Travel Tuesday – Trip Down Home

Where is Down Home you say?  Well, down (south) in Texarkana, and while I have never actually lived in Texarkana, I consider it down home because your home is where your heart is, or family is right? Considering this is where all the family is for both my maternal and paternal side, I just call it down home.

As soon as Knucklehead got off the bus on Friday afternoon, a week or so ago, we headed down home.

Knucklehead's Bus

He wasn’t a very good travel buddy. He slept all the way. (FYI – I was at a stop when I snapped this shot.)

Knucklehead my travel buddy

My first order of business was to head straight to Nedra’s house and hug her neck. Then I went by my cousin Mr. Carl’s house and picked up a few things from his daughter, Debbie and grandson Shane Jones. We had a nice little chat and I got their permission to interview Mr. Carl about his time on the U.S.S. Arizona during WWII.  I always like to ask the family to make sure they don’t care or have any concerns.

Then we went back to Nedra’s, had a good visit and rested up.

The next morning, on Saturday, we got up early, but not as bright and early as I wanted to and we headed over to Ashdown to visit cousin Gary Higginbotham and his wife Bessie. I just love them. I would drive three hours just to hug their necks. Oh, wait! I did drive three hours to hug them!

Gary and Bessie Higginbotham

Next, Knucklehead and I went over to Uncle Charlie Starks’ and he gave me the Victrola I posted about last week. We spent a good deal of time with him as he drove all over his farm and showed Knucklehead two amazing Indian Mounds right on his farm. Sorry to say, I forgot to get a picture with him. 🙁

Next, we went to visit Mr. Carl at Linrock Nursing Home, along with Nedra, cousin Martha Harris Horn, and cousin Jimmy Nicholas. Mr. Carl’s daughter Debbie and grandson Shane also were there and we had him a nice birthday cake for his birthday.


Also, you should know, when I bought the candles, I messed up. Mr. Carl is 89 not 90. I told him I would make it up to him on his next birthday, but he was just so excited to have so many visitors, he didn’t even care.

Here is a shot Knucklehead took of me, Nedra and Mr. Carl.

Susie, Nedra, and Mr. Carl

Here is a shot of Jimmy Nicholas and Martha Harris Horn, sadly I forgot to take one of Shane and Debbie. What can I say, all I could think about was that cake!

Jimmy Nicholas and Martha Harris Horn

Here is Mr. Carl proudly wearing the cap that Nedra and I went in on together, and I got him when I was visiting the U.S.S. New Jersey back in August when I went to DC.

Mr. Carl Hurt

This is one of the sweetest, most caring, most humble of men that I know, and I am so privileged to have met him three years ago and blessed to have gotten to know him since then. My life is the better for it.

I interviewed him for a long time, on video which I will be working to put together after the holidays. I will be sharing it with the library of congress as well for their Veterans History Project. If you know a veteran, I urge you to record their stories and submit them to this project.

After this we went back to Nedra’s and rested up for a little while, and then we met up with cousins at Applebee’s and had a wonderful time.  The party included Debbie Brock James, Mary Beth Dwight with her husband Derek and son Dalton, and Mary Beth’s sisters Suzan Rogers and Becca Brumley.  We had a good time and it was so fun to be able to hang out with family.  I wish we could do it more often.  And guess what, I was having so much fun, I didn’t even take a picture.  Next time, I will.

The next morning, on Sunday, we loaded up all of our stuff and headed to Shreveport to see cousins Kookie and Cheri.  Now, you wouldn’t believe this, but Knucklehead and Kookie share a special relationship and they have never met.  They send messages back and forth, videos back and forth and even call each other.  So I couldn’t resist the urge to drive a bit further to Shreveport so they could actually meet in person.

Knucklehead was a little on the excited side, so you know what that means.  He talked, and talked and talked, and my nerves got more frayed, and frayed and frayed!  We met at Kookie’s house and of course they hit it off just like I thought they would.

We all loaded up in Kookie’s car and went down to the boardwalk in Shreveport and had lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack.

First off, is this not a gorgeous view of the Red River?

Bridge in Shreveport

Actually, I just thought I would tease you with that since I know you are dying to see a picture of Knucklehead and Kookie together right?

Knucklehead and Kookie

This was the first picture I took, as you can see Knucklehead is trying to pump Kookie for as much information about everything as he can, as that is what he always does.  So I got them to turn around for this shot.

Knucklehead and Kookie

Then I got Cheri in on the action.

Knucklehead, Cherie, and Kookie

Now, I am almost positive if I were near Cheri right now, she would kill me for posting this. She’s a woman who likes to have her hair in place, and ummmm.  What can I say?  I can’t help the wind, and regardless of her hair flying, I love this shot.  I always say, if you are going to do something to someone, be willing to have it done to you.  So, to save Cheri the trouble, here is one of me with my hair flying in the wind.

Cherie, Kookie, and Susie

I would like to point out, that if I had never started this blog, and posted a picture of our great-grandmother Sarah Courtney Martin Pill, we wouldn’t be standing there together in the wind and we wouldn’t even know each other.  This is why it’s important to post your information and see if you can locate cousins. This is my 4th trip (since we connected on the blog) to go and see them.  I had such a good time, and I have come to love these two ladies, so very much!

Next up, is Knucklehead about to tear into crab legs, which up until this point he loved, very very much. But, I may have changed his life and ruined his love of crab legs for him for, well forever.


Here’s what happened.  He ate two or three legs, and then it looked like there was dirt on the shell.  Dirt, which he called fish poop.  I assured him it was not dirt nor fish poop, but just a little brothy substance from where they boiled it and as it was on the OUTSIDE of the leg, on the shell, it therefore, was in no way contaminating the meat on the inside of the shell.

This was not good enough, and he couldn’t believe that fish poop was on the outside of the shell.  Then, I made a fatal mistake.  I asked him “Just where does this crab live?  In the Ocean!” I say. “Where do fish poo?  In the ocean!!” I say.

Big mistake.



He proceeded to put down his food and refused to touch it again.  Thus, ruining his love of crab legs forever.

Now, this is not how I wanted Knucklehead to act on his first visit with Kookie and Cheri, but oh well. Kids will be kids and there is nothing you can do about it.  At least I know Kookie and Cheri were understanding.

I later told Kookie, I wasn’t sure what he was thinking on this deal, I mean did it take him this long to figure out where fish take a poop?  It’s not like they jump on land, use the bathroom, and dive back in.  We got a big laugh out of that, to which Knucklehead was not amused and proceeded to pout for a while.  We proceeded to eat though, so that was just his problem, I was HANGRY.

Cheri, see how great she looks with all her hair in place!  Cheri is such a hoot and makes me laugh so much. Like, gut hurting laugh. It’s awesome.

Cheri Atkins

Knucklehead, before the poop incident.


Me, during the poop incident. In disbelief, but trying to play it off.


And then, Kookie, always smiling and such fun to be around! I wish I could do this way more often!


Then Knucklehead pepped up when we went to the Bass Pro Shop that was next door. He wanted to pose by the fish in the tank and this catfish just happened to swim up and photobomb. I was really aiming for the one on the bottom to be in the picture, but this was great!


I gave him a bunch of quarters and sent him to the shooting range, and was able to gather a piece of my mind back while he was there for about 15 minutes. It was worth the seven bucks.

As we were leaving, we had to stop and see the gators, cause that is what you do when you are in Louisiana, right?

Gators Bass Pro Shop Bossier City

Then, one of them swallowed Knucklehead.  It was horrible.  I was devastated, but we managed to get him back in one piece.

KnuckleheadThen we said our goodbyes to Kookie and Cheri and got back on the road to Texarkana where we went by and saw Mr. Carl along with Nedra, on our way out-of-town.  I had to finish up interviewing Mr. Carl for the project so after that, we got back on the road later than I wanted and we got home late around 8 p.m. Poor Knucklehead worked on homework, all the way home.

It was a travel packed weekend, but it did my heart good to go down home and see family. It gets lonesome around the compound for all my cousins. It was a good trip and I hope to go back soon.

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2 comments on “Travel Tuesday – Trip Down Home

  1. Wonderful

  2. Loved having you and Knucklehead! Anytime you want to, come on down! You might learn to really love Louisiana!!!

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