Recently my three siblings and I got together for our annual SIBSAB—our yearly sibling sabbatical. In case you have not read one of my previous posts about SIBSAB, this is when just the four of us get together for a weekend separate from our spouses and kids (and now grandkids). After what we now consider the “grand slam” SIBSAB last year in Amsterdam, this year we gathered in Memphis, the town we all moved to with our parents over 45 years ago and the town I still live in.
We started off our weekend in what our mom would consider grand fashion, lunch at a Mexican restaurant, one of the best in town. It seemed appropriate the day after Cinco de Mayo. As we shared a great meal together, we talked about SIBSABs in the past. Being what I would consider the family historian, I rattled off each of the previous ones we’d had from the photos on my phone as my sister made notes. We realized this was the tenth one but then couldn’t decide if we keep up with them by number or by year (thus the use of both in my title).
Next up was one of my brother’s and my important activities—beer drinking.
We first stopped at one establishment…
…and then a second to get a wide variety of beers. Over our adult beverages, we began our usual conversations of telling what all was going on in the lives of our spouses, our kids, and our grandkids. Even though we typically only get together once a year, it is much more enjoyable to wait and tell these stories in person rather than over the phone or in e-mails throughout the year.
We ended our first day over a steak dinner at home and conversation about growing up. We each shared childhood memories we had, some of which had never been told before. One in particular took on dark connotations but we realized that we would never know the true story since our maternal grandparents were long gone. With this realization, I encouraged my siblings to write some of their stories down before they were forgotten. I know if we don’t, we will lose them.
On Saturday, we decided to go downtown to spend the day there. In spite of being open for over a year, I had never been to the Bass Pro Shop in the former Pyramid sports arena.
Having been to the Pyramid for numerous basketball games in the past, it was amazing to walk in the door and see the tremendous transformation that had taken place.
It is best described as a huge store filled with clothes, toys, food, and watercrafts built among an indoor Louisiana bayou with waterfalls, fish filled ponds surrounding cypress knees, wooden docks and even live alligators.
It also sports the tallest freestanding elevator in the world that whisks you up to top of the pyramid…
…where you will find a great view of the city…
…at a restaurant decorated in Steam Punk style with an aquatic and nautical motif.
Before lunch, we had a chance to take in all the views of the Mississippi River from a glass-floored balcony that felt a bit precarious from the height.
Lunch was surprising delicious, for a restaurant inside a sportsman store.
After lunch, we got to do a bit more shopping and exploring and even were able to take in the alligator feeding.
We ended up spending much longer there than we expected so we had to revise our downtown sites schedule and head straight to our next venue.
I had visited the Stax Museum for the first time last fall so I felt it would be a good excursion for all of us. I think it was a hit. If you have not been, I would highly recommend it as it is amazing to learn all of the artists that were associated with this Memphis recording studio.
And Isaac Hayes’ gold-plated Cadillac is a great exhibit whether or not you are a car lover.
At dinner that night, we continued sharing our stories and braced ourselves for the inevitable—having to leave. But before we turned in for the night, we also planned the date and location for our next SIBSAB—XI in 2017.
Sunday morning was Mother’s Day and while my brother and I were not celebrating it with our wives, we wanted to take our sisters out for a hearty Mother’s Day breakfast. While we were waiting for our table, we tried to share the pictures we had taken on our phone with each other. Being the not so “tech-savvy” elderly siblings that we all are, we ended up with multiple copies of each photo as they replicated each time we shared from one phone to another. Well at least we had them.
Soon after returning home it was time for our sisters to head home. But not before our traditional sibling photo together.
We struggled trying to come up with a different pose…
..and eventually came up with this one.
As my brother and I waved goodbye as our sisters drove off, we both stood there silent. I know for me, it was a sad moment of departure.
To escape the sadness, my brother and I jumped back into one of the activities he and I wanted to do—beer drinking. We drove to another microbrewery where we had some great selections.
Since my brother was not flying home until Monday afternoon, we had almost a whole day to satiate our beer desires.
But besides good beer and good conversations, we also enjoyed driving around in my two Miatas with the top down.
Interestingly, my brother also had a Miata a number of years ago when he lived in Memphis and this was the first time he had gotten to drive one of these fun little sports cars (possibly planting the idea for another one some day).
Overall, it was a great weekend that went way too fast. My brother and I both remarked that we couldn’t believe how quickly the weekend flew by. Fortunately we will all be getting together this summer for a joint family vacation so it won’t be a year before we will all be seeing each other. But it will be a year before we take a sabbatical from the rest of our family and just spend time together. And after the great weekend we had this year, it can’t get here soon enough!