Doug and Captain on the schooner Windy
Flamingos at Chicago Zoo
Chicago’s Shedd Acquarium
Whitney Sims and Trey Braswell
My namesake, Molly Sims
In September, we received an invitation to the wedding of the daughter and granddaughter of North Carolina friends. We met the Sims family about 20 years ago when we lived in Brookings, S.D. When we were visiting other friends, Marv and Carolyn Petersen, in Hickory, N.C., they took us for an evening’s entertainment to the Sims Country Barbecue – food, live bluegrass music and dancing. When Keith Sims, the grandpa, stopped at opur table he was interested in South Dakota, so I invited him and family to come and stay with us for pheasant huntings season. He and his wife, Shirley, the grandma of the bride, did come that year with another couple. The next year, more of the Sims family visited, and eventually after a couple of years I think we hosted 18 of the clan at one time.
Some Simses also visited us here in Pinesol, but years go by, children grow up and old folks age. We hadn’t seen the family for about 10 years.
So, when we received the wedding invitation for a girl I last saw when she was about 14, I automatically sent my regrets. Then Doug said, “We could go.”
Oh, yeah, we’re retired. We have time. So he made reservations on Amtrak and we took the journey our 44th anniversary celebration, as well as Whitney’s wedding.
The trip was an adventure. The Empire Builder – Amtrak from Seattle/Portland to Chicago – arrived in St. Paul (where we had overnighted with Minneapolis friends) three hours late. With pull-offs to let freight trains go by (Canadian Pacific owns the tracks and give prioirty to freight) we arrived in Chicago five hours late, missing our connection with the Capitol Limited. So, we had a day in Chicago. Fun, but not when we planned. Amtrak put us up in a fancy hotel (Hyatt Regency) and gave us cash for cab fare and toward meals. During the Washington, D.C. layover, we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Doug wisely had given us an extra day for travel, so we didn’t arrive at our debarking station in Gastonia, N.C. at 3:12 a.m. on the wedding day, but the day before. Whitney and her father, Joe, met us. We visited, stayed with Shirley and Keith and celebrated the wedding and day after breakfast with Joe and Whitney’s mother, Glennie.
The next stage was a train ride farther south to visit Doug’s Aunt Lee in Loganville, a suburb of Atlanta, Ga. We spent an afternoon with Doug’s Cousin Barbara Hefferon, at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, went to the National Zoo during our D.C. layover and sailed on the schooner Windy on Lake Michigan during the Chicago wait.
All in all, a good vacation.