Joe, Ande, and Zeph live in South Carolina. And while the focus of the trip was spending time with their family, I think this sign sums up my summation of South Carolina best:
South Carolina isn't busy like New York; if it was the speed limit would be 30. South Carolina isn't laid back like Hawaii; if it was the speed limit would be 25. South Carolina is it's own perfect pace -- a controlled relax that's no too fast and not too slow -- and therefore the speed limit of 27 makes perfect sense.
Joe and Ande live on an island, which means they live by water, which means they have these all over:
That would be an alligator that you see resting on someone's back lawn. The fresh water ponds on the island are filled with alligators -- big ones, little ones, hungry ones.
It also means there are millions of these:
But they also have things that aren't green and that don't crawl . . . like dolphins. We watched a pod of them off the pier. There were all sizes. My favorite was the mama and her baby dipping and diving in rhythm.
|Zeph and Grandma watching the dolphins|
We didn't just see wildlife though, we also sat on the back porch and watched the lightening and rain and heard the thunder.
|the porch view from Joe and Ande's front yard.|
and sometimes we just sat on the porch and rocked after we'd gone swimming. We went swimming nearly every day. I love rocking on their front porch.
We also went to see an old plantation. It had a half mile lane of old oak trees leading up to it and the breeze off the ocean water cooling it down. I'm telling you, you could feel the history of the place.
In it's prime, these two wings of the home were connected with more home and an upper and lower deck. This was built in the late 1600's, early 1700's I think. It's called a tabby house as the building material is sand, water, lime, and oyster shell blended into a type of concrete. Millions and millions of oyster shells are stacked together.
Our Civil War was such a hard and destructive one. I couldn't help but think of it often and the people involved and how it affected their lives.
I've often heard of Southern Hospitality, but now I can say I've experienced it.
Their ward was having a low country boil the night we flew in. Joe had helped in the prepping of it, but explained to their bishop they wouldn't be able to attend as they would be at the airport picking us up. The bishop texted him as he pulled into the airport and said he had set a pot back and would save it until we could get there. It took a half an hour, but after we loaded our luggage, we drove to the church and were welcomed with a big hot pot of fresh shrimp, sausages, red potatoes, and corn on the cob. People came to greet us and sat and visited in the dark while we ate. It didn't seem to matter to them that the party had ended long ago and they could have gone home.
A woman from their ward had made a pound cake because she heard that Ande "had company comin'." The woman can't drive and Ande and Joe live a good thirty minutes away from the woman, but she'd taken the time to make a cake and have someone drive her to deliver it anyway.
Eighty-something-year-old Mildred went out of her way at church to introduce me to her grandson Graham who she claimed was her favorite and also his brother Colton who she claimed was "fine, but not my favorite like Graham."
Thirteen year old Jackson visited with me at length about history, in particular WW II. He thanked me for talking to him and as I shook his hand in parting, he said, "My gosh it's like I got to meet Rush Limbaugh, except it's like you're my very own celebrity." (Please note, I was listening not pontificating.)
It didn't matter if it was people sunning at the swimming pool, or driving a golf cart, or eating at a restaurant, or greeting us on Sunday, they were kind and friendly. It was refreshing.
Ande painted a motto that hangs on her kitchen wall:
Their home and her homemaking skills reflect that motto:
|the living room|
|The mirror is six feet tall, so that gives you some scale as to how massive the fireplace is|
|this chalkboard art that Ande drew greets you as you walk in the front door|
|the dining room. The whole house has wide-plank wooden floors, |
but only in the dining room is the wood floor painted.
Their home is surrounded by palms and evergreens and ferns and marsh. Though there are many other houses on the island, it feels very private and safe . . . and 27-mile-per-hour relaxed.
We ate some wonderful food while we were there as well.
For Sunday dinner, Ande grilled pork chops and fixed cheese fondue for us to dunk crusty homemade bread cubes, seasoned potatoes, broccoli, and apple slices in. She had made salted caramel ice cream and brownies for dessert.
Another day she made a fresh peach pie.
Twice Joe boiled fresh shrimp and steamed crab for us to eat with lime rice. We were only going to eat it once, but it was so good Joe and Calvin went back a second day for more shrimp. Joe seasons the water just perfectly; I noticed he even put a bit of vanilla in it to counter the bitter lemon rind.
We also went out to barbecue one night:
Sweet potato casserole, beans, home fries, chicken, pulled pork, ribs, pickles, lemonade . . . it was all very, very good. The owner's attitude only added to the experience. He was a busy man, just he and his wife cook with one girl in the front taking orders, but it didn't stop him from affectionately tousling Zeph's hair as he walked by. He has a sign behind the cash register informing you what isn't available and never will be so don't ask (mayonnaise and mustard are two of the things I remember on it). He also tells you not to whine if the chicken is gone because it never was about the chicken in the first place.
We got there just in time, because shortly after we got there he put a sign out the front door that the barbecue was gone. And since he's only open a few days a week anyway, I guarantee you he didn't plan on making any more.
We had a wonderful time. We visited. We ate. We played games. We swam. We even crocheted leper bandages. We played . . . and played.
I really miss Joe and Ande and Zeph living on this side of the country, but after going to see them I'm so glad they live where they do and that they have South Carolina to take care of them.
|The South Carolina motto on the vehicle license plates.|