The 10th Annual Pearson Cousins Camp ended last week, and once again, memories were made, lots of food was consumed, and more inside jokes were created. It gets a little bit challenging to come up with activities that add a hint of surprise AND are appropriate for ages 4-16. Fortunately, our youngest campers and our oldest are very flexible and willing to participate with the group in whatever adventure we undertake.
You can read about past suggestions here. But while the week is still fresh on my mind, allow me to mention three that were new to us this year and turned out to be big hits.
1. Eating German food. Our theme for the week was “Around the World,” and besides having a world map on display and talking about the language and religions in various countries, we also sampled Mexican, Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines in area restaurants. The wild card was Ol’ Heidelberg Cafe in Huntsville. Steve and I really wanted to expose them to some new foods, but we half expected to pay for a lot of wasted food. Happily, that did NOT happen. The kids LOVED it! And, Ol’ Heidelberg allowed us to share entrees and even divided up the portions onto separate plates before they served the food. Hurray! The warm German bread appeared first on the table and was gobbled up quickly. Several ordered chicken schnitzel, some chose a ham and cheese sandwich which was piled high with cold cuts, and yet another had German sausage and kraut. All had a chance to sample the amazing potatoes and slaw. Before we even left the restaurant, they were saying, “Let’s come back here next year.” Sounds like a “win” to me.
2. Cathedral Caverns. Like the German food, this was another gamble on our part. How would they react to the cold, dark, damp cave with lots of rather strenuous walking? Again, they were super troopers! Several had never been inside a cave. None had ever been to this particular cave. They listened respectfully to our tour guide and learned lots of new vocabulary words. The 4- and 6-year-olds didn’t even flinch when we got to the deepest part of the caverns and the guide turned off the lights. A true God-thing happened. One of our oldest campers WAS very apprehensive about the dark, but in God’s divine providence, her t-shirt actually glowed when the lights went out, so she wasn’t completely in the dark after all. It became a great example of how God cares about all of the concerns of our lives.
By the way, it worked well to combine Ol’ Heidelberg with Cathedral Caverns, because the Caverns were about 45 minutes southeast of Huntsville.
3. Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum. Every year, we try to find a place, a person or an event that inspires our grandchildren to think about great things that others have achieved and start imagining their own great accomplishments. Last year we visited Tom’s Wall near Florence. Tom Hendrix spent over 30 years constructing a stone wall in memory of his great-great-grandmother who was forced from her home during the Trail of Tears and then spent FIVE YEARS walking back to Alabama.
This year we drove to the Jesse Owens Memorial near Danville. The guided tour was excellent, as was the 40-minute film narrated by Jesse himself showing film clips from the 1936 Olympics in Germany. On the grounds is a replica of the house he grew up in with his sharecropper parents and his 9 siblings, and a sandy long jump pit where youngsters can see how close they can come to Jesse’s winning jump. It rained before we got there, so we chose to look but not jump to keep from tracking in a ton of sand, but they were still impressed with the distance. The visit prompted lots of questions about Hitler and about the hardships that Jesse Owens endured.
If you go, let me also recommend Caddo Cafeteria, which is about 15 minutes away. All 13 of us had a great lunch (meat and vegetables) for less than $60, and that price included unlimited refills on drinks and ice cream. What a deal!!
Be sure to check on the websites I’ve linked for hours of operation, prices and directions. And, please share your own North Alabama multi-generational discoveries by commenting on this post.