The Charleston Trip, Part 6: Costume Ball and Heading Home

As I mentioned in my last post, G & L had a costume ball reception in addition to the Secret Gardens reception.  When I got back to my room after taking photos at the stables, I got into my costume and proceeded to the parking lot in front of G & L’s room.  There, the guests were arriving.  Everyone had a costume on.  Mine was Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

After taking a few photos, I was ushered into G & L’s room.  The wedding party members were going to go separate from the regular guests so we could be introduced at the reception.  While waiting, I was handed my mask.  It was nice, but I was afraid that it would mean I’d need to remove my glasses.  Luckily, it fit over my glasses quite easily.  I’m not sure if this was planning on G & L’s part or just plain luck, but it worked nicely.  The mask had only one drawback:  No peripheral vision.  More on that later.

After waiting for awhile, we headed to the reception.  It wasn’t far.  The reception hall was at another section of Middleton Place.  We waited outside while everyone got ready.  It was nighttime and the entire place was pitch black.  Our main source of light (besides the reception hall) was a series of torches lining our path.  I glanced to one side and realized that I was dangeriously close to one of the torches.  Any closer and I’d have had to change my blog name to CrispyDad!

When it was time for us to be introduced, we all donned our masks and the band started playing the Closing Theme from Star Wars.  Yes, G chose this musical selection.  I guess L should be happy he didn’t choose Vader’s March.  It actually worked out very nicely.  The big fanfare at the end came up just as G & L entered the room.

The reception itself was great.  There was dancing, food, music, more dancing.  I even got G to do the Sher (which I mistakenly called the Horah during the dance).  This is a dance often performed at Jewish celebrations.  All of the dancers form a circle and two dancers move to the middle.  They lock arms and circle one another.  Then they break the lock, lock their other arms, and circle in the opposite direction.  One or both of the dancers then goes back to the circle and another dancer or pair of dancers moves to the middle.

G and I had danced this dance at my wedding during which time I spun him so fast that he fell down.  This isn’t as mean as it seems.  G and I have a running gag where I do something and he performs a pratfall.  If I recall correctly, he even met L when he tripped and fell onto her lap.  In any event, I decided not to repeat the G-Toss.  G had other ideas, though and intentionally broke the lock and went flying.

In a nice moment of cultural spillover, there was a Sudden Outbreak of Sher.  Everyone was doing it including an elderly Italian couple.  Due to my participation, I didn’t get any Sudden Outbreak of Sher photos, but I did get these:

I also took a video of my friend doing some rather embarassing dance moves.  Unfortunately, that came out so dark that you can’t see anything.  The blackmail qualities of the video are gone!

All too soon, I realized that I should be getting back to my room.  I had an early flight the next morning and needed to pack my things.  I said my goodbyes and some final congratulations.  Then I got a ride back to my room.  I quickly changed out of my costume, packed my things up as best I could at the time, and went to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up at 3am.  I got ready, packed up my remaining belongings, did a few sweeps of the room to make sure nothing was left behind, and then headed out.  It was pitch black outside and I was barely able to guide myself to the spot where the van was going to meet me to drive me to the airport.  At 4:30am, I met up with the van and got driven to the airport.  At 6am, my flight took off from Charleston, SC to Atlanta, Georgia.

While in Atlanta, I continued a tradition that I started on my trip down:  I picked up some postcards for NHL to add to his photo album.  (He later requested some prints from my trip and has filled up one whole photo album.)  The trip was nice and I didn’t regret not having my wife and kids there.  I missed them, of course, but I don’t think they would have enjoyed themselves as much as I did.  By the time I landed at our airport, I was itching to see my kids.  I had taken a small photo album with me with a few 4×6’s of my wife and kids.  As we neared the airport, I found myself taking out the album more and more.

After getting off the plane, I headed for the security gate where my wife, kids, and in-laws were waiting for me.  It’s a good thing my in-laws were there.  They held JSL and NHL back.  Otherwise, they would have charged past the security line to run to me.  I don’t think airport security would have appreciated that.  Once I got past the security line, though, all bets were off and I was charged by two boys who had missed their daddy.  I gave them both big hugs and we headed home.  It’s fitting that this is being posted on Thanksgiving.  While I had a blast on my trip and would love to go back there one day, I was extremely thankful to be home hugging both of my boys.

The Charleston Trip, Part 4: Wedding Rehearsal Day

After the Ghost Walk, I returned to my room, set my alarm for 6:30am, and fell asleep.  I neglected to do one important thing, though:  Test the volume on the radio in the room.  Consequently, I woke up at 9:15.  Panicking, I quickly showered, got dressed, and sprinted off to breakfast at 9:30am.  It’s got to be a new record for me. (Getting ready that fast, not being out by that time.)

 They had quite the spread at the inn.  Bagels, eggs, grits (my first time trying… quite good!), muffins, french toast, etc.  After breakfast, I hung out in the honeyroom suite with my friend and his bride-to-be.  It was then that I took the photos off my camera and discovered the creepy face.  I also took photos of their many turtles.

Next, it was Tux time!  We drove out to the tuxedo rental shop.  It was tucked away and tough to find, but we managed to locate it.  Then, while some last minute alterations were done, we walked around the nearby shops grabbing some snacks.  I’m proud to report that my friend (who usually doesn’t like trying new things) tried Hummus for the first time as well as a bagel with Caraway seeds.  He liked both.  (I recommended making a Hummus and Feta cheese sandwich for a healthy lunch.)

Once we had our tuxes in tow, we headed back to the inn. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn or two, but eventually found our way back.  Some profuse appologies to the bride later, and we ran through how the wedding was to proceed.  My job as a groomsman was easy.  I walk down the aisle, stand in the line during the service, then walk out with one of the bridesmaids.  Simple.

The only complication was that I seemed to have developed a bad cough the week before and it wouldn’t go away.  I started getting afraid that I’d ruin the service from excessive coughing.  I took the rehearsal as an opportunity to try different techniques to suppress the cough.  (I should have gotten some cough syrup when we stopped by Piggley Wiggley after getting our Tuxes, but I didn’t think of it at the time.)

After the rehearsal, we had some down time until the rehearsal dinner.  I used my time to (what else?) take more photos of the grounds.  This time, I also stopped by their stables to take some horse photos.  These came in handy on the bus as a little girl named J was upset.  My daddy instinct (which was going through withdrawal being away from my boys for so long) kicked in and I inquired what was up.  It turned out that they didn’t have time to see the horses which J loves.  He loved horses so much, in fact, that her entire room at home was decorated in horses.  When I found this out, I took out my camera and showed her the horse photos that I had taken.  Seeing the horses helped calm her down.

The rehearsal dinner went smoothly.   The food was good and the restaurant even accomadated a special need of mine.  It seems that the pasta was mixed in the same sauce that they use to cook their meatballs and sausage.  Since I wouldn’t eat those, they brought me a special plate just for me.  (The dishes were family style otherwise.)  Yes, I took photos of the food too.  I think my camera rooted itself to my hands during the trip!

After the dinner, I went back to my room and prepared for the next day’s events.  Coming up next:  It’s Wedding Day!

The Charleston Trip, Part 3: Creepy Ghost Walk

My first night in Charleston, we went on a ghost walk.  Part of it involved a campfire and telling a story about a nice, young lady named Lavinia Fisher and her husband who ran an inn just outside of town.  Lavinia would entice travelers inside, give them a nice (poisoned) drink, show them to their room, then chop up their bodies, hide them under the floorboards and take their possessions.

It was the perfect crime except when a mortician stopped by and recognized the dead body smell emanating from the house.  He excused himself, continued into town, and returned with the sheriff.  When she was hung, Lavinia wore a white wedding dress and proclaimed that she was going to hell to marry the devil.  Like I said, a nice, young lady.

Back to our ghost walk, though.  My main photographic interest at that point was the fire.  It’s not often that I get to take photos of fire.  I can’t exactly ask my wife if I can set one in our living room, after all.  I took many fire shots and the next day, copied my photos to my friend’s laptop.  As I showed him the photos, this one stood out:

Do you see it?

How about now?

That’s a face.  In the fire.  During our ghost stories tales.  Creepy, huh?

Here are the rest of the photos, I took:

The Charleston Trip, Part 2: Wandering the Grounds

In Part 1 of my story, I got to Charleston safe and sound, but an hour later than scheduled.  This delay meant that the rest of the wedding party had departed for my friend’s property.  I was left alone at The Inn at Middleton Place.

My first take was to check into my room.  They needed to give me a new room since my first one was still being cleaned.  Otherwise, check-in went smoothly.  Soon, I was settled into my room.

My friend, his fiance, and everyone else weren’t going to back for a few hours, so I decided to wander the property.  I quickly found out that Middleton Place is a photographer’s dream.  From the spanish moss, to the wildlife, to the thousand year old Oak trees, to the Ashley river, to… well, you get the point.  By the end of my self-tour, I had learned quite a bit about the history behind Middleton Place and had walked quite a few miles (or at least it felt like that).  Here are some (ok, MANY) photos from my walk-about: 

Coming up next, we get creepy with a ghost walk and an unexpected visitor!

The Charleston Trip, Part 1: Photos From Up High

It’s taken me awhile, but I’m finally going to blog my photos from my trip to Charleston, South Carolina for my friend’s wedding.  Well, not *ALL* of the photos just yet.  There are over a thousand of them after all.  1,004 to be exact.  (The "over 1,100" number from a previous post and includes some blurry shots and some videos I took.)  I’ll post the photos in batches in chronological order with a narrative accounting of the events.

Let’s start with the flight down.  The day before my flight out, the weathermen were talking about a big snowstorm that was to hit us that night and into the next morning (when my fight was).   They were predicting 2-4 inches of snow.  "Great", I thought. "Let’s add bad road conditions and icy plane wings to my takeoff fears."  To be safe, my wife set the alarm for 3:45am.  (My flight was scheduled for 6am.)

We were spending the night at my in-laws’ house since that was where my wife and kids were going to stay over Halloween.  NHL woke up one time during the night and, though sleepy, was surprised to see me come to his bed.  "Daddy?  Why are you still here?" he asked.  I explained that I hadn’t left yet, gave him a kiss, and helped him get back to sleep.

I woke up at 3:45am, tossed on some clothes and got ready to leave.  I had already packed the previous day, so I was ready to go very quickly.  In addition, that predicted 2-4 inches of snow didn’t materialize.  Yes, snow fell from the sky, but nothing stuck.  Not even a dusting.  I tossed my suitcase and backpack (containing snacks, a book, flight/wedding information, and my camera) into my father-in-law’s car, and we were off.

At 4:30am, I arrived at the airport.  I thanked my father-in-law and headed in.  Checking my bags went smoothly.  So did airport security.  By 5am, I was sitting by my terminal waiting for my flight to board.  Reading (Lord of the Rings) helped pass the time and soon we were boarded and in the air.

The flight was pretty uneventful except for a missed photo opportunity.  We were above the clouds and I saw the sun rising in the sky.  There was a beautiful sunrise popping over the fluffy white clouds.  It would have made a beautiful photo.  Except I was on the other side of the plane and would have had to lean over a perfect stranger to take the photo.  Call me crazy, but I felt just too awkward saying "Hey, that’s a great sunrise out there.  Mind if I lean over your lap to snap a few photos?" to him.

My connecting flight brought some drama.  I got off my first flight and saw the gate immediately.  I had an hour to kill, so I decided to wander the airport a bit.  Lucky I did that since I saw on the arrivals/departures board that my flight had changed gates.  Then it got delayed.  And delayed again.  (Mechanical troubles.  How fun!)  Finally, we boarded a "mere" 55 minutes after we were supposed to.

I didn’t have a window seat, but the window seat next to me was untaken so I claimed it as my own.  Once we were in the air, I snapped some pics. 


 We landed with no problems other than a bonked head while standing up.  (Mental note:  Remember to watch out for the overhead luggage bins when standing!)

On the downside, the flight delay meant that I didn’t get to see the property that G & L purchased in South Carolina (that they are turning into a vineyard and Italian community).  On the plus side, I did get to wander the grounds where I was staying alone and take many, many, MANY photos.  But that will have to wait for another post.

1 9 10 11