Y’all knew that wouldn’t take long, right?
For starters, we love to travel. We log hundreds of windshield miles a year, with all five of us in our little Mazda 5. Since our girls were small, we’ve taken them everywhere with us. Our girls go with us to see Grandpa at the cabin in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We go to see Gramps in the lower part of the great mitten. Lots of family in Chicagoland. Upper peninsula. DC. And the Great Smoky Mountains. But the one place that we just can’t get enough of?
When we cross the border into South Carolina on I77 near Fort Mill, I feel a calm come over me. When we get off of I95, it becomes excitement. And when I get into Beaufort, a feeling of contentment washes over me. It drips off of the trees alongside the moss that provides canopy over the roads. The antebellum homes welcome me back, as they’ve done with countless visitors over the past three hundred years that since Beaufort was settled. I even get excited to see the Publix on Lady’s Island. This is the place that provides the calm that can even overcome the mayhem.
My girls love this place as much as I do. This really isn’t a surprise, though. Miles of clean, sandy beaches. Beautiful weather, and a locale that feels, for lack of a better term, real. You can still find Gullah culture, even today. You come across reminders of Robert Smalls; a gentleman born into slavery, who went on to become a decorated soldier, statesman, and congressman. In fact, you can’t move without tripping over history.
On July 9, 2016, you’ll find myself and my beautiful bride renewing our vows for our seventeenth anniversary. Right here, at the Old Sheldon Church Ruins.
Sadly, I can’t find the quote that I’m looking for, which I believe was another Pat Conroy quote, but this one will do, as it’s proven accurate for me, thusfar.
“Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”
At the end of the day, when she says good night, I feel full. From my heart out.
I can’t help but look forward to the next day.