2001 New Leaf Journal
Beth Thomas

12/21/00 - Midnight

My sister Sue has taken two Leafs-at least one she has planned to plant on the steps of a church near her home in Andrews, SC, and the other she would not tell - a secret, she said! It is her one year anniversary today and she was placing a special leaf out at the stroke of midnight.

1/1/01 11:24 AM

Planted first Leaf of the New Year at Ocean Lakes beach overlook; took a photo of this one to commemorate the event! The thrill of the first planting was great, even though I got a late start like doing something secret and trying to be undetected it was a RUSH! Can't wait for the next one. My friend Cindi will be joining me soon for more planting. Of course, in her usual organized manner, she has a list of planting stops for us!

2:06 PM

Chapin Memorial Park, Myrtle Beach, SC - placed New Leaf on low rock wall near side entrance to Chapin Park. Cindi's first Leaf-she says "This is EXCITING!"

2:10 PM

Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, SC - left New Leaf on the ground near a large spinning granite ball. Kids were playing with the ball and almost stepped right on top of New Leaf, but all was OK! I didn't want to leave, because I just knew someone was going to pick it up, but we had to keep planting!

2:30 PM

Cindi put New Leaf in a large palm tree planter on Ocean Boulevard near the Myrtle Beach Pavilion; you can see it as you walk or drive by.

2:50 PM

Ripley's Aquarium Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach, SC - Cindi jumped out of the car and placed a Leaf in among the rocks of a huge Sting Ray display right outside the aquarium entrance-it looked beautiful nestled under the rays "wings".

2:55 PM

Right around the corner, Cindi places a Leaf on the steps of the Hard Rock Café at Broadway at the Beach - it really stands out against the pyramid of the Hard Rock and the silver color on the Leaf against the terra cotta-colored steps is stunning! It must be an eye catcher, because before we can pull out of our parking space and leave, someone has already spotted New Leaf and picked it up!!! We are ecstatic! As people are walking by my car staring and laughing at us, Cindi and I are squealing in delight that someone has PICKED IT UP!! Grinning, we drive by and look again-the group of three have thoroughly checked out the Leaf, moved up two flights of steps, and carefully placed New Leaf back down for someone else to find-we can't believe our good fortune to witness this!

3:15 PM

Traveling North on Ocean Boulevard (heading to beaches in southern North Carolina), we stop at a small park -Sea Island Community Park-with a playground and a gazebo-New Leaf is left to rest on the bench under the gazebo roof-by the time we make our way back from NC a few hours later, New Leaf is already GONE!

4:16 PM

We have made it to North Carolina! Stopping in Ocean Isle Beach, we note that there aren't too many places open on this New Year's Day holiday, so we decide to leave a Leaf for someone to find on the steps at the Museum of Coastal Carolina.

4:23 PM

Sunset Beach, NC - (we are heading south again now). We notice a busy convenience store along the road as we head back to Myrtle Beach. 'The Sun News' (Myrtle Beach, SC) newspaper rack is just around the corner and we pull up and put a Leaf right on top of the paper rack.

4:35 PM

Getting close to dinnertime; people are out and abut looking for dinner! We decide to leave a New Leaf in Calabash, NC, at the Dockside Seafood House. It is placed on the wall near a bench outside the door of the restaurant.

4:42 PM

Blockbuster Video - Little River, SC right by the front door of the video store (also near the video return drop box!) How mundane is that! We are sure it will be seen and picked up, though, this is a popular spot today!
5:00 PM

We stop at the House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach to see who is playing that evening and decide that a New Leaf will look great among the folk art at the HOB, so we leave a Leaf in the mulch by the front gate of the Music Hall.

7:10 PM

Surfside Beach, SC - Left New Leaf in flower bed at mailboxes in 'The Gates'
subdivision while we had dinner with friends at their home just down the street. Cindi leaves me after this portion of our day-she tells me she has had a great time and thanks me for including her in this adventure-what a way to begin 2001!

10:20 PM

Our dinner was great, I've been revived. I've saved one of the best for last (locations for planting, as well as another beautiful New Leaf) - Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell's Inlet, SC - a fantastic sculpture garden - it is closed, of course, but I pull in at the front entrance and leave a New Leaf at the "Fighting Stallions" sculpture. It almost looks like part of the sculpture! I take a picture of this one too, because this was my number one spot to plant a Leaf! I also stop the next morning on the way to work to take a picture in the daylight in case the one in the dark doesn't turn out.

10:28 PM

I'm getting near the final stages now it's been quite a day and time is running out! I decide to leave one at the Murrell's Inlet Public Boat Landing, near a sidewalk that leads to the boat ramp and dock. This spot turns out to be the one that worries me-we have had exceptionally cold temperatures all week, with more in store, and I don't think there are going to be too many boaters out over the next few days, but leave it anyway. I have a dilemma-I'll keep you posted in my last entry.

10:32 PM

Murrell's Inlet Chamber of Commerce - this is an unexpected ideal location-a nice bench under a perfectly-shaped live oak tree; I put New Leaf under the base of the tree in the exposed roots-it was made for a New Leaf!

10:43 PM

My last Leaf of the day! Garden City Beach, SC - I want to walk out on the Garden City Pier and leave one at the end, but alas, it is closed for the night. I opt for a beach access walkover-benches on either side and a great view of the ocean, with a weathered wooden walk - I leave New Leaf right on the walkway. My planting is done.

Now, for the part I hadn't anticipated:

It is driving me crazy to see if the Leafs have been found or not!! I am obsessed with "drive-bys"! I keep my list of planting spots and check them daily-it's amazing how fast some Leafs are found and others are still waiting on the right "finder". Here's where my dilemma comes in the Boat Landing is right on my drive to and from work each day, so I pull in to look in the morning and in the evening. No finders for four days! I'm looking at my planting spot and thinking it's not too good-trash around the sidewalk, too cold for folks to go boating or fishing-what should I do??? I feel like I'll jinx the Leaf if I move it. I email Carol for advice and wait to see what she says. Maybe one more day I do pick up the trash along the sidewalk (I didn't see it last night-too dark maybe that will make it easier to see the Leaf?) On what I decide is my LAST drive-by-(I can't keep torturing myself this way!) I spot a kindly older gentleman walking his dog on the church grounds near the boat ramp. He looks over to see what I'm doing, since it's a pretty raw, cold afternoon and no one else is out I raise my hand to say hello and his dog comes over to sniff me. I don't let on that the Leaf is right near my feet-maybe this is the person who's meant to have this one-what would Carol think??? I walk over to speak to the gentleman-he is very nice and tells me that he has never had anyone speak to him at this spot since he has lived here - about 7 years- he's says everyone is always in too much of a rush (as I had just been thinking that I needed to hurry up and get home!) We chat for about 20 minutes and he tells me he is a widow, and his "baby" has just passed away-I realize after a few minutes he's talking about a small dog that must have been the light of his life. He also begins to tell me about his wife passing away years before, another friend that is ill, and I listen and try to offer a few words of sympathy, but don't really know what to say. I think just listening is really all he needs or wants. I decide to move the Leaf; in a bold move (I think to myself), I place it up on the seawall by the church parking lot. Maybe he will see it there and pick it up as I leave. I think he actually sees me put it there, but doesn't ask about it or indicate that he knows I'm leaving it for any reason.

He tells me he needs to be getting home and I say the same and we introduce ourselves and he thanks me for talking with him. He even tells me where he lives (close by) and stops here often. I think about him alone with his thoughts and his one remaining dog. I think he needs the Leaf

So, OK I'm busted! It really wasn't my LAST drive-by, because I had to stop again the next morning to see if the Leaf was still there-

It has finally found a home.

Thanks for the entire experience
Beth Thomas