Jul 19

Don’t call me Zippy

Since we couldn’t dive that Friday afternoon, we went into the tree tops. The Yankee and I and a couple from our boat and two people we’d made friends with over the course of the week. We’d taken a shore dive with them, had a few dinners together and commiserated about that one bratty kid that was intent on ruining everyone’s trip. Anyway,

Eight of us from the resort went to this particular zip line experience. I think The Yankee and I were the only one who had never done this before. And, of course, she was great at it immediately, looking like Indiana Jones up there:

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a brief video clip:

They had us pulling down on that cable to slow down, and depending on the line you were on and the distance and speed you covered, you were supposed to start the slow down at different times. I wasn’t always clear on when that time was. And, also, I kept over-rotating somehow. It was all great fun.

We did something like 13 zip lines on our way from one of the island’s high points down to sea level. And when we were all safely on the ground we met a new friend:

That evening we had dinner with our New Mexico friends above and most of the survivors from our dive boat. Someone there had the coolest idea among all of the long-shot “Let’s all get together and do this again one day” notions. They brought along postcards to share contact information. I have to remember to do that, otherwise, it’s business cards a-plenty, and who needs that? The last thing you’re trying to do on vacation is remind yourself of overcooked job titles. We just need emails for Box folders and a postcard gives you all that extra space for a personalized message, and dive jokes, too.

And, yes, I think I can get another two or three days worth of photos out of our trip. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about dolphins!

Jun 19

The 75th anniversary of D-Day

A good friend of ours is a US Army officer, a paratrooper. Five years ago, he had the opportunity to jump into France as a part of the 70th anniversary ceremonies commemorating D-Day.

He jumped with this flag, which hangs in my office.

Here’s a video of his jump. He went out the door of a German plane on a beautiful day over Normandy.

That view makes it difficult to imagine jumping into the dark, knowing the enemy you’ve been training for is waiting below.

Ernie Pyle came ashore soon after and helped people back home understand what the men and boys in Europe were up against:

And then, of course, Ronald Reagan talked about some of those famous exploits at the 40th anniversary:

May 19

Two of the things here are reaching their potential

One of our friends and former students came back to town:

Dominick and I had lunch at the new pizza joint. We spent the afternoon catching up and telling tales out of … well … school. He’s been gone for a year, studying out west and doing great things in the universe.

I beat him, once again, at foosball in a not too demanding best-of-seven series. The last three series have gone to, well, me.

Not that I’d remember something that happened a year ago:

Speaking of remembering, if you’ll recall last Friday I mentioned a flower that’s flowering in the backyard. It has now reached its potential and it’s lovely:

One day I might too!

Feb 19

We were somewhere in England …

I haven’t told this story in a while, so I may as well tell it again.

We were somewhere in England, see. I know precisely where we were, but it just seems to sound better that way. We were somewhere in England when someone took this picture:

We were in England, you see. And that was the first leg of a terrific multi-nation trip. And I was tired of taking pictures where you could see a lot of us and a little of what was going on behind us. Rather impulsively, for me, I went to a store that sold clothes and other odd things that people think are a good idea in the store and bought a selfie stick. A friend took the picture above. The picture I was taking looked like this:

Right now we’re discussing a vacation for this summer and starting to dive into the details of it. We’re planning a friend trip. And one of the selling points is, apparently, that I have a selfie stick.

Oh, sure, The Yankee made fun of it, but she quickly came to admit that it occasionally helps make better photos. She still makes fun of it.

Also, the selfie stick is pink.

(It was the only color the store had that day.)

(I told you it was impulsive.)

Jan 19

Traveling again

We’re traveling back into the barren and cold northlands today, after a fine weekend that was capped off by a fourth visit to Clary’s, a little time in the park, a massage and watching Savannah’s Martin Luther King Day parade. (It was two hours long and still going when we had to leave.)

It was a great visit to a lovely city that we enjoy a great deal. We discovered a fine little Mexican restaurant out of necessity today for our late lunch-on-the-go. Today’s Uber driver had just moved to the low country from the Smokies. She’s still getting used to the entirely different weather patterns, which is funny considering she’s only about 300 miles from home, but that’s an important 300 miles. That was a retirement 300 miles for her and her husband, she said. Our Uber driver on Thursday night had a similar story, but for a lifetime in the Navy and then retiring to coastal Georgia. Neither of them looked old enough to be even semi-retired. Maybe that’s the autobiographical aging process, or maybe its just the latitude.

Anyway, I mentioned Our Tree. Here it is now:

That’s The Yankee reading under Our Tree on Saturday. The weather was so perfect that day we spent most of the day in that spot. Coincidentally, that is about the same view I had in December of 2008 just before I proposed. We’d been sitting under that tree and I was waiting for The Sign. You know, the one you sometimes find yourself asking for. Eventually a leaf fell on me and I took that as the requested sign. My plan involved me leaving, so that I could come back. I excused myself to visit the restroom and, right about where I’m standing to take that photograph above, a man intercepted me and we started talking about families and marriage and biblical passages and I said, “OK, fine, that is my sign.”

So I went back to the tree, hung her engagement ring on some of the bark and called her over to scratch our initials into it. And there was her ring. She was there, I was there, it was Savannah, there was a ring and I didn’t even think up a speech. Which is odd, because this is me. I asked her if she would like to keep having adventures with me, and then another guy came up and “What’d she say? What’d she say?” as he offered to make us one of the little bamboo flowers they sell to tourists here.

I knew he’d want to be paid for that, and he should. It was ornate and involved and quite nice. We had eight dollars between us. He was disappointed, but gave us the flower and she finally said yes. Now here we are. I have at least nine dollars in my pocket today.

Anyway, we enjoyed our Saturday beneath Our Tree. It was bracketed by breakfast and a nice run, but that was pretty much the day, and it was perfect. That night we also went out for crabs on Tybee Island:

We also saw some birds:

And from the It’s Been Too Long Department, we saw Wendy!

Something like 17 years I’ve known her now. She’s even more wonderful today than she ever was.

Sunday the weather was a bit dank and I was tired and sore and still trying to overcome a few days of fun with my sinuses, so it was a low key thing. Today the parade, a spa trip and then the car ride to the airport. We made one other stop, but I’m saving those pictures for tomorrow. Be sure to stop by for those. It’ll be lovely.

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