This past weekend TJ was introduced to the Garden State.
My parents picked us up from the station and we headed to the Jefferson Diner. The diner is something to see and it's a staple of New Jersey. It's open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And you can get anything from their 20 page menu at any time of day. Nothing like stuffing yourself with greasy delicious diner food at 9 pm.And of course that didn't stop us from inhaling mom's chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter cream cheese icing when we finally arrived at my house.
The next day TJ woke up before me and went for a run with my dad- which is great because Dad is always looking for someone to go with him and mom and I are running out of excuses. TJ was a little ill-prepared seeing as it was 30 degrees outside and he was in a t-shirt and shorts but a hot breakfast was waiting for them when they returned.
We ventured back out into the cold after breakfast and drove through the New Jersey countryside. Which, if you're anything like TJ, you might not have known that existed. He was pretty surprised to see how many corn fields and farm lands, and how few oil refineries there were out there. New Jersey was really showing off and everything looked especially inviting in all it's fall glory.
We drove up to High Point, the highest point in New Jersey where you can see 3 different states and freeze your butt off at the same time. We snapped a few photos and jumped back in the car before I could blow away. From there a stop at the local pub, followed by football and a nap on the couch was well deserved.
Of course we didn't let the cold keep us from enjoying a fire and roasting marshmallows on the back porch that night (helped by a few blankets and the two cafe heaters my dad got set up).
Sunday included much of the same, relaxing and spending time cozied up indoors. My parents had the opportunity to share some good little kid Shannon stories- things like not being able to tell time, or make change, or blow my nose, or swim in a pool without belching every time I came up for air. Thankfully it wasn't anything embarrassing...
TJ even humored me and watched some home videos. They redeemed me some because I was pretty adorable if I do say so myself. Then there was more football, some homemade vegetable soup, repacking suitcases, driving back to the train station, and saying goodbyes all too soon. As per usual.
It was such a good visit and I just loved that my parents and TJ got to spend time getting to know each other better. And we were able to change the reputation of New Jersey for at least one South Carolina boy. By the end of our visit TJ was saying things like: "I could see myself living in a place like this." And while I'm glad we've dispelled some of the misconceptions people have of the Garden State, lets not get crazy.
Thankfully I didn't have to say goodbye to TJ until Monday morning-when I headed off to work and he didn't follow through on his "threat" to kidnap me and take me back to Charleston with him. Oh well...