Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacationing at Topsail Island - And Celebrating 23 Years of Marriage (Happy Anniversary, Donald Honey!)

I love the beach.

I am a beach bum at heart.

My friend Dindy believes that the two of us have salt water running through our veins, and I believe she may be right. She and I have shared some beach trips, for sure - back in the day. Hilton Head was a favorite spot to visit - before it became what it is today. Our trips to Hilton Head were back when Charles Frasier first started developing the island, but had no idea - I don't think - that it would become what it has. To my mind and eye it's become another over-built resort city that, while charming, has lost that essential, basic charm it once had when it began as a beautiful, pristine island paradise.

And Fripp Island. Oh my. We had some glorious times at Fripp Island, I must say. I haven't been back to Fripp in over 20 years and I want to remember it as it was back then when 10 or 15 young, somewhat wild and silly people, would hit there every year for Memorial Day weekend.

I grew up on the water and it is indeed essential to my very soul to get back to it when I can. Funny how when I was growing up in Cambridge, I just didn't realize how it would become more important to me the older I got. Fact is, I miss it almost every day. And from my deep love of Cambridge, grows my love of being on the water.

Donald and Harley and I are at Topsail Island, NC this week celebrating our 23 wedding anniversary. Along with another "biggie." It's been a year since I've had a cigarette. Any excuse I can come up with for a trip to the beach, I'll find; and these two events seem well within the realm of justification, if I do say so myself.

This is our first visit to Topsail, but it won't be our last. It's wonderful!!!!!

First a bit of history -

In 1946 the US Navy took over Topsail Island through eminent domain and buying 99 year leases in order to test missiles - jet propulsion missiles for our "future" jet program. The program was referred to as Operation Bumblebee (The Bumblebee cannot fly. According to recognized aerotechnical tests, that is. Because of its shape and weight of his body in relation to the total wing area. But, the bumblebee doesn't know all this, so he goes ahead and flies anyway. Well aware that this new undertaking to develop a supersonic guided missile for the navy would face impossible challenges, Dr. Merle Tuve named the project "Bumblebee." From the Operation Bumblee pamphlet written by David A. Stallman, 1992.) In 1948 they gave it up and gave the land back to the original owners. And moved the operation to what we now know as White Sands Missile Range. The reason being - it was too windy here - too much environmental interference. But. The instrumentation towers they used are still here and I took pictures of some of them.

There were 8 of these towers originally. They're all still here. Stark reminders that even in the most idyllic of places there appears to have almost always been the need for military presence.


Sprouting up among the abandoned military towers is beauty - some of the most glorious beauty Mother Nature can give us, along with pretty spectacular beach "cottages."

And then there's me and Donald and Harley. Finding ourselves fitting in nicely on this island of some apparent and perhaps perceived contradictions. Settling into a week of pure, unadulterated laziness. Laziness of the type that can only come when you've removed yourself from hearth and home; where you can't hear the call of those chores needing attention, the weeds needing pulling, the dust bunnies needing killing. Where instead you hear the call of seashells wanting you to notice their simple, exquisite beauty.

Where the joy of a doggie's grin makes you remember how very special life can be.

And where you're free to remember that you stood before God, friends, and family and said vows. And shared your belief in your future together. And 23 years later know that that love is still true. And that the person who was your very best friend ever is still your very best friend. And that life is good.


Anonymous said...


What a lovely post,and such gorgeous photos! Many, many returns of the day, by the way -- 23 years and counting.

Thanks for sharing your vacation and anniversary!

Hugs to you and Donald and Harley --

Pat Browning

Vicki Lane said...

Happy Anniversary to you both!

Carol Murdock said...

Happy Anniversary to you both!
I spent 10 days at Hilton Head a couple of years ago taking daily sidetrips to Beaufort and Savannah.
I like quite beaches though and it sounds like you found one!

~ Carol ~

Chester Campbell said...

Sounds like you're having a ball, Kaye. I enjoy the beaches, too, but haven't had the opportunity to visit one the past couple of years. Sarah and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary in September. Maybe we should try your prescription, a week of pure relaxation and enjoyment. Continue to have fun the rest of your stay.

Ken Lewis said...


First of all, CONGRATUALTIONS for being cancer stick free for ONE WHOLE YEAR! And second of all (grudgingly) congratulations to you and Donald on your successful union of 23 years. Just think...both of you have somehow avoided "the seven year itch" three times! You must truly have the hots for one another, hehe. Please tell Donald for me that I must finally concede, and withdraw my marriage proposal to you of two years ago and that there shall be no duel, as my fantasy of living with you in the North Carolina mountains, cooking up corn likker moonshine while you spin wool from our flock of sheep to make me some new uniform socks...clearly ain't gonna happen. Have a ball at Topsail Island, you two!

PS: As if you haven't already done that. Several times. hehe.

Wendy said...

Oh, Kaye, that was LOVELY! Loved the photos, and I got all teary-eyed at the end. God bless you and Donald and here's to 23 more, my friend!!

Love and hugs,

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thanks for all the kind words and sweet wishes, everyone!!

Carol - if you enjoy pretty white sandy beaches, I think you'd love it here. Not much else here, so for antiquing and shopping you'd probably want to scoot into Wilmington,which is about 45 minutes away. We keep saying we're going to do that, but haven't quite made it yet!

Chester - We're firm believers in taking a little trip to get away. Think about whisking your Sarah away for a few days for your anniversary. You guys would have a ball!

Kenneth - you are so crazy. I might have to sue you for alienation of affection or some such. Pfftttt!

Thank you, Wendy and Vicki and Pat!

Earl Staggs said...

Kaye Darlin, I have to admit I was a tad disappointed you didn't go to Ocean City this year. I was hoping for an update on the old home turf. But, after seeing your pictures and hearing your gushes about Topsail, I'm okay now -- and very envious. I used to take fishing trips to Rodanthe and really enjoyed that part of the planet. And after all your gushing about that Donald person and your 23 years with him, I've decided to let you keep him. But only for another 50 years. After that, you're mine.

Jill said...

Happy Anniversary from your neighbors! Your pictures are beautiful and Harley looks like he is enjoying the beach.


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Earl Darlin'! Hey! You know no beach will ever take the place of Ocean City. OC is the Queen Bee of beaches, isn't it? But Topsail is nice - You and Carol come on down; we'll be here till tomorrow morning! : >

What a surprise to see you here!! too fun. You're blogging?? I'm gonna go check it out! Hugs!!

Jan said...

Happy anniversary! Wonderful pictures. So nice to "meet" you--through RevGalBlogPals and Auntie Knickers.

Jen Forbus said...


So glad you are having a wonderful time to celebrate two monumental occasions. Your pictures are beautiful as is your blogs new look. Love it! Love you! Have fun!

Msmstry said...

Great photos! Great story!

Happy anniversary!


Aubrey Hamilton said...

Wonderful photos! Maybe you can give me lessons: Mine always turn up with a thumb in the corner or the top of a building cut off or something.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I am so glad you were able to get away for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary from someone who lives on the left coast. We're just a few miles from the beach so we can go any time - which means we often don't.

Congratulations on giving up smoking. I enjoyed your post.


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

You people are all too sweet!!

Thank you, very much, for all the well wishes.

I'm so glad you're enjoying Meanderings and Muses! You're why I keep posting.