Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Testing 1-2-3!!

  For some reason, my photos disappear a few days after I post them which is, of course, frustrating! I am attempting to figure out the problem, so this one is a test. 

  It was taken Sunday on the beautiful South Carolina Black River at Pump House Landing. The rusty old water pump was still on its foundation on the river bank with the inscription, Fairbanks Morse. That pump was manufactured at the Fairbanks factory in the small Wisconsin town I grew up in! Three of my close relatives were lifetime employees of Fairbanks Morse. Two others were my grandma and her sister who during World War II joined the legions of Rosie the Riveters manufacturing parts for Allied war planes.  I have many memories of holiday parties given for employees’ children — including my sister and me! 

Wondering if anyone else has had the experience of their photos disappearing from Blogger a day or two after publication? If so, have you figured out what is going on? 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Maybe There is Hope

  This weekend an American icon stepped out of history  to make an appearance in our town.  Harriet Tubman, hero of the Underground Railroad, is known to every American for her role in leading around 70 friends and family through dangerous Slave States to sweet freedom in the North. 

  A bronzed monument, “Journey to Freedom” by North Carolina sculptor Wesley Wofford, is on a national tour and drew hundreds of people of every race to its unveiling in a little city park on the waterfront. 

  Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820. At age 5, she was hired out by her owners as a nursemaid, field hand, cook and woodcutter. At age 12 an overseer tried to force her to participate in the beating of another enslaved person. She refused and was struck in the head.  From this incident she suffered seizures for the rest of her life. 

  In 1849, Tubman heard rumors that she was about to be sold away from her husband and family and set out to escape north to New York, a free state. 

  Over the next 10 years, despite the dangers of returning over and over to a slave state, Tubman did return, to save 70 friends and relatives on the “Underground Railroad”. Not only did she serve as their guide and protector on the journey, she also assisted  them in finding work and establishing  new lives in free states and Canada.

  During the Civil War, this brave lady left her own freedom to come here to South Carolina and join the Union cause, serving as a scout, nurse, laundress, and a spy. 

   While Tubman herself never set foot in Georgetown, one of her first rescues came here, her nephew James Bowley. Tubman also funded the boy’s education to become a lawyer and Bowley became a distinguished citizen and a member of the State House of Representatives. Also, right after the Civil War in the South conditions were desperate with few resources or supplies available for the recently freed enslaved people. Tubman, who had first hand knowledge of the dire situation, used her influence among other abolitionists to get funds to Georgetown to help out.
   With the state of race relations in this country, it was heartwarming to see the large mixed crowd on Saturday for the unveiling ceremony.  And every time we have driven down Front Street since, there have been parents with children gathered around the figures. 

  Politicians can take the books out of our libraries, the facts out of our history classes, the truth out of our colleges — but maybe a spark of hope, for all races of humanity, remains, here in the small towns and the families in America. 
Rainey Park, Old Post Office in the background

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Octopus Tree

The Octopus Tree

  With all their gnarly-ness, twisty branches and intricate bark, Live Oaks are one of the most interesting and plentiful of the trees in our neighborhood on the South Carolina coast. Two very old ones, home to many birds and squirrels, fill my view as I drink my tea in the sunroom every morning. 
  And on one of the trails we frequent along the ocean is a Live Oak so interesting and loved, it has a name.  
The Octopus Tree is a living sculpture.  The sculptor — a hurricane!

Everything in the photo above is ONE tree. 

  As you can see, you hike through thick forest all around and suddenly the trail opens up and goes right through this tangle of tree, the tentacles of the octopus.

Here’s how it happens. 

  Children love to chase each other in and out and over the branches of the Octopus Tree. I confess I usually call a rest here and use one for a seat with a backrest. It’s easy to close one’s eyes and summon up Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, a party of cavorting tree fairies.

  At the center back, slightly left, of the photo you can see the trail continuing on, reentering the thick forest of pine, wax myrtle, and other shrubs. 

  Live oaks live for several hundred years and grow tremendous trunk girths. They shed and grow new leaves year around, hence their name. Their wood is very strong and until the 1860s, the US Navy used it to build its warships.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Sorry, I Needed a Break

Sorry, I Needed a Break 

  I think it’s called ghosting these days, and honest — I didn’t mean to do that! 
It’s just that recent journeys and adventures have been inward, physical, and nothing others would find that entertaining. 

  We had the most wonderful, unusual, long spring, much cooler than normal, when we should have been out traveling, hiking, camping, etc.  But no. Instead, for months every week it was a steady round of disappointing doctors’ appointments, tests and procedures, repairmen in, under, and over our home (with accompanying large bills), rush trips to Florida to assist my mom, sad events for my children, 
                 and, well … you know … stuff.

  Perspective, along with my sense of humor, dwindled to myopic, and with them 
               away went my desire to write.  

But hey, as my mom always said: It could be worse! Most of the house repairs are finished and we have finally gotten the right doctors with some answers. We are both doing physical therapy and staying hopeful about avoiding the more drastic options.  The Writer is writing (tv/movie script), I am drawing/painting/knitting, Frank is franking and Bob is bobbing, and life goes on! 

Hope all is well with you and you are still speaking to me. 😊

Sending love and light . . . .  

Summertime, South Carolina

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Good Eatin’ in Conway

Ocean Fish Market

  Few places like this left on the South Carolina coast. The old fish market in Conway  has been in business since 1948, providing seafood for several generations of local families. 

  Besides the fish market, they serve the best freshly-caught fried flounder there is from a little window at the side. With your fish you get traditional sides of rice, hushpuppies, cole slaw, and a pillowy slice of plain old white bread. 

  Best eaten at a picnic table with the neighborhood cats at your feet, relying on  your kindness and generosity for a handout. 

  Sadly, Ocean Market is scheduled to be demolished soon and replaced with condos after 70+ years of happy customers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023


We’ve been traveling a bit.

Just for fun . . .

Heavy load! 

  The sign says, “Every taco is hand rolled with exotic Mexican spices by genuine Mayan virgins. Or Carlos, depending on who’s available.”

   Wallpaper in one of the restrooms. Don’t worry — it did have modern plumbing!

  An old house decorated with oyster and clam shells being updated. 
The pillars on the porch were replaced and awaiting their new shells. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Charleston Naval Base Memorial

Charleston Naval Base 

  We took advantage of a sunny 80 degree F day last week to visit a memorial to the thousands of military and civilians who worked over the years at the Naval Base in Charleston. Before I tell you about the memorial, a little history . . . 


In 1899, a 1600-acre public park with beautiful gardens was created along the Cooper River on the grounds of an old plantation. Charlestonians could escape the big hot city for day trips by special trolley and enjoy a day on strolling lovely walking paths and picnicking in the landscaped gardens along the river. 

  But soon, a short two years later in 1901, the United States Navy took possession of Chicora Park to build the Charleston Naval Base for defense of the East Coast of the United States. 


 The base also served to repair military ships and resupply them before they returned to sea. As it grew, shipbuilding was added, providing employment for 1,700 people. Over the years the Charleston Naval Shipyard turned out dredges, patrol cutters for the Coast Guard, paddle wheel steam boats for the Army Corps of Engineers, gunboats, submarine chasers, tugboats, barges, and even a ferry boat.  

  In April of 1917, when the US entered World War I, five German freighters were in transit through Charleston. The ships were seized and interned in nearby Charleston Harbor.  Then they were brought to the Naval Base where they were refitted and sent to war as part of the US Naval Fleet. 

  During the WWI years, a Naval Training Center was added for basic training. One of the 5,000 recruits who trained there was Norman Rockwell, a young man destined to become one of the United States’ most loved artists. During his stay, Rockwell painted officer’s portraits and did cartoons for the base newsletter.

 Also during this time, a naval clothing factory employing 1,000 Charleston women was put into production. When influenza became rampant, a naval hospital was added.  

  During World War II, thousands more soldiers, sailors, and airmen passed through the base on their way to war.  Three shifts of military and civilian workers were employed to berth ships in port, build, repair, and resupply ships and troops for the Navy, keeping the war effort going around the clock. Vessels built during this war and in the years after were destroyers, landing crafts, and submarines. 

 Charleston Naval Base remained the largest employer of civilians in the state of South Carolina into the 1990s. In 1993, with the Cold War over, defense budgets were cut, the decision was made to close the base and it closed in 1996. 

The Memorial

  The memorial to the hundreds of thousands of military and civilians who worked at the Charleston Naval Base from 1901-1993 is an open pavilion shaped like the bow of a ship. One side borders the river while the other side is a low wall that curves like the side of a ship. A concrete ground map shows the Earth’s continents and a man made stream for children to play in meanders through.  Five flags fly on flagpoles that slant out from the shore, pointing the way out of the safe harbor of home into the oceans and seas of the world. 

The story of the base is told in a timeline of collages printed on metal, on a background of gray concrete, reflecting the look of the big ships built here.


  A statue of the “Lone Sailor” with his duffel bag beside him stands looking out to sea, as if waiting to board his ship. The sculpture honors the men and women who served and still serve in the US Navy.



Nearby is “Homecoming”, depicting the joy of a family reunion, honoring the sacrifices made by families and members in all sea services during their long separations. 

  Both sculptures are bronze copies of 

originals that stand at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington. 


  Many of the old buildings, including the shipyards, have found new life since the base closed. The docks and dry docks are now privately owned and still actively servicing the giant cargo ships that come in and out of Charleston. 

  One of the old officer’s homes on the base has been turned into a restaurant. We enjoyed lunch on the terrace, looking out at river and listening to the banging and pounding and hissing of ships being worked on next door. 


And check out the view from our table!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Our Very Own New Year Stinkhorn

Good morning, and Hello 2023! 

  A year ago, last January, we hiked out of the deep woods into an open area of coastal forest that had been cleared, the fallen trees and a layer of debris left to rot on the ground. Everywhere we looked, emerging from the detritus, were large, bright red, oddly-shaped, and very strange looking fungi.  Neither of us had seen anything like it before and we were pretty excited! 

You can see the post and photos here. 
  Well, one day this first week of January, we discovered something bubbling and red emerging from the pine needle carpet in our backyard. It continued to emerge over the day until we realized …

we had our very own 
little Stinkhorn garden 
popping up in front of the sunroom!

    While the shapes are different from the ones we saw on our hike last year, once you see it Stinkhorn is pretty unmistakable. 

  And if there was any doubt, the odor is a DEAD giveaway! 

  I think it’s here in our yard because I tend to pick up bits and pieces of things on our hikes and bring them home to the garden along the sunroom — things like oddly shaped pieces of wood or bark. One of these could easily have carried the Stinkhorn spores from the area where we first saw them. 

  So, today I am sending out into the Universe my New Year wishes for you, friends . . . 

for pleasant surprises, 

for health and presence to enjoy them, 

 and for as much adventure this year as your heart desires!