It has been 11 years since I last missed a conference at Seabrook Island, and here I am, on the other side of the world, again. At least I can say that I have an excellent excuse. But with it technically being autumn, here in Australia, I’ve had to keep close track of the time, so that the Seabrook Conference doesn’t slide by, unnoticed. Sacrilege, you say? Well, maybe so. But here I am, missing my second (and in November, my third) conference at Seabrook, since I started going there in 1998.
Oh, yes, you heard me right. I’ve been going to Seabrook Island, twice a year, since I was eighteen years old. That was when I was a teenager. That was when my baby brother was only 7 years old (he’s 20, and in the Air Force, now). That was when I was unable to drive a stick-shift, and I hadn’t started spending most of my life driving up Interstate 81 and 77 to Greenwood Hills. In fact, I had never even been to Greenwood Hills (I spent five years there, in PA). That was in a pre-9/11 world, when I could still take my pocket knife on an airplane. The guys at the metal detectors would open it, hold it against the palm of their hand, and make sure it wasn’t too long (the blade was at least the length of MY palm). Only once did they make me check it in my luggage, and they wouldn’t dream of taking it away from me.
Seabrook, what will you do without me? It’s May there, so it should be really warm, if not hot, and people will probably spend their Saturday and Sunday afternoons swimming in the ocean. I’ll be going to the beach here, in a month, but it’ll be winter, and cold.
As I write this, it’s 4:30pm on Thursday in South Carolina. By the end of my workday today, it’ll be that time in the morning (over there) when I usually got up, year after year, to drive 10-11 hours, from PA to SC, in order to be at Gilligan’s on time for dinner. Instead, two of my girls are making the trip without me.
On Saturday, people are going to go wandering on the beach, short walks between meetings, and long ones during free time. They’ll get fed right royally by the cooks, as they actually have chefs here. And they’ll get to here the Word from the speaker, probably about seven times over the entire weekend. Then, will they play volleyball or Frisbee (can you actually play Frisbee at Seabrook without me?) or will there be an attendee that subverts them into playing football?
The stars in this hemisphere are in different positions then in the Northern Hemisphere. So, my friends will be seeing the “home stars”, walking the beach at night, and getting dizzy from looking for shooting stars. After an awesome campfire, I hope, and who’ll play guitar for it, this year? Oh, yes, Mike can handle it.
Who’s going to tell me where they went in Charleston on Monday, and what they did, and who did it? What will they do, anyway? Last year, they went to the tea plantation. We’ve been to the aquarium, walked the New Bridge, been to the Market oh so many times… somebody’s going to have to think of something new. : )