Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yes, we ordered food, too.

I am writing this while flying from Greenville, South Carolina, to Atlanta on my way back home to Miami.

If memory serves, and I believe it does, this is the first time in about 40 years that I have actually written something while flying on a plane.
Back then, I was on what was called the Big Ten Skywriters Tour.  We were sportswriters, and we would fly on a small charter to the conference schools, plus Notre Dame.
On our stops, we would interview football coaches and players previewing the upcoming football season.
Often, because of the demand of deadlines, we would pound the keys of our portable typewriters so copy would be ready when we landed. We were in the sky, and we were writing. Hence the term skywriters.
Nowadays the writers all go to one spot and the coaches and players come to them. We had more fun.
This time I am typing not on a portable Royal but a MacBook Pro laptop, and I am not writing about football but my visit with old friends from high school.
One of them, Tim, has a home at the south end of Lake Keowee (an Indian word which I think means “water surrounded by big houses”) just outside of Seneca, South Carolina.
Cottages on the lake. Yeah, right.
I mentioned the visit in a previous blog, wondering if South Carolina would live up to my idea there would be more pretty girls around then there had been the year before when we visited Tom’s place in Manzanita, Oregon.
Frankly, we didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention, so the result is a bit inconclusive. We did visit the Clemson University campus, but apparently school was between summer sessions so hardly anybody, male or female, was around.
The visit did feature the usual amount of reminiscing and consumption of adult beverages, and Tim had an ambitious schedule of activities for us.
We spent most of the first two days on the lake on his pontoon boat where I, as a Florida resident who should be used to such things, managed to get a sunburn. But it wasn’t a particularly bad one.
We also drove up to North Carolina to Highlands, a popular spot for summer visitors, especially ones from Florida, for lunch. It was crowded.
Visitors fill up the streets in Highland, N.C.
One thing Tim had not planned was a trip to the local hospital. On Friday, Syke was really feeling down. He didn’t eat lunch or even get out of the car in Highlands, and he didn’t feel like taking part in the art lesson Tim’s daughter Libby had planned for that afternoon. (We fused glass trinkets for use as pendants for our wives. Aren’t we the thoughtful ones? Well, sort of.)
That evening Syke asked to be taken to the hospital to get his ticker checked, and he ended up spending the night there.
He wasn’t released from the hospital until the next afternoon, but he is on this plane sitting behind me as I write on this Sunday morning, so there is a happy ending at least for now. He faces more tests this week back home.
Aside from that, and the fact one of group couldn’t make the trip at all because of family obligations, our fifth “reunion” went very well. The weather was fantastic the entire time, with potential storms bypassing us and the temperature not being too unbearable.
It was a relaxing four-plus days. I highly recommend such outings. 
You think we need sun block?
We already have talked about next year, but nothing definite has been set.
Florida was mentioned as a destination -- Tom has a place in St. Petersburg -- but a couple of us are wondering if it might be time to return in 2011 to the cabin in the woods of Indiana just outside of Bloomington where we gathered for our first three years.
No matter. It’s not so much the destination as it is the company that makes these summer outings a success.

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