Where in the World Is John?
Well, did you think I disappeared? Did you miss me? Were you getting concerned? I know I've been OOC (out of commission) for the last 3 ½ weeks. As many of you know, I have been on vacation and I had a few things to take care of around the house. When I was about to leave for vacation, I posted a blog saying that I was leaving, and I got a large number of comments wishing me a nice vacation, and for all of you that sent such nice comments…THANK YOU! Your thoughts and well wishes were greatly appreciated. My wife made me take the blog down the next morning, because she did not want me advertising that we would be gone. I did as she asked, but I kind of thought everybody knows now, so what difference does it make? I'm a trusting soul. I promised several people that I would report on my trip, and so this is it.
On Friday, September 7, we took off for Shelbyville, Tennessee to spend the night with an old Navy buddy. We got up thinking that the computer directions said 6 ½ hours, but that morning I checked and realized we were 2 hours behind schedule because it was 9 hours away. We had planned to have dinner with my Navy buddy and wanted to arrive in Shelbyville by 6 p.m. It was 9 a.m. when we realized this. So we started off in a hurry. We were tooling down I-65 listening to a little Jim Croce when the Indianapolis skyline came into clear view. Shortly after we got into town we came to a very confusing intersection and my wife said she thought we took the right road. We didn't. I told her we would just go east to 465 and then south and we would get back onto I-65. It took forever to go east with construction and other unexpected inconveniences, and then a sign told us to get to 65 we had to take a detour, which we followed. After about 45 minutes I could see the Indianapolis skyline from the same place I first noticed it an hour ago. Hey, I've been here before. This doesn't help when you're behind schedule. My wife said she learned some new words that day. I was so mad I could of punched something, but I didn't know what to punch. Now all I could do was drive fast.
Somehow we managed to get to Shelbyville by 7 p.m. My friend met us on the way to the restaurant. He picked a place called the Bell Buckle Café, in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. It was an adorable place with good food, and live entertainment. They had a band playing banjos and other appropriate instruments and when we went in they were playing the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies. We had a great dinner and it is always good to spend time with friends. We went back to their house and the girls went to bed and me and my buddy sat up until 1 a.m. solving the world's problems and telling stories about the old days. The next morning his lovely wife fixed a big breakfast and we hugged and took off.
Of course the drive through Tennessee was just great, especially through the mountains. The wife and I stopped at a rest stop and had lunch and it was a beautiful day.
Deborah at a rest stop:
About dinner time, we arrived at my sister-in-law Annette and her husband Charles' house in Columbia, S.C. and the visiting continued. They ordered pizza, and 3 of her 4 kids came over with some of their kids, and it was a party. The next morning we got up early and they took us out to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then we followed them to their farm. After a little more visiting we were on our way to Charleston. Charleston is the main purpose of our trip. My wife is from Charleston and her 92 year old mother lives there, and my wife gets very little in person time with her mother, so that is the main purpose of the trip. The other purpose of the trip is to enjoy Annette and Charles' beach house on Folly beach. Although it is rented out much of the year, they provide a week a year for each of the siblings. We enjoy the beach house and we are very grateful for their generosity.
We arrived in Charleston around 2 p.m. and went directly to my mother-in-law's house. She and my wife took off almost immediately to go to a rehearsal that my mother-in-law had to prepare for a presentation she and some girls were putting on for a nursing home. My mother-in-law, who is called Mama, will likely be a blog someday. When asked why she does these performances, she says she likes to help the old people (and she is 92). She is responsible for over 100 people walking around on this good old earth. She had 9 children, 32, grand children, 55 great grandchildren, and 6 great great grandchildren. She drives, and is active in the Does and Daughters of America. The only thing that slows her down at all is her knees, but she never complains. She would be spending the week with us, or we would be spending it with her. When the ladies got back from rehearsal, we ate some chicken and went over to one of the Bubba's house, Herbert's, and Robert his brother came over, he lives next door. Of course the wives, Delores and Shirley were there to keep order. If you are unclear as to what a Bubba is, refer to the blog in my archive titled "Bubba". I love the Bubba's and their wives and it is always great to visit. Then we spent the night at my mother-in-law's house because we could not get the beach house until Monday.
Monday morning I took some stuff to the beach house and then I picked up my daughter and her boyfriend up at the airport, as they would be joining us. So the first order of business would be for us to go to lunch at Bessinger's, a favorite of ours for the best Bar-B-Q in town.
Deborah and I at Bessinger's:
After lunch it would be a quick trip to the grocery store and then settle in at the beach house.
Beach house from the street:
Beach house from the beach
The beach from the beach house:
That evening, another Bubba, Henry, and his wife Lynn showed up to visit, and as always we had a great time.
Tuesday was a slow day. The ladies went to the nursing home for Mama to be in the performance.
Mama is the Statue of Liberty in white:
I took a nap, and sat on the porch and listened to the waves crash. Then my nephew came over and took me to a small lake to do a little fishing. We didn't do too good, but it was fun killing time. That night we didn't feel like cooking so after my cigar we had hot dogs and watched a movie. I think I may have squeezed in a few margaritas too.
Wednesday we got up and fixed a big breakfast. Then my daughter and her boyfriend and Deborah and I went down to the Market. The Market is like a giant flea market that is always there. It is located where the old slave market was many years ago, before the Civil War. It's sort of a ritual. I don't really buy anything in there anymore, but it is fun to walk around and look. Afterward, another ritual, we went to lunch at a place called A.W. Schucks. They have the best she crab soup, and on this day I had a horseradish encrusted grouper, sooooooo! Good!
When we got back to the beach house, Henry and Lynn came back and Mama made a roast for dinner and we had a nice meal. Then Bubba James and his friend Dottie came over and we had another nice visit.
Thursday started with my famous breakfast casserole and then my wife went to the cemetery because that is where my son is buried. Then we spent a considerable amount of time in the water.
I found a treasure, a black sharks tooth. I have always loved the water and the beach. So all was good.
Later that evening I made lasagna, and Herbert and Delores, and Robert and Shirley came over to visit and join us for dinner. My daughter's boyfriend got an earful that night. It was a lot of arguing and talking politics, but no hard feelings. Of course this was yet another opportunity for a cigar.
Friday was a sit around and enjoy the beach day. We did little or nothing besides relax until that evening.
That night we went to the Elks Club for a steak dinner and dance. This event was held in the Horace E. (Shine) Miller Lodge Room. Horace was Mama's Bother. The steaks were huge and very well prepared. All of the Bubba's were there. There were about 100 people there including the line dance auxiliary. The guy that was in charge of music was Ruben, and Ruben had to be at least 80.
These ladies were doing a line dance to every song that came up practically. I told my daughter that my wife and I were the youngest couple in the place, and she corrected me and said no, she was. So we were the second youngest.
It doesn't do much good to be a beer snob in this place. It's pretty much a Busch or Bud kind of place.
What kids do at dances for old people:
We lasted till about 10:30 and then we headed back to the beach house. It was another great chance to visit with the Bubba's.
Robert and Shirley:
Herbert and Delores:
Henry and Lynn:
Herbert and Mama:
Saturday, early in the morning we had to take the daughter and her boyfriend to the airport.
Barbara and Luke:
The week went by fast. After I got them to the airport, we went to Henry and Lynn's house, a beautiful place, to have breakfast with all of the Bubba's, including Mama. They are very hospitable and we had a great time.
On the way home we stopped to pick up a few gifts and then back to the beach house. Bubba Melvin and Marlene came over to take care of a few things, and then we were trying to figure out what we had left to eat and start packing for the morning. Oh yea, and another cigar. The beach was fun.
Things were starting to look lonely:
Sunday morning we loaded up the car, got Mama home, said goodbye, and started home. Before we left we had to drive by Herbert and Robert's house and say good bye. Only Herbert was home, so we gave him a big a hug and kiss and got started. My wife hates the goodbye.
So we try not to make it long and painful and then we get on the road. We headed back through the mountains and Tennessee. We stopped in a Hardee's for a quick lunch and saw the most heartwarming sight. A Tennessee family was out for an early supper and they seemed like such nice, down to earth folks.
The plan was to drive to Cincinnati to visit my son and spend the night. After we took him out to dinner, we thought we might as well go on home and we did.
We didn't do anything super special, but we did a lot of visiting, and that is what we set out to do. It was nice to get home about 12:30 a.m. on the 17th.
Before I left I was in the middle of trying to get some home improvement projects done and my dad had told me he wanted to help me ( he's almost 80, but he thinks he's 12). So I was moving faster then usual to get some things ready for when he came. He came on the 17th. I was tired and he was ready.
We got the drywall done in the downstairs bathroom, the laundry space, and we took out the washer and dryer. I already had all of the doors removed, woodwork removed, toilet rmoved, bathroom vanity installed, and we were ready to put down a laminate floor in most of the downstairs. The flooring we bought was supposed to be a deal, and the short version of the problem is, it didn't work. My dad went home and called me because he felt bad because we didn't finish the floor. He felt so bad, he came right back, from Arkansas. I had taken all of the first batch of flooring back to the store, got my money back, and bought some good stuff. Thanks to my dad and a few more days of work, the floor is finished. Now I need a break, because nothing in the way of home improvement ever goes easy for me.
Well, that's what I have been up to. I apologize for any blogs I missed, and I thank you so much for remembering me with comments and messages and emails. When I got back I had 250 emails, 35 My Space messages, 75 comments, 4 friend requests, and the week after I got back, I had a funeral to go to. I still haven't caught up, but I'm getting close. The wife said I could take a short break in the next couple of days, so maybe I can get back in the swing of things. Please know that I have not avoided my My Space responsibilities intentionally. I am well aware of what needs to be done and I hope I can get back to the program. I hope you enjoyed my vacation, not the most exciting in the world, but very relaxing and important. You have to spend time with family. Thanks again for all of the wonderful thoughts and comments.