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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:29 am 
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This trip report has been slow in coming. I enjoy writing trip reports because its like reliving the beach experience, but life has just been so hectic since we got home I just haven't had a chance to sit down and start. Like most fun things in life, I have found that you never FIND time for them, you have to MAKE time, so I will try and make some time now.

Day 1
We planned our beach trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We booked our room at what has become our usual place, The Prince Resort at Cherry Grove. We asked for a northeast corner room, so we could see the sunrise from the bed, and a room up high to ensure privacy and to get away from the noise below. Several days after we booked our room we realized that if we stayed another night we could participate in the Spring edition of the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run. We did this race a couple of years ago and it was great fun. Jodie called to see if we could extend our stay, but it would have required changing rooms. It wasn't worth all that, so we decided to stick to our Monday – Friday plans. We already had another 5K race on the schedule for Saturday, as part of our “Anniversary Week” activities, so keeping the original plans was OK with both of us.

It rained much of the weekend before we left. I had to pull the the car into the garage to pack it without drowning. I see from other trip reports that others use this same tactic to outsmart the weather. I optimistically strapped the beach chairs and the umbrella onto the rain soaked roof of the Subaru hoping that we would need both by the time we got to Cherry Grove.

I have mentioned before that we have never had a beach vacation plans disrupted by any significant rain. Even when the odds were against us, we have always been able to dodge the bad weather. So, early Monday morning we got into the car, opened the garage door, and drove out into a rainy torrent. We stopped at the gym, as we often begin our beach vacations, and got in a quick but vigorous workout before swimming back out to the car to continue our trip. It rained hard. We stopped briefly at some golden arches along the way for “McBrunch.” I really don't remember where that was, but I remember looking out into the parking lot and watching the water dripping off of the bungee cords holding our beach umbrella on the roof. The purpose of that umbrella is to keep us from getting too much sun. So far it was working very well.

When we got to Tabor City the sky brightened up. This was a good sign. The sun was peaking through the clouds as we neared North Myrtle Beach, and it looked like we were going to outsmart the weather demons once again. We couldn’t check into the hotel until that afternoon, so we decided to use the several hours we had to do something we hadn't done before. No, we did not go back and jump off the bridge in Conway, like I wanted to do last Fall. We decided we would drive down to Huntington Beach State Park. When we turned South on Hwy 17 the weather demons reared their heads again to let us know they had not forgotten us. The sky ahead was as black as night, and when the rain hit us it was as if we were driving through a river. We slowly crept through the storm until we were just a couple of miles from the park when, unbelievably, the sky brightened up again.

There were only a few visitors at the park. We had no difficulty stopping on the causeway to take pictures of the several alligators because there were no other cars on the road, only a few pedestrians. We parked at Atalaya and paid the admission to walk through the house. The sun again was peeking through the clouds and blue patches could be seen in the sky. We almost had the place all to ourselves, as only one other family was there, and they showed up about halfway through our visit. As I read the signs in the house and the information brochure, explaining the function of each room and the role of the servants, I couldn't help but think that the Huntington's lifestyle seemed much like that of the Crawley family depicted on Downton Abbey. (Yes I love that show ...but don't tell anyone)

We walked out to the beach where the tentative sun had coaxed a handful people into trying their luck at “beaching.” Jodie found some blackberries growing along the short path from the house to the ocean, but they were not ripe enough to eat. We drove around the park and visited the gift shop before driving back across the causeway. The alligators were still there, but the traffic had picked up just a bit so we drove slowly across this time without stopping and headed back out to the highway.

We started driving north in search of a place to eat. I remembered reading about the Conch Cafe here on this forum so with a little help from TomTom we found our way to Garden City. We both enjoyed The Conch Cafe. Sitting out on the deck, eating our meal while overlooking the ocean was one of the highlights of our trip. As I type this I cannot for the life of me remember what we ordered. I do remember the she crab soup was quite good. What I remember very well is that while we were eating the weather demons took one more swipe at us. The bottom dropped out. Just inches away from our table huge raindrops roared down on the beach, but as another example of our uncanny luck with the weather, there was no wind. Without any wind the rain just fell harmlessly around us, never reaching the table. Jodie complained was that the weather made her hair friz up, that's a girl thing. I found the whole experience, including the frizzy hair, to be quite exciting.

We made it back to Cherry Grove and checked into our room. It turned out to be the very same room we stayed in last September, which suited us just fine. After a little rest we did what we always do, we headed off to Fat Harold's for some shagging. As usual on our first night, we worked some bugs out of our dancing and refreshed our memories on some steps. We had a couple of new steps to try out too. We stayed at Harold's until we were the last dancers on the floor. I don't know what time it was, but it was late. We stopped by the Bilo in Ocean Drive to get some supplies for the week, and we picked up some junk food to enjoy before bed. Sleep came easy. It had been a long day.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:46 am 
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:cheerleader: I missed shaggin' at Fat Harold's this trip! I am in awe of most of the shagger's I've seen/met there, I just love watching!

We were in town that same week...darn those weather demons!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:09 am 
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Day 2

It was our special day. On this date, twenty five years earlier, we were married. We didn't get up as early as we would have liked. The late night kept us in bed too late to see the sunrise. Even though we specifically booked a room where we could take in that spectacular view of the morning sun peeking over the watery horizon, we ended up sleeping through it each day. When we finally did roll out of bed we began our special day with a romantic 5 mile run. We ran down to just past Ocean Drive and back. We did this “together” but I use that term loosely. Jodie has a faster pace than I do, so while we started out together, she finished before I did. Because of our late start, we got to “enjoy” the full effect of the humidity. The air was thick and muggy, but 900AM WNMB in my earbuds made the experience tolerable.

When we got back to The Prince, we ready for some beaching. We packed up our stuff, drinks, snacks, etc, and headed out. I dug my toes into the sand and kicked back in my chair with my magazine and my mimosa. (doesn't that sound nice) The new beach umbrella was finally serving its intended purpose, as the sun was shining strong. The beach was not crowed. It was a beautiful day. The water, however was way too cold for my liking. The only people in the water were surfers. Jodie went for a long walk. I don't know how she can do that after that long run, or why she would want to, but it makes her happy. I dutifully guarded her beach chair until she returned. We stayed out beaching for a long time.

We broke camp and headed back inside and cleaned up. It was time for a nap. Housekeeping had not made up the room yet, so when the housekeeper arrived I left Jodie in the bed and just swapped out our used towels. Our batteries now recharged, we got up and got dressed for our anniversary dinner. Jodie even put on a dress!! Wow, she looked good. I hadn't seen her in a dress in a while. It made me want to tuck my shirt tail in and stand up straighter.

Jodie's favorite place for several years has been Greg Norman's Australian Grill, so naturally that's where I intended to go, and that's what Jodie expected. We never discussed where we were going to eat until I was parking the car at Barefoot Landing. I suppose that's one of the benefits of being together for so long. Sometimes you don't need to talk; you just know what to do. ...of course there's all those other times when I look at her and wonder “WHO IS THIS WOMAN?”

We walked leisurely around Barefoot Landing for about an hour and half. We first stopped at the Carolina Vineyards and got two frozen wine slushy drinks. I think they were pineapple flavor. I've tried several of them but I don't really care for their novelty wines for simple drinking, but the frozen drinks they make out of them are good. We took our drinks outside. Jodie took my arm and we started walking. Jodie leaned gently on me. It was was very romantic. How lucky I am having a beautiful wife who is still so affectionate after all this time. She leaned on me a little harder causing me to step to my right. It doesn't take much to make Jodie tipsy, but surely that wine slushy isn't so potent that she's already staggering. I felt myself being pushed toward a particular storefront. I realized that Jodie's affectionate touch had a purpose. She had guided me to River Street Sweets, home of the “World Famous Pralines.” Jodie asked the man behind the counter if he had any specials. He explained that if she bought two of the one pound boxes she could get an additional half pound box free. I completed the remainder of our stroll around Barefoot Landing holding Jodie with one hand and of course holding two and a half pounds of pralines with the other.

We browsed through several shops. Jodie bought me a Life is Good T-shirt at Tiki Jim's. Then we found a store we hadn't visited before. It was The Olive Shoppe. The name intrigued us so we went inside. The store sells olive oils and vinegars infused with all sorts of flavors. We sat at the bar and started sampling the wares. I never would have imagined that garlic flavored olive oil makes an unbelievably good vinaigrette dressing when mixed with the chocolate, but it does. There were all sorts of varieties available and all sorts of combinations. We sampled quite a few of them. The man behind the bar was as enthusiastic and knowledgeable about combinations and food parings as any sommelier ever hoped to be. He put each sample on a little piece of bread and told us to imagine the flavor with ice cream, or with salmon, or whatever it paired with. We left the store with about 70 dollars worth of various oils and lots of combination ideas. Jodie has used the oils a couple of times since we have been home and its been very good. I cant say I'm totally convinced that it's worth 70 dollars, but it is indeed very good. After the tasting at The Olive Shoppe it was time for some real food, so we were off to Greg Norman's. We sat outside overlooking the waterway. I got the Grouper and Jodie got the Lobster tails. Both the food and the service were excellent. It was all just as we expected it would be.

After Greg Norman's we went back to the hotel. Off came the dress and on went the dancing shoes. We were en route to Fat Harold's again. Harold's was busy but we got a good table next to the dance floor. We danced a lot and we enjoyed talking with the other patrons sitting nearby. The crowd started thinning out, but we kept dancing. When the DJ played The Embers Beach Music Medley we were able to hit every change perfectly. That was fun. Now my plan all along, being a romantic kind of guy, was to end our anniversary evening with a request to the DJ for the Platters' classic, “With this Ring.” But long before we were ready to end our evening, the DJ ended his. He took down his name from the wall and left. The music kept playing, but there was no DJ. I couldn't make my special 25th anniversary dance request. We kept dancing anyway and eventually we closed the place. Again, I don't know what time it was, but it was pretty late for sure.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:56 am 
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Jodie complained was that the weather made her hair friz up, that's a girl thing. I found the whole experience, including the frizzy hair, to be quite exciting.

I was dying when I read this. I was sitting here at work with the biggest grin on my face when my boss walks in my office asking me what is so funny. :shock: So I shared it with him! He told me that I loved Myrtle Beach way too much.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:26 am 
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Great great report so far!! You guys seem so happy.

I can totally relate to getting a late start on running in MB. This year i'm training for my first marathon and will have to run 3x when i'm there. One run is 9 miles! I'm going to be a sweaty mess!!

Glad you had a great time, sounds great so far.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:32 am 
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What an enjoyable read. You write beautifully especially the tender moments. Usually, when I am reading a trip report I am greeting pumped up thinking of our next trip but somehow your writing is having a soothing effect. You are having a great time and I hope it continues.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:05 pm 
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Bill, you know that I always look forward to your trip reports which I thoroughly enjoy. I really think you and Jodie should come to MB more often, just so we can have more to read!

We have a Divo Oil Co. here in The Market Common which must be just like the store you described. It's easy (and fun) to find flavors you like due to the tasting and pairings, but it's a surprise when they total the bill. Still.....a lot of fun!

You had a wonderful vacation, doing what you both wanted to do and topping it off with a special anniversary dinner. What more can you ask of a vacation.

Thanks for sharing it with us!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:19 pm 
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I am loving your trip report so far!! I can't wait to read more! Happy (late) 25th Anniversary to you and your wife.
Angela


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Another Happy Late Anniversary as well. That was touching to read. We'll get to that point in 2022 and hope to have just as wonderful of a day as you did.

We are currently on the 9 year plan, which if you love Modern Family as much as we do, you understand. 9 more years until the youngest is 18 and graduated high school and hopefully off to college and no longer in our house, LOL :nanner: It also will coincide with our 25th anniversary. Sounds like we definitely will have to come to Myrtle Beach that year for a double celebration, LOL.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:24 am 
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Day 3

We slept through the sunrise. Actually, we slept through the whole morning. Neither of us was motivated to get up and go for a run. Actually, neither of us was motivated to get out of bed at all. I guess our late night partying was taking its toll. Like a pair of carefree teenagers we didn't start the day until about noon. Outside it looked like another great day. From the hotel balcony it appeared that the surfers were still the only ones braving the water temperature, but otherwise the beach looked beautiful. We weighed all of the options available for fun and entertainment in the Paradise that is Myrtle Beach, … and we went back to bed. We stayed in bed pretty much all day, only occasionally stepping out on the balcony to remind ourselves that we were still at the beach.

With suppertime approaching I realized that we had not eaten anything substantial all day, and my stomach was starting to let me know it was time for food. Jodie was equally eager to find a restaurant. No chips, fruit slices, or even “World Famous Pralines” could suffice. It was a little bit early, but we hit the road looking for some seafood. After considering a couple of different places we settled on Crabby Mike's. We were the first ones in the restaurant. The staff wasn't quite ready for us, but they welcomed us in and showed us to a booth. The menu at Crabby Mike's is huge, with an array of specials that only apply under certain circumstances. The waitress helped us navigate through it, though even she needed some help. Eventually we placed our orders. The staff was having a training session of some kind on the other side of the dining room, so while we were eating we were treated to several practice rounds of their Crabby Mikes customized “happy birthday” song. We were both happy to see the food arrive and with we stuffed ourselves.

The motorcycles had been creeping into the area for a couple of days because of the expansion of Black Bike Week. I know to avoid that time of year, but Atlantic Beach changed the dates on us. By Wednesday the bikes were starting to accumulate significant numbers, and the traffic problems caused simply by reckless and discourteous riders started happening more frequently. The noise grew into a constant roar, like being inside of a giant beehive. Fortunately our hotel room faced the ocean allowing us to enjoy the benefit of some acoustic shadowing, so the noise in the street wasn't really an issue in our room. The experience taught me something about motorcycle riding. I learned that some people really shouldn't ride the crotch rocket style bikes that require them to put their least flattering ...um... asset on such prominent display. I think I said that as nicely as I know how.

Jodie and I found ourselves once again at Fat Harold's. We danced for a while before crossing the street to Ducks where The Craig Wollard Band was playing. What an awesome, high energy show it was. It wasn't long before much of the crowd we had seen at Harold's was on the dance floor at Ducks.
We had not been to Ducks in a few years. They have a nice big dance floor. We danced until late as Craig and his boys showed why they are one of the hottest beach bands around. It was lots of fun. We both were having a great time. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I made a new friend. Her name is Becky.

Becky is a tall blonde, very friendly young lady who came up and asked me to dance with her when Jodie went to the bathroom. Of course I could not turn down such a request. Jodie was surprised to see me out on the floor when she got back. Becky, bless her heart, was drunk. What she lacked in coordination, however, she more than made up for with enthusiasm. I had to catch her a few times to keep her from slamming into the other dancers. Jodie just shook her head and rolled her eyes. Since we have been home Jodie has told several people about the women I pick up in bars.

We left Ducks just before the show ended. Across the street Harold's was closed. When we got back to the hotel the roar of the motorcycles had subsided for the most part. It was really late again.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:22 am 
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Bill wrote:
Quote:
I learned that some people really shouldn't ride the crotch rocket style bikes that require them to put their least flattering ...um... asset on such prominent display. I think I said that as nicely as I know how.

Yes, yes, you did say it as nicely as possible, Bill!!! :lol:
We love The Craig Woolard Band, too! :hello:
I just love to read your trip reports! Your style of writing makes one feel as if they are right there with you and Jodie! Looking forward to the next installment! :sunny:

Karen in Upstate SC

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:13 am 
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Day 4

We were not quite so lazy today. We got up and both went for a short run. We ran separately, but we both went about 2 miles. I ran about a mile down the street and then did something I don't usually do. I made the return trip down the beach. I don't like running on the beach sand for several reasons, but I like the sights and sounds of beach running, so I can enjoy it in small doses. When I got back to the Cherry Grove Pier, where The Prince is located, I did not go inside right away. I walked a little way on the beach, still just enjoying the atmosphere. I looked down on the sand, and there it was, a beautiful shark tooth. Before I even reached down to pick it up I immediately thought of Emmy from “Southern” New York, the queen of shark tooth collecting.

I put my treasure in my pocket and walked up the beach to the hotel. I decided I would try out the hotel exercise room across the street. Unfortunately the exercise room is like most hotel facilities. It is there mostly so the hotel can say they have an exercise room. They don't really expect people to use it much and the quality and maintenance of the equipment reflects that philosophy.

We got dressed and drove South to visit Brookgreen Gardens. We have almost gone there a few times but never quite made it. It is a fabulous place to visit. The sculptures were interesting, some very beautiful, some were kind of strange. My favorite, which I suppose leans toward the “strange” end of that spectrum, was entitled “Call of the Sea.” It depicts a naked woman riding atop a fish-like sea creature. She has a big smile on her face, and she holds one arm high in the air like she's a bull rider at the rodeo. When I looked at it I thought. “Now there is a girl who REALLY knows how to have fun at the beach.” I bet she could write a great trip report, but I'm not sure Patrish would it allow it on the message board. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce ought to think about adopting “Call of the Sea” as their logo.

After strolling around the gardens and walking along the “Beyond the Garden Wall Trail” we stopped at The Old Kitchen for some refreshments. Jodie got an iced cappuccino, and I got a beer. We almost stopped to sit for a while in the two vacant rocking chairs on the patio, but instead we walked over to the Brown Sculpture Court. We had just arrived when the sky turned dark and the rain started coming down in buckets. Like many summer storms, it gave us little warning before it was upon us with full force, but we didn't run for shelter. There was no need. The Brown Sculpture Court ...has a ROOF.!!! Yes, the weather demons had taken another big shot at us, and they had missed us yet again. The open courtyard design of the building allows the rain to poor in, creating a feeling of being outside. Overhead the thunder boomed, and just a few feet away the deluge made the reflecting pools appear to boil. But in the dry and comfortable breezeways surrounding the open areas, the aroma of Confederate jasmine still wafted through the air. I quietly sipped on my beer. Jodie sat close to me on the bench, and we watched the statues change color in the rain.

When the storm had passed we left the Brown Sculpture Court and walked to the Low Country Center. I found the center more interesting than the sculptures. I enjoyed the education I got in 17th and 18th century rice production. We bought tickets for the boat tour and just in case our luck had finally run out, we bought two plastic rain ponchos. The sky still looked a little threatening. The boat tour took us through the tidal creeks and out to the Waccamaw River. The tour guide pointed out several alligators along the banks, along with other plant and animal life, and he talked about the rice production history of the area. After the boat tour we walked through the zoo and finally caught the shuttle bus back to our car. The new rain ponchos were still sealed in their packages.

I asked Jodie if she had any thoughts on dinner. When she indicated that she had no preference I decided to turn South on 17 instead of north. Since we were already half way there I thought it was a good time to see what Georgetown had to offer. Before long we were crossing one of the big bridges leading us to the waterfront. Georgetown is delightful. We walked along the river selecting among the restaurants that line the docks. It looked like it might rain any moment, but it didn't, and the patches of dark clouds overhead just added more color to an already lovely setting. We settled on the River Room for dinner, and we got a table by the window looking out on the water. I don't remember what we ate, but I remember being pleased with it. After dinner Jodie and I walked around the town a while, looking in storefronts. Unfortunately, because of the time of day most of them were closed. We made our way back to the car and turned back north toward Cherry Grove.

I asked Jodie if there was any place she wanted to stop on the way back to the hotel. She said, “no” and asked me if wanted to go dancing. I told her that I didn't think so because we had been walking all day, and I figured she was probably kind of tired. She reached down and pulled the handle to recline her car seat and said, “You're a good husband.”


Last edited by Bill on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:33 am 
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Aww, Sounds like another great day! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:01 am 
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So glad you got to Brookgreen and enjoyed yourselves! It's my favorite exercise room! Forget those puny excuses in the hotels. Take your camera and go to Brookgreen. Lie down on your back for some good shots of a foxglove or a trumpet flower overhead. Slowly get on your stomach (stretch those muscles) and belly-crawl to see how close you can get to fat grey squirrel before he cuts and runs. There are exercise opportunities at every turn at Brookgreen.

For the last 3 years I have been working on a web page that includes a shot of each statue, as well as information about the sculptor. In the overall statistics for funbeaches.com, Brookgreen is one of the lowest in popularity. But the e-mail I receive is the most poignant. An attached dog-eared photo of a small boy at about age 5, wearing suspenders attached to his shorts, blonde hair tossed by the wind, standing proudly next to his father, also in suspenders and wearing long pants. They are smiling broadly in front of "Youth Taming the Wild" by Anna Hyatt Huntington. The e-mail came from Belgium, and the story that accompanied it told of a vacation across America in 1945. The father died 2 years ago, and the son had been trying to discover the setting of this old photo by using his only clue…the photograph of the statue. He finally came across my web page, and his story brought tears to my eyes.

Everyone has a favorite statue or two. Perhaps you like "Call of the Sea" because it was posed by a dance student, and we all know how much you and Jodie enjoy dancing! Or maybe something in her goofy smile that resembled Becky's! :shock:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:41 pm 
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patrish wrote:
But the e-mail I receive is the most poignant. An attached dog-eared photo of a small boy at about age 5, wearing suspenders attached to his shorts, blonde hair tossed by the wind, standing proudly next to his father, also in suspenders and wearing long pants. They are smiling broadly in front of "Youth Taming the Wild" by Anna Hyatt Huntington. The e-mail came from Belgium, and the story that accompanied it told of a vacation across America in 1945. The father died 2 years ago, and the son had been trying to discover the setting of this old photo by using his only clue…the photograph of the statue. He finally came across my web page, and his story brought tears to my eyes.

Wow, that is awesome. That alone I bet makes it really feel worth to you having your awesome site up in the word of the web.


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