This is the time of year that I get almost giddy! I don’t know if it’s Spring Fever or if it’s because my birthday is upon me or if I just like this time of year, but March is my very favorite month! I have tons of wonderful memories of March, not just of my birthday, but of Spring Breaks and Easters and so much fun during this wonderfully green and happy time of year.
Obviously I love my birthday, March 25. It’s easy to remember, exactly three months after Christmas. Scott & I now have a ritual that we do every year. Depending on when my birthday falls, we take either the Friday before or after it off of work. Every few years we get lucky and that particular Friday coincides with Good Friday which I have off anyway. In recent years I have started scheduling my yearly mammogram on this Friday. We drive over to Northside, get that taken care of and then head to SC. The first thing we do is go to Clemson, to Nick’s. Nick’s is a tavern that has been around Clemson since about 1973. We frequented it during and immediately after college, spending many, many evenings drinking and having fun. During this time period we also had lunch there quite frequently. Scott & I always, always have the same thing: corndogs, fried mushrooms and beer! I don’t typically drink beer any other time of the year, but when I walk into Nick’s, I immediately crave a beer. They always have something good on tap, and the same professor still owns it who bought it when I was in college.
We linger over our mushrooms and corn dogs and beer, enjoying the spring and the memories as we go. We typically then wander around Clemson for awhile, into a few shops, Mr. Knickerbocker’s, bookstores (where I usually end up buying a new tiger paw car magnet to replace the one that got stolen last year!) and then head to our hotel. The rest of the weekend can vary a little, but on Sunday the end of the ritual plays out at my Mom’s house with her cooking me my birthday lunch! YUM! It’s always the same: cube steak with gravy in the crock pot, rice, fresh sliced tomatoes (which I eat over the rice!), macaroni & cheese, broccoli salad (Scott’s favorite), and biscuits. There might be canteloupe or green beans or various and sundry other things added from time-to-time, but the dishes above are all that are really needed.
In college Spring Break was always right around St. Patrick’s and/or my birthday. Sometimes we would all take off to Savannah for the big party, staying in a friend’s aunt & uncle’s house outside of town. How convenient was that!? Other years we were known to go to Atlanta, attend the St. Patrick’s parade there and go to the Sundial atop The Westin for drinks afterwards. At some point we also made it out out to Stone Mountain for a picnic and the laser show (which I swear hasn’t really changed til this day!). We would climb up the mountain, look around, take pictures, etc., and climb back down. One year we got caught in a thunder storm. We saw the lightening striking from the storm in Atlanta, but being carefree college kids, what did we do? Get off the largest exposed piece of granite in the world as fast as we could? Well…no. We took our time and got caught in the thunder and lightening and pouring rain. To this day I still get kidded about singing “Here Comes the Rain Again” by The Eurythmics and saying a few choice words as lightening literally struck all around us. Still another year, we just stayed on campus and enjoyed it all to ourselves since the other 15,000 or so students went elsewhere. During one such Spring Break we went around campus eating picnics in different spots, looking for the ever elusive four-leaf clovers.
We found a literal “patch” of them over by the architecture building one year. I’m sure that that spot is long gone, covered by a new building on campus, but I still think of those four-leaf clovers every spring. I got married in the spring and one of my best friends from college (the one I looked for those clovers for all those years ago with) found a four-leaf clover for my bouquet. If you look, you can see the little spot of green in my pale pink bouquet of roses!
When my brother had his accident in the spring of 2002, on the way out the door to travel to Tennessee I desperately looked for one in our yard as a good luck charm for him. I didn’t find one that day, but fortunately, he didn’t need it!
This year the itinerary is already set. We’ll leave on Friday and head to Nick’s for those corndogs, mushrooms and beer. We’ll probably relax that night at the hotel. Saturday is brunch with some good friends in Greenville, and then a hiking trip to Yellow Branch Falls in Westminister. A light dinner will follow, but the best part, my birthday lunch, will be at Mom’s on Sunday. Another year and more memories for all to enjoy…when my birthday rolls around, spring has sprung!