You all are very encouraging with me sharing personal family trips, so today I’m sharing our trip to Durant, FL where my mom grew up and where 2 of her brothers still live. The year is starting out with lots of family sharing. I’m not doing Fashion over 50 this week, it’s just one of those weeks where I can’t catch up, so I hope to be back next week with a fashion post.
In mom’s family, there are 4 siblings left of the original 7 and mom is the only girl left, with 3 brothers. It’s so hard watching them decline in health and her younger brother, Uncle Eugene is declining pretty fast with lung and heart problems. We decided that we better take mom to see him while we can and so we planned a last minute trip with just the girls and Renee and I drove mom down and Lauren and Parker flew in from New Orleans to meet us and we stayed 3 nights near them in Brandon, FL.
It was a fast, but good trip and we are glad we took the time to do it. I’m worn out, but life goes on and I’ll catch up with sleep later as well as get the rest of my Christmas decor down when I get around to it. Sometimes life gets in the way and we have to go with the flow. Family comes first no matter what and we are all glad we went.
Food is always a big part of our family outings and since we were going to pick Lauren up at the Tampa airport, we decided to stop by Brocato’s and get Cuban sandwiches and deviled crabs and bring them to my uncle’s house, so that’s what we did. I didn’t get a picture of the food, but it was delicious! Brocato’s is well known in Tampa and if you live down there, you probably know them.
On our second day there, one of my uncle’s best friends brought over fried speckled perch for us to eat and that was a treat. My cousin, Brenda, made the sides and we all enjoyed it so much. We grew up doing huge family fish fries over the years and it’s a well loved tradition that we all enjoy.
Mom with her two brothers and Aunt Evelyn, married to Uncle Roland, who is blind. I don’t know if I’ver ever shared them with you before, but Uncle Roland and Aunt Evelyn were missionaries for many years in Paraguay and they are dear people. Uncle Eugene was in good spirits in spite of health issues. We love him dearly and in fact, it was almost 4 years ago that we were there visiting his wife, Aunt Mary who passed away shortly after that of cancer. We miss her so much!
Parker was about 2 years old when she was here last and she has never forgotten riding horses at their little ranch. She loved it so much.
Here she is then with Cousin Dennis. She couldn’t wait to go back and ride those horses again.
She loves animals and especially horses and was not at all afraid of them. She rode the biggest horse they have, Maggie.
Maggie had a baby a year ago and this is the baby, Hailey.
She’s so cute. Luckily we had good weather one day, it was perfect and about 80º and sunny.
Dennis was so good with Parker and got the horses out and saddled them up. Parker thinks Dennis hung the moon.
She patiently waited while Maggie got saddled up.
That face says it all, doesn’t it? Her mama brought her a horse shirt to ride in.
She also loved watching the cows.
Nursing babies. They have a few cows on their 25 acres, with 4 horses I think.
It always feels comforting to visit and it looks almost exactly the same here on their property as when I was a kid coming here too. My grandaddy used to live in a house adjoining their property many years ago.
Parker was not afraid to ride by herself and she did great. She stayed on Maggie for well over an hour, walking in a loop around the small pasture. Dennis kept telling her not to let Maggie start trotting, but she was really wanting to do more than walk.
That’s one happy little girl!
Cousin Layna is a barrel racer, as well as her dad, Dennis and they both have been on horses since they were born. My uncle used to race quarter horses for many years. They both periodically win money barrel racing. Parker was on cloud nine that day!
We all enjoyed sitting outside and watching Parker ride that horse, mom included.
Lauren joined them on Dennis’s horse.
We all got a turn.
And I made one loop around the pasture and then it was time to put them up. Parker was loving it!
She only got to ride one day, as the next day it rained almost all day. She was so disappointed and really wanted to ride again, but we told her we’ll just have to go back again. She had fun riding with Layna on the golf cart and managed to get her boot stuck in the creek after the rain stopped. That little girl could totally be a cowgirl and love it!
So that was a recap of our visit. It was all about family and food, as usual for us. We ate at Brocato’s one day and also met up with my other cousin, Howard one night for dinner at Fred’s Market in Plant City. It’s a wonderful Southern cooking place with delicious buffet food. I’m mentioning all these places because you all like to know where we go and eat when traveling. Fred’s was really good, I had been there before.
The girls also went to Moreno Bakery in Brandon one morning for breakfast. I should have taken pics inside, but I did videos and shared on Instagram. That place was amazing, with a long row of pastries on one side and a hot food bar on the other side. It all looked delicious!
One more stop we made before heading home was the Strawberry Hut in Plant City. They have the best Cuban sandwiches and strawberry milkshakes and our entire family loves them. We always have way too many restaurants to try out and not enough time to eat at all of them. Our family loves food and eating out!
That’s a recap of our family week. It’s a tiring one, but I’ll rest up when I get back home from Hilton Head.
Barbara Moore says
Parker is a natural on that horse! Such a cutie! Glad you got to see relatives. So important to do.
kathy olson says
I love seeing all you do as a family.
It makes me want to travel there just to try those restaurants!
Judy Clark says
How wonderful that little Parker gets to build some precious memories at her age. It is always good to see your family especially your Mother. I will have to ask my Florida family who lives near Tampa about Bracatos. The food looks delicious!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing your family visits. I work from my home and miss visiting with co-workers about the day to day of life. Blog posts like this make me feel like I am visiting with a friend.
I loved the pics of your family trip! Such a wonderful trip for all of you, but especially for your mom! Those are precious times! And Parker’s face does say it all…she looked so happy! I loved horses, too, as a child, and loved visit with friends who had horses. Your uncles favor your mom….I know she loved that trip…Thanks for sharing it with us!
So good you all made this trip. You sure can see the resemblance between your mom and her brother! Tell Parker my department at Clemson (Animal and Veterinary Sciences) offers a B.S. degree in Equine Business!
Hi, Roxanne, they definitely resemble each other. There’s no telling what Parker will be when she grows up, but she sure loves animals.
What a special trip! I love your family posts and the picture of your mom watching Parker ride is so good, you can see the pride in her smile. 🙂
It is always a joy to read about your family trips. Parker is a natural around horses. I have a grand-niece who is a calf roper. I bet she knows your barrel racing relative.
Mary Kay says
Thank you for sharing these precious photos and your family. You are so fortunate to have so much family, I felt like I was along for the ride with beautiful little Parker!
Mary Sturgeon says
So glad you enjoyed your time. Many beautiful memories were made❤️
I was born and grew up in Plant City, FL. Durant was part of our regular stomping ground.
We had a 30 acre farm on Pit Road a couple miles away. I remember when Hurricane Donna came through. Lost power for several weeks. Durant was hard hit. We butchered our own cattle and had big freezers. We had many neighborhood cook outs to use up the meat during the power outage. At 10 years old it seemed like a great party. Roasting marshmallows and playing badminton to pass the time brings back many memories. I married my high school sweetheart in Plant City 48 yrs ago! I can remember when Brandon was little more than a few stores.
Thank’s for sharing your visit. I likely enjoyed this post more than most!
HI, Carol, I’m sure you were not far from my family property. If you know where Blount Rd is, that’s where my mom grew up, on that road named after her family.
Glad you enjoyed your trip to Florida. I grew up near Brocatos and moved to Brandon as an adult. We recently moved to mid Georgia were no one knows what a cubsn sandwich is. We travel back to Brandon often and bring back plenty of cuban bread from Morenos bakery. Next trip try the Johnson’s bbq that’s next to Freds. On Friday and Saturday nights they have smoked ribeyes that are awesome.
Oh my Shirley, we heard about Johnson BBQ too and I’m sure it’s delicious. Not enough time to eat all the food we wanted to eat, but we hit some good ones.
Donna Ingalls says
What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing. Such great memories for Parker.
MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says
Such nice pictures! Your Mom looks so happy and I’m sure that she really appreciated you and your sister taking her to see her brother. So glad that Lauren and Parker joined you. This will give you all such wonderful memories. Bless you all!
so sweet, love the photo of your Mom, she reminds me of my Mom – you’ll have to google the book “Misty of Chincoteague” for Parker, it is about a horse on an island on the Eastern Shore of VA, she’d really enjoy it – a classic here in VA – thx for sharing
Thank you, Sandy, I just ordered it for her.
That is a wonderful picture of Parker on the horse. Your mom is precious.
What a special family time.
I always enjoy when you share them with all of us.
What wonderful pictures of your mom and her family and such special memories! Loved seeing Parker and the horse – she is a natural! I live about an hour away from Brandon. Glad you could come visit “my state” but wish the weather had cooperated a little better!
Hi, Dawn, we got one beautiful day, so that was good!
Enjoyed all your Christmas and trip pictures, you have a beautiful family. You mother and dad look happy as they enjoyed visits by everyone. You are blessed to still have these two precious people in your life. It is a special time when spending holiday time with all your family. The girls are growing up fast, glad you take the time to do activities with them. I was so busy when family visited at Christmas that I did not think about taking pictures, wish I had ask someone in family to take them for me. Happy New Year to you, Mark and all your family.
diane in northern wis says
Love your blog Rhoda. But you know I cherish your family stories the most. Thank you for sharing such great stories of your family. It’s such a joy watching the little ones grow up and seeing your mom and dad and their siblings too. You can’t beat family! Thank you for reminding us of the importance of it!
Thank you, Diane, I’m so glad you enjoy these family posts, they are part of my life so I’m happy to share.