2010 €“ Paddling Year in Review

Paddling 2010

2010 certainly had its ups and downs for our extended family. We lost a family member to cancer, several of my family and friends had other health issues, and the lingering financial cloud presented challenges at work as well at home. Laura and I weren’t exactly able to take a vacation, but we were able to take advantage of conferences and family visits to do some traveling.

The one thing we were able to do in abundance this year was kayak – and we did A LOT of it. Apart from quick run-outs to Lake Cunningham or our local lake in the backyard, we participated in over 20 paddling expeditions this year. We explored some new areas, and I was able to make new friends and set up new paddling associations with folks. Here’s just a quick run-down of some of the trips:

Continue reading “2010 €“ Paddling Year in Review”

Anniversary at Kissimmee Prairie

Kissimmee Prairie Palmetto Scrub

Monday Laura and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We usually like to get out and travel a bit on our anniversary. It was cold and windy, even in Florida, so a paddling trip or boat ride was out of the question. Instead, we decided to head inland to the Kissimmee Prairie, a 54,000 acre nature preserve north of Okeechobee.

Our directions from Amy were to drive down to Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce, then head west until it ended at Highway 441.  It was 25 miles of the straightest road I think I’ve ever seen on this side of the Mississippi.  It was another 20 miles on 441 through some of the most desolate countryside in the state.  There were large ranches and orange groves dotted with small single-wide trailers.  I couldn’t imagine living out here, especially in summer.

When we got to the Prairie we found a large flat area that alternated between palmetto scrub, grasslands, and wetlands interspersed with palm tree and live oak hammocks.  A couple of dirt roads traversed the area, but for the most part the only way to see the place was on foot. Continue reading “Anniversary at Kissimmee Prairie”

Christmas in Florida


There were rumors and reports of snow back in Greenville. It wasn’t exactly my definition of a “white Christmas.” To me, a white Christmas is when you wake up and everything is covered in snow. However, I wasn’t going to be picky – snow is snow, and I would have enjoyed it all the same. The simple fact was that I was going to miss it all together. It was a warm 70 degrees down here.

The day began with the Wright family tradition of wrapping everything under the sun and putting it under the tree. They love to wrap/unwrap packages. It’s fun. This year Santa brought me life vests so I could take friends kayaking and a cool remote helicopter with built in camera. Continue reading “Christmas in Florida”

Christmas Paddling

Indian River Sunset

It’s Christmas. That means a trip to Florida to visit Laura’s sister, Amy. Using the new kayak racks Laura gave me for my birthday, I brought down the tandem that we got last summer so that we could paddle it out on the Indian River. After an 11 hour drive, I had to hit the water as soon as I got there.

Amy's Canal

The water was quite calm, and sun was just setting as I paddled out into the channel. Since it was dusk I decided I didn’t want to get out into the main channel, but paddled out far enough so that I could watch the sun set. It was a short paddle, but enough to improve my mood immeasurably.

Indian River Sunset Continue reading “Christmas Paddling”

A Hymnal Database


Last week I received several antique hymnals for my birthday. My sister, Beth, gave me a 1933 copy of “The Wonderful Message” from the Hartford Music Company of Arkansas. I’m not sure she realized this, but the gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” by Albert Brumley first appeared in this song collection. Paul Wagenknecht gave me a copy of the the “Kirchen-Gesangbuch” or Church Songbook, printed for the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church in 1862, and is completely in German. Paul’s father was a Lutheran pastor, and this had been in his collection.


When I was talking with Paul about the hymnal, he asked how many hymns were in my collection, and I didn’t have an answer. I’ve been collecting them haphazardly for so many years that I haven’t really cataloged them. The collection ranges from oblong singing-school books, to nearly ancient text-only books, to paper camp-meeting books, to more modern hymnals I’ve used in the churches where I’ve been employed. I also have some facsimile copies of the Sacred Harp and other shaped-note books. I think the earliest one I have was published in 1835 – 185 years old. I keep that one and a couple of other special ones in archival boxes since they are so fragile. Continue reading “A Hymnal Database”

Tron Legacy

For my birthday Chip got me a ticket to the midnight opening of Tron Legacy at our local iMax. So, last night (and into the wee hours of this morning) we set off for Simpsonville to rendezvous with several of his work friends to see the movie. We got to the theater a little after … Continue reading Tron Legacy

Lessons and Carols

Sunday afternoon Laura and I attended the Service of Lessons and Carols at Furman. For the past 15 years, the Furman Chamber Choir has been presenting the program in Daniel Chapel. Tickets are incredibly hard to obtain, and we were lucky enough to get a couple of the 5:00 service. As a choir director I’ve … Continue reading Lessons and Carols

A Carolina Christmas

Last night the Greenville Chorale gave its Carolina Christmas concert at McAlister Auditorium at Furman. We were joined by the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, and we repeat the concert today at Mud Creek Baptist Church for the Hendersonville audience. (The photo above is from last year’s concert.) We’ve been working on the music since mid-October. The … Continue reading A Carolina Christmas