Part 1 – Why Texas? Why Christmas 2020?
I live in Wapakoneta, Ohio. We didn’t get to go to Texas for Thanksgiving – that’s where two of my kids live. My son-in-law was exposed to Covid before Thanksgiving. His test came back negative two days later, but his insurance didn’t allow for any more tests – so we really didn’t know if he had it, or not.
I’m 61 and a diabetic so I should be in one of the early groups to get the vaccine. I didn’t want to risk getting covid. My son-in-law wouldn’t know, unless he had symptoms, that he was covid-free until December 5th. THAT was a WEEK after Thanksgiving.
I made the decision after we traveled 1/3 of the way to Texas – NOT to go BEFORE Thanksgiving. It was the first one that I’ve ever had with just my husband. In 35 years of marriage, we’ve always seen both of our families, plus our kids after they were born.
After Thanksgiving I also decided not to go to Texas for Christmas. Why? The nightly news was scary. Covid was everywhere! I told my daughter we weren’t coming. She reacted the way I do – she cried. Guess what? It worked! My husband caved so we were on the road December 16th, for a Texas Christmas!
Look at the map of the US. Can you guess how we got to Texas?
I bet it’s not the route we took – we went to the lake in northeastern TN first, and then we drove to TX.
That was 3 days of driving, and I loved it! Why? I can sleep and read in the car because my husband drives. I’m lucky!
Part 2 – A Road Trip to Texas
My husband and I broke our trip into 3 parts. It’s a long way to Texas! The 1st day took 5 to 6 hours to get from Wapakoneta, Ohio to Lafollette, Tennessee. We followed I75 south all the way to the lake exit. That’s the map on the left for the GPS route. (Global Positioning System). Don’t forget to look for Kentucky! Here’s the link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Wapakoneta, Ohio 45895 - Google Maps
On the 2nd day we spent about 8 hours in the car driving south-west from Lafollette to Vicksburgh, Mississippi. That’s where we stopped for the night. The next day it took about 7 hours to reach Temple, Texas. Don’t forget to look for Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana along the way. That’s 7 states in 1 trip!
We took lots of roads on the 2nd and 3rd day. Click the link, then enlarge the map, and you can see the roads we took. GPS is wonderful! It warns you about tricky places before you hit them.
LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 3 – Beach Family Christmas Customs, Texas Style
We arrived on the 20th. We stayed with my daughter and her husband. Ashley’s all about family traditions. We made Chex Mix one day. Next up were Christmas cookies. They’re both family recipes.
Christmas shopping is something my daughter and I do together. With Covid we were in and out. Our masks were on the whole time.
We didn’t make it to Christmas Eve service. It’s the first time since I started dating my husband that we haven’t, but this year we felt safer doing it online. It wasn’t the same, but it was good, in its own way. Every Christmas I look forward to hearing the story of Jesus’s birth.
We got to open presents twice, first with my daughter, and a few days later with my son. He lives a couple hours away, so we made another road trip. Because of Covid, we did a porch visit with him, his wife, and their toddler. Christmas is a double holiday, so we brought both Christmas and birthday presents for the baby. We spent an afternoon together. It ended too soon, but it was lovely!
Part 4 – The Road Home
It was a lovely Christmas vacation, but too short. We started the long drive back on the 29th, This time we took the northern route, the shortest drive. The link may look the same, but we drove all the way to Memphis Tennessee before we stopped for the night.
Look underneath the route to Memphis, and you’ll see 2 other options. The one in the middle should look familiar – it’s the one we took to Texas. You don’t see Vicksburg this time, but I think it’s where the bottom two options come together. Do you see Shreveport, Louisiana? We passed by it on our way to Texas. Link: LaFollette, Tennessee to Temple, Texas - Google Maps
Part 5 – Always a Buckeye
We returned to Lafollette the day before New Year’s Eve. I’m glad I had a chance to rest before New Year’s Day. No Rose Parade, but the video they made was wonderful.
My Buckeyes played Clemson in the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Day. I’m glad I rested! I shopped the whole game. That’s my superstition. It helps me get through the rollar coaster of emotions.
It worked! OSU beat Clemson 49 – 28.
We made it back to Ohio a day before the National Championship. I didn’t have a day to rest. I was busy catching up on our mail, and my mother’s. Maybe that’s what went wrong!
On Monday January 11th the Buckeyes played Alabama. It wasn’t to be. I shopped my heart out, but it didn’t work. The Buckeyes lost 52 – 24.
It was a horrible loss, but if 3 plays had gone differently the score would have been 38-31. Alabama scored with two 4th down plays in the 1st half. OSU had a 4th down red zone play. They didn’t make it, but they’re winners in my eyes. They almost didn’t have a season, yet they wound up in the National Championship.
Guess when I’ll be making my next road trip to Texas? Probably May. That’s when my new grandboy is coming. Here’s to May, a covid shot, and cuddling 2 grandkids!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!