Gathering Different Kinds of Souvenirs
I recently took a short trip out to Charleston, South Carolina to spend some time with a couple of my best college friends. Charleston is GORGEOUS! Honestly, traveling is one of my most favorite things to do in the world. This is especially true when traveling to places saturated with rich history and culture. I love going and doing and seeing and learning.
This visit was a bit more casual, which was nice and refreshing. Oh, we still did a couple of touristy things, but for the most part we just took it easy. We walked along the beach one afternoon and chatted. We spent a day doing some antique shopping, convinced that antiques in Charleston SURELY must be older and cooler than those in Oklahoma! 😉 Then we also visited a plantation taking our time learning about the history of the area. However, most of my time was spent just visiting and catching up with my friends of 20+ years.
Different kinds of souvenirs
Typically I love picking up souvenirs along the way from my travels, just little things to commemorate my trip. This trip my short list of tangible souvenirs included a few shells and sand dollars picked up on the beach, a print of the Angel Oak Tree from a local artist, a skeleton key given to me by a lady in an antique shop, and some spices purchased at The Tomato Shed Café so I could recreate the amazing Tomato Shed Shrimp at home.
A souvenir is a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event. It is French for “to remember” or “to come to mind”. So I guess technically souvenirs don’t necessarily have to be physical items. They just have to be something that serves as a reminder. For this trip then, I received a different kind of souvenir. My most precious souvenirs are my memories…those of quality time spent with my friends, but also those of some of the interesting people I met along the way.
Frank, the Angel Oak artist
My first memorable encounter was with Frank deLoach, a local artist. My friends and I had gone to visit the Angel Oak Tree which is a MASSIVE Southern Live Oak Tree thought to be one of the oldest living things in the country according to the Angel Oak Tree website. We went to browse through Frank’s portfolio of prints and then had the best time visiting with him for a while.
He showed us some of the interesting techniques he uses, including using sand from very ground where the Angel Oak stands. He also entertained us with stories of how he lets his young grandson help him paint. Apparently one time his grandson went and painted a few pieces and then sold them, unbeknownst to Frank! What fun it was to chat with Frank!
The nice lady at the antique store
Unfortunately I didn’t catch her name, but we met the kindest lady at one of the antique shops we visited. I first struck up a conversation with her about skeleton keys. Recently at an auction, I purchased an antique Italian music box table which unfortunately is locked with no key. I was looking to try and find a skeleton key to fit the small lock.
We dug through a bowl of keys until I found one that I thought might fit. I was getting ready to purchase it from her when she told me “Oh, just take it!” She wouldn’t have it when I tried to pay for it. Then we chatted with her for a while longer about other antique stores in the area to visit. She and my friend, Michelle, who lives in Charleston spoke for a while about some of their favorite places to eat in Charleston. She then told us that we absolutely HAD to go eat at The Tomato Shed Café! Boy, was she right—the food was amazing (and like I said previously—I came home with some of the spices)!
Da Geechee Gal
Jackie Michaels, or as she referred to herself “Da Geechee Gal”, was a Gullah historian that we had the pleasure of encountering at Boone Hall Plantation. Jackie entertained us with an educational performance of the Gullah culture of the African slaves who lived in the Lowcountry regions of South Carolina and Georgia. I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up more than once during her presentation. The slaves’ faith and reliance on God were weaved all throughout her presentation leaving the audience with a sense of God’s presence and love. It was both moving and beautiful.
My precious friends
Last, but certainly not least, my favorite souvenirs are my memories with my precious friends. We don’t get together as often as we would like. However, we do make a point to communicate on a regular basis and try to meet face to face at least once a year. Then, when we get together we catch up, reminisce about the past, share new stories, laugh and laugh, and sometimes even cry and pray together. I love my friends, and they make me a better person. God, Himself, loves me THROUGH my friends. My memories with them are precious and priceless.
All that to say…
So I share some of my “souvenirs” with you in hopes that you, too, will find new ways of interacting and relating to the people that you encounter on a day to day basis. You don’t need to go on vacation to collect souvenirs. Start gathering memory souvenirs by loving your neighbors—everyone you encounter wherever you are.
Take Some Practical Steps to Gather Some of Your Own Souvenirs This Week:
- Wherever you go this week, make a point to strike up a conversation with somebody you encounter. It could be the clerk at the grocery store, your librarian, a neighbor you haven’t met before, a student in one of your classes, a colleague at work that you don’t typically converse with, or even just an unfamiliar face at church.
- Try to interact with people on a deeper level. There’s nothing wrong with starting up a conversation about the weather or something else seemingly trivial. But try to take it a step further into something more meaningful. Show a genuine interest in what they have to say and try to find some common ground.
- Show God’s love and Jesus’ character. We are called to love and serve those around us. We are called into community. How can you show God’s love and demonstrate the character of Christ if you never step outside of your comfort zone?
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)
“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”” Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 (NLT)
- Lastly, don’t take for granted those friendships that God has placed in your life. He wants to show love to you THROUGH them. He wants to show His love to others through YOU too. Cultivate those friendships on a regular basis. Then you will also find that you will have many memories that are precious and priceless.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
What are some of your favorite souvenirs? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.
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