this entry will probably sound like a tourism brouchure for the bustling metropolis of tuscaloosa, alabama! we loved living in tuscaloosa so much that we are dedicating this entire entry to everything that we loved in that fabulous all-american town!
first, the tuscaloosa ward dedicated itself to welcoming new members. it is good to know that wherever you go, the Church is the same! we had many friends and always felt loved. particularly enjoyable were the book club and the play group.
second, we loved the restaurants in t-town. our favorites were los tarascos (the best salsa EVER!), mellow mushroom, mugshots (good boogers), dePalma's, the waysider (where i fell in love with grits!) and of course.........dreamland barbeque. ain't nothin' like'm nowhere. they have a new dreamland restaurant in town that boasts a full menu and indoor plumbing, but it can't compete with the original structure. or should i say shack? i recommend it anyday. it is located out in the woods past several abandoned trailers. when you pull up you feel like you might get busted for buying moonshine. the ONLY items served are ribs and bread---but you don't need anything else. bytheway, i used to be a non-meat-eater. and then i found dreamland.
third, the university of alabama campus is B-E-A-U-tiful. i always thought that BYU has a lovely campus, well maintained with lots of flowers and landscaping and, of course, a mountain setting is uncomparable. but the 1970's architecture is quite apparent in most of the main buildings on BYU's campus. the buildings on the U of A campus are spectacular. no matter what decade they were built in, they all maintain a feeling of the Old South. plus, the student weight room is state of the art.
fourth, the local public library is great. i was always pleased with the new book selection, the kids' section activities and i could always find the most recent copy of people magazine. gotta keep up on the news.
fifth, ALABAMA FOOTBALL. football season is unreal in tuscaloosa. the greeks dress up like they are attending a cocktail party. the alumni come from far and wide. motorhomes start arriving on tuesday for a saturday game. the weekend is a non-stop party. the first time i experienced this tailgating madness, i was expecting to see a ferris wheel and a cotton candy machine. it seems like a carnival. there are so many people milling about (a great time to give out DUIs) and barbeque abounds. the best food stand is big bad wolf's barbeque. be sure to catch the million dollar marching band as they march into the stadium. once inside the stadium, my favorite part is before the game starts and the loud speaker is blaring sweet home alabama. Everyone sings along and shouts roll-tide-roll right on cue. i also enjoy when the jumbotron replays great moments in Alabama football (except for when Jay Barker torched Georgia in 1994--thomas never shuts up about how Georgia should have won). i am very proud to be an alabama resident. it brings tears to my eyes to know we've only got one year left.
i could go on and on. we are grateful for our many friends and the many experiences we had in tuscaloosa. we have truly been blessed. i fought tooth and nail against coming to alabama. i didn't want to be so far away from friends and family, and i had seen the stereotypes on tv. but the Lord wanted us here. as a result, thomas received a top-notch eduation and a great job, i grew 10-fold personally and spiritually. plus, our two babies came to us while we lived here. i get a little misty listing all of the blessings! SWEET HOME ALABAMA!!!
thomas was always working hard with his trusty study buddy, meatball.
sometimes you gotta protect the homestead.
meatball, our firstborn, was given to us while we lived in tuscaloosa. one summer he had a nervous breakdown and nearly died. he had to wear baby socks to keep himself from chewing his feet into hamburger. pretty gross. but after nursing him back, i knew that i could handle motherhood if i could take care of that sick puppy.
me, thomas, and my sister heather eating at the waysider.
the summer that we moved here, thomas worked for orkin pest control. he learned to name and kill bugs on demand.
our first alabama football game!
i became a true fan of football. and i have a sure testimony that i HATE auburn, tennessee, florida, and utah.
the night before reagan was born. i don't know which is worse, my roots or my pajama pants.
reagan kimball simpson at one week old.