BFF Ruth has a time-share right on the beach and she has generously invited me for the last 5 years. For the last 2 years, she has also invited my BFF from the West Coast, Christine. The first year we did this, we were each lost in grief. Christine made the rule that only 2 out of 3 could be crying at the same time. We all helped each other a lot: talking, crafting, walking on the beach.
Ruth invited us again Oct. 2015. Our griefs are all still there, but we’re a little more stable. Christine has long term friends who just moved to Charleston SC, so we added a few days to visit them. The woman of the couple went to college with Christine and used to walk down the halls of the dorm, with a towel on her head and her coat turned backwards impersonating a nun. Therefore, I shall not give her name but call her “Sister.”
Our road trip began by Ruth and I picking up Christine at Norfolk Airport, after which we got hopelessly lost with help from the
Exhausted, we made it as far as Battleboro NC, where we collapsed for the night. On the road the next morning, we headed south, stopping at thrift stores along the way. Christine had found us a hotel right on Meeting Street, so we didn’t really need the car til we left. We walked over to Low Country Bistro for some she-crab soup.
I have been to Charleston now 3 times. When I was a little girl and sickly quite a lot, my mother read a book to me called Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow. It is a historical novel that takes place in Charleston in the 1780s and I went on to read the book myself countless times since then. [I have also read all the author’s other works].
We met up with “Sister” and took a marvelous horse-drawn carriage tour of the old town [thanks, Samson, the Clydesdale that pulled us. Samson is deadly afraid of a small boat that sits out on the street, convinced that it will eat him alive. He is completely calm about all the whizzing cars and yelling people, but boats do not exist in his universe.] Charleston has worked out a clever system of 3 routes, which are assigned randomly by a small lottery ball machine, so each route is never over-crowded.
After the 2 hour ride [many photos], we walked through the old market, which is now filled with skilled artisans and their wares. Hand made sweet grass baskets and fans are everywhere, made by men and women alike. [After having 2 months of basket making, taught by a friend, I now have much greater respect for basketry.] Laden with our purchases, we returned to the hotel.
While “Sister”, Christine and Ruth toured the Calhoun House, I was not in the mood for 19th century historical homes. I roamed Meeting Street, visiting St. Michael’s to pray and grieve. I have always liked wandering in old cemeteries, and I did that there and at the Meeting House [church]. I saw a kilted Scotsman in the door of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. Charleston is called “The Holy City” because it has so many churches. I believe it has so many churches because it has always been a major seaport, with a smattering of all kinds of folks and their religions. I am reminded of some of the ancient ports we have visited around the world, where Greek, Phoenician, Roman, Egyptian and other temples stand side by side.
Ruth and I were worn out, but Christine has more energy than that bunny. She went out to dinner with her friends and we didn’t see her til late.
The next day, we left town, by inches. We stopped at the Battery and the park there; shopped at a few wonderful handicrafts stores; I walked in a fountain to the annoyment of a photography class and crossed the river to stop at a Hobby Lobby and a thrift store. Burdened with more treasure, we made our way to Myrtle Beach.
It was “the usual” = laughing, crying, talking, crafting, watching “Ancient Alien Astronauts”, walking on the beach. Daily. Thank you, my 2 bestest girlfriends in the world!! I am so blessed to have the pair of you.