Over the long weekend of November 14, 2004, a bunch of the Paul Anderson Tuesday Afternoon Tea and Tennis Society went to the Wild Dunes resort on the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston, SC. Bob Boettger made all the arrangements. We were Paul, Bob Laney, Jeff Pardue, John Willardson, Joe Richardson, Jim McCrae, Bobby Isenhour and Terry Cleary.
After various carpool combinations of drivers and riders converged on the Isle of Palms we split up the rooms in the two beach houses. Then we immediately decamped to the courts. Bob B. did a superb job of getting us booked and scheduled. We were hitting tennis balls on the professionally maintained courts of the large complex within an hour of our arrival.
If you kept track of the number of players, you will see we did not have even multiples of four required for doubles. Not to worry. Due to the torrid pace and non-stop action of our marathon tennis sessions, we took turns sitting out every third set or so. The clay surface, as opposed to hard courts, took some of the pace off the shots and some of the pressure off our feet and knees. We were able to sustain morning and afternoon sessions of three (and occasionally four) sets each, from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.
Lunch and supper times meant forays into the resort areas surrounding Charleston and downtown near the “Battery” for delicious meals. I failed to keep notes of where we ate, but it was all good. Most of us elected to sample the seafood more than once. Beer was also a common condiment. I would not have minded sampling some white wines, but I declined for fear of being branded an object which means a cat and rhymes with hussy.
Saturday evening in downtown Charleston, after eating supper, we were walking near the waterfront and enjoying the cosmopolitan ambience. Most of the other guys were calling their wives to catch up on the famliy news and report on their whereabouts. I had recently separated from Kimberly and my daughter had gone to college. I was feelling sorry for myself for having no immediate family at home waiting for me. John asked if I wanted to borrow his cell phone to call home. I sarcastically said that nobody knew where I was, or cared. Immediately John, Paul and Bob B said they knew and they cared a lot. I felt better.
The weather was superb. There were not just continuous clear skies: we had bright, warm sunshine with a cool breeze nearly non-stop. No one could have ordered better conditions.
The prices for all our services were reasonable. Despite living, essentially, in the lap of luxury and being surrounded by BMW’s and Lexus’s, we each spent about the same as a trip for a family of four to an ACC football game with a nice dinner. Special thanks to John for doing the grocery shopping to set us up with economical in-house breakfasts.
I believe that the 14 non-stop sets which we played were good for our games. After getting more-or-less tired in the middle of the second day, we all continued to soldier on. I have learned that my game improves – in any sport, whether snow skiing, racquetball, canoeing, whatever – when I am tired and forced to continue. My body instinctively gets more efficient in order to keep moving. That efficiency in tennis results in smoother strokes and more durable muscle memory.
All the married members’ domestic vows remained safe. While we did attempt twice to go looking for…music… in several bars, we never found any divertissements to our liking. Our evenings were spent quietly in the beach houses. [Note to Jeff and T.C., you each owe me $20 for this paragraph.…]
No one kept official total game scores, but I won more sets than I lost. Even if all the other players disagree with me, I am writing this article, so that is my story and I am sticking to it.
We had such a good time that another trip is in the works for next spring.