A DAD'S JOURNAL
Week 26- March 6 - 12 Week: Farewell to Friends
After our history lessons about the Wesley brothers on the Golden Isles of Georgia’s Atlantic coast, we decided to attend a Methodist church on Jekyll Island in their honor this week. It was a heavily snowbird-attended church. Our kids were the only children, and Brenda and I were the next youngest worshippers. Again, we were warmly welcomed!
The first part of the week we switched locations to Skidaway Island State Park, outside of Savannah for our final rendezvous with our traveling friends, the Goldfines. Nate and I enjoyed a special time investigating the remains of Confederate earthworks defenses and an old moonshine area, both in the state park area.
On Tuesday, both families went into the old town of Savannah with the azaleas in bloom. We enjoyed a leisurely walk through the historic park squares that checkerboard the neighborhoods. Each park has a different memorial, some related to the Revolutionary War and some the Civil War in a rather confusing cultural combination!
We also toured the 1817 Owens Thomas house, designed by William Jay when he was only 24 years old! The tour starts in the carriage house, one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South. The original paint, made of buttermilk, indigo and lime was still holding onto the rough-hewn joists supporting the ceiling. The color was specifically chosen by the slaves to discourage evil spirits.
Revolutionary War hero, Marquis de Lafayette, a close friend of George Washington rented a room at the home in 1825. According to Savannah's oral tradition, the celebrated Frenchman delivered his two Savannah addresses to thousands of adoring citizens from the ornate cast iron balcony on the south side of the house.
During the week we again exchanged the luxury of date nights with the Goldfines. (The kids enjoy being together while one set of parents goes out!) Our date night was a dinner out in Savannah at a restaurant located in the 1765 Cotton Exchange building. Eating in a building that was around before our country was a nation was a novelty to me. Quiet time alone with my wife is also a novelty…
Wednesday we had to say goodbye to our friends for the rest of our adventure as we needed to head northward on to James Island outside of Charleston, while they are heading south and west. I’ll let the kids each contribute a part of this week’s journal from here:
When I woke up, the sadness of leaving our friends hung over me. I knew someday we would see them again. It had been fun to have kids to play with who were our age, and were traveling around the USA like us. Since we had crossed paths at least five other times, it seemed like it was sort of a routine. We would say goodbye and then meet up again in some other state.
As soon as we were dressed, we raced outside and continued working on our almost finished fairy houses. We had found sticks, rocks, and other objects to make little houses and shops for fairies in the roots of a large live oak tree. Kelson and I had designed a plant shop, and Leah and Jael created a food store over to the left of the tree. Every state we had stopped together, we made little fairy neighborhoods.
After the annoying gnats plucked on our last nerves we went inside our R.V. and made mini makeup, books, bags, and picture frames. My dad took the R.V. around to the dump station as we got ready to leave. Kelson, Jael, Leah, and I sat at the table making crafts. When we returned to our campsite, we gave the parents a tour of all our fairy houses. Pictures where taken and then it was time for goodbyes.
We hugged and my mom asked the Goldfines if they would sign the quilt that one of our friends, the Wiselys made us. They gave it to us to fill in with memories in each little box for each state from our trip when we left. Our camping friends signed it and stepped out of the R.V. as we started to leave. Kelson and Jael ran after us waving but soon they disappeared.
I was hanging 500 feet above jagged rocks with my arms tiring and my lungs burning… No, actually I was only twenty feet above the gravel covered ground with a harness and a belayer (the one who controls the safety ropes) supporting me. We were at the James Island, SC Campground climbing wall, and I was climbing a wall that looked like:
l *= Nate
Imagine climbing that kind of a wall while you are tired. . . it’s tough. On this wall and another wall that is portable, they had thirteen different climbs of varying difficulty. I had already climbed almost all routes on the portable wall and two of the climbs on the big fifty foot wall. Now I was on the one that I pictured above, and I was having a tad bit of trouble. Disappointedly I gave up on this climb and let the belayer lower me down to the ground.
After that, Dad gave us some inspiration, promising a Mountain Dew® if we made it over the first ledge. After that, Jenna made it up over the first ledge so she got her Dew. Dad made it all the way up, but since he was giving up Dew for Lent he couldn’t have one! Later that day I made it past two ledges but then I got tired, so I didn’t make it to all the way to the top. But I did get a Mountain Dew!
Jenna, Nate, and Dad were going rock climbing. That probably wouldn’t be a good idea with my broken arm… so Mom and I headed to the beach. I had been kind of disappointed that I couldn’t go rock climbing, so I was hoping that I could find some cool things there.
We arrived to see cockle shells (small black crusty shells that are VERY common) and piles of drift wood scattered across the lonesome beach. “This is going to be a great place to find cool shells!” I said sarcastically. If there was one thing for sure, there wasn’t going to be ANYTHING decent on this beach. “Should we even waste time here? Let’s head back and watch them climb. This beach is more for walking anyway.”
Despite what we thought, we decided to walk a little way to see if there was anything worthwhile. “Hey, there’s a sea star!” I ran over to see a dead sea star lying on the beach. I’d seen them in tide pools before, but I’d never seen one dead, lying dried out on the beach. Now we could keep it! We continued walking, hoping to find a sand dollar or a sea urchin. Some shells were gathering at the water’s edge. We rushed to check it out. Then I saw it. “MOM, It’s an urchin!” Out of all the beaches we’ve visited, the only part of an urchin we’d found was a broken one. I had really wanted to find a whole one. After the urchin dies, and dries out, it leaves its beautiful skeleton. There are bumps where the spines were attached. The same wonderful colors from the spines shade the bumps on the “shell” in a similar pastel hue.
I picked up the urchin. I could hardly believe it. I had looked and looked for an urchin, and now I had found one. “Hey here’s another one!” said mom. Now we had both found one. The beach that “wasn’t worth stopping for” was turning out to be very worthwhile. At the end of the day, we had bagged ten whole urchins, one large lettered olive, a beautiful banded tulip, and many whelks. We drove home with a greater assortment of sea treasures than we had found at any other beach.