Got an email from fellow "Gangster" T.R.Reinman, a sportswriter for the S.D. Tribune/Union-Tribune, 1981-2000.
He does other stuff now but contacted me to say he and his wife Nancy were fortunate enough to be visiting Charleston, S.C., over Halloween.
T.R. wanted to know if I could join them for lunch and maybe provide some pointers and suggestions for enjoying the Holy City, my hometown.
He had me at "Rebergram" so I took them on a mini-walking tour through the Historic District on a bright and shining 70-degree Friday morning.
They stood at the tip of the peninsula and I pointed out where the Ashley River and the Cooper River come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.
We toured and walked and I showed them a photographer's secret that should work in many places.
We rode the elevator up to the roof of a 5-story parking garage so he could take a picture of the stately St. Phillips church ABOVE the criss-crossing wires that clutter the shot at street level.
I also snapped a shot of him in reporter mode.
He still carries a notebook and jots down details and reminders of places he's seen. In the background is St. Michael's church, dating back to the 1700s.
I did mention we have a lot of churches, hence the nickname the Holy City.
Ships entering the harbor for hundreds of years saw many steeples and other buildings were not allowed to be taller.
That's eased now and we even have a twin Hyatt going up downtown.
One picture captured several facets of my booming destination city: a cruise ship's stack looms over historic buildings, sightseeing vans are pulled up at the curb and a horse-drawn carriage clops by.
In the background. the 8-lane Ravenel Bridge was opened in 2005 and was designed to look like sails in the harbor.
Their second day here, temps dropped, it rained and their planned harbor cruise out to Fort Sumter was scrubbed.
Instead, they shopped in the centuries-old City Market and sampled a variety of dining spots.
When we had lunch at an Irish pub, I introduced them to Shrimp & grits.
They leave Sunday, heading south for a day in Savannah.
If other 919ers are headed this way, let me know. I can show you the source of the Atlantic Ocean."
It is fun to take visitors around and show off what some people have named the #1 U.S.A. travel destination...four years in a row.
When I was roaming around Europe in September, I had to wonder that the same publication said its readers named Charleston the best destination in the World.
I like my hometown, and love to show it off. but I though London was swell and Berlin and Paris looked good too.
I was not invited to vote.
We hold our own I am sure in some areas but I like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia a lot.
But, I digress.
These visitors live in San Diego and know navy ships.
(Two - yes two - aircraft carriers are tourism attractions in their harbor.)
I remarked when I was showing them our one carrier across from the Aquarium, that the ship going by was new to me.
It had the look of a catamaran with twin hulls and T.R. said he thought it was one of the Navy's "stealth" ships.
I don't know but, as a former newsman, I intend to find out.
When I do, I'll share it with you.
It was headed down the Cooper River, one of the two that form the Atlantic Ocean.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
Seriously, they live in San Diego and never had tasted shrimp & grits.
I try to be helpful.
*Editor note: the two Halloween-costumed people at the top were not my visitors, and the close up of the cruise ship shows the very high water slide right behind the stack. Yikes!