Sunday, November 21, 2010

Following my Songline, a short weekend adventure

(Going over the new Charleston Bridge.)
Had to rush down to Georgetown Saturday morning, my Uncle Maxie was admitted to the hospital earlier in that week and I wanted to spend some time with him. It’s pretty bad but they do expect him to be out by Tuesday or Wednesday. After that, it’s a long recuperation, which will require some very basic changes in lifestyle and habits.
Wiggles didn’t go with me and I was frankly amazed at how fast I was able to travel. Almost too fast, somewhere between Columbia and Charleston a buck with at least a six point rack on its head jumped out on the interstate forcing me to slam on the brakes. I fishtailed coming to a stop leaving a lot of rubber from my tires on the road before the deer decided to leap out of the way. I figure Michelle with her recent and far worse encounter can easily relate. The interstate was empty that moment and if I had been carrying that deer would have had a major reason to really run into the deep dark woods with me scared and pissed to the point I almost stained my underwear. However, even with South Carolina’s disposition toward hunting having a dead buck strapped to the hood of my Corolla in the Georgetown Hospital parking lot would not have flown very well.
Spent the day with my uncle and really felt for him since he could not go ten minutes without someone prodding him taking blood pressure, temperature, checking the flow on his IV, or any number of odd tests. That particular hospital has a special “cat nap” time in the afternoon were they want the patients left alone as much as possible so my cousin Allen, who had joined me, and I left to go see his little girl Anna staying at his grandmother’s house.

(A small garden located on South Battery.)
I admit, I was sort of bummed out after leaving Georgetown a little later and couldn’t fight the urge to see where my songline, as Buffett calls it, wanted to take me. I hit Charleston and decided to ride down to the Battery and stroll a little bit before I drove the rest of the way home. Parked near the corner of East and South Battery and started walking. Went up East Battery past the point it turns into East Bay Street feeling like some ghost weaving through the tourists that were out in force. Seeing Tradd Street and having recently finished Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad” I walked down it to see where the fictional Leo King lives.
It was getting late and I cut my walk down Tradd short by turning south down Meeting Street to make it back to where my car was parked. Still couldn’t make myself leave with the nice breeze blowing off the harbor carrying both the salty smell of the ocean and earthy smell of nearby marshes.
While I was relaxing staring out at the various boats on the water rushing home a couple from New York asked me to take a picture them together. The lady flipped at hearing my Southern accent, something that I am uncomfortable with in the best of times and which gets worse if I am angry.

(Sailboats on Charleston Harbor going home.)
“I’m sure happy to finally meet someone from the South,” she said with her own New York accent, “seems like everyone we’ve meet is from somewhere else. I have always felt myself Southern and a Charlestonian at heart.”
It might seem petty but it felt like the nice lady from New York was taking a hacksaw down the middle of my head with the last part of her statement. I’m proud of many aspects of my Southern Heritage, the food, many parts of the easy-going culture, and the area of South Carolina called the Low Country but the darker side of things is never far away.

(Looking up East Battery Saturday evening right before I meet the couple from New York.)
Even funnier was her including the term “Charlestonian." As much as I love the Holy City I am at best a temporary and envious intruder to its streets being forced to return to the glorified train stop in the Midlands that I feel Sherman should have burned twice. I guess one of the things that bugged me about what the lady said was that I have said the same thing down in Florida many times and it was only then hearing her that I realized how asinine it sounds.

However, I joined them for a couple of drinks after they asked and we spent a couple of hours talking about Charleston. It was a small adventure but if I have learned one thing from Jimmy is that you have to go where the songline takes you. And yes, while I never got drunk my wife was mad when I finally got home. I did have the foresight to buy twenty pecan pralines as a sort of peace offering for both her and my daughter but somehow only five survived the trip back home.


sunshine said...

Sounds like a pretty great trip- even though, your reasons for being there were not the nicest. (wishing your Uncle a full and speedy recovery).

Gosh! You have no idea of how I long to just dash off and see where my songline takes me. :)

Now I feel like a bit of an ass for all of the times I mentioned how much I feel like a misplaced southern belle!(a). ;p

At least you had a bit of an adventure. It's a break from the norm. Right? :)


Cloudia said...

thanks for showing me a "new" place

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Pixel Peeper said...

A speedy and full recovery to Uncle Maxie.

Charleston seems a pretty good place for your song line to take you.

Nice pictures!

lime said...

damn, those freaking deer sure do get the blood pumping don't they? glad you at least averted a collision. glad you got to see your uncle too.

as for accents i have to say given that new yorkers are overrunning PA like a bunch of rats i cringe every time i hear a 5 boroughs accent.

i think i need to pursue a songline sooner rather than later. i need it.

B.E. Earl said...

I love the Ravenel Bridge.

Every time we went across it on our recent trip we just marveled at how beautiful a bridge can be.

(and also how it was toll-free, as opposed to our bridges here in NY)

Jessica said...

What gorgeous pictures. Glad to hear that Uncle Maxie is expected to mend. :)

And very glad that I'm able to (most of the time without noticing) adopt whatever accent I'm hearing almost instantly so I've yet to hear that comment. I guess the only time I talk like a Southerner is when I'm with my fellow speakers of the drawl.

Beach Bum said...

Sunshine: One requirement of a trip to Charleston is pecan pralines, they can make everything better. Bought 20 for the trip home, 5 actually survived to be given to my daughter.

As for the other stuff, you should know better than to ever take me serious. I was just in a bad mood, and like I wrote I've done it many, many times myself.

Cloudia: Mahalo, but you still have me beat.

Pixel: I could get very lost in Charleston and stay that way. But like I wrote, at best I'm an intruder.

Lime: Come on down, I'll show you Charleston.

Yeah, that deer almost made me stain my underwear. Once I got underway again I laughed my ass off. As for shooting the thing I wasn't carrying but if I was I realized I could have dropped the thing off at my cousin April's house. Her husband would have cleaned it in a couple of hours. Although, having it strapped to the hood of my car would have still been an issue.

B.E. Earl: It is a beautiful bridge and I have yet to walk across the thing. Keep meaning to but the situation is never right.

Jessica: I have had a bad track record of being around people for whom the Southern drawl is a point of amusement. Like I said, if I get angry it gets worse making the situation even more funny for them.

Bill's Big Bamboo said...

Ah ... friendly New Yorker's. Always glad to meet "foreigner's".

PENolan said...

Pralines - yum!

Teresa said...

Sorry to miss you in Charleston this weekend, was in Manassas VA visiting my sister. Made it through the TSA with just an Xray of my stuff, no body scan or pat down!

TomCat said...

Beautiful pics, Beach, and the NY tourist was so typical. Growing up in Atlantic City, NJ, tourist behavior was a constant source of amazement.

I regret the circumstances for you trip and hope your uncle recovers quickly.

Teeluck said...

Hey Beach, hope your Uncle gets over this, at this time of Healthcare and Recession woes in the country, I know he might be quite worried, so you have to keep in touch with him, just to keep his spirits high...I know he has a good man in his corner. :)

Liberality said...

I hit a deer last year. I was on a state road going home late at night and this big buck came from out of nowhere. I started breaking and getting over into the other lane (no one coming) to avoid him but no such luck. He hit the side of my right fender by the passenger door and sent my spinning off into the neighbors yard. I almost went down the hillside but I stood on my brakes to stop the damn car. I was not happy and the deer ran off, probably to die. Luckily, there was no one else on the road or it could have been worse, much worse. Now at night I drive extra slow and the people behind me be damned.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm a big colonial New England guy, double b; Salem MA, Newport RI, Bennington, VT, Essex CT, a myiad of smaller communities, etc.. Charleston, SC has always sounded a lot like these places (the history, architecture, etc.) and a place that I would definitely like to go. Thanks for sharing.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Oh, and, yes - GO CLEMSON!!!!!!!

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

You come to town and I leave town. Sorry to have missed you!

Beach Bum said...

Bill: They were a nice couple and I was in effect an ambassador, something I take very serious.

Tricia: You get down my way sometime and we will go get some.

Teresa: You know, I hate to fly already and this is just icing on the cake. I need to buy a sailboat!

Tomcat: Uncle Maxie is still in the hospital as of Friday, November 26th. I would drive back down but I am on-call.

Teeluck: Thanks.

Liberality: Down here the deer population is exploding because the boneheads killed off all the predators decades ago. Now the deer are regularly invading urban roads and subdivisions with the explosion in the human population which upsets the home associations and spreads disease. Its a nasty cycle and weakens the wildlife population and the humans my end up catching the worst end of things.

Will: Charleston has kept most of its Southern charm although the size of the place has exploded. Its the most beautiful city in the South no matter what that harlot Savannah might say.

Yeah, I'm going for Clemson, making me a black sheep of the family again.

Joan: Coming back down soon because of my uncle, going to make another stop at the Battery, like I could resist, maybe we could meet for a few minutes there?

Ranch Chimp said...

Wow ... great pic's Guy ... of the harbour, and what a beautiful bridge too! Ahhh man ... sorry to hear about your uncle, but at least he's being taken care of and has Ya'll there too ... which is relieving to folk's too psychologically to having someone else around beside's just med personel poking around and staring at you jotting down note's.

The Carolina's is really a hotspot developement, and tourist center of the USA .. and these day's from what I heard really booming, despite even the tough economy. Beautiful coast and all that. You can meet nice folk's or even asshole's from anywhere's I learned, and I stayed all over bloody North America it seem's. Oddly since I moved almost my entire childhood all over the country coast to coast, I had picked up slang from so many dialect's of our overall language, also from those when I stayed in the UK, Canada, Mexico etc ... so I dont know if I have any solid lingo ... even as a small child, I barely stood in one state for a year. Just met alot of folk's, and let me tell ya Guy ... as much as folk's just relate thing's like racism and such too the south, actually the most racist place I had lived in as a kid for instance had to be Brooklyn (NYC) ... no ... NOT Texas by far ... as a matter of fact ... Los Angeles was even more racist. But you meet all type's everywhere's Guy. Been all over the South too ... it's really beautiful, and nothing like that down home hospitality you get in deep south state's like southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, etc.

Later Dude.

Distributorcap said...

i knew there was song down deep inside there

hope your uncle is better

Beach Bum said...

Ranch: I catch hell for my accent sometimes and I have become self-conscious because of it.

DCap: Just a bit of Buffett lingo, I like idea of just taking off sometimes and see where fate might take me.