Phyllis Britt

Phyllis Britt

Last week was a whirlwind of activity for me.

I’m making one last effort to get a grip on a rising concern regarding my own physical state. No, I’m not sick; I just am becoming concerned that I need to be a little stronger, a little lighter, a little more sure-footed than I feel I am now. So when a friend endorsed a gym near me which was offering a deal, I decided to go for it.

At the same time, it was the week for Leadership North Augusta’s monthly session, this time Education Day.

And, of course, it was Easter Week, and at the last minute my Greenville kids decided to come for the day, which meant all 13 of my children, their spouses and my grandchildren would be here for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Starting a “21-day jumpstart” at the gym sent me into somewhat excruciating activity for an hour four days last week. The bad news is that several times during those sessions I really thought I was going to die – or maybe wish it so. The good news is that I’m definitely not alone. Here’s what I’ve learned so far: I can do almost anything for 45 seconds at a time – except for maybe jumping jacks, standing on one foot without holding onto something and full-blown lunges (again, that’s unless I can hold onto something while I do them). I will say the trainers are exceedingly patient – especially with those of us who can’t remember from one moment to the next how to do a particular activity correctly. I’ve had to ask numerous times, “OK, what do I do with these weights again?” The biggest problem I’ve had is with a heart rate monitor they ask each of us to wear. It’s supposed to show my heart rate, etc., on a huge screen in the room – but no-o-o. I had flashbacks to my recent experience with technology in Europe – my brand new monitor wouldn’t work. They replaced the battery – wouldn’t work. They suggested I readjust the location of the monitor belt – still wouldn’t work. They recommended I put moisture on the sensors on the belt I’m supposed to wear in order to jumpstart it – still wouldn’t work. They said I’d just have to get a new belt. And, of course, before I could get a new one, last Friday it decided to work again. Personally, I think it just doesn’t like me. Maybe this week will be better.

Wednesday’s Leadership North Augusta session visiting local schools is always one of my favorites. Maybe that comes from all those years that I covered schools for The Star (and before that for the Aiken County Rambler). We went to North Augusta Elementary, Middle and High Schools, plus Fox Creek charter high school. We also visited USCA, meeting with Aiken County School Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford, Aiken Technical College’s Dr. Forrest Mahan and USCA’s Provost Dr. Darin Simmons, who talked about how “resource rich” (Dr. Alford’s words) Aiken County is with all levels of education available to all.

And, as usual, one of the highlights of the day was lunch at the Black and Gold Room of North Augusta High. Instructor Rose Butler continues to churn out exceptional culinary students year after year. Lunch was delicious, beautiful and presented by well-trained, well-mannered budding chefs. (By the way, if you haven’t visited the new NAHS, you need to do that. The new, improved version of the school is bright, airy and all around a pleasant learning atmosphere.)

The latter part of the week was spent getting ready for Sunday. As you all know, the prospect of having all my kids and grandkids under my roof at once, if only for a few hours, is cause for an even greater level of celebration that Easter usually brings in and of itself. At the same time, I put a great deal of pressure on myself to go all out – Easter baskets for everyone (adults and children alike), stuffing eggs for an egg hunt for all the kids, traditional foods – lamb chops, deviled eggs, my mother’s coconut cake, etc. This year I brought back a favorite. As some may know, I have made Rice Krispies Treats in all sorts of forms. I decided to try my hand once again to make Rice Krispies Treats birds’ nests – you mold the Rice Krispies Treats into birds’ nests, then add green coconut in the middle and then jelly beans for the birds’ eggs. It’s funny to me that most kids – and even my son, Mac – take one look and ask about the green “grass.” As soon as they realize the coconut is just sitting on top and they can dump it out to eat the Treat, they’re happy.

We followed dinner with an egg hunt. Even the bigger kids like egg hunts at our house because I put money in about half of the eggs – everything from a few pennies to a $10 bill. As I watched the frenzy of the hunt, Cade was lagging behind. For example, within seconds 2-year-old Maddie had a nearly full basket while Cade had only about 12 eggs. When I asked what his problem was, he said “I just shake them first. If the egg makes no noise, I keep them. If they rattle, I put them back.” Smart boy – bills don’t make noise. As a result, he found the jackpot egg almost right away. Like I said, smart boy.

So at this writing, our Easter celebration is history, and I’m back at the gym – for week two of three. Here’s hoping I survive.