Saturday, February 16, 2008


As you know from my earlier post about keys and long walks in Charleston you now know we were in Charleston a few days ago. We drove down to deliver a compressor for a customer. It was cheaper to deliver it than to ship it.

What has often happened on our business/pleasure trips is that once we arrive it is almost lunch time or just past and everyone is starving and we drive around wasting gas trying to find an inexpensive place to eat - if we have not brought a picnic lunch. In which case we drive around looking for a park to eat in. This time we decided to be smart and head straight for the visitor center loudly proclaimed on a nearby street sign.

Once there, we parked and soon found a friendly volunteer whom we asked where one might find a Subway or similar eatery where one could feed a hungry crew of eight children cheaply.

"Weeell," he drawled. "you won't find much of that in the downtown area - it's mostly your regular restaurant fare. For the fast food joints you want to go to Spring Street." And then he kindly drew a black line on the map he was using to show us the highlights from the area to us, and made a few more suggestions about where to sight see.

As Hugo and I hustled back to the starving captives in the family van we discussed whether to sight see just a little in the down town area before heading to Spring Street. I argued that the children would not enjoy walking around downtown much as long as their tummies were grumbling. Consulting the wiggly black line our friendly volunteer had drawn for us - we agreed to compromise. We would walk to the local fast food strip. It appeared to be within ten blocks. Blocks, that our volunteer had assured were much shorter than most city blocks.

We released the hungry horde and strapped the two youngest, Emma and Elsa, into their strollers and I heaved the knapsack, filled with the essentials, onto my back. Remembering I wanted to add to my booty the waterless hand sanitizer that I rarely leave home without these days - I asked Hugo for the keys... the fatal error you recall reading about earlier this week.

Loooong story short - we strolled for about 3 blocks to get to Spring Street - so far so good. However, about 20 blocks later - we began to realize this was not going to be the short jaunt we thought it was going to be - but by then we were so far from the van that it seemed to make more sense to continue on as surely we would soon see a fast food joint.

A quick stop in a florist shop and we were assured that we would see a MacDonalds about 2 - 3 blocks after the very next set of lights.

Three sets of lights later - and we were really beginning to lose hope. Suddenly one of the children spied golden arches in the distance and we hurried our sore and aching feet a little more quickly.

Thirty minutes later - tummies full and Hugo ready to head off for the van, I prepared myself to keep the smaller clan members busy. We waved good bye to Daddy and Anna and refilled our cups at the Soda Fountain.

Forty minutes later - when I confidently announced that Daddy and Anna were probably at the
van Noah asked the fatal question... at which point we began to hurriedly pack every one and everything up and. About 2/3rds of the way back down Spring Street we met up with Anna and Hugo walking back up towards us.

Deciding we had not driven four hours just to deliver a compressor and eat at MacDonalds, it was decided that even though it was rather late, starting to get chilly and dusk was just a short time away - we would still explore the downtown...

We were enjoying the old fashioned store fronts and the incredible architecture
when I spied a familiar sign in the very near distance. In a horrified tone I exclaimed; "HUGO LOOK!"
"What, look at what?" he asked.
"LOOK" - I commanded and pointed.

There, not ten minutes from where we had parked beside the visitors center, was....

(Not my photo)

My husband looked at me and asked "What did I want to do? EH? What did I want to do?"

None the less - we had a great time and we are really looking forward to heading back to Charleston soon and seeing all the sights we didn't have time to see due to our decision to be smart and eat first....

We arrive in Charleston and catch sight of an awesome bridge in the distance. This picture was taken from the van as we were driving, with the camera set on the sports/action setting.

Next thing we knew - we were actually crossing this really cool and huge bridge.

A very tall hotel downtown.

At some point in Charlestons history - it was decided that property taxes would be determined by the amount of road frontage one took up. This led to very narrow and incredibly long houses. One house's windows numbered ten and then there was an addition beyond that.

The highlight of the trip came soon after the shock of learning that our friendly volunteer clearly knew not of what he was talking about.

We do not sport any Catholic bookstores within an hours drive of us, so for some of the kids - this was their first experience of a Catholic bookstore. They were delighted. Here below I caught a photo of Bethany and Noah after a friendly exchange with Sister Jane. All of the children had the opportunity to chat with her.

Sister kindly invited us to visit their enclosed rose garden that one enters through their little tea room. It was a delight as you will see...

Elsa enjoyed blowing kisses to the Baby Jesus cradled in His Foster Father's arms. She is clutching the post card she was allowed to pick out and pay for.

Emma and Bethany posed under the palm tree for me.

Another, much smaller, statue of Saint Joseph in the Daughters of Saint Paul's rose garden.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe graces their garden wall.

They have very thoughtfully created a lovely little play room in the back of the store where you can easily keep an eye on the children and browse the many books nearby.

Some of the trees sprouted very large roots. Bethany sat here for me so we could show how big this set of roots are.

Nathaniel enjoyed pushing his baby sister in her stroller. In fact he was very determined to push her as much as he was allowed.

Here Benjamin, Noah and Bethany are exploring a very knobby tree trunk.

Despite the crazy turn of events that lunch took, we really had a good time and all of the kids agree that they are looking forward to going back. But most especially - they are all looking forward to visiting the Daughters of Saint Paul again. Read more!