Friday, August 1, 2008

Father and Daughter Sunday meanderings

Neither Miss Wiggles nor myself are much inclined to hang around the house on the weekends. Gas prices and Dragonwife prevent us from jumping in the car and say doing a simple day trip to Charleston or its nearby beaches. But that doesn't stop us from visiting our favorite haunt close to home, Riverbanks Zoo.
This particular Sunday Wiggles and I bumped into one of her day care classmates along with his mom and dad. This classmate was the same one I called Clooney in an earlier post. Once they saw each other they ran up and gave each other hugs and started walking the zoo like Clooney's parents and I were not even there. Their hand holding was automatic and they did it all through the zoo until time forced us to split off.

As we walked around a brief stop at the Lemur island had me confused. Unlike the highly energetic guys in the movie Madagascar none of these fellas seemed much inclined to "move it, move it." My only possible conclusion was that these Lemurs were born in the south and had long since adapted to the laid back, carefree, lazy attitude many still hold on to despite the increased pace of life. Now the penguins over in the bird house exhibit all had shifty eyes and like the movie seemed slightly psychotic. I had a hard time deciding which of the two I liked best.

Trying to keep my site family friendly and all that but click on the picture here and you might be able to see a Galápagos tortoise doing his duty trying to make baby tortoises. As I have written several times I am a regular at the zoo having first taken my son, Darth Spoilboy, until he thought it was uncool, and now Miss Wiggles many times. During our visits in the warmer months over the years I have seen this old coot constantly answering the call to reproductive duty. One thing can be certain is that the old coot is really enjoying himself given that you can hear his efforts all the way to the entrance of the zoo at times. Whether the lady tortoise receiving the old coot's energetic affection is enjoying it as much as him is highly doubtful since as we went around we saw she was drawn up inside her shell. What little we saw of her head suggested she was fast asleep as the old coot was doing his business. How this situation might cross species lines going all the way to marital relations between Homo Sapiens I will not touch.

Thought this was only going to be pictures at the zoo did you? No, after leaving the zoo, Wiggles and I traveled over to the South Carolina State Museum in which we have a membership as well. When I moved up to the Midlands in 1993 I resisted for months before checking the place out. I thought what in the hell could they have at that museum that would interest me? I was seriously wrong. One section has displays showing the various environments in the state from the mountains to the coast. This display is at least 180 degree around and has recorded beach sounds and right at the board walk sand dunes and sea oats. If you step right to the forward edge and look straight at the picture I have many times transported myself to my favorite place in the world, the south end of Pawleys Island.

Who said God or evolution didn't have a sense of humor? Another section shows recreations of various animals that lived in South Carolina that went extinct. This here fellow is a Glyptodont which lived in the marshy areas of South Carolina during the Pleistocene period. At the end of the last Ice Age they walked like a dinosaur into extinction due to the warming climate. Which begs the question of whether an equally bizarre creature called corporate republicans will go extinct as the world warms up again this time due to man-made global warming.

As Wiggles walked around the very small section displaying the reconstructed fossilized dinosaur bones I couldn't help but think the second worse place to be around a Tyrannosaurs Rex would be here at his or her rear end. Of course the worst place would be in front of a T. Rex as he or she flashed their toothy smile.

This is not a good picture I know, but no matter how I tried given the lighting of the museum I couldn't decent picture of this full scale replica of the C.S.S. Hunley. At least this one shows the small interior as the crew hand cranked the propeller. As someone who suffers from claustrophobia I just have a hard time seeing how eight guys could fit inside a small metal tube, hand crank the sub to move, and attack a naval vessel. After sinking the Housatonic in 1864, the Hunley was lost and became part of Civil War legend. The actual Hunley was found in 1995 and was raised in 2000.
The museum naturally has a huge section devoted just to the Civil War period covering the Antebellum lifestyle to the actual war and Reconstruction.

Currently at the SC State Museum is a section concerning the years of the Vietnam era and its effects on this state. I could have made a post just from what was on display concerning this era but just because the actions involved college students from the University of South Carolina and their surprising behavior during this time as compared to the students now I've tried to boil down the history. I had no idea about this anti-war movement at the University of South Carolina in the 1960's ever occurred. It strangely began in 1966 when a Captain Henry Levy, an army dermatologist serving at Fort Jackson, was charged with disobedience of lawful orders and promoting disloyalty among soldiers for advising troops not to serve in Vietnam. He was convicted by court martial and sentenced to three years in prison.
A year late an organization called "Summer of Support"opened up something called the UFO Cafe in Columbia to provide a place for soldiers, draftees and others "to speak freely about the war in Indo-China." Due to the UFO Cafe's nature, strong pressure was applied to force it to close and in 1970 after both the involvement of city police and FBI the owners were charged and it was closed.

Apparently the students didn't care for the strong-arm actions that caused the closing of the UFO Cafe and they became involved in protests. The local solicitor John Foard made things worse by instructed local law enforcement to enter the campus in search of drugs. As students protested the campus searches they increasingly began protesting the Vietnam war. In May of that year students staged a sit-in at a campus building. Students roamed the campus for two days throwing bottles, bricks, and rocks at the police and National Guard. What was thought to be students then occupied the main administration building causing extensive damage. Later evidence would come to light that it was actually government agents among the students that caused the destruction trying to frame the actual student protesters. The governor at the time imposed a curfew that many students ignored. At least 200 students were arrested and male students had their beards and heads shaved while they were in detention. Who in the hell would ever guess such activity would have ever occurred in South Carolina . Several times I have written that the reason I believe we don't see much anti-war activity now as compared to the 60's is because that not only did we have a draft then forcing a greater cross section of the country to serve, and possibly die, but more people had a direct connection with those serving bringing the effects of war straight to the home. From my observations the Iraq war has moved into the realm of simple episodic television to a great many of people who have no personal connection to the war and who change the channel whenever it gets boring, and for most Americans it has long since become boring.

A really cool display has a scale model of one of the Mars rovers that you can control from the station in the picture. I must admit that my attention drifted away from Miss Wiggles as I moved the rover over the mock Martian surface dreaming of exploring the Red planet. Miss Wiggles had been content to play with several of the science experiment displays in the next room with other children her age so while I was deploying the sensor on the rover I did not see her climb onto the mock Martian surface and try to talk with the rover in which she had confused with WALL-E. Go figure, in a way my daughter has walked the surface of Mars. Needless to say I got her off the planet before security brought us both back to Earth.

The Apollo space suit of a South Carolina native.
Charles M. Duke Jr., a former Air Force pilot, became an astronaut in 1966. He has degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Duke family lived in Pageland when he was born in 1935. He attended school in Lancaster, where his family still lives. Before becoming an astronaut, Duke was graduated from, and was an instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
He is the first astronaut from South Carolina and the only South Carolinian to walk on the moon. Well hell, my daughter walked on Mars just minutes before I took this picture.

Its very hard to get my son to understand that the lifestyle he knows was very different just a few decades ago. The high-tech washer and dryers of today that allow him just to throw in his clothes and a little detergent to get them clean anytime required a lot more effort not so long ago. Laundry was such a chore that something called "Blue Monday" came about since they had already worn their Sunday best the day before.
This washer is from 1910 and the wringer above was what you used to squeeze most of the water out the clothes before hanging them on a line to dry. One of my fondest memories was to see the clothes that my grandmother hung out on the line in her yard blow in the wind. I loved to smell them as well but if she found one of her bed sheets messed up from some little kid playing around them she would get as mad as a wet hen.

Another relic of a past world that far too many would find amazing. As a kid I remember Georgetown having a couple of phone booths on Front Street that I liked to play in while my mother shopped until one day the door on one got stuck and I couldn't get out. A local police officer saw me and got me out fairly quickly and after that phone booths sort of freaked me out, like clowns. Scary.
Later on when I was a "little older" me and a friend would call one of those phone booths just to see who would answer. When I told my son about this he gave me the usual look were I know he was wondering about my sanity. I just shrug it off and tell him that before video games kids were simply desperate for anything to do.

This display did its best to introduce the subject of slavery to visitors. I say introduce since its been way over a hundred years since the end of that "peculiar institution" and you might be chilled to the bone over the various people who even now will find ways to make excuses for it. And given how many would just as well ignore the whole subject I still don't believe enough of about the institution of slavery is taught and how it still affects the entire country.
Despite reading the history and at least understanding the principles of why slavery existed I find the concept of owning another human being about as outright alien as they come.

Believe it or not this outhouse is from a church in Spartanburg county and its was actively used until 1982 when the church that used it installed indoor plumbing. Yes, bitter cold or the hot humid summer days and nights made a trip to allow nature to work very uncomfortable. So the newspapers you see inside were not primarily there for reading material. And for those who don't know what I'm talking about no, the toilet paper ain't missing.


C.Rag said...

I love Riverbanks Zoo.

I had no idea about USC & the anti-Vietnam movement. That's really interesting. That was never taught in our SC history class.

Colonel Colonel said...

great photos, great stories. But you can't fool me- that isn't a Pleistocene glyptodon- that's Dik Cheney.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

It's too early in the morning for me to see turtle porn.

I'll come back after I've had a few more cups of coffee...;)

Mariamariacuchita said...

So many things from the even recent past have quietly disappeared, like phone booths. The world is moving so fast. A lovely outing with the child.

enigma4ever said...

oh this is can take us with you on adventures anytime ;-)

Beach Bum said...

C Rag: One of Pat Conroy's books I recently reread mentioned a little about the USC protests but I thought it was only fiction. I left a bunch of other photos I had taken of the material out.

Colonel: Had to look at it again but yeah, the dman thing looks like Cheney.

Stacy: If only I had recorded the video with sound. That would have been truely "turtle porn'.

Maria: I feel the same way about things disappearing. I use to enjoy the idea of things changing, now I don't feel the same way.

Enigma: At least Miss Wiggles and myself are heading to the coast in a couple of weeks. Now that will be an adventure.

lime said...

wow, thanks for taking us along. that first picture is just the image of sweet childhood innocence.

i definitely learned something. i didn't know about the antiwar protests in SC.

LOL2 the comment from colonel about dick cheney. the man has a point.

Vigilante said...

Lemurs? Thanks to reading your columns and clicking on your photography, I learn (finally) about cute little critters like these. Also about anecdotes in naval history, like the C.S.S. Hunley. (I knew about the sub, but never by name.) A fun and informative read!

Beach Bum said...

Lime: Somewhere buried in a box up in the attic is book on the history of South Carolina from the big poohbah of history at USC. If I ever can dig it up I will look up the incident because I find no mention of it anywhere else in nonfiction.

Vigil: I'm not all that big on Confederate history but they sure as hell had a huge shindig when the bodies of the Hunley crew were removed from the sub and buried after the sub was raised. The crew was given a burial with full military honors, only the flags covering the caskets and waving in the breeze were the Confederate battle flag. I've never taken a stand on the Confederate flag flying at the state capital on my blog but I'll just write and say I would have been VERY uncomfortable being around those flags. So from this you might understand my position on the Confederate flag flying at the state house.

Connecticut Man1 said...

That first picture is as cute as can be!

Beach Bum said...

CM1: Thanks dude, Had to edit it though it was far too bright and you couldn't see the kids holding hands.

Keshi said...

I'd say lucky daughter and lucky dad :)

Great pics..looks like alot of FUN. I should hv been there too :)


Beach Bum said...

Mellow reading ... kids holding hands ... my youngest hugs everyone ... sometimes you want time to freeze ...

Randal Graves said...

A lot of stories in here, both good and bad, but all well told. I wonder if we can send Cheney and his Republican cohorts to Mars.

MadMike said...

Did anyone notice that the guy on top of the Hunley looks like Elvis? Great post BB. You are one lucky guy.....

The Zombieslayer said...

You ever think the Glyptodont might have gone extinct because they were so ugly? I just can't imagine two Glyptodonts hooking up and doing the nasty.

As for tortoises doing it, they're really silly creatures. Not sure if those oversized ones did the same thing, but I watched small house tortoises mate and the guy would shake his head really fast, meaning it was time to mate. Wonder if they found that sexy. I should do into a bar and do what that tortoise did and have a sociologist sit at a table with a clipboard and measure success rates.

Distributorcap said...

you make me want to travel south

Beach Bum said...

Keshi: It was great fun and and my daughter's amazement as she sees new things always lifts my spirits.

Beach Bum: Yeah, I'd like to freeze time sometimes as I see my kids make another milestone in their growing up.

Randal: No such luck, I'm sure Cheney would whip out is universal deferment card.

MadMike: Didn't notice Elvis on the Hunley but curiously I did see him at a Star Trek convention in 1994, may have to wriet about that sometime.

Slayer: Glyptodont mating I imagine would be a clumsy affair. But then again the tortoise at the zoo was giving it all he had.

DCap: Come on down, the beaches are fine and the beer is cold.

Anonymous said...

Really great story....
thanks for sharing..

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