of the "Children's Table".

November 15 to 22: Providence, Huntsville

Joyful to be back with our son at his apartment in Providence in Huntsville, Alabama:

And here is the video to go with those photos above.

November 23 to 25: Scheller, Il

Bob, Shirley, David and Stephie drove to southern Illinois to attend the annual Thanksgiving feast hosted by Jeannine and Ray for family and friends. In this case, 31 family and friends. In their 30 years of marriage, Bob and Shirley have never missed this incredible event. This time there were 3 new friend attendees: David brought Stephie; Eric brought Rachel; and Clark brought Krista.

The above photo shows some of the many dishes at the adult table. The first photo below shows the children's table. Click on that photo to get a full resolution version.

Mary Kay took a more traditional photo of David and Stephie, shown next, but then had them pose as models would for the next 4 photos shown. Bob thought Vogue, Esquire, Cosmopolitan or any number of other magazines would consider themselves lucky to have such models. Click on each photo to get a full resolution version.

This was Stephie's first attendance at the big Scheller Thanksgiving Dinner. Two other newbies were Rachel, shown with Eric below in the first photo, and Krista, shown with Clark below, both photos taken by Mary Kay (click on photo for original, high resolution version).

And here is the video to go with the above.

On Thursday night, we returned to Jame's cabin, which we now shared with James, Shanna, Rita, Dylan, Savanah, Josh, and Martin, all shown in Mary Kay's photo of them below.

November 25 to December 9: Return to Huntsville

On Friday we visited the graveyard where Shirley' parents, Raymond and Rita, were buried. Mary Kay had previously stopped and left a wreath and a bouquet of flowers, as can be seen in the photo above. We then headed to Huntsville. We had good weather - no rain or snow as we have had sometimes in the past.

It turns out that Mary Kay, Neal, and Bret had started back around the time we did, though none of us knew that. We found out we had when we pulled into the information center at the Illinois/Kentucky border. We had all arrived at the same time, so had another chance to share hugs. They were headed to Nashville. We said our final goodbyes.

Well, as it turned out, not quite final. Because, although we did not see each other for some time as we drove, it turned out we both decided to make a rest stop. At the same rest stop. At the same time. More hugs. Then on our way to Huntsville, where we arrived safely shortly after dark on Friday.

Saturday, December 3: Exploring Providence Town

Saturday was another beautiful day, so Shirley and I walked through neighborhoods and in the Indian Creek Greenway park in Providence, not too far from David's apartment. The photos below show that we are clearly in fall, with beautiful trees and many falling leaves.

Stephie had a flight out of Huntsville to Michigan scheduled for Sunday, so of course we had to have a going away dinner at our favorite restaurant in Huntsville - Connors. And we met a lobster! Which got eaten.

On Sunday we drove Stephie to the airport.

Thursday, December 1: Exploring downtown Huntsville

It was such a beautiful day, so while David worked, Shirley and Bob went down to central Huntsville to visit Big Spring Park (see next 3 photos), look at Christmas trees which were sponsored by various companies and groups, and walk through the historic district that included homes built as early as the 1820's. Huntsville's original name was Twickenham, but in 1812, deciding that the name was too British, the name was changed to honor one of the city's founders - Ville ;-)

Wednesday, November 30

Overnight there was quite a thunderstorm with lots of rain, so in the morning of Wednesday, November 30th, Shirley and Bob walked back down to the park with the creek to check out the water flow.

Friday, December 2: Walk in downtown Huntsville

We went to downtown Huntsville to check out the Library, the Sheraton Suites hotel, and an old cemetery - The Maple Hills Cemetery. Some interesting facts about the cemetery:

Neal lived in Huntsville growing up and actually walked to school going the length and width of the Maple Hill Cemetery. The junior high he attended has since moved, but its old location is now occupied by Huntsville City School Board.

By walking from his home down McClung Blvd he was able to walk on top of a wall next to the cemetery. A portion of the wall on which he walked is shown below.

The route from his home to the junior high's original location is shown on the map below. Notice also that just south of his path is Blossomwood Elementary School, which Neal also attended.

Tuesday, December 6: Another walk in Providence

Shirley and Bob decided it was a nice enough day to walk in some neighborhoods we had not yet visited near David's apartment. The walk was about 4 to 4.5 miles and included a chance to walk in a cotton field, a first time for both Shirley and Bob. The photos below are from that walk. The first shows the cotton field behind Bob. Although it had already been picked, Shirley did find cotton balls with cotton inside on the ground. The stream in the next photo is called Dry Creek and when we first arrived, it was absolutely dry. Alabama, like California, has been suffering a drought, so the recent rains are welcomed.

Amazing what people will put in their yards as Christmas decorations!

Christmas Party Time!

The first Christmas Party was one David attended that was sponsored by Pinnacle Solutions, which is where he works. Not surpisingly, it turned out to be a very fun party with plenty of good food. The first picture is of David dressed to attend. A few days later, we had our family Christmas Party, with Thai food from a very nice restaurant in Providence Town and a wonderful pumpkin pie, cranberry relish, and tapioca pudding made by the incredible chef, Shirley, all of which we had in David's apartment.

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