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PHRAGMENTS FROM PHYLLIS: Busy, busy ‘rest and relaxation’

We just returned from our annual respite at Edisto Beach, but this year was definitely a bit different.

First, apparently everyone who had been “confined to quarters” since March 2020 decided to go to Edisto this year. We started sooner to make a reservation, yet the pickings were slim. As a result, finding a house big enough for everyone was almost impossible. This is the one week of the year that our whole clan tries to gather, at least for part of the week. The problem was mitigated by the fact that it seemed not everyone could come.

This year we had three grandchildren in acGateway (Aiken County’s Gifted and Talented Education with Artistic Youth). Originally Gateway was to end prior to our beach trip. We had planned around it. Then the dates for middle- and high-school kids got bumped back a week. As a result, Rising Junior Ariah (visual arts) and rising eighth grader Cade (theater) were going to have to be in class through last Wednesday – midway through our beach week. Rising sixth grader Payton was in the elementary program for visual arts, which ended the week before, so she was OK.

We finally worked it out that daughter Cat, her husband Scott and Payton would come the first day – on a Sunday. Cade was to stay with our son Mac and his wife Joy (with Ariah) through Wednesday. The Gateway showcase was Wednesday night, and with each family limited to two tickets, Cat and I drove back on Wednesday afternoon with plans to drive back to Edisto with Cade after the showcase was over.

At the same time granddaughter Pearce was in a summer enrichment program, so she and her parents, Vince and our daughter Liz, plus her sister Clarke were going to come to the beach on Wednesday afternoon.

Finally, at the last minute our son, Mac, decided he could come to the beach with his kids Thomas, 6, and Maddie, 4, on Thursday.

And our plan mostly worked.

Payton was mostly happy to be the only child with four adults for half of the week. However, it also meant she got used to being the only kid and having the adults catering to her. Then when everyone else showed up, she had to share – some of the younger kids also wanted the adults to cater to them.

And, as is typical at Edisto, Payton ran into her teacher from last year. Mrs. Hudson of North Augusta Elementary School was staying at a beach house right next to where we were accessing the beach each day. Small world.

Cat and I indeed attended the showcase back in Aiken on Wednesday – and the 2-1/2-hour drive each way was worth it. We had time to visit the visual arts showcase. Ariah’s work was superb. And Cade was absolutely terrific in the theater presentation. He and Ariah’s friend Gray Delaney had the lead in a series of skits with each going through a variety of dreadful, but funny, blind dates before they find each other. Cade was very funny, as was Gray. Our oldest grandson also sang in the chorus at the beginning and end of the program, and that, too, was excellent. (The elementary program was not open to visitors, but we could see Payton’s impressive artwork online, as both Gateway showcases were recorded and posted on YouTube – even the visual arts displays.)

I keep saying I wish I could take some credit for the various artistic talents of my grandchildren, but all I can really say is there’s a hint of my genetic makeup there, maybe?)

Once everyone convened at Edisto by Thursday, we split our days between the beach and the pool area in Wyndham Oceanview, where our beach house was located.

I worried that the walk to the beach would be a problem. It was about seven-tenths of a mile from our doorstep to the beach. But I guess our grandkids have gotten older enough and love the beach enough that no one complained about the walk.

The pool at Wyndham is in proximity to a terrific playground and putt-putt, all of which were included with our rental. It was the best of two worlds. We’d go to the beach in the mornings and then walk about three blocks to the pool in the afternoons. Everyone loved it.

We of course ate lots of seafood. Cade absolutely loves shrimp. Payton will eat almost any kind of fish. And for those kids still too young to have established a penchant for any seafood, we had plenty of spaghetti, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. Cat brought six – count them, 6 – packages of Brussels sprouts, since most of the adults (not me, I’m afraid) like the bitter little cabbage wannabes, and Pearce will eat these green things over meat or pasta or maybe even dessert.

Once again we didn’t really eat out. On the way into Edisto, Tom and I got there early enough to grab a late lunch at Sea Cow Eatery, including the requisite Almond Joy Pie. After that, only when Cat and I were back home Wednesday, and only Tom, Scott and Payton were at the beach did the three of them venture forth to nearby Ella & Ollie’s for a fine dinner.

Edisto Beach is the perfect place for body surfing and such, so we brought four boogie boards. Our only problem now is that almost all our grandkids are very self-assured in the ocean, so the adults have to be super-vigilant. Mac and Cat are our shark’s teeth aficionados, and they both found a few. This year Cade joined them in successfully hunting.

We missed the excitement on Thursday when the beach was closed following a shark sighting. It’s the first time in all my years at Edisto that such a thing happened.

So we returned home Sunday, and are already planning our 2022 trip.

As I’ve said before, I may have been late to the party, but I have come to love Edisto and all that it means to spend some time there.

And if you’d like to see the Gateway finales, just go to the school district’s website, www.acpsd.net, and click on the links.

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