Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Visiting with Family and Friends in SC

Sunday, April 1, 2012

OLA: Visiting with Family and Friends in SC

the sprawling Southern retirement home of the Thiesings in Mt.Pleasant, South Carolina
view from their 3rd floor deck, witht he boat at the end of the walk
So we just left Florida after 5 warm winter months and are now here in Low Country USA…South Carolina… on our way to Nova Scotia for the nth reunion of the DUs, Bill’s high school gang. This is one of the several visits we will make along the way. Jim, one of the DUs, has decided to retire here to be near his grandkids. Erika, my darling niece who married the eldest nephew of Marty, her mom and my sister Julie’s husband (who passed on in 2009), has also decided to relocate here. Time for special visits!  

Carol walking on the boardwalk back to the house after our boat ride
a Nerd Clock, very apropos in Jim's home office
The Thiesings of Mt. Pleasant
Jim Thiesing just retired last year as Group Vice-President, Federal Operations of Jacob’s Engineering, a Fortune 500 company providing technical, professional, and construction services globally with 200 offices in over 25 countries in Aerospace and Defense, Automotive and Industrial, Buildings, Chemicals and Polymers, Consumer and Forest Products, Energy, Environmental Programs, Infrastructure, Mining and Minerals, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Refining, and Technology. Jim was primarily involved in its nuclear clean-up operations including the 3-Mile Island and the Oakridge facility.

spacious second level living quarters
Jim and wife Carol are obviously very comfortably happy in their sprawling 2-level 5,000 sq. ft. Southern home (yes with porches all around) that reaches out to where his boat is moored on the Toomer creek that leads into the Atlantic Ocean through Wando and Cooper Rivers.The 2 guest quarters, Jim’s office, the middle lounging area, and a recreation area make up the lower level while the couple lives in utmost comfort at the second floor. They decided to stay near the grandchildren (don’t we all?) and are truly a picture of shared blissful contentment.

Bill's fave banana cream pie
 baked from scratch by Jim's Carol!
Bill, Jim, and Carol were off to the beach early the following day for Bill’s 2-3 mile daily walk and her bike ride. Then the 2 friends fished  while the two Carols watched the quarterfinals of the Miami Sony Ericson Tennis Open (yes, we are both fan-addicts). What a grand vacation for Bill and me. Carol is a perfect host. Meals were always fine dining…from soup salad, entrĂ©e, and dessert! We could not have enough of the cola brisket slow cooked to perfection...and the shrimp pasta salad...and the chcken wild rice mushroom...and even the apple/ham/cream cheese sandwiches!!! But the killer was Bill's
banana cream pie, something he had been pining for for years! 

the co-pilots, Jim and Bill
Bill and Jim at Vickery's at Shrimp Creek
where we stopped for lunch on our boat ride 
The following day, all of us went for a lovely boat ride to the great Atlantic. We had a traditional Southern lunch at Vickery’s, a local favorite resto with its own dock, right before the bay. Back home, Bill and Jim went fishing again and the 2 Carols watched the last set of Quarterfinals. The next morning Bill and Jim braved the walk on the 5-mile loop on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and then, sadly, we had to say our goodbyes. The stay was truly fun but we will see them soon enough in Nova Scotia, although it will not be at their lovely home!

the Ravenal Bridge, signalling that we had arrived at the Charleston Harbor!
Jesse and Erika with Bill while dinner was being readied
The Sellers of James Island
Erika is my sister Julie’s youngest child. She married Jesse Sellers, nephew of Marty, Julie’s husband who passed on in 2009. She now baby-sits two little kids while Jesse is in partnership with friends in a construction company. Erika was former Philippine Idol finalist and is currently expecting their first child in September!  I wanted to see first-hand the joy on her face! It was certainly there…perhaps permanently etched, after waiting for almost five years!

we have missed Erik'a snging!
We stored the RV for 3 days while we stayed with Jim and Carol but we wanted to show Erika how we camped so we booked at the Charleston KOA just beside the storage facility. We had Jesse and Erika the first night at the RV. Bill grilled pork loins and I made green beans and mushroom medley and simple baked potatoes for sides and some Italian bread with cream cheese chocolate cake for dessert! And of course, we set up the karaoke equipment so we could once again hear Erika’s melodious voice singing some oft-forgotten OPM (Original Pilipino Music)!

digging into the sumptuous Southern dinner!
The next night, it was Jesse and Erika’s turn to show off their culinary skills so we drove to their lovely, cozy home. Dinner was excellent Southern cuisine: grilled porterhouse steaks courtesy of Jesse, Kajing made extra special (we brought home the left-overs!) dinner rolls from Jesse’s family’s secret recipe, Caesar salad, and mashed potatoes. Oh for appetizers we had veggies and ranch and deviled eggs! Bill and I brought the couple nice oranges and grapefruit from Florida and a small box of Mexican mangoes from the Carolina Coast Flea Market, the state's biggest!.

Carol's turn to sing!
the four...happy together!
We ended the night singing karaoke favorites again and, though we wanted to linger on for we might not see each other again for another 5 years, we had to bid our reluctant  goodbyes. In the morning, Bill and I will proceed to a short vacay in the North Carolina Outer Banks! But surely we left with hearts full of wonderful memories.Visits to family and friends, especially this one to South Carolina early in the spring of 2012, are truly special! RVing makes it all possible for us.