We just concluded our 9th Annual Pearson Cousins Camp, and by now, several must-do’s have been added to the Camp Clipboard of Fun. Among them are a bowling trip, eating at Cracker Barrel, making crafts (this year we made candy turkeys for the Thanksgiving tables), free play time and grandchildren-created “shows.” One of the special shows for this year was presented on Steve’s birthday and was based on a poem written about him by granddaughter Maggie.
Since the swimming pool was already closed up for the winter, we spent more time making music this year and presented a short program for the parents before our Thanksgiving Day lunch. I was amazed at how quickly they mastered songs on recorders and Boomwhackers!! I must confess that it felt good to kick into music teacher mode for a few days.
One day that was a huge winner for ALL of us happened in the Shoals. We started in the morning at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. The exhibits are all so very well done. The grands loved seeing the fancy performance outfits of the stars and walking through a tour bus used by the group Alabama. But, their absolute favorite activity was making a CD in the real-live recording studio. Rosie, Megan and Penelope recorded “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Seth and Nathan chose “Deck the Halls,” and Allie, Luke and Maggie sang “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” They all joined in for “Jingle Bells.” We had copies made for each family, so I’m sure the parents have heard it dozens of times by now.
For lunch, we made our way to Umi Japanese Steakhouse in Florence for a little cultural exposure. We were very pleased at how willing they were to “try new foods” — something that is a yearly challenge. As we were leaving, they all said, “Let’s do that again next year!”
For our final stop before heading home, we visited Tom’s Wall near the Natchez Trace in Florence. Tom Hendrix spent over 30 years building a wall in memory of his great great grandmother who was forced from her home during the Trail of Tears and then spent 5 years walking back. He wanted to place a stone to represent every one of her steps, and in the process hauled 8.5 million pounds of stones from the Tennessee River to his home. The result is the longest unmortared wall in the United States and the largest memorial to a Native American woman in the world. A very impressive work by Mr. Hendrix.
The next day we drove to Huntsville and spent several hours at EarlyWorks Children’s Museum. I would say that the hands-on displays are designed primarily for children ages 2 to about 8. Even though we had some that were older than 8, they all managed to find activities of interest. The pioneer town, complete with costumes for pretending, was probably the favorite area. They acted out all kinds of situations and cooked numerous meals using the period-appropriate props.
So, if you’re thinking of hosting your own Cousins Camp in the future, you might want to add one or more of these Pearson-tested attractions to your own Clipboard of Fun.