By the time you read this, our grandson Gabriel will have graduated from Berkeley High School. The graduation took place at the North Charleston Coliseum with 400 of his classmates. He is in the top 10 percent of his class and will have scholarships to help him along with the rest of his education. We were proud to see Gabe walk through graduation. He actually finished up his classes before Christmas break in 2017 and has been working almost full time ever since.
He has changed his mind several times about what he wants to study in college — everything from engineering to business to welding — to joining the U.S. Air Force. No matter what he chooses we know he will be a big success. He’s quite the entrepreneur and has had some kind of job almost since he was old enough to walk.
He used to fold pizza boxes at Whitmer’s Store when the family lived in Winesburg. When the family moved to South Carolina, at the age of 13 and in eighth grade, he started his own lawn mowing business in Foxbank Plantation, the subdivision where they live.
He is now 18 and has averaged around 50 regular customers during the mowing season, plus taking on some other odd landscaping jobs. As if that were not enough, he also got a job at a Chick-fil-A as his "fun job" because he can be with other people his age. He has advanced to the point where the company has sent him out of state to help open new restaurants and train other employees.
This is the sixth and final member of the Strong grandchildren to graduate from high school. Rachel, Rebekah (both Navy veterans) and Nathan (active South Carolina National Guard) are all working on college degrees at the moment. Sarah got an associate degree from Trident Technical College last year.
It was the first time we had driven back down to South Carolina since our move the end of February. It felt strange to be back in Lowcountry again. It seemed even lower and more flat than before.
We arrived on Saturday afternoon and stayed at the kids’ house. The pre-graduation party was held on Sunday afternoon with a respectable crowd to eat pulled pork and pulled chicken and lots of cake. Gabe was possibly the only graduate to request green beans as an accompaniment to the sandwiches, but it was a healthy choice.
The party started at 3 p.m. and two hours later the air conditioner, which had been making strange and awful noises for several hours, completely died. It was 92 degrees outside and quite humid. The guests were none the wiser, but we certainly could tell it when we trudged upstairs to bed that night.
The company that had installed the AC unit was called and said they would be out on Monday to fix it. The repairman took one look at it and pronounced that parts would need to be ordered. The parts arrived on Tuesday and instead of remedying the situation it was learned that the motor, or something more serious, needed to be replaced also. That meant more ordering.
We left on Wednesday morning after enduring three hot nights with a loud, old-fashioned window fan. This was in addition to the fact the bathtub faucet fell apart so we could not take a shower in our bathroom. At least they had more than one bathroom with more than one shower.
It was a great time but it is good to be back home to our own amenities.