November 19 – December 2
Since we began this cruise we’d been looking forward to reconnecting with Claus and Rachael at their new house in Bluffton, South Carolina. During the five months we cruised together in 2007-2008, we alternated dinners on one boat or the other every night with rare exceptions, and they quickly became cherished friends for life.
Originally we expected to spend a few days with them, but not long after they met us on the docks the plan changed to “through Thanksgiving.” We were delighted to be able to spend the holiday with people we love.
|Thanksgiving. Let the feast begin.|
We made a feast of it! Rachael and I both love to cook. When we’re in the kitchen together, we bounce creative culinary ideas back and forth. If I say so myself, we assembled a blue-ribbon spread. It included everyone’s favorites: two kinds of mashed potatoes, three kinds of stuffing, a deliciously rich pecan pie and creamy pumpkin pie made from a real pumpkin, not a can. Last but not least, a low-carb pecan pie for me that was almost as good as the real thing. When we counted our blessings around the table, high on the list the good gifts God has given this year was spending the day with friends who feel like family.
|Here's to great friends!|
Part of the reason for our longer layover was that Pelican needed to go to a boatyard (again!) for routine maintenance. She was vibrating while cruising under power (cutlass bearing replaced: check) and leaking water around the prop shaft (dripless shaft seal replaced: check). The day before Thanksgiving she dropped back in the water, and we discovered a small problem: “forward” and “reverse” were switched. Oops!
|Four little elves and Bentley|
That fix would have to wait until Monday after Thanksgiving. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. First, Claus and Rachael’s was a comfy infirmary for Keith and me to recover from nasty colds, with Rachael dispensing all kinds of natural remedies. It also gave us time to help decorate their Christmas tree, sing along with the first carols of the season, and surprise Keith with an early birthday celebration. When our visit inflated from a few days to two weeks, our incredible hosts-with-the-most could not possibly have made us feel more loved and welcome. Their home was truly our home away from home.