May 15, 2007: SENECA, SC First of all, see if you can locate it on a map! Just a bit southwest of Greenville. This visit was such a treat. I looked up an old friend from high school - Jill - who I haven't seen in over 15 years! She and her husband, Brett, were gracious and welcoming and Winni and I got a taste of SC farming life. They have 2 horses, 3 miniature cows (stumpy legs, regular cow bodies), 5 goats, 3 dogs (one is a working shepherd), 2 cats, 2 birds, and 1 fish named Flash.

Brett is trying his hand at farm-raised shrimp as well. I was overwhelmed with memories of my own childhood - growing up on a rural farm in western New Jersey - riding tractors with Farmer Byrd and playing in the haystacks (while carefully avoiding the bee nests) in our barns. It was wonderful to watch Jill's two children - Reyna and Donovan - happily engage in all things living and natural around them. Reminded me of romping through our hayfields, chasing frogs and crawfish, riding ponies and climbing trees - many moons ago (also reminded me of how much that girl is still a big part of me). Winni had her first encounter with a goat ---> , and became fast friends with Jill's Anatolian Shepard puppy, Tasha, who keeps away the coyotes from the farm!

We all went for a great hike through Sumter National Forest - dogs and kids in tow! Jill was a trooper on the trail - hiking with grace and strength, toting one more baby boy in the belly (she's due in June!).

Tasha and Winni played an endless game of tag until they tired, the kids played in the waterfalls and rivers, and Jill and I enjoyed catching up.

All in all, a wonderful stop off. I highly recommend reconnecting with old friends whenever you are able. You never know what gems you may uncover!

May 13, 2007: GREENVILLE, SC Never been down to this little South Carolina metropolis that is supposed to boom in the next few years! Spent Mother's Day afternoon walking Winni around Falls Park and over the impressive suspension Liberty Bridge (that's a 4.5 million dollar bridge mind you) that spans the Reedy River Falls - quite a sight!

Bridge from North

Walking Over Bridge

On Bridge Looking North to Falls

South of the Bridge

Shakespeare in the Park

Happily sipped sweet tea, took a dip in the river's shallow waters, watched a strange version of Shakespeare in the park, and scarfed down a rueben and some mint chocolate chip ice cream. Quite a combo for a beautiful afternoon!