So, here we are, another December. Hard to believe. My posts here have been far fewer than I would like, but, of course, real life takes precedence.
Part of my motivation for blogging has been to create some sort of journal or diary, really just for my own benefit, so with that in mind, please bear with me in this long, long post as I recount a few highlights of this fall.
Everyone at the T&C house enjoyed another smashing Spirit Week. (You can read our community’s history of this terrific tradition here.) We painted to raise money. Of course, I got to drink wine and talk with other moms while creating this, um, masterpiece, which now proudly hangs in our garage! We met friends and ate barbecue to raise money.One of us even dressed up every day to raise money. (Really, you haven’t lived until you’ve stood in the women’s section of the local Good Will and had to convince your 6’2” son that he couldn’t fit a size 4 skirt, that he was a solid 14. Thankfully the so-called “Gender Bender” day occurs only once a year!)And, when this crazy week was over, and the totals were announced at half-time of the Big Game, our high school students had raised more than $140,000 in a week’s time! That’s a lot of car washes, silent auctions, and class calls, my friends! The money was donated to the local Ronald McDonald House and to St. Anthony’s school for inner city kids.
School spirit continued to soar as we celebrated Clemson’s Homecoming. (Yes, this was back when our season looked so promising. Happily, we did pull out the ACC championship!) I guess you could say we were looking through Tiger-colored glasses!One of Clemson’s homecoming traditions is gigantic displays of school spirit on Bowman Field. Most of the displays are made by the fraternities. One of my favorites this year was this pair of Wayfarer’s, depicting historic Tillman Hall on the inside and the notoriously loud Death Valley on the outside.Big, Middle, and Little enjoyed a little sibling rough-housing outside Big’s apartment building while we readied the food for our tailgate. All the usual Southern tailgate staples were there—deviled eggs, baked beans, slaw, pumpkin cookies, Tiger cupcakes . . . But the piece de resistance was the pulled pork barbecue made by Mr. D. on the smoker he built himself! I probably don’t have to tell you that he’s a Clemson engineer. Plenty of co-eds and former co-eds stopped by to partake! Even a rogue Auburn Tiger was welcomed into the huddle!Good food and cute girls brought the guys around, too, although they seemed to sleep in later than the girls!
Somehow in this hectic fall, the Mister and I slipped away to Asheville to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Seventeen years. We had a delightful long lunch in Biltmore Village and spent the afternoon antiquing and talking without interruption!Not intending to buy a single thing, we ended up finding this black leather chair, which needed a minor repair. Happily, we know the owner of a crackerjack leather shop, so we texted a photo and asked, “Should we?” Get it was the emphatic reply; the price was unbelievably good! Imagine my delight upon returning home to learn that furniture is the traditional gift for the 17th anniversary.
Are you bored, yet? I told you this was a lonnnnng post!
Apple-picking is a fall tradition for us. Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, used to be our “secret.” Turns out that a little publicity over 16 years can make a place famous, bordering on becoming a victim of its own success. Of course, now they have doughnuts, both apple and pumpkin. “Wait, Mom. Seriously, you thought we’d take some home with us? That’s funny.”The doughnut eaters compare a South Carolina driver’s license to a recently issued permit.The Mister and me and enough for a pie.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few shots from the Big Apple and my early birthday celebration. C, E, and B, ready to board.Lilies in the lobby of the Hotel Elysee, which we would all highly recommend as a great choice for a place to stay. The sitting room of our suite on the 8th floor.Our first stop was the MoMA, where E checks out a Georges Braque painting. E and I turned out to be the museum rats this trip.One of my favorite NYC views, looking into the MoMA Sculpture Garden. We were a bit surprised to see so many leaves still on the trees in mid-November. The Elysee offers a delightful wine and cheese hour every weekday afternoon. Birthday girls drink champagne when offered.Our view of 54th Street.One of my great aunts lived in this building from about 1950 until about 1990, when my dad brought her home to Tennessee for her last days. Another great aunt lived for years at East 57th Street, but regrettably I didn’t get a photo of her building.
We had a leeetle shopping success at the Carlisle outlet. One of us, who for her own protection cannot be identified, is now a member of the Executive Club.To restore our strength, we succumbed to a fine pasta lunch at Serafina’s. And, it’s a good thing we did. Shopping the Veteran’s Day shoe sales can be exhausting! Fresh air and sunshine were the order of the next day, so we strolled through Central Park. We were blessed by an unexpected Gospel concert with fabulous acoustics. I showed off my DaniBP-inspired color story. Once at the JKO reservoir, we popped back out to Fifth Avenue and headed for the Guggenheim. Of course, I had to pay homage to Mr. and Mrs. Pimm and Lyle the Crocodile as we passed by East 88th Street.
We spent several hours in the Guggenheim and the Met, and then set off on a leisurely stroll (or death march, depending on your perspective) that evening back toward Midtown and a delicious dinner at Montebello’s. Of course, en route, we had to stop in the Lily store, where frocks were purchased for the Lily-lovin’ daughters left at home. Maybe next time, girls!The next morning found us enjoying breakfast in the library at the Elysee, before heading out to Redeemer Presbyterian’s morning service, where we were delighted by the music, the fellowship, and the message of the inimitable Tim Keller. When the service opened inviting the congregation to meditate on this C. S. Lewis quote, I knew we were meant to be there.
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest.
Cheers to my friends, each of whom makes me richer and more blessed in countless ways!
And, so, (yes, I’m still going), the T&C Household had much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Now, as I said words and words ago, the above events were the highlights of our fall. Rest assured there were misunderstandings and cross words, a few frozen pizzas, the learning curve (steep) of my new job, leaking garbage bags, papers turned in late, vapid conversations, stopped-up toilets, misplaced jackets, and all the rest of it. That’s just life.
I say learn from the worst, and choose to remember the best. How about you?