My cousin Wayne Lidman, Sandra Cox, and Billie McBride (friends of Mary Ruth) gave a surprise 70th birthday party for my cousin Mary Ruth who lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She was so surprised, and it was lots of fun to see everyone in SC again. I realized that I hadn't been there for about 12 years. It was the first time that Judy (my sister) and I could go to something out of town at the same time. It was the first time in forever that all the cousins were together so we made sure we took pictures to prove it!! Below is a picture of the cousins - me, Wayne Lidman, Jack Dunker, Mary Ruth Dunker, Judy Henderson, and Aimee Calissie.
After spending a couple days in Spartanburg, Aimee and I headed for Myrtle Beach, SC. It's our favorite beach and we stayed in our regular place - Blue Water Resort. We got there on Monday and finally got into the room about 2:30 pm. Right after we brought everything in the sky opened up and there was a terrible thunder and lightning storm. We hoped that this wouldn't happen for the two other days we were going to be there. We wanted to improve our tan!! Below is a picture of the beach with the rows of umbrellas at about 10 am in the morning.
Fortunately, Tuesday was mixed with sun and clouds. One thing that was interesting was that all the lifeguards were foreign instead of American college hunks as it was when I was younger. Our lifeguard was Max from Kiev, Ukraine. We had some good conversations about language, living in the US, etc. Aimee and I enjoyed laying on the beach, reading books, and getting HOT because it was so hot and humid. I had to get into the ocean, but Aimee didn't want to get stung by sea nettles. We also went to Broadway on the Beach and Barefoot Landing. We wish we could have stayed longer, but ... Below is a picture of our lifeguard Max!
Below is a picture of the statue in front of the SC State House - check the Confederate flag!!
On Thursday, we traveled west again and went to Columbia, SC. I had traveled through the city before but had never stayed there or done any sightseeing. Aimee's former bosses from Golds Gym in Utah - Ron and Mary Littlebrandt - now live in Columbia and run five Golds Gyms there. We stayed in their beautiful house and had so much fun just talking about old times. On the way to finding the cemetery in which my maternal grandfather was buried, we stopped and took pictures of the State House. Check out the Confederate flag in front!! After that, Aimee and I went to the cemetery also and put flowers on his grave. That evening I finally found the Columbia LDS Temple and went to a session there. We here in DC are so spoiled by our beautiful, large temple. I almost missed the temple because it was among houses on a road - so small! But ... as one of the sister said - the Spirit is still there and the same as in any other temple.
Above is a picture of Mary and Ron Littlebrandt with Aimee in their beautiful living room! Below is a picture of the Columbia, SC, LDS Temple.
Saturday, we headed back to Spartanburg to see Mary Ruth again. She has the cutest dog - Bentley - and we had so much fun with him. We had a great southern dinner with fresh tomatoes and fried okra! Unfortunately, since I had my operation, I can't eat all the "good stuff," but Aimee did which was great! We also put flowers on my mom's mother's, aunt's, and grandparents graves in the Oakwood Cemetery there in Spartanburg. Mary Ruth is a Twilight buff as Aimee and I are so we went to see "Eclipse" together. Aimee is "Team Jacob," but Mary Ruth and I are "Team Edward!" Below is a picture of Mary Ruth with Bentley, her precious Bichon frise!
Unfortunately, the next Monday we had to come home. It was a world wind trip of SC, but we had a great time. Thanks to all our hosts!!