Southern Hospitality


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Matt Running

Matt running along the boardwalk on our trails in Alabama.

This past weekend was all about hospitality for us, something that we oftentimes rely on, and nearly always benefit from because of the good people we spend time with and the good conversations we have.

The weekend started for us on Friday night in Hilton Head Island, SC, where we had dinner with second cousins from Matt’s Rooney side of the family. The Rooney side stems from his Grandmother, who is one of eleven, so it goes without saying that this family tree, which has eleven main branches, has lots of other branches stemming from those, with new ones sprouting all the time. Whenever we’re in a new place, we usually ask the question, “Are there any Rooneys here?”, and the answer is Yes quite often. That was the case in Hilton Head, and we were able to spend time with Pat and Emmy Rooney, residents of the island. They picked out a great restaurant with fabulous vegetarian food and we spent the better part of two hours talking about eachother’s life adventures, lives of the past, and future plans. It was a great evening getting to know family members we wouldn’t have known so well otherwise.

Saturday was spent with Matt’s sister, Emily, and her two boys of 3 and 5 years, Aiden and Austin. Our goal as Uncle Matt and Aunt Julie was to show the kids a good time and make sure we used up as much of their unending energy as possible. I think we did a good job, as the day entailed a trip to the local park for a “Snow Day”, where hundreds of kids showed up for inflatable jumping rooms (no idea what the name is for those) and real snow straight from the truck snow machine. We then went to another park for time on the jungle jim with other kids, a game of soccer, and finally time at the beach where we discovered starfish and played in the sand. By the time they had been cleaned up, fed dinner, and watched a movie, they both asked if they could go to bed! It was a good day spent with Emily and her boys.

The weekend ended with a seven hour drive from Hilton Head to Birmingham, Alabama, where we spent the evening with friends we met at the finish line of the Mobile, Alabama marathon. The couple, Abigail and Alex, opened up their schedule and home to us for the evening, and we had a great time getting to know them, meeting their runner friends that also joined us for dinner, and spending time with their wonderful dogs. Matt also ran with Alex and a few other locals in Birmingham before we took off for the drive to Huntsville, TX on Monday morning. While we didn’t know much about Abigail and Alex before staying with them, we had such a good time spending the evening with them and are continually amazed with how generous people are in our travels, especially people we don’t know all that well.

We may have had doubts before we started our trip here in the South, but we’ve met some really great people and have gained new perspectives that would have never been possible had we not traveled and tried something new. Thank you to all those who follow Urbyville, and thank you to all of those we’ve visited in this trip around the South, as we’ve had a great time and appreciate every moment that others share with us.

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