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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, April 26, 2009

MS 0409 3

This is to bring the saga of the MS trip to a close – about time since we have been back for over two weeks.

We had found out a bit of history on Sunday while chatting with the cuz about a hill on the way back to the sis’s place – it had been a confederate army camping area. SSIL went hunting in that area for bits of memorabilia on Monday and I helped him a bit in the digging when his equipment indicated something but we found nothing significant. There was actually a hand-drawn map of this area but we must not have found the exact location.

GM1 went back to my aunt’s with us to spend that night and come Tuesday morn the Spice and GM1 slept in while the aunt and I caught up on conversation. My aunt had someplace to go, so while the Spice and GM1 were showering and the young one was doing some homework, I went back over to my sis’s. YD and crew had gone down to the community center, SSIL to hunt for buried stuff and the young ones to the playground.

Tuesday was a good day of “family stuff” that most families either don’t have time or at least don’t take the time to do. We ate supper at the sis’s that evening and we went back to the aunt’s in time to catch the only TV show I watch regularly, American Idol. After this I had to get to bed for a hard day’s driving next morn – Wednesday, April 8th. The ladies stayed up and chatted about many things and details – much longer.

My aunt was to wake us up next morn in time to get ready and YD’s crew were to drive over and all would leave together. Wouldn’t you know that I woke up about an hour ahead of time and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally got up and had my devotions early. We were all packed up and ready when the other bunch arrived. YD was determined to clean up everything at my sister’s place before they departed.

The two other GMs that didn’t ride in our vehicle on the way down loaded up with us and we departed. A pit stop and a fuel/pit stop found us in Birmingham once again. After we got back to I-20 we didn’t try to stay together – except by cell phone – and met back up at the Georgia welcome center for another picnic lunch. The young lads were able to let off a little steam and this oldster enjoyed the restful break of the trip.

We loaded back up and once again headed for our respective SC homesteads. We arrived at YD’s shortly after they did - our only ado was a couple of rest stops and a minor traffic delay when we got back to the Augusta area – Master’s Golf tournament congestion. We dropped off the two GMs we had and headed home – the trip was good but as always, it’s good to walk into one’s own premises. God is good! ec

PS – The photo is of YD’s young ones at the tombstone of my Mom and Dad. GM4 is on my Dad’s side of the marker because he was named after him (as well as some other family members). If my folks could have seen this scene I know they would have smiled much.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MS 0409 2

Monday morn (04-06-09) came and I went over to my niece’s – now living in the old home place – to fire some weaponry on a range the nephew had set up out back of their house. This nephew is ex-army and ex-law enforcement, hence the interest in weapons. We fired a couple of .22 pistols, a rifle of the same caliber with a spotting scope, a 9mm Glock pistol and an M15, the civilian version of the M16 army weapon.

It has been a long time since my army days and I was a bit rusty but did OK for an old codger. It was a good outing and a type that I don’t get to do much at home because of the nearness of civilization. I have fired my shotguns down around the pond, but the pellets don’t travel far at all and wouldn’t endanger others.

Later in the afternoon I took GM1 back over and she got to fire most of the same weapons – she was very impressed – she had been babysitting the first session. Between these two sessions of exploding ammo we took the young ones to my cousin’s saw mill to show them what this was like. The GMs and I hiked back through the woods on the aunt’s property to get to that location. YD and SSIL drove the van to bring them back.

The last time I saw his business it was not operational since it was still under construction. This time it was in full operation and the young ones were very impressed as well as mesmerized by the operation of this large piece of machinery. My cousin operated the saw with joysticks in a control room overlooking the saw. The logs were loaded on a frame that pulled them in to be loaded into the sawing clamps one at a time.

I had not seen one of these saws in operation either and very was impressed as well. The width and thickness of the sawed planks were determined by a computer and were only limited by the size of the log from which they were sawn. The logs are bought by weight and the boards sold for several purposes. One of the main products he cuts is crossties for railroad tracks – other products depend on the size of the sawed boards.

All rode back in the van except for GM4 and I – we hiked back through the woods just for the adventure and exercise of it. They met us at my aunt’s and after a visit there; they went back to my sister’s. Betwixt and between all the adventures, I chatted much with my aunt as well as my sister. My uncle passed away a little over a year ago and although she is 88, my aunt is managing fairly well and lives there alone.

Family relationships can be a wonderful blessing from God and our visit continued to be blessed. TBC ec

PS – The photo is of GM4 – the adventurer – up an old plum tree.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MS 0409

YD and her family wanted to go to the area in Mississippi from which I emanated – on what would have to be considered a “roots” journey. She wanted me to go to show her family many of the places I knew back when I was a young sprout – as well as visiting some kin that are starting to get older. We decided to take two vehicles because one would be too crowded and nobody wanted to ride tied to the top of the van.

When we arrived at YD’s on Saturday AM, April 4th, two young ones were appointed to ride with us on the way out and the other two would do so on the way back – which was fine with us. Our route was via I-20 most of the way and by some sort of miracle, our first stop was at the Alabama welcome center, about 200 miles from home. YD had packed some items for sandwiches and we had a picnic there at one of the outdoor tables.

This stop also allowed the young ones to expel some of the pent up energy that is always part of a long trip for young ones. Next stop was for fuel and other necessary functions just on the other side of Birmingham. Only one other stop was made, this was about 10 miles from our destination and it was to allow GM1 to drive the last few miles for practice, since she is approaching 16 and time for a driver’s license.

Our first stop was at my aunt’s house to let her see the three young lads that she had never seen – she had seen the younger version of GM1 several years earlier. After a while we went on over to my sister’s place for an evening of visiting and had supper with her. YD, SSIL and their four young ones stayed there for the night and the Spice and I went back to my aunt’s place to bunk.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the country cemetery where many of my kin are buried. We started at my Mon and Dad’s grave site and continued with my grandparents and great-grandparents. Several great uncles and aunts are also interred there, including one great uncle that got killed along with a friend of his in some sort of train accident. There were possibly traveling as hobos and were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We wandered all over the cemetery looking for kin for several hours. SSIL had brought his metal detector and searched around the old adjoining church for any lost objects underground. The young ones tired of this adventure and since we brought both vehicles, the ladies took them back to their place of stay and I took SSIL to the rural community center built on the site of an old grammar school to check for buried stuff there.

In the evening we visited with my cousin – the one that years ago introduced me to the girl that later became Tammy Wynette – she was an excellent singer even back then and we saw each other most every day for the two weeks I was down there. We spoke of these things and many others, past and present. The day ended with a multitude of memories tumbling through the mind. But God is still good and that all the time. TBC ec

PS – The photos are of YD and family seated on the hearth of my aunt’s fireplace and of GM3, 4 and 6 clowning it up a bit at the old home place. The aforementioned fireplace is made from field stones found on their property years ago.