I’m trying to condense the weekend, really I am, but I definitely got into picture taking mode. It’s been a conference or two since I took so many. Sometimes, I don’t get going until Sunday, and then you’ve missed your opportunity. But I took a page from Susie’s way of doing things, and included as many food pictures as possible. I did get into the habit of that, while in Australia, but I don’t always remember to take them, when I’m here in the U.S.
Thankfully, we didn’t stay up too late (meaning we were in bed by midnight, I think), so most of us were able to get some sleep that night. We arrived at the dining hall for our first breakfast of the weekend, and were thrilled to find that we had “graduated” to the “grown-up dining room”. Do you remember the tables you sat at, in elementary school? With the colorful mushroom seats that are very close to the floor, because of your short legs? Well, when the conference center is full, we often get to sit on that side of the dining rooms, for at least the first part of the weekend. Usually, on Sunday evening, we’ll graduate to the side with the real chairs. But this weekend, we started off there! It was great.
Since I started going to Seabrook, when I was eighteen years old, I have continued to have an argument with some of my Southern friends, about the subject of grits. For 10-12 years, I wouldn’t touch them, while at the conference, because I’ve always preferred oatmeal. Grits were on par with a bowl of wet sand, flavored with cheese.
Of course, my dear Dana, southern girl that she is, hates oatmeal and loves grits. So, it’s made for some interesting arguments. But a few years back, I gave in, and discovered that some people (like my aunt) are capable of making grits that taste okay. So, I’ve started to eat them at Seabrook, too. And here they are, for your perusal. Funny thing is, on Sunday, I didn’t eat oatmeal, even when it was served at the buffet.
As you can see, we had to test out some of the emergency exits, just to make sure they were working. Actually, that cabin has the only one facing the boardwalk, so it’s great for talking to people before heading outside. My cabin faces the bushes and the alligator pond (don’t worry, we’re up off the ground), so no reason to look out that little door.
Arriving at our little Chapel of the Palms, you can get a tantalizing glimpse of the ocean, over the sea oats (don’t pull them, you’ll get charged a couple hundred bucks). Inside, Skip waited in anticipation for all of us to arrive for the morning meeting. And we were off!
While I’ll talk more about the meetings, later, in another post, this weekend of meetings was amazing. They’re always awesome, of course, because our speakers are never dull, and always bringing forth the Word of God. But hearing about absolute truth (truth is NOT relative, people!) and scientific evidence for the reliability of the Bible? Right up my alley. Couldn’t get enough, and I plan to read Rob’s website, back to front (or top to bottom, as the case may be).
I don’t have a video of any of our song sessions, but I hope to get my hands on one. I wish every church and chapel out there could hear us sing. So many assemblies and churches don’t seem to know the meaning of “make a joyful noise”. And I don’t mean we sound anything like noise. But singing is meant to be joyful, and you should sing out, if you’re capable! I’ve been in churches where I was afraid to sing louder, because no one else was, and it would sound like I was singing a solo. Not here. Someday, we’re going to blow the roof off. Probably on a Sunday evening, when Harold has us sing “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”, “And Can It Be”, and “My Anchor Holds”, all in a row. My voice is usually about gone, by the end of the weekend.
On the way to lunch, I stopped to take a look at the alligator pond. I never actually saw him, but I knew he was there. The camp manager told us that he was, and explained how he was “safe” (not to pet, but look at), if we kept our distance. Apparently, they have weekly tests to see whether he continues to be safe around people. Someone just had to ask how they tested that. Jack told us that they have a “crazy Brit” employed there, who has degrees to prove how much he knows about animals and stuff (don’t ask me which ones, I’ve forgotten). Every week, when the alligator is hanging out on the grass, he’ll run at it… and if the gator runs into the water, he’s safe to be there.
The explosion of laughter that greeted this explanation was deafening. We were told that a year or so ago, their British employee ran at their last gator… and the alligator didn’t run. So, they had that one removed, as he had lost his fear of humans. We joked that actually, the previous employee had run at it, and that was the last seen of him, until the Brit came along. : )
As I continued meandering to the dining hall, I enjoyed looking at the young live oaks, twisting and turning, all over the place. And then there’s the “monster tree”. It’s funny, it took me over ten years to notice that tree’s existence, but I wasn’t photographing nature so much, then, so I wasn’t looking closely at individual trees.
You may have noticed the occasional hibiscus pics, by now. Several trees, in pots, were put by the dining hall, and since it was the first year they had them, I couldn’t stop myself from taking pictures. They were so colorful, and reminded me of Hawaii.
After our yummy lunch of burgers, we visited the gift shop, in order to peruse the gifts AND most especially, enjoy the funny cards they sell there. The truth is, they’re not really meant to be funny, some of them being rather serious and poetic… until Susie or Harold reads them aloud. The Dump Truck of Love is still a winner, but the pics that have Harold listening “angelically” are of a far different card.
The cactus flowers were in bloom, so I hopped off the boardwalk for a few minutes to look at them closely. Also, you can see a lovely picture of one of the caterpillars hanging out around our cabin. They were on the ceiling, on the railing, and who knows where else. I was quite alarmed, when I arrived, but since none of them ever fell on my head, I got over it. If a caterpillar had landed on my head, though, I probably would’ve freaked. I can deal with most bugs and critters, at a distance, but not in my hair. I still haven’t forgotten the year a LARGE spider built a web in our doorway, while we were at meeting. It was at head level, and I got it all in my hair. Yuck.
During our free time, after lunch, I walked on the beach, threw a frisbee, watched my friend pick up a dead crab, and then joined the volleyball game. Of course, I can’t play volleyball AND take pictures, so I don’t have any to show you. The sand was hot and our skills were rusty, but we eventually got it together. Strangely enough, the winning team was always on the same side of the court, even when we traded sides. The other side couldn’t seem to get it together. And there were no spur injuries, which was nice.
Yes, I’m showing off my shoes. I’ve actually had them for more than ten years, though I’m not sure of the exact year I bought them. They used to be a more brilliant coral pink, and my friends expect me to wear them at Seabrook, like they expect the sun to come up in the morning. Running on that hot sand is NOT fun, and the sand spurs are painful, if you step on one. I also need foot support, for play frisbee on the hard-packed sand, when the tide is out. But since I only ever wear them at Seabrook, they’ve only seen about 20 wearings. And I run them through the washing machine, every time, when I get home.
Dinner is when our chef really pulls out the stops for us. Back in the day, we probably had 5 star meals for every meal, but the troubles with the economy affected them, too. Now, they give us delicious meals for breakfast and lunch, but save the crab, mahi-mahi, and the rest of the ultimate deliciousness for dinnertime. This time, it was braised chicken (I think), which a mushroom sauce and veggies galore. And where would we be without Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert?
Saturday is campfire night, so I had to practice. Mike and I broke out our guitars in the chapel, where the wondrous acoustics reign. There’s so much more to it, but I could love that chapel for the acoustics, alone. Unfortunately, our resident “pyro” wasn’t there, so we didn’t have all the equipment for fire-building, and the meeting ran late. A few years ago, the town of Seabrook Island instituted a curfew for campfires, so it has to be put out by 10pm. Unable to find the right materials, and having very little time left, we had to skip the campfire. But I was glad I had practiced ahead of time, even if my fingers didn’t agree. And playing guitar with Mike is always good fun.
After another snack or two in the Snack Shack (to keep from starving, after dinner, you know), most of us hit the beach, but the clouds had come out. This gives the beach a very claustrophobic feel, even though you’re outside with the breeze blowing in your face. Besides, I think you’re supposed to go to the beach at night to look at stars, and what fun is it if you can’t see them?
With a tight schedule for Sunday morning, most of us tried to go to bed at a decent time, which means not much later than 1 am. And with that, I’ll wrap this up for now. Many more pictures to get through, and I don’t know what I’ll do when I get to Monday’s expeditions. I may have taken as many that day, as I took for the rest of the weekend.