The hopes that my upset tummy would feel better after a good nights sleep were shattered after spending the majority of my night in the bathroom. When I woke up the next morning I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Not only had I gotten up every hour, on the hour, to go to the bathroom, I had also had the privilege of sleeping in the same bed with Cassady which is similar to sleeping with a cover-hogging octopus. Needless to say, I got very little sleep.

When morning came and I was able to get some caffeine in the ol blood stream, I began to feel a little more alive. After I made my hot tea, I scuffed my way into the living room where Beth, Ikey’s wife, was watching the morning news. Being up before everyone else awarded us the opportunity to have some much needed girl time. We talked about family, life, kids and grand kids. I also got caught up in Ikey’s health which had troubled me greatly. Just six weeks earlier he had a massive heart attack while in the hospital. I was pleased to hear the good reports and to see with my own two eyes that he was doing so well.

Before we knew it the kids were up and her kids and grand kids came over for a visit. She and Ikey have three children that have blessed them with nine beautiful, smart and funny grandchildren.

There were many fun activities we had to cram into the next two days. There were horses to ride, guns to shoot, water to swim in, cows to feed, motorcycles to enjoy and church to attend. I had to feel better and soon!

The first thing on the agenda? Shooting! Ikey took the kids in the house and gave each one of them a gun. I had no idea what kind of guns they had or what they were intending to shoot, and I didn’t really care. I just knew I didn’t want to be out there while they were shooting…guns make me jump 😉wpid-IMG_20130803_132309_574.jpg
There’s Ikey making sure everyone understands gun safety. Especially the one in the ponytail…her with a gun was making me a little nervous 😉

Later that day Ikey took me and the kids out to the pasture to visit the cows. With corn on the cob in hand, he began to call them. Actually he didn’t have to do much calling. When they was us coming, they began to trot our way. I have to admit, I was wondering if this one was gonna stop! I thought she was gonna hop right up in the truck with us!wpid-IMG_20130814_110012.jpg

Once they saw the corn they became very friendly.wpid-IMG_20130804_183535_568.jpg

I thought this one was gonna eat my camera!wpid-IMG_20130804_183227_074.jpg

We had so much fun. Here we all are. Please ignore my multiple chins…not sure what’s going on here but I’m not liking it! I tried to edit them out but I didn’t know how.wpid-IMG_20130804_180552_453.jpg

A little cow love going on here. wpid-IMG_20130814_113715.jpg

I think I need some cows;-)wpid-IMG_20130814_113632.jpg

After all of the cow feeding and cow petting was done, I found out the real reason we were out in the pasture. They wanted me to shoot a gun, a pistol. Now, I have shot guns before, the guns you hunt with, but not a pistol. I’m not really scared of them, I just don’t like the kick and the loud pop…THAT’S what scares me…the unexpected. I told them I wasn’t really interested in shooting, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I got out of the truck and Ikey handed me the gun. It was heavy which I was sure was a sign that it would be loud and kick hard.wpid-IMG_20130814_114834.jpg

“Ikey, I don’t want to shoot this if it’s gonna scare me” I said with a serious voice that didn’t phase him one bit. “Naw, it ain’t gonna kick much”, he said as he handed it to me. I carefully aimed toward the pond. Then he said, “now switch off the safety”. “I don’t know how to do that”, I irritatingly replied, who does he think I am? Annie Oakley? He showed me what to do and I aimed again…eyes closed…breath held…I looked back and said firmly, “are you SURE this won’t scare me?”. See that serious look on my face?wpid-IMG_20130814_115034.jpg

“Naw, It might kick a little but not much”, he said with calmness in his voice. Just aim toward the water and pull the trigger. Once again I closed my eyes…held my breath…and said one last time, “Ikey Byrd, if this kicks hard or if the sound scares me I swear I’m gonna get you!”wpid-IMG_20130804_184149_568-1.jpg

I guess he believed me. I’m sure he didn’t feel threatened by my idle threats but just the same, he reached up and plugged my ears for me 😉wpid-IMG_20130804_184220_719.jpg

I shot.

It kicked.

I jumped.

The kids cheered.

I handed him the gun.

I walked away victorious.

Look out bad guys, momma’s packin’.

I was now on day II of the upset tummy roller coaster. Just about the time I thought I had licked it, it would hit me again like a ton of bricks. Every few hours I would have to lay down for a nap, then I would wake up feeling better and ready for some more fun.

Next on the agenda was a motorcycle ride. Something I’d like to mark off my bucket list before I die is to go cross-country on a motorcycle. Not sure how I’m gonna make that happen, but one day….I’m gonna ride!

Here’s Cassady ready for her turn. I can see her with one of these one day. Maybe me, her and Kelsey will make it a family affair and just hit the road!wpid-IMG_20130814_134032.jpg

Next was my turn. Ikey grabbed my helmet and fastened it tight. See? Only one chin! Maybe I should wear one of these every day. 😉wpid-IMG_20130814_135736.jpg

I hopped on the back of the bike and asked, “where we were going?” “We’re going to find you some Imodium and get you well”, he said profoundly. It wasn’t the joy ride I was hoping for, but it was a necessary one.

Riding with Ikey was one of the highlights of my trip to Mississippi.wpid-IMG_20130803_161858_640-1.jpg

Our visit was quickly coming to an end. We had enjoyed laughing together, shooting together, worshiping in church together and eating together. I realized how much I missed and needed my family. Seeing them once a year was simply not enough.

When it was time for us to leave, Ikey hugged, patted and kissed us all multiple times asking us to please stay. I have to admit it was tempting, but the ocean was calling my name. As we pulled out of his drive, a piece of my heart stayed behind. Oh how I love him and all of the Byrd clan.

Some Mississippi wisdom for ya…

1. Don’t stand in one place for very long or fire ants will eat your leg off.

2. Nothing can take the place of good ol’ southern hospitality

3. Pistols kick.

4. Taco soup can turn an upset tummy into the Bangkok Belly!

5.Last but not least, a bike ride for some Imodium is good for what ails ya 😉

To be continued…