Down the Lane: Cherishing quality time with a granddaughter

Published 9:42 am Thursday, August 1, 2019

The last time I was alone with my granddaughter Stephenie in a car, she was a young child. She was old enough to ride a bike, but I do not remember going anywhere with her much after that.

About the time she became a sister to Olivia, she began having sleepovers at her house with friends from school.

She is a grown up now and has a degree from the University of Kentucky. She spent her first year teaching at a school in Louisville. She is now 25.

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I decided if I was ever going to get to spend some one-on-one time with her, I better be trying to do so.

I decided to call her and ask her if she would like to go on vacation with me this year to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Stephenie accepted the invitation, and I have spent most of the summer looking forward to my time alone with her. With our age difference, I was not sure how our trip would turn out. All I knew was she loves the beach as much as I do.

On the drive down we took turns driving and listening to music. Luckily for me she asked me what kind of music I liked and told me I could pick some of the oldies if I wanted to because she had brought music from the 60s on. I got to relive some of my teen years listening to music that I had not heard in ages.

She played my songs; then we listened to her songs. Instead of some of the rap songs I expected, I liked the songs that were her favorites. We did not seem to mind the long 10-hour drive from Winchester to our friend’s house near Myrtle Beach. We talked and laughed.

The next day we were off to the beach with the sun shining bright, and I hesitantly pulled off my beach cover-up to sunbathe. I was laying next to what I thought was the most beautiful girl on the beach with the cutest figure. I asked her if she was embarrassed to be seen with me, and she laughed and said no.

However, I think I did embarrass her that first day when I went to sit down on the beach chair and fell out of the seat into the sand, and she had to come and help me get back in my beach chair. I couldn’t tell if it was the actual fall or me sprawled out all over the sand that made her laugh so hard.

I love the beach because there is always a breeze blowing and you can enjoy the sunshine longer without feeling the heat. You can also get more sun than you realize because of that same fact. We only stayed about two or three hours the first day.

The next day we went to tour Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

The plantation is a working plantation and is the oldest in America. At one time, this plantation held about 1,500 pecan trees. After a hurricane destroyed most of the trees, it is now down to about 30 pecan trees on the estate. However, the food produced on this plantation is phenomenal.

We took a wagon ride around the estate and witnessed the many different varieties of crops produced there. Products from this plantation are shipped nationwide.

There are still 13 slave homes, which used the bricks the slaves made, on the premises. The bricks made at Boone Hall were the brick used to build most of Charleston. Each of the slave homes held a story about life on the plantation. In the mansion, a guided tour takes you through five of the rooms where you saw beautiful antique furniture.

I came away from Boone Hall being so happy that my friend, Sue Grainger, had mentioned this place to me. Stephenie and I both were glad we had got to visit there. We spent the rest of the day in Charleston and had a delicious seafood meal at the Crab House.

We were exhausted when we arrived back at our hosts that evening.

On Saturday, we went back to the crowded beach. I guess people are still trying to make a vacation a priority before their kids go back to school. I was perfectly fine with barely getting my feet wet into the ocean after all the shark scares I have heard about on TV.

However, Stephenie coaxed Memaw into going farther out into the water with her. The waves were forceful that day, and I was pretty much struggling to stand up anyway when a huge wave knocked me flat on my butt.

I am flailing around in the water when I hear this woman tell Stephenie, “Get your Grandma!” Between laughter and fear, Stephenie finally gets me up on my feet. It was the last time I got into the water.

She told me later she thought, “Oh Lord, how on earth am I going to get her up?”

She said she was afraid I was going to drown. I wasn’t that far gone yet I thought even though I may have looked it.

The weather again was perfect, and we stayed longer at the beach. We realized it when we got home with some red-looking skin.

On Sunday we decided to go to church with Sue and Terry. Terry holds a doctorate in divinity and has been a Baptist preacher most of his life. He had been invited to preach at a church where he had grown up as a child. We got to enjoy a beautiful church service and his preaching. I loved hearing all the old Baptist songs I grew up hearing as a child.

After church, we went to a town called Mullins, South Carolina, and ate at Ohara’s Restaurant. It served one of the best buffet meal. The southern cooking was delicious. The variety of meat, vegetables and desserts would be hard to beat anywhere.

People packed the place so much so that you usually have to have reservations, but we were worked in shortly.

Since Stephenie is a teacher and will soon need to get a classroom ready, and I have a busy week coming up, and like all good vacations, reality sinks in and you realize you have to head for home.

I should be in Winchester by the time you read this.

I found out my granddaughter is even more beautiful to me now than before we took our trip down to South Carolina.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.