How often do we miss what is right in front of us?

We fly to exotic places for vacation or celebration, but why can't we practice daily celebration of what is just around the corner?

That is what happened to us on our 40th wedding anniversary.

In the past, we have honeymooned in New York City, swam in Myrtle Beach pools, walked on Florida beaches, flew on many trips to capitals across the Atlantic.

We parked in one of the free parking garages Charleston provides everyone on Sundays if you happen to attend one of the Holy City's many services of worship.

As we parked, we could look out on the tops of palmetto trees waving in the warm breeze.

When we walked around the corner, we saw the lovely historic townhouse of 18th-century planter Ralph Izard on Broad Street.

We live on his plantation 20 miles away where The Elms Retirement Community provides individual homes, duplex garden homes and condos.

We continued on toward church and noted the beautiful John Rutledge House Inn. I have photos of Rachel Carson and her mother visiting Archibald Rutledge, poet laureate of South Carolina, at this very front porch.

Rachel Carson was the Silver Spring, Md., author who wrote "Silent Spring," which led to the banning of the pesticide DDT, and other works about the sea.

Music at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist equals any Gothic cathedral abroad. The priest announced that it would be the last Sunday for organist Larry Long.

The people applauded loudly and long for the talents he shared for many years. Prior to his service at St. John, Larry served as organist and choir director at First (Scots) Presbyterian.

And, he will continue to work at the early service at St. Mary's Church on Hasell Street in downtown.

Where else can you stroll around the block and find so much in your own neighborhood?

Charleston is a unique place of beauty. Why not celebrate your special occasions right here at home? Forty years and many trips, but the one right here at home has proven to be very special.

Martha F. Barkley retired to Charleston in 1997 after 30 years teaching in Maryland public schools.