Tonight we returned from a one-week visit to South Carolina. Liz and I brought the twins to visit Rock Bright, their great-grandfather, and to see other relatives. My mother (who lives in Puget Island, Washington) and sisters (from Oregon), along with my three nephews in tow, also made the trip. While there we just went from one meal to the next. My cousin Susan had everyone over to her place one night for a huge barbeque feast. There were so many people there introductions had to be made to get all the family relations correct. We spent a great hour that evening just reminiscing about Velma Manley, my late great-grandmother. Velma was something of a living legend. She died after reaching the age of 101 and we all felt cheated there wasn’t more time to be had with her.
A highlight of this trip was the 2-nights we spent in Charleston. Charleston is one of the cities I lived in as a boy. My mother (who attended nurse midwifery school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston) kept the twins for us and that meant Liz and I had a wonderful day of sight-seeing followed by nine-hours of uninterrupted sleep. Whenever visiting Charleston a special pilgrimage should be made to the Circular Congregational United Church of Christ. This historic church is in the heart of downtown. For over 300 years they have brought a progressive voice to theological debates about the nature of god, slavery, racism, gender identity, and environmental issues. I was able to see the inside of the sanctuary on this trip and look forward to the day I’m actually in town when they’re holding services. This is one of only two United Church of Christ-related congregations in all of South Carolina. I very much admire their long history of progressive ministry in Charleston. Their members work proactively to support social change efforts in a city filled with great wealth and great poverty.
Liz and I had so much fun just hanging out with all my relatives. Running around with my nephews was a joy. Family pictures will be up on our homepage sometime later next week. In the meantime a couple of tourist notes for those visiting South Carolina:
Four Oaks Farm is always the place we stop off at for food supplies. They have the best country ham and bacon, perseveres, pecans and pies. You can also get some really good grits there – both white and yellow.
The South Carolina State Museum is another real treat. I still remember a display there about a decade ago on WPA-era murals. Right now they have a display on dinosaurs that my nephews loved.
A big group of us when off to the Columbia Zoo for an afternoon. This has always been one of my favorite zoos. You’re right up close to the animals – but still at a safe and respectful distance.
When in Charleston my family eats at only one place: The Trawler in Mt. Pleasant. We’ve been going to this restaurant for their she-crab soup, fried flounder, and hush-puppies for ever. Would you know the place was closed down for renovations this week? Well, it just gives me an excuse to get back their soon.