Posts Tagged With: porch

Homeward Bound

Having been in New England for ten of the past sixteen months, I’ve thought a lot about home.

With respect to Robert Frost, home is the place where they’re glad to take me in.

Sally, Jenna, and Julie are home to me, wherever they are.

Home is sleeping in my bed with my wife.

Home is our cat, Caesar, loving me as if I’d never been gone.

Home is grilling salmon on our patio. Home is our bright red Japanese Maple tree.

Home is a hug from the lady at the dry cleaners who missed me. Home is friends at Kathwood Baptist Church welcoming me back.

Home is my Grandson Lake showing up at our house at 6:45 a.m. wanting blueberry muffins on Thursday morning.

Home is my shower, my pillow, and my favorite coffee mug. Home is iced tea with mint freshly picked from our garden. Home is my bookshelves with my books with my favorite passages underlined. Home is being surrounded by memorabilia from Charleston, Cooperstown, Scotland, Italy, Turkey, Kenya, and Romania.

Home, for me, are tigers, tigers everywhere.

Home is driving on familiar roads and walking on familiar sidewalks.

Home is my Dad’s picture on the wall and my Mother’s baking sheets (which we still use to make chocolate chip cookies) in our kitchen cabinet.

Home is my back porch where I eat breakfast and drink coffee as many days of the year as possible, January through December. I love it, especially the sound of the birds singing, the toot of the railroad train not far away, and the kids waiting for their school bus. When Sally, Jenna, Julie, sons-in-law Thorne and Tom, or friends join me, there is no better place in the world.






Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Health, Holiday, South Carolina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Five Star Dining in South Carolina

Having the opportunity to spend two weeks in South Carolina in May, 2016, after wintering in New Hampshire, I decided to do some research about food in the Palmetto State.

My first night home, Sally fixed a huge meal of roast beef, rice and gravy, green beans and salad. That was a good start—a classic.

The culinary centerpieces of my sojourn to the South were two weddings at which I officiated. One was on the coast, or as we say in South Carolina, at the beach: the Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms. The setting was magnificent, the food was elegant, the wedding successful. The second wedding was also typically Southern—barbeque (mustard based, vinegar based, catsup based, and hot), cole slaw, rice and hash, served in a cabin beside a lake in the woods near where I grew up, the Horse Creek Valley. Sweet tea. Perfection.

But, three meals a day must be eaten, so I did what I could to enjoy the weekdays as well as the weekends.

Of course, Jenna and Lake came by the house for breakfast one morning before school. I fixed bacon and banana/blueberry waffles, a simple breakfast, but a favorite. Speaking of breakfast, at the Charleston/Isle of Palms wedding, son-in-law Tom fixed) blueberry muffins. Tom has not fed a teenage boy (his nephew Lake) blueberry muffins in a while so he had to prepare a second batch so the adults would have something to eat.

Ted and Marcia Godfrey took me out to eat at Cola’s one night, one of Columbia’s restaurants for fine dining. I had the crispy flounder (scored and flash fried) with apricot shallot sauce and jasmine rice. Nice. Very nice. Very very nice. This is a Charleston specialty but I’m glad it made its way to Columbia.

Speaking of seafood, tonight, Sunday, I’m making shrimp and salmon and grits for my family. Since shrimp and grits are not particularly common in New England, it seemed the right thing to do before heading back (Monday morning) to the frozen Northland.

The best part of many of my meals has been the location—our back porch. Whether I’m eating French toast for breakfast or a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch, it’s hard to improve on the ambiance. Birds at the bird feeder. Flowers of a dozen colors. Butterflies. The cat at my feet. Squirrels chasing each other. Tea with mint from our garden while I sit and read. The weather was straight out of Southern mythology: perfect, mild, pleasant.

Based on two weeks of research, I’d like to recommend the victuals of South Carolina to all my friends. Five stars.

Categories: Diet, Family, Holiday, Humor, South Carolina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Do You Travel?

My back porch is a travel destination, the same as Ireland or Peru!  I go different places for different lengths of time for different reasons.


Having just gotten back from two weeks, by myself, on the road to New York City, Boston, Quebec and Cooperstown, among other stops, I know how to take a major trip to see new sites, to visit family and friends, to experience what I can’t experience here in Columbia, South Carolina, for example, Major League Baseball and Broadway.  (I can go to “Broadway” musicals in Columbia, but I can’t visit Broadway.)  There is no Baseball Hall of Fame in Columbia, and there are no beaches here, or, for that matter, mountains.


So, why do we travel?  Why do you travel?


One of my purposes, occasionally, is retreat, Sabbath, rest, to get away from the routines and busy-ness of life.  But, sometimes trips to other places for R and R don’t work out so well.  You come back more tired than you were when you left.  That may say more about you than about where you went.  A week at the beach can be relaxing, giving you time to read your favorite books, or it can be frenzied with activity as you fill every minute with motion.


This is no surprise to anyone who knows me, but my back porch is a place where I can get my soul refreshed.  It’s only a short trip!  And cheap.  A glass of my favorite beverage, coffee in the morning and iced tea in the afternoon, a good book, or a good conversation, and I can spend weeks there.


Why do you travel?  Where?  With whom?  For how long?


Happy Summer! 


Categories: Family, Health, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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