This past weekend, we packed up my Altima and road-tripped it down south where we’d be celebrating the sequel to our inaugural Cousins Weekend. Only, this year, we realized that Destin, Florida was only convenient for two out of the 10 of us and so we chose a more central locale. That’s how we came to find ourselves somewhere in the middle—in Lake Martin, Alabama to be exact.
Now, while my father is from Alabama and I’ve spent a good amount of time exploring our southern neighbor, I’d never been to this particular part of the state. But gorgeous and peaceful it was.
Last year’s theme was such a hit, that we decided to keep it going. Why fix something that ain’t broken? Which is how neon, tanks and jorts came to be our uniform for the past four days (John so kindly gave every family member a pair of the most flattering jorts Goodwill had to offer last Christmas). It’s hard to look this pretty, y’all. #cousinsweekend2013 #peaceandjorts
We had some fresh meat at Cousins Weekend 2013, though: my sister’s boyfriend Josh and my cousin John’s girlfriend Allison. I’m not sure either knew what they were getting themselves into, but they adapted quickly. It was almost as if they were born to be a part of our wacky, neon-loving family.
The three days were full of doing a whole lot of nothing except sampling libations, to put it politely—um, beginning around 9am; each couple was tasked with creating a cocktail to share—and lounging lakeside, drink in hand.
And also manscaping my cousin John. I don’t know why; it’s not like he needed it or anything.
John is known to many as “the Mayor of Nashville” in some circles, due to his ability to be front and center at every social gathering, bar or Honky Tonk in Music City, and as you might expect from someone who owns such a title, he has to keep in good standing with the brotherhood of Duck Dynasty.
I’m not sure what made him think Saturday was the day, but he asked Allison to help change his image. Well, as much as removing a cloak of facial hair can do to a guy. (Too bad she stopped when she reached his sweater vest.)
We also rented a boat because, duh, we were on a lake, but as luck would have it the ski boat we had booked broke the night before. So we got a pontoon instead that had seen better days and wound up tubing instead of skiing.
Also jumping off massive cliffs because we’re a competitive bunch. “You threw your bathing suit-clad body off a 20-foot rock? Fine, I’ll see you that and raise you 30!”
What we didn’t know is that my sister’s boyfriend Josh would one-up us all and do an inverted backflip into the water below. Show-off.
And that he also was a Jedi Master in both Ping Pong and cards (and probably anything else that involved competition). We told him, watch out and let us win a game or two or risk having your 2014 invitation rescinded!
The weather was odd all weekend long: It would be gorgeous and HOT and sunny one moment, then look like a tornado might make a cameo the next. With some wacky lightning storms thrown in for good measure.
On Saturday night, we took a road trip into Auburn for a specific purpose: to eat at The Hound.
One of my oldest friends, Jana, and her husband Matt left the Bay Area the month we did in 2011 to move to Auburn and open this amazing slice of culinary heaven. The food was worthy of a big city—Nashville or Charleston or even San Francisco—and not what you would expect to find in Auburn. The pork chop is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth, and don’t get me started on the bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce. I absolutely can’t wait to go back down there to eat again during football season this fall.
We got back to our rental cabin late, played a few more games of cards that night, had a few more shots and then all too soon Cousins Weekend ended on Sunday morning—but not without the token family photo shoot.
The planning for the next Cousins Weekend is already underway (though it’s likely going to be early fall due to my cousin Andrew’s deployment schedule). Asheville, North Carolina, watch out—here we come!