Somewhere deep in Georgia we stopped to get some vegetables and stuff for our picnic supper. It was a small town, maybe on the more basic side. Google Maps took us to a Piggly Wiggly Supermarket which is part of a chain of stores in the South. Here’s what struck us about the store: Everyone (that really means everyone) in that store greeted us warmly. Not a head nod or a Cashiers, fellow shoppers, people stocking shelves (which needed stocking) all greeted us warmly with true Southern hospitality. And no one was sour or grumpy, everyone was cheerful! 


We took the Water-Taxi down and back up the Intercoastal Waterway for a ten-stop very touristy tour of the waterway and all the super fancy and ultra-expensive mansions built along its shores, each with its own style and story. We got off at a Fort Lauderdale beach (near the waterside firestation and fishing marina) to eat lunch, collect some seashells and see the ocean. There we were eating our lunch, when our kids spied some adults digging deep into the sand with full-size shovels. No plastic here, these tools were the real thing. They were digging waist-deep into the sand and we were getting more and more curious, so Mendel and Moshe went over to talk to them. They are college students from Toronto vacationing down in Florida. They looked up plans and techniques online and got a bunch of guys together to build a massive sand-castle! You thought that was child’s play? Not these guys. They were very serious about it. There are all kinds of ways to have fun, and some require quite a bit of hard work and effort. Our only regret is we forgot to ask for Insta or FB places to look for the finished product. 


While passing Natural Bridge VA on Highway 81, we decided to stop off at the State Park there. Whoa, the natural beauty there, wow! the grand magnificence of what you encounter – pictures simply can’t do it justice. It is really something. We took tons of pictures and really enjoyed the experience. It’s so majestic, so raw, so beautiful, the nature of it is simply stunning. Then a kid walked by with his parents. He looked up and asked, “How did they build this natural bridge?” And the mom’s response was that they didn’t. Nature did it. Sometimes its important to stand back and take it all in and realize that it is not all our doing, we’re not always in control, there are higher powers at work, and we can be OK with that, too. 


Well, this Menorah was made somewhere else but one of our alumni took this Menorah with him to Iraq while on US Army duty there and it was lit there as a beacon of light and hope amid all the darkness. On our way down it was the 4th night of Chanukah so we stopped off at alumni home to light the Menorah there that night, and Rivka got to light this very special Menorah that traveled halfway around the world and back to do a very special Mitzvah. 

and there are many more tidbits, insights and lessons, but that’s it for now.