Visiting people and places is the ticket

I wrote a few years ago about the wonderful visit we had to New England, made more enjoyable because we reconnected with some relatives. The combination of using a visit to a place to visit people can be marvelous, the caveat is to make sure it is people who you want to be around.

The past few days, my wife and I did a similar kind of visit to my home state of Florida and roots in south Georgia. Starting with my hometown of Jacksonville, we stayed with my brother and visited with his oldest daughter who is temporarily staying with him. The next night, we had dinner with his son, who we had not seen for a few years. It was wonderful to catch up. Earlier that day, we had yet another four hour lunch with my three best friends dating back to grade school, along with their wives. We did hear a few new stories, along with the old, and got to catch up.

The next day we drove to Tampa where we spent a couple of days enjoying its wonderful River Walk and a cool place called the Oxford Exchange suggested by our niece, my brother’s youngest daughter. The key to our trip was to visit with her, which was lots of fun. But, while there, we got to meet our blogging friend Gronda, who I had never met in person. She is a delight and has lived a wonderful life with various experiences, which she shared. We walked to and from the restaurant with Gronda, which was on the River Walk, as we sat outside and enjoyed the meal.

As for meeting our niece, it is lovely to meet her now as a wonderful young woman, as contrasted to the child we saw grow up. Meeting her alone in her new home city was quite fun. We had a nice brunch at the Oxford Exchange which is a rehabbed old building filled with shops and restaurants.

Finally, we ventured north and had a wonderful meal with members of my father’s family in south Georgia. I won’t mention the town, because everyone knows everyone else. There were eight of us, which included the three children (and their spouses) of a man raised with my father after his parents divorced. My dad was brought up largely by his aunt and her husband, who had two children as well. This aunt had helped raise his mother, as her biological mother was not part of the picture.

We had so much fun catching up, trading stories and filling in gaps in other stories. I hope the visits spawn reciprocal ones. It did with our New England trip. In fact, another niece we reconnected with in Maine is coming down for a few days later today.

I cannot emphasize enough how happy we are to have made these trips. I recognize this may not be newsworthy, but let me say don’t wait until it is too late to connect or reconnect.

8 thoughts on “Visiting people and places is the ticket

  1. I can totally feel the joy and what it all meant to you visiting those places and being with your dear ones again. Those years of long ago feel like merging with the present. For sure an exciting trip and worth to repeat it or to visit more places and people of earlier years.

    • Thanks Erika. I appreciate your comments. After I wrote this, one of my father’s cousins called me after I sent a thank you text. He said he wished he had paid more attention when he was little to his grandmother telling him which relatives came from which people. Don’t we all. Keith

  2. Reconnecting with family and long-time friends, and a blogger meet-up… it doesn’t get much better than that! I wasn’t aware that Tampa had a river walk. I love the one in San Antonio so, if I ever get to Tampa, I will be sure to visit. Believe me, Keith, this was so much nicer to read than what usually constitutes “newsworthy” today.

    • Thanks Janis. You are an exemplar of travel and sharing your excursions with others, in person and in pictures. The Tampa area is very inviting. The River Walk was very populated Sunday evening with walkers, runners, bikers, etc. The University of South Florida is right on the River Walk and the University of Tampa is just across the river. So, there is a youthful zest on the walk. Keith

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