25 Dec.: HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas 2008
21 Dec, Sunday: Let's hear it for more fish & grits w/ hot sauce. 25 Dec.: Merry Christmas
20 Dec, Saturday: Tomorrow.
19 Dec, Friday: Lazy morning reading old newspapers preparatory to recycling them.
18 Dec, Thursday: After driving to Edgefield and spending a productive afternoon in the Thompkins Library and at the Court Archives, we again visited with Bettis who shared his voluminous Rambo files. (His files are larger and more accurate than many Rambo genealogists.) Today begins house & cat sitting for Greg & Donna for a couple of weeks. It will be a special time of rapport with the kitties.
17 Dec, Wednesday:
16 Dec, Tuesday: was a day full of marginally useful computer activity. The next volume is a shade closer to completion and Bettis's Revolutionary War stories are done.
15 Dec, Monday: After another walk with Dick & Jim, we enjoyed a rainy day drive on smaller South Carolina state highways through Saluda to Edgefield this afternoon, but arrived too late to enjoy genealogy research. Fortunately Bettis Rainsford was in a mood to entertain & converse. After dark we drive across the Savannah River (lake) into Georgia and past the lakeside Lutheran Church to the Washington Plantation in Washington, GA, "best B&B in Georgia." Tom and Barbara are wonderful and the B&B was delightful - besides being an ancestral home.
14 Dec 2008, Sunday: was an enjoyable day starting with fish & grits covered in hot sauce at Lizard's Thicket. As an MIT educational counselor I interviewed a prospective Korean student at the Irmo branch library this afternoon.
13 December: The morning walk with Dick & Jim emphasized that the knee is not fully healed; it feels a bit tender and bruised today, probably from the shuffling run Thursday in the rain. Slaving away at blog updating now. (Couldja tell?) Dinner was "party time" at Outback Steakhouse with Greg & Donna, Vince & Mary; after a bloomin' good time we went to Mary & Vince's to devour Mary's special cheesecake recipe and a Blu-Ray Wall-E movie.
12 December: Dinner this evening with Greg & Donna, Clark & Liz, and Pat & Frank was much fun. Too bad that Zorba's seemed louder this particular Friday night; hearing was a challenge. We arrived yesterday in Columbia, SC for a long weekend visit with the Greg & Donna. Enjoyed the morning walk with Dick Richards now that the knee is much better; going down stairs is not causing pain. Mondays plan is to go to Wilkes County, Georgia for Bankston genealogy research.
11 December: After dinner at Ruby Tuesday's with Donna, we headed to beddy-bye at the hotel early; we were too tired to wait up for Greg to come home from work.
It rained hard during our drive south to Columbia, SC on I-26. Although less traveled roads are more enjoyable on a motorcycle in nice weather, the interstates have their place, especially in a car in the rain.
We enjoyed the Inn at Biltmore the last two nights and spent a quiet day yesterday recovering from a peculiar 12-hour fever. The candlelight Christmas tour at the Biltmore Estate included choirs, a harpist/harpsicord duo, a puppet show, and a most delightful story-teller, all interspersed throughout the 40 rooms, extravagantly lit and filled with Christmas trees. The dining room Christmas tree had oversized gift-wrapped packages hanging as ornaments. And what to our wondering eyes should appear but a sign advertising the 12 month pass for a discounted $25.00. Just maybe they would sell it over the phone; Jim, Walt - this may be the time to call & save $15.
10 Dec 2008, Wednesday: We arrived at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC just after dark, after driving 80 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway was closed before Roanoke; the internet shows closures for construction, but not closures due to snow & ice. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was able to lead because those white tails are IMMENSE. Once off the parkway, it was obvious that we'd need to take I-81 and I-26 south in order to arrive at Asheville before midnight. En route, we discovered that I-26 runs through Erwin, TN and stopped at Uncle Johnny's Hostel to see if Richard was there; nope. Yawns & fatigue in the afternoon progressed to feverish chills over dinner and a hasty retreat to bed. Thank God that whatever it was had disappeared by morning.
9 December: Staunton, Virginia - enjoyed another fine dinner at the Mill Street Restaurant and an overnight at the Days Inn. It was cold.
8 December: The York County Historical Society is closed on Mondays; snow and rain are predicted so we are outta here. today.
Photo from Kevin Shenk's website taken in July 2008 titled: The Famous Grandpa Shakedown. Left to Right: Poppa Bear, Trevor, Grandpa Shakedown, Austin, and Kevin. The boys voted Grandpa Shakedown as their favorite person on the AT hike.
7 Dec 2008, Sunday: Morning worship service at Tidings of Peace Mennonite Church was followed by a delicious fellowship lunch at the school; only the salad fit into my "cardboard & styrofoam" diet. Last year there were several murders on that street in that block; yes, a very rough neighborhood. In the evening the school performed a marvelous Christmas program; the children were delightful and discordant; the audience was largely Mennonite school supporters. A sister and brother gave each other high-fives after successfully singing their solos. Amazing that the children knew all the words to the songs by heart. A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to all the students and teachers - Attaboy, attagirl.
6 December: Lil' Mak and Popeye (seated bottom right) live thirty miles from the Shenks and were frequent company along the Appalachian Trail this year. They braved snowy weather and clogged trafficways to join us at the Shenk household. Back row: Austin, Clayton, Ron; front row: Trevor, Kevin, Popeye and Lil'Mak.
Earlier in the day the Shenks took us on a tour of Amish country in Lancaster County. We visited two Amish farms and a Mennonite farm and stopped in Lancaster to meet his parents. Clay's mother, Barbara is a noted poet; she gave us a book of her poetry: The God of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel. Father Harold is no stranger to publishers either.
5 December: York, Pennsylvania. Driving through the Appalachian Mountains while it was sleeting turning to snow was not without concern after leaving Lee's home in Dover, Ohio. The snow abated close to Harrisburg and we arrived safely at the Shenks home in York on Friday to surprise Kevin, Austin and Trevor (aka The Preacher Boys). Their dad, Clayton (Poppa Bear) was in on the secret. And they were very surprised to find Ron (Grandpa Shakedown) sitting in their living room. Ron met the boys and their father while hiking the AT. Clayton is a Mennonite pastor and married to Mary Lois (pictured) for twenty-five years; they have eight children - each one more delightful than the next. Six-year-old Wendy is entranced to spring six feet into the air with Grandpa Shakedown assisting (until exhausted, Grandpa Shakedown, not Wendy - she could do it forever and then some.)