A Toast to Time… Let it be Kind

Dear Reader:

Yesterday we scurried around packing the cars…so we would have time for one last gathering on the front porch … A Diet Coke and water toast to enduring time spent together!

We have decided that we have become ” Edisto” down to the marrow of our bones… We have grown into this nostalgic island of magical beauty and serenity over the years… and now ” Ed-i-SLO” is just our speed!

We have accumulated small rituals… deciding on our night-out restaurant, smiling over the annual whimsical and mysterious creations of fun-living inhabitants, the ocean view, Botany Bay, King’s Market… but most of all our porch talks!

How we love the quiches and casseroles at the King’s Market! In fact as I type… I have one of my favorite casseroles ( Artichoke Chicken and Rice) thawing out … for supper!

The Mystery Tree… Who started this idea and decorates it for every season… unseen…no one knows… or is saying! ( ” Tree” is a rather generous name for something that resembles more of a coat-rack…but the mystery supersedes the title)
” Tanglewood” is the best description for this tangled tree that affords everyone a gymnastic opportunity to climb and slide!

Our new favorite dinner-out spot… what fun we had while dining there!!! Five star fun!

Of course last night I had to let my gardens know ” Mom” was home and thanks to my amazing neighbor, Vickie, they looked terrific… in spite of the hot nineties forecast.

So until tomorrow…the bridge that connects our college girls’ past and hopeful future is not only not in need of repair it is ” cemented” forever in gratitude!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

The Bridge to Edisto Happiness
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Happy Trails To You…

Dear Reader:

A question on Jeopardy one night this past week brought back a funny memory for Brooke and me! The Jeopardy question asked what Victorville, California was once known for…. ( correct response… the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans museum… in the form of a question please!)

Brooke and I immediately started singing Happy Trails to You… before we meet again…It all started in the spring of our freshman year… Jackson was dating someone steady…as she and her date would start walking to his car… from the second story windows of the dorm… we would start singing Happy Trails to You as loudly as possible … much to the chagrin of Jackson and her date… who, embarrassed, would take off running to the car. Now we ask… what else are good friends for?

We were determined to stay upbeat for our last day together…I got up early and began exploring more dirt roads and old homes.

At one point I had gone searching for a series of bushes beside the highway that were covered in lovely orange trumpet vine. I finally found them -pulled off a side road and took the picture (trying to enlarge it) but all my editing didn’t do the scene justice… disappointed I turned to walk back to my car and there, all alone, the most beautiful gladiolus was ” standing ” right beside me adorned in my two favorite colors -orange and yellow!

I started thinking… isn’t that the way it is in life… if we try to live life in ” tunnel vision ” don’t we often miss the most important moments and scenes by concentrating too hard on just one objective? Whereas if we stop, pause, and look around… there is a whole new world waiting for us to discover?

So until tomorrow… we Ya’s have departed to go our separate ways … knowing that we are never far from each other as long as our hearts continue beating and safeguarding the memories of love and friendship that first drew us together!!

Today is my favorite day -Winnie the Pooh

For our ” Last Supper” we turned to Jimmy Buffet for help!

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” … God Bless the Moon and God Bless Me…

Dear Reader:

Another beautiful full moon prior to the solar eclipse… I took two photos around 10 PM Sunday evening… beachcombers told me the beach strand looked like there was flood lights reflecting off the ocean until the eclipse began and then flashlights and lanterns dotted the beach.

This photo I took looks like a Van Gogh painting with the inexplicable wavy abstract lights

From the beginning of creation… man has been fascinated with myths and stories about the moon’s existence and particularly an eclipse. The earliest story on record comes from China dating back to 2134 B.C.

The Chinese believed a solar eclipse was caused by an invisible dragon eating the sun. So the emperor thought if the drummers beat drums and the archers shot arrows… the frightened dragon would leave the sun alone and daylight would return.

Unfortunately two royal astronomers, Hsi and Ho, mis – estimated the correct time of the eclipse, thus no drums or arrows… even the return of daylight later didn’t spare the emperor’s wrath and the two astronomers’ heads!

Christopher Columbus used a solar eclipse ( while stranded in Jamaica) as a way to keep the natives feeding the explorers when he announced that God would send darkness into the midday if they didn’t keep feeding his men… so when the darkness descended and later lifted ( by the boastful Columbus) the once reluctant and now scared natives quickly scurried around collecting more food.

These days, even with all the scientific knowledge we have about a solar or lunar eclipse … it still feels magical as we watch in awe! Yesterday I went searching for more awe inspiring natural beauty sites and more fun unexplained Edisto whimsy!

Beautiful entrance to Botany Bay
Entrance into John and Mandy’s wedding site on Edisto… gorgeous!
14 year anniversary this month!
Meet Mr Boogie Bones-the pirate who still hangs around the island… fun whimsy!

So until tomorrow… As awe-inspiring as the lunar eclipse was Sunday night… don’t we get the feeling that it pales behind the Creator Who started it all… life and all its mysteries.

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

It was another fun, favorite day… Jackson’s sister, Em, and her brother-in-law Jack came to Edisto to see Jackson! We had such fun!!

Emily gave us these adorable ” Porch Drinks” cups-so we followed the directions!!!🙌

Safe travels home yesterday Jack and Em… what fun we all had catching up! 💗

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Rest, Recovery, and Reflections

Dear Reader:

Rest In Peace certainly lived up to its name on a slow, serene (summery-feeling) Sunday . I awoke yesterday filled with such a sense of relief and contentment …( Tommy and Kaitlyn) were home safe and sound, our missing Ya Libby was improving with amazing leaps and bounds, and the smells of bacon frying, the stirring sounds of grits thickening, and fresh eggs being scrambled reminded me of Brooke’s famous annual breakfast extraordinaire she surprises us with on each retreat!!! ( I practically fell out of bed scrambling around to get out!)

Breakfast brunch… my favorite meal!

After breakfast we leisurely began assessing where we are today and how we feel about it! The main conclusion we all mutually agreed upon (after sharing past and present reflections) was that we would not be who we are now… if we had not gone through all the life challenges we did…when we were who we were then.

And then if you are lucky enough to still have friends and loved ones who knew you when… and still love you now… then you are richer than any amount of gold and treasures! None of us can get away with any different memory about a shared situation… because we were all there and lived it together! 😉

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Another Erskine friend joined us yesterday which only added more memories and fun-Ka Stevenson !! Another Delightful Due West gal!!

The Beauty of Edisto….

Good news from Regina… she did not have to have surgery and is back home in her own bed and beyond grateful for your prayers!

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A ” Double Speed” Day… Fast and ” Ed-i-Slo” …

Dear Reader:

What a day yesterday was… we kicked into high gear… leaving Edisto around 9 and putting the pedal to the medal to get to Columbia to see our missing Ya Libby! We picked up some ” home” cooking at Lizard’s Thicket … pulling up to Libby’s house!

In the South… if you put four women together with southern cooking around a table… nothing else is needed! The world’s problems are solved!

Libby’s improvement is nothing short of miraculous! With a broken neck and arm she has adapted to everyday normal routines with creativity and iron-grit determination!!! The only problem we had was time ticking away too quickly!

We were so happy to be able to run a much needed errand for Libby before we left… but Libby saved her biggest surprise for us as the finale.

Libby loves playing the piano but with her high neck brace and completely limp broken arm she couldn’t move her fingers. In fact the first thing she did… after weeks of rehab ( finally returning home) was to try to move them on the keys… but to her great disappointment ( after using her good hand to place her other hand on the keyboard) -to try to play some notes… her fingers couldn’t move.

But Libby would not give up… last week she sent the Ya’s a video of her fingers slowly playing a scale. Yesterday for the finale she played loudly, clearly and beautifully ” Oh God… How Great Thou Art”… to a standing ovation , hugs, and tears. Libby is returning! We witnessed nothing short of a miracle!

So until tomorrow… so many good things happened yesterday it is hard to take it all in… Jackson found her mother’s lost ring after two years of thinking it was gone forever ( hidden in a suitcase) Kaitlyn texted me to say United Airlines let her and Tommy travel back home… an Irish bow tie Tommy got for Walsh arrived in time…. and we got to spend time with Libby… the Ya’s reunited… finally!!!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Brooke, as a longtime resident and lover of Edisto, told me that if anybody is in a hurry don’t come to Edisto… it hasn’t been nicknamed ” Ed-i-Slo” for no reason!

So today… Ed-i-slo!!!!

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A ” Double Speed” Day… Fast and ” Ed-i-Slo” …

Dear Reader:

What a day yesterday was… we kicked into high gear… leaving Edisto around 9 and putting the pedal to the medal to get to Columbia to see our missing Ya Libby! We picked up some ” home” cooking at Lizard’s Thicket … pulling up to Libby’s house!

In the South… if you put four women together with southern cooking around a table… nothing else is needed! The world’s problems are solved!

Libby’s improvement is nothing short of miraculous! With a broken neck and arm she has adapted to everyday normal routines with creativity and iron-grit determination!!! The only problem we had was time ticking away too quickly!

We were so happy to be able to run a much needed errand for Libby before we left… but Libby saved her biggest surprise for us as the finale.

Libby loves playing the piano but with her high neck brace and completely limp broken arm she couldn’t move her fingers. In fact the first thing she did… after weeks of rehab ( finally returning home) was to try to move them on the keys… but to her great disappointment ( after using her good hand to place her other hand on the keyboard) -to try to play some notes… her fingers couldn’t move.

But Libby would not give up… last week she sent the Ya’s a video of her fingers slowly playing a scale. Yesterday for the finale she played loudly, clearly and beautifully ” Oh God… How Great Thou Art”… to a standing ovation , hugs, and tears. Libby is returning! We witnessed nothing short of a miracle!

So until tomorrow… so many good things happened yesterday it is hard to take it all in… Jackson found her mother’s lost ring after two years of thinking it was gone forever ( hidden in a suitcase) Kaitlyn texted me to say United Airlines let her and Tommy travel back home… an Irish bow tie Tommy got for Walsh arrived in time…. and we got to spend time with Libby… the Ya’s reunited… finally!!!

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Brooke, as a longtime resident and lover of Edisto, told me that if anybody is in a hurry don’t come to Edisto… it hasn’t been nicknamed ” Ed-i-Slo” for no reason!

So today… Ed-i-slo!!!!

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Girls Night Out…

Dear Reader:

Since today is our trip to Columbia to see the ” one that got left behind” (Libby) this retreat year due …to an unforgettable and unfortunate fall…we decided to take the beach to her… to spend a fun day together picking up lunch and just sharing time together!!!

So then we made another decision to go ahead and have our seafood dinner out last night… trying out a new restaurant… the Edingsville Grocery-Restaurant and Bar!

It was absolutely delicious… we have found a new restaurant that we love! Best deviled crab and shrimp… yummiest hushpuppies that melted in your mouth!!!

The clouds and winds whipped up but by the time we left the restaurant…one more time the late late afternoon sun was breaking through! The owner, Robert Hughes, came over to the table and we had connections from almost every town in the state… a small wonderful world! Especially with Brooke …they knew many of the same people!

On the way home we passed the famous hanging mattress! (Better known as the ” Mattress Tree of Edisto Island.” )

I remembered part of the story but found more information this time around! It is located beside SC-174 ( highway leading into Edisto) named for that particular bend in the road… ” Mattress Point.” It hangs down from a beautiful live oak tree. And for many annual vacation renters over the decades the sighting of the hanging mattress meant … ” We’re almost there!”

The original owner was Frank ” Tish” Gadsden who created the idea when his wife kicked him out of the house after a drinking binge! But soon his hanging mattress drew so much attention he charged 5 bucks a photo and later ten dollars and a pack of smokes!

Some old friends set up a card table nearby to play cards in the chilly off/seasons … keeping warm from the fire burning from an old oil drum.

For awhile after his death in 2009 -it seemed that this nostalgic landmark was gone but later family members reconstructed it and today decorate it for special holidays!

Today the mattress still stands…a sentimental landmark to many!

So until tomorrow…” In the wilderness is the preservation of the world” -Thoreau

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Please keep prayers coming for Harriett and Regina… will continue to update you on their health status! 🙏🏻💗

We also need prayers that both Tommy and Kaitlyn get to leave Shannon Airport tonight… to return home! 🙏🏻💗

I will see this before I leave-Edisto at sunrise!

The tulips we gave Brooke for her birthday are halfway opened in bloom and we are halfway through our retreat! SLOW DOWN TIME!!!!!!!!

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A Storm’s A’ Coming… but We Don’t Care…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday morning I nostalgically walked over to the beach to take some photos and then run some errands … I met one other young woman out walking early but we were the only ones out… the wind, clouds, and threatening rain kept others away.

We had a nice time chatting and she offered to take a photo of me after I had taken some of her… as the sun started peeking in and out -it was her last day on Edisto Island.

After I grabbed some groceries… and some trinkets… I headed “home.” On the back street ( Jungle Road) nature is at its most beautiful… while turning onto Dawhoo… our favorite street -housing our favorite retreat!

The nicest thing about being with old friends is that the weather plays a very small role in our enjoyment of our annual retreat… ( unless the power goes out! ) Talking, laughing, and reminiscing is the major focal point! We can’t seem to get enough!

And if we do… we are avid murder mysteries crime plots and comedy ( movie) television watchers -we leave time to scream and laugh together out loud. We admitted that watching television by ourselves just isn’t as much fun!

Oops! The other most favorite part of being together… EATING! We keep it simple-one night out to eat seafood and the rest sandwiches( pimento cheese, chicken salad, BLT’s, salads, casseroles, barbecue… you get the picture!

Last night was hot dogs… they never taste better than at the beach!

So until tomorrow…Even though we reminisce a lot … to tell you the truth … we wouldn’t ” turn back time” if we could… we have earned this time to be together at this exact moment in time … so what the Ya Ya’s have put together … let no one put asunder”

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Surprise birthday for Brooke Wednesday night-our trailblazer into the next year!!!

And our “New Jersey Jackson” is here! Hallelujah!!! 👍💗

Welcome Home ” Jack”
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Renewal, Reflection and Realization

Dear Reader:

Yesterday as Brooke and I talked about our feelings reflecting on the amazing years we have spent at Edisto Island… Brooke came up with the perfect response and title today…Renewal, Reflection,and Realization.

From our first reunion in 2004…here we are 18 years later. A lot has changed in all our lives over this period of time… happy times… children’s marriages, arrival of grandchildren, sad times… deaths of spouses and parents… serious health ( life-altering) diagnoses but through it all… we have known we had each other.

Now these days…renewal… not just annual physical presence for gathering …but soul presence is needed more than ever! … no pretentiousness because we know each other so well. The one place and the one group where acceptance is unconditional…

We realize, especially recently, how precious and sacred life is… we can never take it for granted… we have all experienced health scares and fortunately pulled through the challenges with an even greater appreciation for all the blessings we have been given!

So until tomorrow… Just pure gratitude for life… for friends… forever!

Today is my favorite day…. Winnie the Pooh

Let me take a moment to thank you for your positive and encouraging comments on Tommy and Kaitlyn’s situation -it has vastly improved from yesterday… Tommy got some doctor prescription medicine from “Walsh’s Pharmacy” 🤣 and a government note allowing them to return this weekend! With that stress off… they were finally able to get outside together… and hopefully can ” seize” the day ( 3 ) left! Time for their fifth anniversary!

Harriett said the meeting with the neurologist went well and she is taking each step as it comes using her trusted HOPE calendar to check off each procedure. She thanks you for all the prayers!

Regina… I had a note from a long-time Chapel of Hope reader who writes a post of her own… a wonderfully talented teacher, spiritual leader, writer and amazing woman of faith-Isaiah46minstries.

Regina is presently in the hospital with an obstruction of the small intestine-doctors hoping they can clear it before Friday or they will have to perform surgery-Regina is praying they won’t find a repeat of colon cancer … she has had previously. Please put Regina in your prayers and God’s care! 🙏🏻 Thank you readers!

*** Jackson was supposed to fly in at 1:00 yesterday but, like what happened to Tommy and Kaitlyn… ( it is now 2:30) and Jackson is still stuck in Philly on the tarmac …another plane with mechanical problems. Must be contagious…Landing time… 4:00. We are so ready to pick her up!

” All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends.”

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The Scents of Special Places

Confederate Jasmine

Dear Reader:

Yesterday morning I was watering my plants for the last time before leaving for Edisto Island…it is that time again! Ya Ya reunion! I spent last night at Rest In Peace with Brooke… so we could drive together to pick up Jackson today at the airport. Libby will not be able to join us this time but we will be communicating throughout the week! Leave no Ya behind!

That beautiful sweet scent of Confederate Jasmine always makes me smile with satisfaction… if they sold it in a bottle… I would purchase one… because the delightful scent reminds me of home, my gardens, and love!

At the beach a whole other array of scents, equally appealing, fill my being… salt air, the marshes and the lovely breezes…

Scents and smells are our greatest memory senses… a particular scent can take us back in time to a particular place… in a fraction of a second. With homes… the scent is usually one of culinary delights.

This sweet story popped up from the year 2015 from my post… and it would have been a great Mothers’ Day story… but then everyday is a good day for a mother’s story!

” The Smell of Home”

A difficult choice had to be made by one family… due to some economic setbacks… one mother and father had to make the hard decision to move to a smaller home in a new location.

The older children would have to share rooms and the cramped conditions were nothing like the beautiful spacious home they left behind. The transition wasn’t going well for the children. They wanted their old friends and schools back.

On the first day of school… after getting the tearful children settled in their classes, the mother sat down and rubbed her aching head. Her face actually hurt from the forced smile she had plastered on it. ” Life is tough” she muttered to herself.

Eventually things would settle down , as the children adjusted, but she wished she could think of an inexpensive way to do something on a tight budget.

Suddenly she had an idea! Chocolate chip cookies! It was a yummy familiar smell to the children on special days. She actually had all the ingredients but when she pulled out her fairly new mixer… a burnt smell filled the kitchen… the cord was severed!

She had no money to replace it but suddenly remembered an old hand mixer her mother used and she had kept it for sentimental reasons-she scurried to the attic and finally… there it was!

When she first turned it on…nothing happened… she was almost in tears.. but then she remembered her mother had to jiggle the cord sometimes… it worked! She squealed with excitement! ” Thanks Mom” she whispered.

When the children arrived home the smiles on their faces said it all… the youngest child cried out ” It smells just like home!” Excitedly the children talked about their new friends as they drank their milk and ate the cookies!

Everything was going to be just fine. God and grandmother would see to that… with a ” wink.”

Mother’s ( Lucille’s) white hand held mixer that I still use!

So until tomorrow… please keep my ” Pink ” sister in breast cancer -Harriett Edwards in your prayers as she takes on cancer once again ( third appearance) this time in the brain. Prayers for her visit with the neurologist! You and God can fight this again Harriett!!! The whole team is cheering you on!!

Update on Kaitlyn and Tommy… not feeling great but not terrible… they are to talk to a doctor today. Kaitlyn shared a thought she wrote down in her journal… a powerful thought… taking on disappointment over this failed vacation.

Kaitlyn’s pen says: perfectly imperfect. Her thought: We don’t get to choose our circumstances, but we can choose our response!”

” Thatta” girl Kaitlyn!!! 💗💪

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

Vickie is getting my mail and taking care of the gardens while I am gone-she even made chocolate chip cookies for me to take to the retreat! What a neighbor! What a friend!!

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