Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Remember last week when I was talking about our sister time at the beach? Well, it continued as the 3 of us left Surfside Beach Monday morning and headed south to Kiawah Island where my son and his beautiful fiancée will be getting married next year. We stayed in a gorgeous home and were walking on the beach when we came across some fishermen trying to reel in a fairly large stingray. We gathered around a bit in awe as they maneuvered the stingray into the shallow surf and reeled him in – took 2 of them to get him. And yes, they did make sure he got safely back out to sea. But it was really cool to watch! Sharks in Surfside, stingrays in Kiawah. Oh, and as we walked around the lake where we’ll have the rehearsal dinner, we spotted 4 alligators! Kiawah is known for having alligators y’all. We vacationed there for several years, so we were not totally shocked by the gators. Still, we did NOT get too close. They did give us the stink eye, but we just hurried on by. I told my sisters not to make eye contact!
The main reason we were in Kiawah centered around the rehearsal dinner. You see, I have very creative sisters, and I wanted their opinions and ideas on the set up, decorating, menu, presentation, etc.! They did not disappoint. They had some great suggestions and questions for the catering manager. And they loved the venue. We also went to the venue for the reception and again, they were very impressed. We just cannot wait for next October!
“We do not remember the days, but rather the moments.”
Being in Kiawah, thinking about the rehearsal dinner for my son’s wedding brought up many memories from our own weddings. My older sister said she remembered waking up on her wedding day and smelling country ham cooking as Mom was up early making mini homemade country ham biscuits as part of her reception food. Cheese straws had been made earlier in the week as well as butter mints. Same story for me, but I also remember my grandmother, aunt, and older sister in the kitchen cutting up fruit. Lots of fruit. My older sister’s reception (November 1975) was at the church in the fellowship hall while mine (August 1980) was at my parents’ home, inside and in the back yard under a big white tent (where it was blazing hot in August!). Somehow, my younger sister stepped up the game – no smell of country ham on her wedding day (March 1983)! Her reception was totally catered and was at the Sawtooth Building in downtown Winston-Salem. She did get married in our church though, like her older sisters.
“No matter what happens, if at the end of your wedding day you are married to the person you love, then it was a roaring success.”
Mom did most of the planning and preparation herself for each of our weddings and receptions. She was the best, and sacrificed so much for us, wanting our weddings to be perfect, and they were. Unlike today, we planned and had our weddings in about 6 months or less. They were much simpler – church weddings with receptions, as my mom would say, “punch, finger foods (aka cheese straws and country ham biscuits!), and cake.” We had no alcohol at our receptions, well, except for my younger sister. After planning my older daughter’s wedding, and attending weddings of my friends’ children, I can attest that weddings and receptions are much bigger nowadays! When my older daughter got married in 2015, Mom offered to make cheese straws and when I told her the reception was going to be a dinner and catered, she was a bit shocked. Dinner? Catered? Yes, and it was delicious and wonderful!
Our rehearsal dinners were all different as well. My older sister’s was at our church in the Ladies Parlor with food prepared by Mom and my sister’s new in-laws. Mine was in the gathering room at Mom’s office building, and consisted of finger foods catered by one of mom’s co-workers. Now once again, my younger sister’s rehearsal dinner was at a country club in High Point, where her husband’s family lived. Moral of this story: the last wedding in the family has a bigger, fancier rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception. We reminisced about all of our wedding details, laughed over a few things that happened at each, and marveled at how different weddings are today.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin
We said goodbye to Kiawah on Tuesday morning and headed to Charleston for the day. This was part of our older sister’s birthday celebration. We visited art galleries, shops, and the straw market. Went down to the waterfront and Rainbow Row. Who doesn’t love Charleston? My older daughter and son-in-law visit every time they go to the beach house, but I had not been in many, many years. Such a really neat town. I was amazed at the number of wonderful art galleries and wondered why I had never visited one of them. My older sister has attended a couple of workshops from artists who own several of these galleries. Many of them were on site painting as we visited, which was very special. Her excitement for the art on display was contagious as my younger sister and I discovered a new appreciation and interest in “real art.” We all had different opinions as to what we liked, but all agreed there are many talented artists in Charleston.
To wrap up her birthday celebration, we stopped for dinner at Frank’s on our way back to Surfside. Our favorite restaurant. And even on Tuesday night, they had live music. Of course we made sure our older sister was a bit embarrassed by the birthday dessert (14-layer caramel cake) with the massive candle and everyone around us singing! Just like Jack had for his birthday; a 3-year-old and a 60-something year old both having the same birthday experience!
“Life is too short to be lived counting the years. Just enjoy the ride and make awesome memories.”
When we pulled into my driveway after dinner, my younger sister said, “Gee I wonder where your neighbors are going this time of the night?” “Wow I don’t know, what time is it?” At this my sister laughed and said “7:15!” It was already dark, y’all, and we felt like it was after 10 pm! It had been such a fun couple of days, and we were beat from all the walking around Charleston. Not sure how we got so lucky, but the forecast was rain for Monday and Tuesday, yet we had perfect days.
I hated to say goodbye to the beach, but it was nice coming back to some FALL weather in Charlottesville. And time to get back to my routine after such a great sisters’ trip. Then a friend invited me to tailgate and go to the UVA – Duke football game on Saturday. What a perfect fall afternoon for a football game. This Carolina girl searched her closet for some orange clothing, no not for Halloween (I have a great sweater for that!), but to fit in with their tailgate colors. I did wear my BEAT VT Carolina button (to no avail), and I am hoping for the same outcome UVA had against Duke next week when we play Duke at home. And I AM hoping I won’t be on crutches for that game. Either way, I’m going!
“There’s nothing I can’t do… except reach the top shelf. I can’t do that.”
That’s right, surgery is on for today y’all. Probably while you are reading this. (Please say a little prayer for me.) I am not as nervous or worried this time – should be a less invasive surgery. Plus, I proved to myself last April with the surgery on my other knee, that I CAN survive having surgery, which was one of my biggest fears three years ago. I had several offers to take me to my surgery, but my older daughter insisted she would be responsible for her momma. And her momma is very thankful! Back to sleeping in my recliner for several nights – no complaints there. Might even have to cut my gas logs on – yes, I have been burning them lately on these chilly nights. Fall has arrived y’all. What a difference a week makes – this time last week we were on the beach in bathing suits, and now, it’s COLD!
“Feelings are like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose the ones to surf.”
I know I have rambled on a bit this week (sorry!)… but so many memories flooded over me during my week with my sisters, good ones and some not so good ones. But I discovered something – I am ok. I have survived what life has thrown at me. The memories don’t hurt like they once did – I realize they are part of my past, and I am now living for the present. There is fun to be had and I plan to have it! I hope you do too. And I hope you know that you can get through whatever is thrown your way. It won’t be easy, but then again, life is never easy. But it is good. Look for something good in each and every day and be thankful for it, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikki Rogers
PS – Did you know that 18 years ago today, the Apple iPod (first generation) was released? Also, the 4th Sunday in October is Mother-In-Law Day, and that is this Sunday! Just saying!