Trip to see the Princess

Had a great week. It was Princess Grace’s first birthday so we drove up to South Carolina to help celebrate the event. It was really fun spending a few days with Nancy and Ali and even got a chance to talk to Kassem from Afghanistan via satellite telephone. I’m not big on baby birthday parties which usually involve lots of crying kids but in this case, all of them behaved perfectly. We also took the opportunity to deliver Nancy S’s 50th birthday present, a beautiful quilt. The story behind the quilt is that my Nancy had spotted the pattern about 5 years ago and said it had Nancy’s name all over it. It was a long project but came out perfectly and was put away 4 years in advance. I always take pictures of quilts she makes so this one was in the album along with the hundreds of others. A few months back Nancy and Ali visited and for whatever reason, I thought they’d be interested in seeing the quilt photo’s in the computer album. Everything was going along just fine and as a particular quilt would pop on the screen, I’d say who had it. When the one destined for her popped on the screen, my heart jumped a beat and I knew I had screwed up. She jumped all over it and raved about how pretty it was and wanted to know who had it. I lied and said I forgot who had it. So when she unwrapped the present, she was really surprised.

On the way home we stopped at a favorite restaurant in Jax that we hadn’t visited in several years. It’s an old shanty style place on a creek off the St. John’s called Clark’s Fish Camp. The structure was probably built 100 years ago and hasn’t had too much done to modernize or strengthen it. Our waiter was a 250 pound kind of guy and the floor shook when he walked over to us. It has an extensive menu that includes a fair amount of wild game and seafood. One thing I noticed on the menu this time that I don’t recall from before was a more extensive offering of gator. In addition to the traditional gator bits, this place has gator ribs and gator toes – fixed just the way you like. I ordered crab cakes.

I mentioned that our old picnic table cratered. Tom leaped to the rescue and bought us a new table. He ordered it from Lowes and we took the pickup to get it. I opted for the disassembled version for a couple of reasons. It weighs 180 pounds so I can unpackage it on the truck and carry it to the dock by myself, piece by piece. That also lets me put on a really thorough coating of wood sealer piece by piece. And finally, I can chuck the hardware that comes with the table and replace it with galvanized hardware to withstand the weather better. Of course the risk is that this is one of those assembly jobs that you just wish you hadn’t taken on. How bad can it be?

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