McCuen Palooza

Trip Start Jun 29, 2012
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Trip End May 31, 2013


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Schicks
What I did
McCuen Family

Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, May 18, 2013

It is embarrassing that it is August 27th and I am writing the last entry to the blog now.  I think we had a goal of finishing it a few days after our return.  Where did the time go?  All of you know where it went, swim team, work, and stuff.  A lot of that stuff on Kara's side has been a major house re-do that she had been contemplating with many of the friends and family members that we visited during the trip.  It is 3 days before McCuen Palooza 2 because Red's 75th is this weekend so it is appropriate that we write about the great last days of the trip before the McCuens and Schicks arrive in the Charm City this weekend.

The trip from Savannah to Columbia was tame compared to many of the long hauls that faced us in the states.  The first show was in Columbia at Aunt Katherine's.  Aunt Katherine has always been a favorite because of her age-defying spunkiness.  She lives in a beautiful apartment building overlooking Columbia and a lot of the Gamecock campus including Williams-Bryce stadium where I saw the Rolling Stones as a young lad.  Catherine's husband Brent is a General and a huge fan of Washington and Lee so it is always fun to talk to him.  We had a nice spaghetti lunch and the kids behaved well and helped set up and clean up.  It was nice to know we were not returning animals to the states.  Lee, Catherine's son joined us.  He is a genius that was not only involved in engineering a kid's toy with an old college acquaintance of mine, Kathy Boozer, but also spent time at the Port of Baltimore as an engineer. 

After a wonderful lunch and some time with Brent trying to give us multiple movies, books and pictures of the great Washington & Lee University we were headed to see Aunt Mary Jane (affectionately known as Dirl).  We had lasagna with Aunt Mary Jane, checked out her new truck, heard about the fate of the lost Gator and just really enjoyed our time catching up.  We got to walk out to the lake after dinner and check out the huge garage that has hosted so many of the wonderful reunions over the years.  We also had a lot of chatter about the next reunion.  Hopefully it will be soon.

We arrived in Myers Park in Charlotte late that night.  We have always loved spending time with the Schicks from our wedding onward.  They are such a great family and while our time together has been scarce our familiarity with them betrays the lack of time we have had together.  In short, we could have stayed up all night talking.  That first night we got the kids settled, caught up with Rebecca and Caroline and stayed up with Kim and Brian too late.  Rebecca is a gamecock like her parents and Annie I believe.  Frances was at Chapel Hill and Annie was in New Orleans teaching for Teach for America.  Caroline was studying for AP exams and seemed a little less than enthused.  She seemed ready for summer.  Myers Park is beautiful and is just south of Uptown.  It reminds me of Roland Park and then we came to find out that it was designed by Olmstead, the same gentleman that designed Roland Park. 

The Schicks are awesome and would be great friends if they lived closer.  Kara and I love hanging out with them and also respect them as parents.  Their girls are just really good people. We were definitely taking parenting notes.  They are motivated, fun, responsible and respectful and they seem to really like their parents.  We would love to accomplish all of that.  The next morning I received "cannot get lost" running directions from Brian and Kim and got lost within the first mile.  I still had a great run and ended it in what must have been the busiest Starbucks in the south.  Kim teaches at Dilworth Elementary and gets to walk to work.  Brian was playing golf with some clients on Friday.

We mostly just hung out in the morning on their great wrap around porch and headed to this really cool joint across the light rail tracks for lunch.  The kids could not get enough of Rebecca and Caroline.  We actually asked Rebecca to come home with us but she politely declined.  She must have thought we were crazy.  That afternoon Brian took me on a bike-share tour of Charlotte.  I hardly recognized my home of 1993-1995.  My takeaways were that it takes business leadership to create a great city and for mass transit you need a full plan.  Their light rail has been hugely successful and has been combined with apartments, shops and paths and it just seems to all work.  We rode by their first house, the Panthers practice facility which is next to the stadium. I am sure the Castle is great here but how cool would it be to have the Ravens practicing downtown.  We had a great cook out that night.  We stayed up too late.  Becky, Tom and Linda came over and again the party could have lasted all night.  The 5am departure turned into 10am and Brian almost talked us into hanging out longer but we could all sniff Woodbine and to be honest we were in a little bit of shock that we would actually be walking in our home after 10.5 months.
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