Possibly the greatest part of the weekend is not knowing what I’m going to do. I always feel like I should cook something elaborate or visit or re-visit a place worthy of my weekend time; I always feel the weekends are when living takes place.

Cook something.

My social life revolves around food. It could be “good” food such as sliced mozzarella rolled up in chicken breasts I’ve pounded to near pulp-like consistency with my grandmother’s meat tenderizer, or “good” food such as grits, eggs and toast because it’s my daughter’s favorite meal. (She was born in North Carolina.)

It embodies the mannerisms of my own childhood to cook something on the weekends. Growing up, meals were noticeably better on the weekends than they were during the week, except when my mother made linguine with clam sauce (this personal favorite was served on Wednesdays), which I learned after I left the house was actually easy to make. Sunday was a day for pork and sauerkraut. It would roast in the oven while we were at church. Beef roasts with vegetables in the crock pot had the same schedule.

There was always breakfast on Saturday mornings, too – a real, actual breakfast cooked on the stove. We didn’t eat grits up North, but we consumed a steady dose of pancakes with real maple syrup (not that crap from Vermont or Canada), eggs, toast, sausage and bacon. It always meant a lot to have a breakfast cooked on the stove. It always meant the weekend had arrived – and the family was together.

These days I love having the chance to cook on the weekends, whether it’s breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. I don’t have the time to do it during the week, but come the weekend, it’s time to bring the family together with a meal that’s out of the ordinary.

I haven’t figured out if it’s cooking the food or family togetherness I like more.

See something new (or old).

I have been blessed with geographic disconnect. Make no mistake, had I not had a child when I graduated college, I would have shuffled back on up to Buffalo to start my career. I do not deny that I’m forced to live within a day’s drive of my daughter’s mother in North Carolina. It’s not a terrible set of circumstances, though.

This journey has led to stays in three really cool eastern N.C. cities and one in South Carolina. To the natives, these towns are merely places in which they live – their greatest attribute is the sense of home they evoke. But I seek the personalities of these towns. I am interested in their histories, intrigued by their economic structures and want to know desperately what separates them from the rest.

This infatuation inspired a moderate-to-significant deal of day tripping while I was in college and had the time for day trips. I love North Carolina – its transition from sea to cotton fields to mountains, from big town to big city, from obvious country to over-cultured city makes it a melting pot of American South history. Driving across the state is like living a timeline.

If South Carolina’s the same way, I haven’t had the chance to see it. I’m working on that, though; this is where the “visit” a new place becomes a tangible ambition. My searches online have yielded results no less attractive than results of online searches I conducted in North Carolina. There’s some cool stuff in this state, but having a child in tow has made me less willing to risk getting lost trying to find them.

That’s why weekends are so wonderful. They afford us the chance to search, find what we need and live. It would surely be nice to have more weekends.

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