5 years, 10 months.
This past weekend, you had an unforgettable weekend! You finally were able to go my to hometown’s ever-growing festival call Boom Days; which celebrates the people and culture of Fort Payne, Alabama; where I was born and raised.
Being there reminded me that I didn’t grow up in a stereotypical Southern town, as typically featured in media. No, Fort Payne was always special.
Basically half of the city is on the mountain (where I lived) and the other half is in the valley. There was always this artsy, Americana feel to the place. I was surrounded by DeSoto State Park and all its hiking trails, as well as well as Little River Falls (the tallest waterfall in Alabama) and Little River Canyon.
It was a fun place to grow up, and apparently, a fun place to return to; and especially, with a nearly 6 year-old boy.
With Mommy’s youngest brother getting married in two weeks in San Diego, I convinced her to take the weekend off by staying in Nashville where we live, and to let me take you and you baby sister to Nonna and Papa’s house for the weekend.
That way, Mommy could get us packed for the upcoming California trip, run errands, and relax with no parental responsibilities for a full weekend. I’m glad she took me up on the offer! She works full-time with a 2 hour commute round trip each day, so she definitely was in need of some down time. She got to go to the spa; getting her hair and nails done.
Meanwhile, we were with Nonna and Papa, and Baby Holly, in downtown Fort Payne at Boom Days. The first big stop for you was to go inside a “gerbil ball” which was a giant inflatable sphere in which you got to run and roll around the Alabama Band Park.
You apparently got into a thrilling “fight” with another boy in another gerbil ball. I saw the two of you smiling as you both attempting to knock each other over.
It was funny because there weren’t really any rules and I was never told how long you got to be inside there. Turns out, it lasts as long as you do…
The guy running the event explained to me, as you finally were ready to come out, “He’s stayed in there longer than anyone else ever has!” You were very proud to hear that you won the unofficial contest of endurance.
You also enjoyed riding a pony. I think your favorite part about that was getting to pick the one you wanted.
Next we made our way over to the jumpy house, where we definitely got your money’s worth. I paid just $3 and you stayed in that thing for over 90 minutes. You just didn’t feel compelled to leave.
Back in Nashville, whenever you get to go one of your friends’ birthday parties, you always hope there will be a jumpy house. And when there is, you are never ready to leave.
But for more than an hour and a half, I hung out with Nonna and Papa in front of the jumpy house, as we showed off Baby Holly to passersby.
That’s when I saw and flagged down two of my Class of ’99 friends, Kim Hester and Brian Winkles. They enjoyed meeting you; granted, it was the extremely sweaty version of you, as you only took a short break to get some water.
Turns out, they weren’t the only “Ninety-Niners” I saw while we were there. Out of our graduating class of 183, there were about 20 that I saw there.
Therefore, I am convinced that from here on out, we need to attend Boom Days every year; that way I don’t have to wait to see my classmate every 5 years for each official class reunion.
Speaking of, a little while later on the closed down the main street, I ran into more classmates, Jason New and Kris Holcomb. Kris’s daughter Libby had just bought a pet baby turtle she had named Raphy. You loved petting the turtle.
You also got to hold a baby squirrel as well, at the pet adoption tent.
So everybody got what they needed: Mommy got rest and relaxation back home in Nashville. I got to see my kids enjoy themselves at the festival. Nonna and Papa got to spend time with you and your sister.
And as for you, Boom Days made all your dreams come true. It was the perfect place for a Kindergartener boy to get to burn energy and explore.
We shall return in 2017!
I made this video with Papa the next morning featuring the park where Boom Days took place, which features the Alabama band monument.