This past Tuesday night my Aunt Grace Ellenberg passed away. She was 95. The older sister of my late mother, she led a long, amazing life of adventure that defied the expectations set for a young farm girl from Ninety Six, South Carolina. Grace was a teacher and world traveler, a complex person with a profound Christian faith coupled with a keen intellect and desire to learn. Continue reading “Amazing Grace”
Earlier this week I learned of the passing of C. T. “Tommy” Sublett, aka “Sub.” Sub taught US history at Laurens District 55 High School, in a career that spanned 42 years. Not only was I a student, but he taught several of my siblings and my nephew. He died the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, just shy of his 76th birthday. Continue reading “November Passings – RIP Sub”
This has been a difficult Thanksgiving weekend, but not without things for which I’ve been thankful. One of those has been the ability to escape, even if just for a bit. The pattern has been for me to get in a bit of paddling either at sunrise or in the morning. Either Laura or Amy would head over to Atlantic Healthcare by 9:00 to get their mom up for the day, and I would join them there later (with a banjo on my knee, to quote the old song.) I had to limit these escapes, though. A couple of times I would get some distance from the house, check in with Laura to find her in the midst of dealing with a crisis, then find myself paddling pretty quickly straight back to come assist where I can. In those situations I found myself hitting a zen state, where I become one with the kayak, paddling as quickly and efficiently as possibly to get to my destination.. Continue reading “The Zen of Paddling”
Last winter we discovered that Laura’s mom responds well to my banjo playing. Her memory returns and she claps along. I’ve started bringing it every time we visit, and despite my limited skills she seems to like it. This Thanksgiving has been very difficult, with Mrs. Wright battling infections as well as Alzheimer’s While the banjo hasn’t worked miracles, it has brought some relief. More importantly, I’ve discovered that this therapy isn’t limited to Mrs. Wright. Continue reading “Banjo Therapy”
Ever since we first discovered it nearly 30 years ago, Laura and I have enjoying coming to Jack Island. Jack Island State Park and Preserve is a 340 acre island on the Indian River side of North Hutchinson Island. Trails circle the island and cross it. There is a birding tower on the river side of the island. This was the first place I discovered the thrill of “hunting” birds with a long telephoto lens, and that capturing them in this fashion was just as satisfying (even more satisfying) thank actually shooting something. We try to come back to the island as often as we can when we’re down this way.
Jack Island isn’t very far from Amy’s house. However, I’d never been there by boat. I think I might have paddled past it on one of my extended trips, but I’m not sure. This time I had a goal. I was going to paddle until I found the birding tower. That way I could truly say that I had paddled to Jack Island. Continue reading “Paddling to Jack Island”
It’s the end of an era. Per stipulations of our parents’ will, our family home in Gray Court has been sold. A nice young couple will start their lives in a place I’ve thought of as home for 48 years. I’m not exactly sad. In fact, I’m not sure how I’m feeling. Probably more relief that the place did, in fact, sell quickly, and that there won’t be any lingering issues. We’ve spent the past weeks going through the remaining family items in the house and helping my sister Glynda get moved. As of this weekend, for the first time in nearly five decades, the Gray Court house is no longer occupied by a member of our family. I thought some reflection was in order. Continue reading “Requiem for a Homestead”
This week Google was making news with the release of a new app. PhotoScan is designed to capture old photos from photo albums, with algorithms to enhance the photo and minimize glare. I have tons of old photo albums from Laura’s family and from my own family, and I’ve been trying to find the most efficient way to digitize these images with the best possible quality. I figured I needed to give PhotoScan a shot.
Here are my first impressions… Continue reading “Working with Google PhotoScan”
I was in serious need of some hydrotherapy. I’d been in a funk ever since the election. To make matters worse, wildfires in the mountains of North and South Carolina had cast a pall of hazy smoke over everything. I told someone that I guess it was appropriate that the world looks like Mordor now that Trump has been elected. Add to that all of the other anxieties in our family life right now, and it was time to hit the water. I was able to find some solace, but it came at a price. Continue reading “Paddling through Mordor”
This was not the existential crisis I was expecting this week. I had much more pressing concerns – possible recurring cancer in my family, increasingly difficult elder care, and helping my sister move out of her home. The presidential election was the last thing on my mind. Laura proudly cast her vote for the first … Continue reading Well, Sh*t
It had been a busy, trying week for both of us. Sunday provided the distraction we so desperately needed. Laura and I took part in the Bulldog Fun Run with the Upstate Minis. Continue reading “2016 Bulldog Fun Run with the Upstate Minis”