Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

When we were driving into Holden Beach for our family vacation back in September, we noticed this place on the side of the road.  It was actually kind of hard to miss.  The best way I know for you to be able to see it is to check out 2431 Holden Beach Road, Holden Beach, NC in Google Maps and take a gander at the street view.  Basically it was all this….. just, STUFF… on the side of the road.  Stuff everywhere and lights in the trees and on all the buildings.  But remember, this was back in September, so they weren’t Christmas lights.  Just lights in general.  Year round lights.

Once we got settled in at our beach house, I asked my uncle about it.  Turns out, I should have known exactly what it was.  A few years ago, my mom’s cousin’s daughter… so my third cousin or something?… made a short documentary film about the woman who lives there.  Blaire stumbled upon this place one day when she was in school and in need of a subject for a documentary she had to make.

I suppose the place is known as Mary’s Garden, and the film my cousin made is called Mary’s Gone Wild.  Anyway, Mary is an artist.  She mainly paints on the reverse side of glass.  But, she also paints on pieces of plywood and any other thing she can find.  She recycles old windows and boards and paints on them.  She has also recycled old glass bottles into actual “houses” and other pieces of art on her lot, including a wishing well and a sailboat.  Not only does she sell her art, she also has tons of old stuff in some of her buildings (buildings which she builds all by herself!) that you can buy if it strikes your fancy.  She even paints the floors and walls and ceilings of these buildings.

My mom and I went back and stopped by later in the week and met Mary, and we each bought one of her paintings, mine a dragonfly and my mom’s a sun.  She donates the proceeds from all of her paintings to Feed the Children.  While we were visiting, I took a few photos of my own, which hardly do the place justice.

Mary also mentioned while we were there that the TV show American Pickers had called and was supposed to be coming by in October to see if she had anything they’d be interested in, so I keep checking to see if she will be on one of their episodes one of these days.

Anyway, this place was unreal.  You can check out the website for both Mary’s Garden and read more about my cousin’s documentary (and even watch it!) by clicking here.  And if you’re ever in the Holden Beach area, you should definitely stop by!  It’s worth checking out.

Anyone out there ever been there?


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Captain Dick

As I was writing the post about our trip to Holden Beach, I felt like I should explain a little more about my sweet uncle, Dick.  He is not a blood relative of mine, as he is married to my mother’s sister, but he certainly has always treated me as if we were.

He and my aunt met at Virginia Beach when he was in the Navy.  He later worked as an elementary school principal, and when I was younger, I remember thinking he must have been the nicest principal ever to exist.  I don’t know when it started, but at least all my life I’ve known this man to absolutely LOVE fishing.  I don’t know that I know of anyone who loves something so much as he loves to fish.

When I was growing up, our family would often rent a house at the beach for a week, and he’d go fishing all the time.  I have a very distinct memory, and it has to be one of my earliest ones because I had to be soooo young, of being at the beach and he and my dad and my brother and maybe another cousin and uncle or two were getting in the boat, and they were asking if I wanted to come.  I remember definitely NOT wanting to go, as I was scared of being in the boat in the water.  So, I stayed behind with my mom, and off they went fishing.  Each night, he’d cook the most delicious fish, crab, clams, whatever the day’s catch had been.  And french fries and hush puppies and oh my goodness, was it so yummy!

I don’t remember how old I was when my aunt and uncle bought their house at the lake, but I remember thinking how happy he must have been to be able to just walk through the backyard, jump in the boat, and go fishing whenever he wanted.

Sometimes, when we were younger, my brother and I’d stay at the lake with my aunt and uncle, and at night, he’d take us catfishing.  Well, sometimes both of us, but sometimes just me.  For a night owl like me, it was absolutely exhilarating.  Just the most fun.  After dinner, we’d go out in the boat, and he’d do all the work baiting the hooks and setting up our lines, and then we’d wait for the fish to bite.  There was lots of waiting.  We’d wait and sing.  “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”  Wait and talk.  He’d teach me things like which side of the boat was starboard and which side was port.  He’d ask me what I thought about different things.  We’d wait on the peaceful, quiet lake in the light of the moon and watch for those rods to dip enough to know we had a big one.  Jump up and grab the rod and set the hook and reel that fish in!  He’d do all the work, but he’d always let me reel.  That was the most fun and exciting part, after all.  Then, we’d wait for the next one.  Wait and just sit.  Wait and fall asleep on the front of the boat.  Ok, maybe that was just me.  But, he’d just let me sleep.  Some of my fondest memories though, fishing with my Uncle Dick.  There’s just something about watching someone else do something they love so much.  For them to share it with you is truly priceless.  He was just doing what he loved to do, but the fact that he chose to bring me along is something I will probably never forget.

After he retired, he could have been content to fish all day, but he wasn’t.  He got his Captain’s license.  This is a man who had once almost completed a PhD program, and he said the captain’s test was the hardest test he’s ever taken.

So, a few weeks ago when we were at Holden Beach, I was so excited for Jake to be able to come fishing with us so I could show off my sweet uncle in action.  It was only about the third time Jake’d ever been fishing, and his first time going in the ocean on a boat.  First time driving a boat, too.  Dick still did all the work baiting the hooks and setting up our lines, and I was just so proud as we waited for some fish to bite.  And then I caught the first fish.  And then we all took turns reeling them in.  I may have even fallen asleep on the boat on the way back home.  And Jake had a blast.

As much as Dick loves fishing, you’d think that’s all there was to him.  But, it isn’t.  He’s also an artist.  He paints beautiful watercolors, and can carve anything out of a piece of wood.  He absolutely loves animals.  He’s one of the funniest people I know.  He is one of those people that can say something funny with the straightest face.  I cannot imagine him angry or upset, though I’m told it has happened before.  He is just one of the sweetest, most patient people I know.


And Dick, if you’re reading this, I love ya!

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Hey Everyone! We hope that you had a happy 4th of July! We celebrated Independence Day by having amazing hot dogs complete with chili and barbecue chips for lunch followed up by a good ol’ American steak (for Jake) and shrimp (for me) for dinner.

What did you do for the 4th of July this year?

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The feeling you get when you obtain your first house together is pretty exciting. You get the butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, and random hyperventilation brought upon by the amount of money you just ‘spent’. Luckily for us, these physiological anxious reactions were not part of our buying experience. Behold, I give you our first new house bought together as a couple! It was built and constructed during our courtship.

I know what you are thinking… Jake, that is a lego house. Yes it is and we are proud to say that it took us approximately 1 hour to build. That’s right, you read that correctly, we bought our first house together as a couple and it wasn’t even put together… we had to do all the work ourselves! It came complete with our first tree too!

It is portable, easily disassembled, two stories, and plastic (will last a long time). We chose yellow and black as a color because we wanted the house to reflect our love for nature in the form of a bee. It even comes with a grill and mailbox! Haha, while this may seem a bit deceiving, it is a humorous adaptation of our ongoing project that is the home office. Yes, we have graced our Ikea Expedit 5×5 with our first house.

What do you think of our first house as a couple?

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How the years have come and gone. As a young lad, I always wanted to climb things, trees, buildings, etc. You can only imagine how excited I was that my dad and grandfather decided to engage in constructing me a tree house, especially one with a fireman’s pole. The tree house was built around a tree, not attached to it. My family is a firm believer in the preservation of nature, specifically trees.

As you can see, it is an elaborate structure built to sustain copious amounts of individuals. Off to the left you can see the fireman’s pole; it was so awesome to slide down and then try to climb back up. There are 3 ‘levels’. The first level is the main ‘catwalk’ around the tree. The second level is a little walkway between the two trunks of the tree. The third level is right above that. Upon standing on the third level, you could continue upwards towards the heavens on the tree itself. I used to climb up that tree pretty high and sit there listening. Ah the memories of the tree swaying back and forth in the wind as I sat observing things.

Here is a different angle of the tree house. The tree house was built approximately 15 to 20 years ago. I am not entirely sure how long it took to build such a structure, but I do remember climbing up and down ladders handing the ‘builders’ supplies and materials. After it was all built, I used to spend hours up in the tree house playing.

What do you think about my tree house?

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