Our year started off sadly. Mike's mother passed away in Seattle on New Year's Eve. Mike was by her side at the end. Rev. Jan Anderson conducted a beautiful memorial at Bayview Manor, where Mrs. Eddy had lived for many years. In February, we traveled to Maryland for a small service in the chapel where Mike's parents' niche is. It is in Fort Lincoln. Fort Lincoln is a small oasis at the edge of Washington DC's urban sprawl. Historically, it played quite a role in the revolution and up through the civil war. The chapel sits on the largest hill in the area. From the top, one can see quite a ways. It is not hard to understand why it was a strategic location. The gardens around the chapel are well tended, much as Mike's parent's gardens were. Sue Moore, a long time friend and co-worker of Beth's, led the service. Sue retired from AT&T the same time as Beth and now has a second career as a Minister. Mike had sent letters to his mother's former church, her friends and co-workers in the Washington, DC area, but had not heard from anyone. We were pleasantly surprised when Ethel Tingley and her two sons, Richard and John, walked into the Fort Lincoln office, as we were about to go to the chapel. Ethel and Mike's mother were second cousins.
This summer Richard Tingley came south and visited with us in South Carolina. We had fun showing him around Charleston. There are still many places that we have not explored, and we love any excuse to learn more about our new home. Reconnecting with cousin Richard has been an unexpected blessing for Mike. Richard was not the first of our visitors in 2002. Jan Bates and Gerry Chandler came to visit all the way from South East Asia. They brought many stories and exotic gifts. We never know where they will be (though they do have a web site), or when they will show up, but they are always welcome. Carol and Baxter Lee came to Charleston from not so far away (North Carolina), and they come more often (but not often enough). They first came to Charleston this year for their annual mid-winter break. We spent a day with them atop the Charleston Place. Actually, Baxter and Mike watched the Super Bowl there, while Carol and Beth shopped. Carol and Baxter were back in May with the rest of the "usual suspects" for Spoleto. This year's Spoleto group included Carol Miller, David Smith, Katherine Kolkmeier, Judy and Mack Futrelle, Denny Cresswell and Charlotte Cousins. Denny and Mike spent most of the time working in the garage (but more on that in a moment.) Other visitors of note were Susan Churchill and her daughter Joanna. They didn't quite make it this far south, as we had to meet them in Myrtle Beach. However, they were quite busy the whole time with Joanna's dance competition there. Their effort was well rewarded as Joanna's group finished second.
When we aren't having the pleasure of visits from others, it seems we are off traveling, ourselves. Beth has many frequent rail miles; she takes the train regularly to see her mother. That is, when her mother isn't traveling, herself. This past spring we visited twice with Carol and David, once in Brevard and once in Raleigh. In Brevard, David and Mike tried their hands at fly-fishing. The streams had just been stocked, so they figured that the hatchery-raised fish would be dumb enough to be caught by them. :-) In Raleigh, (actually on the campus of Duke, where their son Andy attends), Carol and David took us to see Anonymous 4. Their a capella voices rising into the arches of the Duke Chapel were pure and crisp. We also visited twice with Carol (other Carol) and Baxter. We went to our first steeplechase, the Stoneybrook Steeplechase. Did you know that the horses run clockwise? The next visit, Mike went to his first NASCAR race, which was at The Rock. Those cars go counter clockwise. And fast. And LOUD!
Further away from home, we went (on separate trips) to Nags Head, Delaware, Chicago, Maine and Seattle. Nags Head is the location of Mike's annual deep sea fishing trip with Denny, Mack and John and their families. As in past years, we caught mostly tuna. Our wives say they are getting tired of just tuna. Mike caught the lone exception. He caught a Wahoo. Wahoo is a game fish that is not caught very often. It is said to be one of the fastest in the sea and can reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. When it hits, the reel may spin so fast it may smoke, and strip all the line in a matter of seconds. The crew of our boat, the Carolinian, is very skilled. They knew immediately that it was a Wahoo and coached Mike to land it successfully. Mike was very excited to catch one. He had hooked one a few years ago but lost it. Many fishermen have never even hooked or seen one. This Wahoo was 4 feet long and fed 9 people the night of the fishing trip. Also, each of four families took some home to share. Besides the Wahoo, the fishermen had about 150 pounds of tuna to distribute.
In Delaware, we attended the surprise 80th birthday party for Beth's cousin, Bob Cresswell (the father of Denny and Charlotte.) We got to see many of the folks we used to see at the Labor Day reunion plus many more. Chicago was the site of another special reunion. Many of the women whom Beth worked with in the old "Bell System" got together. It was a multi-day affair. We went to Maine, since we were invited by Judy and Dick Yuknavich when they traded their Hawaii timeshare for one in Southwest Harbor. It is on Mount Desert Island, whose most famous town is Bar Harbor. We toured the island both by land and sea. By land, we made several trips around and through Acadia National Park. Much of the rocky coastline of the island is within the park. Several peaks, the highest of which is Cadillac Mountain, are in the park. Some of Acadia can only be seen from the 57 miles of carriage roads. By sea, our boat was a converted lobster boat and the captain, a former lobsterman. He even pulled up a lobster trap, but none of the 4 lobsters that day were big enough. Also from the boat, we saw eagles, osprey, and a few species of seals.
Because we got word that Althea Baker was gravely ill, we went to Seattle again. She and Mike's mother had been such good friends. Though they didn't meet until late in their lives, they became like sisters. When Mike's mom was able to travel, they went everywhere together. They even flew on a Concorde jet. We had a nice visit with Althea. She was in good spirits. We will miss her very much.
The times we are at home, we're working on the house. We have completed the addition! We can finally unpack the boxes. Beth says that this is the last time, as she had unpacked, repacked, unpacked too many times to dodge all the construction. When Denny was here, he and Mike finished the garage and storage room; peg board and shelves everywhere. The existing house got some TLC, too, with hardwood floors inside and new paint outside. The yard has been landscaped, and a driveway to the new garage surveyed, graded and poured. We also planted some palm trees of our own on the Isle.
We did manage to pursue a few other interests. Beth's paintings were juried, and she was accepted into a co-op gallery. Now, she can put her new studio to good use. Her painting this year is from our trip to Maine. It is the Bass Harbor Head lighthouse on the tip of Mt. Desert. Mike is constantly expanding our web site. He has also designed one each for the Charleston Friends Meeting and Beth's Sea Gull Gallery. When he's not inside with his PCs, he's outside running or fishing.
It has been a very busy year as we continue to enjoy our retirement. We are thankful for this pause to wish you all Happy Holidays from the Isle of Palms. We hope your holidays bring you close to your families and friends. And, we wish you peace, good health and happiness now and always.
Beth, Mike, Shadow, Phantom
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