When we chose to begin our 7-month cruise, one of the first things I wondered about was where we’d be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been “away from home” as an adult for either of those holidays. And because we have been properly educated by sailing friends, countless books, and numerous seminars, we know that wise sailors NEVER sail to a schedule. It just isn’t safe, and we can put ourselves and others’ lives in jeopardy.
Even so, I confess that just two weeks into our voyage I began to anticipate where we might be for Thanksgiving. I estimated time for delays, or leisurely visits to quaint towns, and still penciled us into the Savannah area for late November. Both sons were willing to drive from their apartment in Elon NC to meet us wherever we would be on the east coast, and Savannah was an easy sell. However, our lengthy stay in Wrightsville Beach put that destination into question.
But Hilton Head SC seemed quite manageable, and even better, our friends Will and Susan were nearby and excited about the prospect of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. They extended their hospitality to include friends Margo and Jake from Savannah, in addition to Philippe and Jean-Luc.
Prior to the sons’ arrival on Thanksgiving Day, we walked the beach at Sea Pines Plantation, reliving some of Dudley’s childhood memories of wading pools and long expansive stretches of sand. We were not the only people out on the beach, reveling in the sun and balmy mid-70s temperature.
The young men arrived in my Mini-Cooper (I do miss that car) by mid-afternoon and the nine of us, including Susan’s 98-year old mom, enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at Will and Susan’s home.
Dudley’s daughter Kathryn joined us via FaceTime and shared her holiday feasting from San Francisco. Football and napping rounded out the traditional holiday festivities. What a nice day!
Friday found us anxious to work off some of those calories, so Susan took us to her community fitness center. My body craved those cardio and weight machines (I miss my YMCA)!
Then it was time to relive Philippe’s college days so we hightailed it to Savannah and walked along the waterfront (and scouted docking possibilities for next year), meandered through the picturesque squares, and visited the Massie Museum to see the maritime exhibit that Philippe helped design during his senior year at SCAD.
Massie has many engaging exhibits, including an 1870’s classroom that prompted a bit of fun.
Next on the agenda: ice cream and beer! No trip to Savannah is complete without ice cream at Leopold’s, no matter how long the line. Yep, we convinced Dudley to stand in line for ice cream. Moon River won the coin toss for beer and grub, and we even got a quick tour of the haunted rooms upstairs.
And then it was time for a few goodbyes. We bid adieu to Margo and Jake, after two days of friendship and fun. And we hugged farewells to Philippe and Jean-Luc, who were heading a few miles south of the city to stay with a college buddy of Philippe’s.
As “the boys” drove away, I couldn’t help but think about what it means to be “away from home” for the holidays. Where is my home now? Home is our mobile boat, and home is our family, and home includes our friends who are the family we choose. So for this holiday, and the next one, if I’m with family and friends, then I’m not away from home. I am home. And I like that.