Beach, Stickie Notes, Sparkly Water

I'm almost done with vacation remembering.  I promise.  

The last half of our time on Hilton Head Island proved to be no less fantastic than the first half.  Mornings were by far better than a peach on a windowsill.  Sunrise, coffee, reading classics.  So good.  And let me tell you this.  The fact that Sister Pister had stickie flagged her copy of To Kill a Mockingbird while reading made my heart soar!  Never mind that she was required to do that for her high school English class and I do that because I just love words that darn much.  Still.  Heart Soared.  

Time with sand between my toes and the sun on my face ranks right up there with stickie noting {even better when they are fashionable patterns like orange zebra} and highlighting books.  Right up there.  And apparently, my brain sometimes behaves as if it is five and the tide rushing over my feet can keep my attention for a solid chunk of time.  Mental note to self.  It's important to remember it just keeps getting higher and higher.  You'd think I would learn this.  Sister Pister feels five sometimes too.  I just know it.  She even wrote her name in the sand to prove it.  My mom and her sister {here's where I state the obvious and say that's my aunt} look so much alike sometimes I forget who is the one that gave birth to me and put up with my unruly teenage years.  They walk the same too.  Exact same giddy up.  While us girls frolicked in the sand, my uncle was having a meaningful conversation with a ninety-something year old stranger and his bike.  Meaningful, satisfying talks are always worth points.  Add to that a stranger with a bike and it becomes a bonus point situation.  Turns out, Dad-o crashed out.  Too many cocktails on the beach for him I do believe.  Two signs tell me that.  One: he needed a resting spot for his arm...it must have been too heavy to hold.  Two: when I spotted him on the beach right before his rest, he was wearing my straw hat.  It looked real good on him too.  Uffda.       

I don't have a picture to prove it, but the hat he was wearing on the beach while drinking cocktails?  Well, it was this one. 

In addition to beach, sun, and pool time -- dinners out continued on as well.  

My dad looked plain ridiculous in this picture.  His eyes forgot how to stay open that whole day and night I guess.  So I cropped him out.  Just pretend he is standing next to my mom.  Because he was.   

Sister photo shoots in the bathroom after said dinners out also continued.  I hope someday that Sister Pister and I can be wrinkly gray haired, or blue haired because that would be even better, little ladies in front of a bathroom mirror on vacation and that I will still find it humorous to make her realize just how high my cool factor is.  And let's double hope that in the blue haired phase of our lives, Sister Pister will not be able to continuously point out that I have wrinkles and she...well, she doesn't.  That ten year age difference will become less and less apparent, I'm just sure of it. 

The night before Sister Pister's 17th birthday, we went to a Japanese restaurant where they fling knives at you and make flames shoot up and the whole time you eat sushi and smile.  She was blessed with a version of happy birthday singing that involved drums.  And cheesecake.  She was brought cheesecake.  With a candle.  Her last night as a sixteen year old and Sister Pister had sushi, drums, singing with accents included, and cheesecake.  With a candle.  That's a deal.    

And I curled my hair before dinner.  I feel that is important to say after looking back at the pictures from yesterday's post about Rose Hill.  You see, going to that plantation mansion happened in the same day as this Japanese dinner, just earlier.  Before curling iron.    

Dear Self, do not just have Momma Debi braid a chunk of your hair and let the rest go crazy and dry naturally.  What you end up with is a mess.  You seemed to forget that morning that your hair is similar to that which grows on the neck of a horse.   

I'm just glad I gave it a little attention before going out again.  Not much attention.  Just a little.    

The next morning, on my sister's seventeenth birthday, I came charging into the condo after my sunrise, coffee, and run on the beach.  By charging...I mean charging.  

I flung the door open and yelled, "Put something on!  Put something on!  Or just stay in your jammies!  Just do something and come with me!  The water is SPARKLY and you are SEVENTEEN!!"  I'm so glad she listened.  

Seventeen and the world is her oyster.  The sparkly water and all.  

Her possibilities are endless.  And whatever path she chooses, I know she'll leave a trail.  

Then, I allowed Sister Pister to actually shower to keep celebrating her birthday and we all enjoyed our last day on the island.  In the early afternoon, she and I did something that made me look like this to the man that was fastening my life jacket.  Notice how pathetically freaked out I am. 

Sister Pister you ask?  She looked more like this.  Totally ready.  The difference being that she is an adrenaline junkie and I like to stickie note and highlight books.   

Now I need to stop.  For three reasons, I have laundry to do and bills to pay and I'm tired.  It was parent teacher conferences at school tonight.  My mouth is done talking.  You are probably thinking right about now...your mouth has nothing to do with your fingers typing.   

What you don't know is I actually talk all of these out while waving my hands and wrinkling my forehead in front of the computer. 

It's my secret to being happy. 

Oh, never mind.  I don't actually do that.  It sounds fun though huh? 


Talking Walls

This house, with its copper roof and unusual for its time Gothic architecture style, brings a new meaning to vintage.  It's older than vintage.  Original.  I can't actually even begin to build a frame of reference to understand what this house has been through and what those walls have been a part of.  Working plantation, rebuilding, squatters in the dirty 30s, a real estate office, a family dwelling.  It's seen it all.  

And on top of all that, it survived a serious fire in the 1980s.  The house wasn't burned in the Civil War, one of only a few plantations in the area, but it burned in the 80s.  I find this to be an interesting conundrum.  It burned when it housed the real estate office that was in charge of parceling off the land into lots for new mansions to be built in a development now known as "Rose Hill."  Fitting considering the original plantation, which was more than 2,000 continuous acres, was named Rose Hill Plantation.  The house Rose Hill Mansion.    

The Kirk family owned Rose Hill and the plantation was one of the largest Island Cotton producers of their time.  Island Cotton was worth sixty dollars a bale compared to the some odd cents a "normal" bale of cotton's market value.  Needless to say, that's a serious amount of wealth.  Island Cotton is now extinct so "don't let anyone tell you something you purchase is made from Island Cotton because it isn't." 

Now, you might be wondering how I can be so sure on all of the above information.  No, I didn't take that quote from Wikipedia.  That little piece of cotton advice comes straight from a Kirk family member.  I heard all of that history first hand from the great-great-great-great granddaughter of one of the founding Kirks.  She doesn't live in the original house but she does give tours and offers her take on her family's history all the way from the Kirk family literally leaving their dinner dishes on the dining room table to flee from the Union troops coming up their winding drive to the secession flag of South Carolina being designed in an upstairs bedroom to the dozens of homeless who tried to stay warm by curling up with their blankets and families in the abandoned house during the Depression years to the people who returned the house to itself.   

I suppose just like anything else, the Rose Hill mansion has had its ups and downs.   I don't agree with all that happened on that land when it was still a working plantation, but I must say walking out the front door to see the drooping trees and light sparkling through them was an experience.  And  I was once again reminded of how far our country has come to unite itself after it came dangerously close to splitting in two.  I realize it's not a perfect union, but I can only hope we all keep striving to make this place and our own everyday lives a true model of acceptance and that the human - all human - race will someday cease seeing what makes us all different and instead, see what matters.  To remember we all have one soul, one brain, one heart, and bleed red.  

Just think of those walls of that house and the branches of those trees talking and what they tell us.  It is almost impossible to step around that kind of original old and not hear all of the people who once walked through the same hallways, once felt the shade under those same trees, once smelled that same pollen floating through the air...

A whisper here and a breeze in your hair there.