The Grandest Time in the Grand Strand

By Diane Stark

Although I’ve been writing for Sasee for over a decade, I’d never visited the Grand Strand. The closest I’d gotten was a family vacation to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville when I was six. I know, it’s not even the same state. But that all changed this past spring break.

My husband, Eric, and I took three of our children to Myrtle Beach in late March. We stayed in a lovely hotel with a room that looked out onto one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. We ate the freshest, most delicious seafood. We got frozen yogurt on the boardwalk and fed those giant fish in the pond at Broadway at the Beach. (I think we ate froyo there too.) We took our 10-year-old son, who wants to become a paleontologist when he grows up, to a dinosaur-themed miniature golf course. We ate pancakes at one of the many, many pancakes houses in the area.

The weather was a little chilly, but it was a great vacation. We had so much fun.

But the best part – the most special part – was meeting Sasee’s editor, Leslie Moore, in person for the first time. For more than a decade, I’ve written personal essays for the magazine. I’ve written about getting a divorce, being a single mom, then getting remarried, and being in a blended family. There really wasn’t much about my life that Leslie didn’t know, simply because she’d been reading my essays for so many years.

Then about five years ago, I said, “Leslie, you know so much about me. Tell me about you.”

And she did. She told me about her son and her daughter and her two adorable granddaughters. She told me about the joys in her life and the struggles too. She, too, has been a single mom and the mom in a blended family. She understands how complicated life can get, and she’s always been ready to listen. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t met in person. Leslie “got” me.

And instead of being just my editor, Leslie became my friend too.

So meeting her in person wasn’t like meeting someone for the first time. It was like visiting with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, but the passage of time doesn’t affect the friendship at all.

We met for lunch at a seafood place near the Sasee office. I’d prepared my kids ahead of time, telling them that we might be at the restaurant for a while. I wanted them to feel free to chat with Leslie too, but they were not to ask, “How much longer?”

Thankfully, they complied with my request.

Over fish tacos, Leslie, Eric, and I chatted about life, family, and matters of faith. We talked about everything: the hard things, our greatest blessings, and our shared love for the written word. We cried a little, but we laughed a lot.

As always happens, the time went by too fast. When Leslie and I hugged good-bye, the tears came again. “I’m so thankful that we finally got to meet in person,” I said. “Every minute of that long drive from Indiana was worth it for this lunch with you.”

This past March, my family spent the grandest week in the Grand Strand. It is a truly beautiful place. The food, the beaches, the attractions. We loved it all.

But the people are definitely the best part.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark

    Diane Stark

    Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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4 Responses to “The Grandest Time in the Grand Strand”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    I look forward to meeting Leslie, too. She is such a genuine person. Writing leads to many internet friendships. Great story.

  2. Me, too. I’d like to meet Leslie in person. And Diane, you are right. You feel close to folks to whom you’ve told your stories and bared your soul.

  3. Rose Ann says:

    I was lucky enough to meet Leslie before we moved. She’s lovely and real and I wish I lived next door to her! And, you’re right, Diane, “people are the best part.”

  4. Leslie Moore says:

    Thank you so much! I feel exactly the same! Hugs to you all!

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