1069142_10151715136864111_935268306_n

Aside from the small introductory post I put up last week, I have not blogged since sometime in March.  It’s September now, and I am   both physically and metaphorically hanging my head in shame.  I think the National Blog Association has just put me in an instructive slideshow on how not to maintain a blog.

So, with all of that said, you may need to read with a dose of caution because I’m a little rusty.  The right grammatical mistake or incongruent sentence could put an eye out.

If you were wondering what I did this summer, I would love to show you.  Just drive through the Chick-fil-a on Cox Creek, peek your head inside and take a look around.  And that’s about it.  You’re looking at the bulk of my summer through that little window.

However, there was one particular week that I didn’t spend handing chicken out to the masses.

Back in July, my family and I piled into the Navigator and started on a week-long road trip to Charleston, South Carolina.

Ten hours and many laughs later, we pulled under the awning of our hotel.  Mom’s parents, who had made a last minute decision to join us on the trip, had only beaten us by a few minutes.  We had a quick bite to eat at the neighboring Ruby Tuesdays; we all retired to our respective beds and rested before the EXCITING day ahead of us.

The next morning, we pulled out of the hotel parking lot with our spirits up and our stomachs full-ish.

(In my personal, but correct opinion, you can never get completely full on a skimpy continental breakfast.)

We followed my grandparents into historic downtown Charleston.

Now, this is a point that I feel I need to discuss with you, because I’m still mildly confused about it myself.

Why did the six of us not ride together?  There was plenty of room.  Well, maybe “plenty” is the wrong word—but there was enough. Why did my grandfather always just shake his head when the question was raised and move quickly to his own car?

I have a two theories:

1. He didn’t like the idea of riding in a motorized vehicle that he was not controlling.  Out of all the years I’ve known my papaw, I don’t think I have EVER seen him in the passenger seat.

2. He needed a built-in escape route.

My dad thinks it was a combination of both, but I’ll let you assess the facts and decide for yourself (because I know you are really concerned about this issue).

Our two separate cars pulled into the Charleston Visitor Center about fifteen minutes later.

Okay, let’s pause again and talk about this.

First of all, I learned a few things about my granddad during this trip, one of which being that he has a magnetic pull on his soul to every visitor center he comes across.  And why not? They have such a wealth of useful (or –less, depending on who you are) information.

Which brings me to my next point.  Pamphlets.

In the Charleston Visitor Center, there is a wall: The Wall of Pamphlets.  With a spotlight right above it, it really is as glorious as it sounds. Hundreds of colorful, folded pieces of paper line the shelves with information on the best ghost tour around, where to get the best tattoo in Charleston, or the location of Rhett Butler’s house.  My mother looked like she was in TJMaxx during their annual Labor Day sale.  You know what I’m talking about ladies: snatch and grab, show no mercy.

We exited the building with about fifteen pamphlets. Each.

John and Charm trying to decode one of the very complicated maps of Charleston.

John and Charm trying to decode one of the very complicated maps of Charleston.

After analyzing our material and exploring the surrounding area for a bit, we      decided that in order to get to the main part of historic downtown Charleston, taking a trolley would be our best bet.  But in order to do that, we needed to go back in to the visitor center and get a pamphlet that had a trolley schedule.  HOW DID WE MANAGE TO MISS THAT ONE?

Okay, so the trolley schedule is in hand—what happens now?

Well, first we wait for the wrong trolley on this corner.  Then we wait for the other wrong trolley on that corner. And then we cross the street and wait for the right trolley on this corner.  Pretty simple.

Ahhh…  Seated in a cool, air-conditioned trolley, we breathed a sigh of relief.  Tension was dissolved.  Sweat evaporated.  All was right with the world.

Approximately two blocks away from our initial boarding spot, our driver picked up her microphone and began to speak to us.  I assumed that was what she was doing but I couldn’t actually understand her.  The voice coming through the speaker’s sounded like a version of Charlie Brown’s teacher who had been a smoker for the past forty years of her life.

But apparently my dad is fluent in that language so he translated for us:

“She says…that it’s time for her break.  She’ll be stopping for a short R&R and we can either stay here and wait for her or get off here and walk.  And if we choose to get off, there’s a complimentary map of the area at the front of the bus.”

A map? GREAT! BECAUSE THE 35 MAPS WE HAVE IN OUR HANDS WOULD NEVER BE SUFFICIENT.

We said she could keep her stupid map—we would wait.  Though we had been virtually on the trolley by ourselves, the next twenty minutes filled it with Charleston’s finest.  And by finest, I mean smelliest.

But twenty minutes later that woman clamored back into her seat, glowing with her R&R, and drove us to Kings Street.

Later that week we drove to Edisto Island for a little sightseeing.  And let me tell you, we saw a lot of trees, and grass, and very little civilization for a long time.  Our first real sign that the place was inhabited was also our first stop.  Would you like to guess what it was?

Ding, ding, ding! You got it—the Edisto Island Visitor Center.

But this was not just any ordinary visitor center.  No, this little building also doubled as a serpentarium.  You didn’t know that was a real word? Me either. Mainly because it isn’t.  But the people of Edisto Island don’t know that, and I, a mere guest, was not about to tell them.

Are you at all curious what this not-word is describing? I knew you were.  It’s like an aquarium full of snakes.  Sounds like a fun time, huh?

We walked in through the gift shop, intending to just grab a coke and a bathroom break.  As we wandered through the little shop, the lady behind the counter began to give us a full run-down of the serpentarium schedule.

“Now, in a few minutes, we’ll be giving our daily tour of the serpentarium.  And,” with added excitement, “if you folks are going to be here on Thursday, we’ll be having a venom extraction.”

WELL, I DO LOVE A GOOD VENOM EXTRACTION.

And unfortunately, I may have said that last part outside out loud.

So there it is. The Brock Family Vacay in a nutshell.  Go ahead, clear your calendars, and make sure you are ready for next year’s trip!