The Chips that Tell a Story

Dear Reader:

I have loved potato chips since I was a little girl and have never walked out on my love affair with them to date! Any one in our family… aunt, uncle, grandparent, cousin… whoever kept me (when I was little) knew very quickly not to ever give me a sandwich or burger without potato chips. If Becky was coming to spend the night a quick trip to the grocery was the first thing on the host or hostess’ grocery list. Lays Plain Potato Chips!

I have always been a Lays loyal fan…until recently. There is a BP station near my home that I use regularly to fill the car up with gas and pick up odds and ends I might have forgotten during my weekly grocery run.

One day I looked around for my Lays potato chips and there were none…no regular (plain) chips. In desperation I saw a bag of Uncle Ray’s chips and gave it a try. I love them…they are the lightest, saltiest chips around and since my daily oral chemo pills affect my sense of taste… deadening my taste buds somewhat…these chips have become my favorite.

And it is just not because of the chip itself, but because on every bag Uncle Ray tells a story and then lists the positive attributes needed from the story to be successful in any endeavor.

When I ‘googled’ the chips to find out about the homespun stories on the back…I was in for an even bigger story…one that almost took Ray Jenkins’ life.

Uncle Ray’s Divine Revelation

“He grew up poor in the projects of Detroit… dropping out of school after the 8th grade to take a job in an iron foundry. He joined the Navy where he was assigned as a cook on the USS Bristol. It was there that Ray learned skills to enter the food industry. When he returned home, Ray went into business for himself.”

A Young Ray Jenkins“We had $150, and we started with chip dip,” Ray recalls. “We had a local dairy make the chip dip, and I sold it to taverns, to bowling allies, to little stores, out of the back seat of my car.”

He met his wonderful wife Myrna on a city bus, and they married.

At the time, Ray didn’t think much about God. “I thought if I could see God, then I might believe in Him,” he says.

Ray bought an old potato chip factory but his business struggled. He could barely support his family, and the pressure was mounting.

“The banks had told us, ‘You’re bankrupt and don’t know it; sell your equipment and whatever you have because you have a negative net worth…you’re in a terrible situation” Ray says.

“My god was my business. That was a failure. I put all my heart,  my effort, energy, and everything else into providing a living and to make that business work…but the harder I worked, the worse it got.

“I started drinking. I stopped every night in the bar and drank. It was to relieve the pressure. I didn’t have the answer to make the business work. No matter what I did, it seemed to be wrong. So I stopped in the tavern and drank, drank, drank.”

He continued to drink until one night when he stumbled into the house. Ray started vomiting blood.

“Ray was bringing up blood out of every open orifice of his body,” his wife says.”

She was told he wasn’t going to make it. Later Ray said he felt his spirit leave his body and he was so ashamed. Yet still he felt this amazing love from God…one He didn’t deserve. He wanted another chance to earn that love and do a better job here on earth.

…Ray spent two weeks in the hospital and received several blood transfusions. “When I got out of the hospital, I told Myrna, ‘There is a God. I don’t know who He is, or where He is, but I’ve got to find Him. I can’t live any longer without God.’

“Later on I realized that I had lost enough blood that I should have been dead. I was dead. I left my body. There was no question in my mind. The Lord saved my life, so He could save my soul.

“I finally felt a peace that I’ve never experienced in my life, and I found for the first time what I was seeking in my life, in alcohol, and anything else the world can offer and that’s His peace.”

And with that peace, Ray says that God began to work in other areas of his life. “The Lord gave me ideas and plans,” he says. “It was like a master business person talking to me. In my mind and heart, I knew I had the right answers. I went forward, and that year we made $85,000 profit.”

Today, Ray and Myrna run a successful snack food company that sold 25 million bags of potato chips last year. On the back of each bag, Ray has printed stories of his life and Scriptures with the Gospel message.

He does this to honor the God who brought him hope in a hopeless situation. “With me, He should have run out of patience a long time ago, and although I was a sinner, He still loved me.”


So until tomorrow…the next time you go buy some chips look around and see if you spot a bag of Uncle Ray’s chips…(I bet you can’t eat just one)…Take your time and read one of his true homespun stories on the back (while munching away.) It is the perfect way to spend the day!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Speaking of spending perfect days…Eloise and I had a “chuckling” good time yesterday….she thought everyone and everything was funny…me, Mollie, and especially Poogie the dog. She has got a great deep belly laugh now that makes everyone around her laugh harder. Here are some photos…sadly she is just starting to “teethe” so she looks for anything…baby stroller buckle straps… whatever she can find to chew on.

Eloise loves to sleep on top of my nice cushy stomach…for an hour plus nap…I love it too…hoping it will push it down…permanently! You noticed we were color coordinated yesterday…we have to plan ahead!


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After the Rain…Peace and Serenity

Dear Reader:

What is it about the smell of earth after a much needed rainfall? If someone could bottle that smell…they would be a billionaire. It is a mixture of purity, cleanliness, freshness…it is the smell of life at its best. The product could be called ‘After the Rain.’

When I was out in the garden yesterday morning (following a full day and night of steady rain Monday) it was like watching the plants, flowers, and trees wake up on freshly cleaned scented sheets to sunlight dappling across the white bed covers in the bedroom.

A smell isn’t just a scent, I’ve come to realize, it is a memory. My favorite cooking smell from mother’s kitchen was her famous chicken and dumplings…I have never eaten lighter dumplings than the ones she made…they melted in your mouth. (Sorry Cracker Barrel…I know you consider your dumplings a “vegetable” and a classic…but they are way too doughy and thick.)

Dumplings should be light and airy. Mother’s secret was making them just like pastries…she would roll the dough out…sprinkle the flour lightly on the cookie sheet and then cut the pastry dough into small thin rectangles.  What I wouldn’t give to be able to go back in time and come home from school to smell, to my happy surprise, the warm bubbly aroma of chicken and dumplings slowly savoring (in all the cut-up chicken broth juices with lots of butter) in the big pot on the stove.

…Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain, causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff. Unlike touch or taste, scents are directly correlated with past experiences. It’s no wonder the smell of rain or the scent of a favorite food takes us back in time.

I read in an article recently that certain scents can help our overall feeling of good health and wellness. As I looked at the list…I realized why being out in the garden makes me feel so happy.

Pines– As you know my back yard and garden is filled with pine trees.

One study shows that a pine scent decreases our anxiety. (In one Japanese study, participants who went on a walk through pine forests reported significantly lower depression and stress levels. The research also discovered that anxious subjects had a greater feeling of relaxation after indulging in the scent.)

Even though I don’t cut my lawn any more…I always scurry out to the garden after it is cut to relish in its newly cut appearance and to smell that wonderful fresh-cut scent.. From this study I now realize why this ritual always leaves me feeling good.

Fresh-cut grass can make you more joyful.

You may think mowing the lawn is an annoying, menial task, but the fresh scent the chore yields may be making you happier. Scent researchers found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can make people feel joyful and relaxed. The aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older.The smell apparently is so powerful that neuro-scientists have come up with an air fragrance that matches it… so lawn-less owners can also reap the benefits of the feel-good scent — no lawn mower required.

(Excerpts taken from article (Huffington Post – 11 Scents that Can Do Wonders for Your Well-Being – Lindsay Holmes)

This year I have decided to plant more herbs since so many of them produce wellness benefits…like lavender and rosemary. Two herbs that are soothing to the soul, as well as delicious in foods.



I love this excerpt from a true story that I have put on the blog a couple of times before…but I relish it each time I remember it. It is an actual true story, researched and verified, unlike so many on-line stories that we find. (*I will provide a link for you to read in its entirety if you would like… but here is a synopsis. )

A little girl is born very premature and doctors give her little or no hope to survive. Long hours, days, weeks, and months are spent by the parents watching the struggling infant fight to live… especially hard since the parents can’t even touch or hold their daughter for all the tubes running through her.

It is a long, arduous road to survival but somehow the child makes it past all the dire predictions of blindness, retardation and paralysis. She is tiny but perfect in every way.

One day when she is about five or six she is sitting with her mother on some bleachers… waiting for her older brother’s baseball game to start…when it happens.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent.

Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?”

Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet. It smells like rain.”

Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”

Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children before the rains arrived. Her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of  life… when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest, and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

Smell the Rain |


So until tomorrow…I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a better fragrance to remember God with as we, too, lay our heads on His chest one day. The scent of fresh rain.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I am off today to keep Eloise for a few hours…she is almost four months now…slow down time…I love having little ones to hold. Between visits from and to family this is the first time I have kept her in several weeks…will have to learn all her new tricks she has picked up at this age.

*Anne and I met at Castillos for an early supper yesterday and to catch up…it has been quite awhile since we have talked and so much has happened in each of our lives.

Anne arrived with a painting (an original watercolor taken from one of our photos from Ireland) and a grin…She said since Tommy and Kaitlyn and the cousins are heading to Ireland next week…she would give me a little memory of Ireland to look at while they were gone…Henrietta the Holstein ….the ‘Leader of the Pack’ of cows that passed right by our car…swishing their tails against my side of the car and through the window. (I had to roll it up)


It was scary but also hilarious….such a fun memory! I hung it in a place of honor…right above the computer so I can get a good chuckle every time I see it and remember my excursion to Ireland in 2014…while part of the family now is making new memories in Dingle.






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Creating Our Own Space for Others

Dear Reader:

When you watch HGTV as “religiously” as I do, it is easy to notice the subtle trends of change emerging over the years. One of these is the return of wallpaper…which for years now has been pretty taboo. *Look at the wallpaper in the photo…it is faux brick-looking wallpaper…pretty cool isn’t it? Wallpaper has come a long, long way!

The other change I am noticing is the “open concept” popular phenomenon (for years now); it is slowly beginning to close again into individual rooms. I am hearing more young ‘house hunters’ say they want the option of closing off their kitchens… especially.

Sometimes a cook just needs some privacy and quiet time to put food together and the other reason is that cooking can be quite messy and hosts would like to close this sight off too. So sliding doors are becoming popular again as an option to open or close the kitchen off from the rest of the house.

Another new, innovative construction idea is going with half-walls, sometimes in the form of bookshelves.

It all comes back to …’If we live long enough we come full circle’ in so many ways…including popular trends in homes. If these trends keep up…perhaps popcorn ceilings will be popular again and then I will be fixed for life…my home will be back on the cutting edge. One can only hope!

Yesterday, I read a story about a quite unusual wall found in a restaurant that is, perhaps, the best wall of all!

“Two Cups of Coffee…One on the Wall”

I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighboring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water.

As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.”

We heard this order with piqued interest and observed that he was served  one cup of coffee but he paid for two.

When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.

While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.

It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.

After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man poorly dressed entered. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.”

The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying.

We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash bin.

Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.

A truly beautiful thought. Probably the most beautiful wall you may ever see anywhere!

(Author Unknown)


Isn’t it amazing what humanity is capable of doing…helping everyone while maintaining the dignity of those in need?  If we can do something like this…surely we are capable of helping so many more people in so many more situations that just need a helping hand. It must be the prettiest “wall paper” ever to those in need of a smile, a pat, an encouraging word, and a cup of coffee.

So until tomorrow…Remind us each day Father…that helping others is not complicated…it is, instead, quite simple…and yet…quite life-altering at the same time.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Mollie sent me this picture of the fire that destroyed parts of St. Andrews church in Mt. Pleasant. It is an aerial view and even though the destruction is mind-boggling…there in the center still lies the hope of tomorrow…the cross. Chills!


* Lassie shared with the family a photo Bill Dingle and family sent of his oldest daughter, Emma, getting ready for the prom! Such a special moment.  How beautiful Emma looks…like a fairy tale princess! Oh my goodness, can this still be the little flower girl who was once in John and Mandy’s wedding? Tempus fugit.


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Going to the Dogs…Thank Goodness!

Dear Reader:

Meet my grand-dogs…Tigger and his kissing cousin Khaleesi, along with her brothers Atticus and Pip…and of course Poogan or Poogie as we call her…a large dog who thinks she is a puppy too. (Emulating my “human” grandchildren…I have two girl grand-dogs and three boy grand-dogs.)  If you are like me…you have probably picked up on the popular trend of this generation of young couples and/or parents….they all seem to start out with a dog.

I wonder if it is for practice or something….but the dog or dogs come first…and then finally the children. It is rare to find a young person without a dog (perhaps a cat)…at least a pet. I hardly remember anybody in our generation having a dog when we were single or newly married….they usually came after the children…different generations…different cultural patterns.

I do love the grand-dogs…they each have their own personalities and are very affectionate. Of course they still come second behind the grandchildren for me…though after babysitting sometimes I wonder why? They are much easier to entertain…a treat and they are happy. 🙂 Just kidding my adorable little Dingle-lings!

I saw an article that broached the topic of the increased popularity in household pets today. It implied…they are cheaper than seeing a psychiatrist weekly. Pets love unconditionally…are always happy to see you come home…never judge and only want love in return…no ulterior motives in their relationships.

I saw this humorous tidbit from a spiritual funny joke website yesterday and it did make me chuckle…so true.



If you can live without caffeine,

If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him or her,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion, gender preference, or politics,

Then you have almost reached the same level of spiritual development as your dog!

* * * * *********************************************

Brooke let us know over the weekend that she and her husband got another cat…a male this time named Oreo. After the painful emotional loss of their last cat they had decided no more pets…but Brooke’s husband was sad without one…so they went to the animal shelter and returned with Oreo. Brooke said the house has already brightened up again since the new addition arrived.

Saturday was a busy day in my backyard….the amazing J.D. Hitton, friend of my neighbor Luke, came and finished securing the stairs and deck to the apartment over the garage. Then he and Luke put a new floor in the tree house…so now the grandchildren can play up there….Sh! Top Secret! We will have the unveiling in May for a special occasion! Chelsey climbed up and tested it out for everyone…what a cute model.

The rains are supposed to come this week…still with about a 5″ rain deficit…we can  certainly use it which is why I was so happy to get the construction finished in time and get all my plantings done.

The garden is like a big Santa Claus these days…every day…much like Christmas… something new has opened…another gift from God. I plant each flower, bush or tree…but God makes them grow. Come with me and see the newest surprises…

On the way to the mailbox I passed the bottle tree and wild honeysuckle is growing in the bushes…it smells so good getting the mail each day! I, also, have my first Morning Glory bloom since planting the vine earlier this spring.

I also saw my first long-leaf sun flower bloom yesterday….and a blooming “chair.”

My lantana (alongside my zinnias) is now blooming and spreading in the barrel out front while Mollie and Eloise are both beauty blooming with love!

Yesterday I bumped into Michele Jones, at the end of Sunday School, who, after reading yesterday’s blog, (Just Passing Through) asked me if I had heard the song Temporary Home by country singer Carrie Underwood. She said she thought I would like it; the blog post immediately made her think of the song.

So I found it and played it…watched the video…and had tears rolling down my face. It is a perfect match for Sunday’s blog story.

So beautiful….music, lyrics, and video. Here is a link if you would like to hear it.

Carrie Underwood – Temporary Home – YouTube

So until tomorrow…Let us remember to thank God for our pets who bring us a taste of what unconditional love is about for all God’s children.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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Just Passing Through…

Dear Reader:

When I came across another short anecdote yesterday…it brought about another ‘pause and ponder’ moment. The more I thought about it; the more I liked it. The spiritual anecdote went like this:

“Only a Visitor”

In the last century, a tourist from the States visited the famous Polish rabbi Hafez Hayyim. He was astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was only a simple room filled with books. The only furniture was a table and a bench.

“Rabbi, where is your furniture?” asked the tourist.
“Where is yours?” replied Hafez.
“Mine? But I’m only a visitor here.”
“So am I,” said the rabbi.


Hebrews 14: For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

If you are like me…no matter where I travel or how amazing the trip is…I am equally as happy returning home as I was leaving it…I want to  sleep back in my bed and putter in my garden. Home…I love my home!

However, this little anecdote and scripture reading reminds us that earth is not our permanent home…that is still “yet to come.” We truly are just visitors here for such a short stay…it is a blink of the eye through God’s perspective.  (Maybe as short a stay as the alien visit in Bowman? 🙂

I think part of this “simplifying” my life and getting rid of “stuff”/ “clutter”phase I have been in for about a year now…especially around my home.. is my own personal attempt to remind myself…that my body is just a temporary shell for my soul…it too will leave the shell behind one day…just as my house, my home will be left behind also. So “Keep It Simple.” (Those who stay behind will thank you!)

And speaking of keeping things simple…How about this thought I stored away last Sunday?…A remark by our wonderful pastor, Jeff Kackley.

He made an observation that I had never considered. As the Easter Story is finishing up for this season…Jeff reminded us that we are in the habit (as a congregation) of responding to his proclamation… “The Lord is Risen” with “He is risen indeed.”  

We are so used to saying it…we never have given it much more thought than a positive cheer for Jesus and eternal life. But what if?

Jeff said…if we separate “indeed” and turn it into two words ‘ in deed’ suddenly the words take on a new meaning.

Deed is defined as an act or action that is performed intentionally or consciously. As Christians we are to live our lives as Christ would want us to live them…becoming mentors for others by our deliberate choices and actions taken through this life. Eternal life and sacrifice doesn’t and didn’t end at the cross…just like Christ still lives in us today…so does the torch we are all to carry, in His name, remain in us. Yes, in deed! He is risen!

So until tomorrow… We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love…

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


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Rabbit Tobacco, Sour Grass, Camp Meeting, and Oh Yes…Roses!

Dear Reader:

Doesn’t the title photo just make you gasp and inhale once again? There was double, triple, and even more combinations of roses and attached buds that ‘blew my mind’ in their unique beauties at the Edisto Memorial Gardens.

These gardens are located on a by-gone Civil War site. Historically on February 12, 1865, six hundred Confederate soldiers temporarily halted the advancement of the Union Army on what is now known as Edisto Memorial Gardens. A bronze marker across from the Edisto River commemorates this site.

Today the memorial statue welcoming visitors to the gardens remembers and honors veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea and the Vietnam wars. Over the years the (now famous) rose gardens have grown and grown encompassing close to 200 acres of roses gardens,a  butterfly garden, a serenity garden, and a sensory garden.

Every year on the weekend before Mothers’ Day the South Carolina Festival of Roses is held in honor of our veterans and their sacrifices…along with the sacrifices and love of mothers everywhere. And what is more perfect than a rose on Mother’s Day?…Thus this touching statue sculpted for the special occasion.

This statue of a little girl throwing bread to the ducks and turtles in the ponds around the gardens, remind me of myself doing the same thing at that age and now watching my grandchildren continue the practice.

The roses weren’t quite at peak time but should be by the time of the festival. Phillip Carnley, an Assistant Horticulturist, travels back and forth every day from Aiken to Orangeburg to be present to answer questions and oversee the Memorial Gardens. He was so nice and pointed out several areas roped off for experimental tests of roses sent from large companies like Jackson and Perkins.

Here is just a small sampling of the some of the photos we took…

This scene made us laugh…obviously someone, planted a pink rose bush smack dab in the middle of a long row of orange roses. What a lovely mistake! It just goes to show that diversity only adds to the beauty of our world.



Mev pointed out this rose and called the stage it was in “Promise.” She once wrote a poem about it. It is the stage of development where the bloom is almost fully developed… but not quite. There is still the promise, the mystery of the unknown, left to fully unfold. Mev’s favorite stage. Here are some of Deb’s favorite rose pictures.



We all loved the “Yellow Rose of Texas” roses!



The nature trails we traveled around are called the Tupelo-Cypress Wetlands. They form a natural perimeter around the gardens…including the old Water Wagon Wheel

Cypress reminds me of a story Deb told…she pointed to these strange looking stumps surrounding a tree and said they were Cypress Stumps...When she was just married they traveled to Florida and paid money to vendors for a ‘cypress stump.’ (When she just could have dug one up back home.)  She blamed it on love. *(I, personally,  thought the stumps look like ancient little people, dressed in robes and hoods,  in a village around the tree.)

It was on the way back home that we decided to stop at the Indian Fields Methodist Campground…located outside St. George. I had always heard about the October “Tent” meetings and listened with curiosity as other teachers or folks talked about it… the great fellowship and especially the great food but I have never been…so I was delighted to actually see it, upclose and personal,  for the first time.

On the way there we had a debate on ‘rabbit tobacco.‘ Deb was pointing out some fields of it and how the young boys would pick it and try to smoke it…. Mev said she thought the fields we passed were sour grass fields and not “rabbit tobacco’…people chewed on it for the sour taste…it was funny how in one day I had learned about rabbit tobacco and sour grass...two terms not in my prior vocabulary!

Thursday evening Deb found an interesting article on it…to summarize…rabbit tobacco can be used as a home remedy cure for chest congestion. It should be picked after the leaves turn a traditional silvery-green color in the fall. In order for it to develop medicinal components…it must be dried in the ground.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when we arrived at the camp ground…but the stories from the memories of my fellow passengers brought back such nostalgic looks of wonder and delight at the time spent there…I knew this was a special place for all.

Here’s just a short background synopsis for others, like me, who never attended a tent meeting.

The existing campground consists of the central tabernacle surrounded by ninety-nine cabins of wooden construction. These cabins are referred to as “tents”. Although is frequently stated that the tents are arrayed in a circle;  they are actually arranged roughly in an octagon.

The tabernacle is a wooden pavilion with a gablet roof. The roof has exposed rafters and is supported by wooden posts. The pavilion has a raised preacher’s stand at its northern end and three sections of wooden pews.It seats over 1,000

The “tents” have a metal roof and are of two stories. The internal layout of each tent varies, but typically each has two upstairs bedrooms with a central stairway. The downstairs usually has a dining area towards the front and another bedroom at the rear.

Historically the occupants of the upstairs bedrooms were divided by gender, while the downstairs bedroom was reserved for the older members of the family. The downstairs rooms may be connected with a hallway, or the rooms may have individual exterior doors. The downstairs areas have dirt floors that are typically covered with straw during camp meetings.

The cooking area is below a shed attached to the rear of the tent. There is a wood-burning brick or cinderblock fireplace under the cook shed, and usually a small room for the cook’s quarters.

Here are some of the photos of Mev and her family’s tent and corresponding outhouse. The tabernacle or church was in the center of the 99 “tents” –  The focal point of the camping experience.

Inside the Tabernacle…


One of the stories I especially liked dealt with an unique version of the word “promenade.” Young girls would wait outside their tents in the evening hoping a young man would ask them to promenade around the circle located  in front of the tents and tabernacle.

If things went really well…the boy would buy the girl a “sherbet”…a type of pineapple/orange sherbet that was much sought after and appreciated. Stories of first romances and even meeting the man  of a girl’s dreams were told and re-told at camp meetings…. even engagement proposals! And it all happened in early October.

It was a “spiritual” and (sometimes) a  romantic “con-spiritual” time to be had.

So until tomorrow…the next time you feel bored or distracted…head for the back roads of your town or state and just have fun…there is a whole lot of history waiting to be told!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Jo left me with this wonderful anecdote yesterday that I must share with you….it deals with the grammatical error of not ending a sentence with a preposition…

I believe it was Churchill who said something like, “Such nonsense as this, I will not put up with.”  He was reminded about the preposition rule, so he said, “Okay, This is  nonsense up with which I will not put.”   Just thought it might give you a smile this morning.

It did! 🙂

Walsh, Mollie, and the children spent a couple of days at Fripp Island visiting Mollie’s Aunt Sue…she and her husband divide the year between New England and Fripp Island. They are heading back soon so Walsh and Mollie wanted to see them one more time before they left and this time nobody got sick…especially with the flu…You might remember that started it all the last time they visited. Hurrah! The curse is over!







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Back Road Trips are the Best! Far out!

Dear Reader:

I don’t know if you remember the scene from the old movie Michael starring John Travolta…who plays the part of a winged, cookie smelling, cigarette smoking, slob…the Archangel Michael who defeated Lucifer in the War in Heaven. Even, with his strange habits, however, Michael can still impart great words of wisdom.

While on a road trip with his new tabloid friends, who want to do an article on him, he continuously begs to stop at the craziest attractions. I remember, in one scene, while going through Illinois, he demands to stop and see “The World’s Largest Non-Stick Frying Pan.”   

Yesterday I felt just like Michael…I was thoroughly entertained stopping at some of the funniest, craziest, but also most historically interesting attractions and places along the back roads from Summerville to Orangeburg. What fun!

Originally our main destination was Orangeburg to go see the Edisto Memorial Gardens... famous for 150 acres of over 4000 roses planted with close to a hundred varieties of roses. And believe me…it was spectacular….tomorrow you will get to see the beauty of the place!

It is just that, sometimes, back roads and detours call to us and they end up making the memories that last a lifetime.

Our wonderful loyal reader, Jo Dufford, came up with the idea of the trip to see the roses, suggested it to me, asked Deb Clayton, her niece if she would drive, and then asked Mev Schneider, to join us.

*Here is the group picture taken at the wonderful Chestnut Grill in Orangeburg where we had a lunch and where I got to meet Candy, Deb’s beautiful daughter, who lives and works in Orangeburg…what a fun group!



Deb Clayton was our driver extraordinaire who knows every back road there is between Summerville and Orangeburg and any she didn’t….Mev did! So between these two gals…we were in for an adventuresome day!

The first “God Wink” occurred when we picked up Mev and went in her beautiful home which was literally built by her husband, Jimmy…and family/friends over a long extended period of time (So much so, that the home, itself, feels like an extension of the family.)

On the way out…Mev pointed to the stained glass window in the front door Jimmy helped put in for her. She told me that she saw it in a store in Summerville and knew it was meant for her because she loves daisies. Then years later while watching grandchildren one day…(while they were playing on an old family quilt that had been sent from her in-laws)…she blinked and realized the quilt had the exact same design as the window…the quilt had come down for generations. A God Wink!

It was a good omen. It was going to be a good day.

Deb had taken us the back way to Mev’s house on an historic old road called Wire Road. There was much discussion on how the road got its name so Deb looked it up and sent me this excerpt explaining the origin of it.

Wire Road runs through rural South Carolina, and is named for when telegraph lines were strung in the middle 1800’s. This historic roadway lies near the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing black-water river in the United States. Wire Road connected Charleston to Columbia and Augusta and has seen many passerbys, including General Marquis de Lafayette, a key figure in the American Revolution.

This information stirred the soul of an old history teacher…to think we were traveling the same road that the General Marquis de Lafayette traveled gave me good bumps.

Deb then pointed out a house that was one of the stagecoach stops along Wire Road (sometimes referred to as one of the Stagecoach Inns) that is a part of her husband’s family history…also known as the Clayton House. It is obviously being renovated…which makes a history teacher happy also!

On the way back from Orangeburg and lunch…Mev showed us another historical house, which had also been a stop for stagecoach drivers, in order to rest the horses and feed/sleep the passengers…located  farther down Wire Road. It was a long distance from Augusta to Charleston  back in those days by stagecoach.

It was when we entered Bowman, a small town outside Orangeburg,that the subject of the UFO Welcome Center was first raised. I, immediately, was excited. Who knew? In little Bowman, SC there was an alien welcome center. Too funny!

It was located behind a Citgo gasoline station right off the main street in Bowman and I could hardly wait to get out of the car. It was all I could do not to giggle while taking pictures (and I am so glad I didn’t) because from what I later researched and realized,  the tapping sounds I heard coming from within were none other than those of the creator/builder himself…a Mr. Jody Pendarvis. And he is quite serious about his alien welcome center.

Roadside said Mr. Pendarvis’s truck would be pulled up beside the alien spaceship if he was in…and he usually was in between the hours of 10 and 12 each morning. (Exactly when we were there and we did see his striped pickup!)  He doesn’t have a phone (disconnected) so you can’t call ahead but I am sure if we had wanted a tour he would have given us one.

Roadside America. com’s visit with the owner and creator revealed some interesting information. The welcome center and spaceship on top are all held together with only “8 screws”…(I find this quite believable.) It all started back in 1999 and Mr. Pendarvis has continued adding on ever since.

Pendarvis hopes the aliens will take him with them when they leave in the smaller space vessel, built for that purpose,  on top of the welcome center. The aliens, he believes, will use their own unique transportation power to set it in motion… . Jody Pendarvis is definitely a man with a dream and can hardly wait to blast off with his new friends.

He told Roadside reporters that he wants to be the official greeter to the aliens saying: “Here I am, Captain Jody Pendarvis of the UFO Welcome Center,” assuming his role of ambassador. “Come on in! Welcome to planet Earth!” 

So until tomorrow….with that last story I, too, am signing off because there are more tales to tell on the back roads of South Carolina. Part Two Road Trip coming up tomorrow…but here is a sample of the beauty of  Edisto Memorial Gardens…as seen yesterday with this photo I took.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

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