Edd’s family has an interesting history. His mother, Frances, was born in Ireland but her family moved to Philadelphia when she was young. Her best childhood friend was Donna. As an adult, Frances and her sister went traveling in England and never returned to the US, while other family stayed, or moved to Canada. But Frances and Donna have kept in touch over the years, visiting each other or meeting up with each other around the world.
I met Donna seven years ago. Edd and I had just moved back from Spain. We made plans to meet in Canada because he was going there for his cousin’s wedding. Me, Edd, his mom and Donna all met up in Ontario and stayed at Donna’s time share there. (Donna is the time share queen, by the way).
When we first got to Donna and Tom’s house, we all immediately started drinking wine and getting caught up. That just gives you a taste of how the week went.
Donna and Tom have now been living in Macon for 22 years. Their huge blue Victorian house dominates a spacious corner property.
Donna and Tom have lived in England and Egypt and have traveled to countless places. It’s funny to talk about the Middle East with them. They were there in the 80s.
Tom and Donna have stripped and stained nearly all the woodwork in the house so it’s now back to it’s original color. The dark wood makes for a rich backdrop for all the colorful pieces they have collected on their travels.
The weather is gorgeous and every evening we ate out on their veranda that wraps around the house. Chicken, steaks, spaghetti, shrimp tacos. Both Donna and Tom cook great food. And we all drank loads of everything.
On Friday night we went out for a catfish dinner at a small joint called Polly’s. Literally every single thing on my plate was fried. But it was delicious. Tom said they use cornmeal for the breading. Yum.
We also went walking twice in Ocmulgee National Park. It has ancient Native American mounds, and even has an earth lodge which has the original clay floor. It was truly beautiful.
In the 1800s a lot of the land was dug into and sacred mounds flattened to make way for a railroad. Of course white settlers the pushed native peoples West. The irony of the government protecting lands that it once stole from native peoples is hard to be at peace with. At the same time, I love that the lands are accessible to the public and educational at the same time. The park has gentle, well maintained paths and signs on display throughout.
After our second morning in Ocmulgee, we went downtown for Bloody Marys at the Rookery, ate popsicles and visited St. Joseph’s Catholic church.
Tom used to be a diver for the navy, but he has lots of experience in home rehab so he has tools, paints, caulks, you name it. So with Tom’s help, Edd ,”straightened out” the external propane hookup. Yes, the problem turned out to be a kink in the hose! We can cook outside again!
We also knew some water had been getting underneath the countertop so we knew we would have to add some new caulk around the sink. Edd pulled off all the old trim around the sink area because he thought water The backsplash was warped where we removed the trim, so we decided to replace that.
Donna and I weighed all the options for a new backsplash: decorative tin, fake decorative tin, peel and stick tiles, real ceramic tiles… In the end none of these options seemed attractive, practical, AND inexpensive. So we went with a plain, flat aluminum sheet!
After cutting and screwing and caulking, it wasn’t perfect. But with Tom’s help we finished everything, and swapped out the old plastic sink with a new metal one, complete with a sprayer.
We also broke off some old vinyl tiles from the panel that was added to the back of the shower. We added a few coats of polyurethane to keep it waterproof.
Edd gave the van a good wash too. We hadn’t washed her since last summer!
My allergies took hold of my whole body and made me feel awful for days. Tom gave me Flonase and Donna gave me hot tea with lemon and whiskey. When I protested that it was too much, she said “Oh Melissa, it isn’t even a double shot!” as if it was just a couple of drops.
Donna doesn’t let much get in the way if her having a good time. On Friday, Donna was giving us a tour of the unfinished attic, which is big enough to be the second floor. She was telling us to be careful walking over the boards laid temporarily on top of the rafters when “Ahh!” She slipped off a board and we thought she was going to fall right through the ceiling. My heart skipped a beat, but Donna kept laughing.
We were sad to leave on Sunday. Tom and Donna were great to us. Thanks you two! See you in Peru?