For the finale of our trip through the South – we are ending up in my hometown of Aiken, South Carolina. Aiken is a perfect Southern town with wide streets, huge oak trees, and in the spring, blooming azaleas and dogwoods everywhere.
In the 1930s, wealthy Northerners brought their horses to Aiken for the good winter climate (we call them the “Winter Colony”), and Aiken is still a center of equestrian activities. There is polo most Sunday afternoons, steeplechase a couple time a year, and daily training runs where bright-eyed young horses learn the ropes of how to race. My high school mascot was the Thoroughbred. (The pictures above were taken in downtown Aiken, where there are horse statues scattered around, like the New York “Cows on Parade” of a few years ago.)
We spent a wonderful few days with my parents, Sherman and Edith. I feel so lucky that Frank and my parents get along so well. We have all traveled together down the Scottish canals by barge, across the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary 2, and through the South of France by train and bus. We also have been through my breast cancer and related surgeries, so have all gotten really close.
My mom is an expert gardener and has turned our yard into a haven. She and Frank set out on a project to bring a rusty bench that had been relegated to the very back of the yard back to life. Cindy and crew had helped with the scraping of the bench during their visit earlier, so this really was a family affair! This bench was particularly special to my mom because one of her best friends and fellow teachers, Diane Shook, had given it to her years ago. Mrs. Shook passed away in 2014 and I think probably loved looking down on everyone coming together to work on her bench.
It turned out beautiful thanks to everyone’s hard work! And now that little bench will carry such fun and special memories of all of us.
We celebrated by bringing our lawn chairs out at dusk and toasting spring in Aiken.
And Next Up – Introducing Frank to our hometown golf tournament, one of the main reasons for our visit – THE MASTERS!