The lows - and highs - of revisiting the Low Country

FATHER’S DAZE
Emmitt B. Feldner • forThe Review

After spending a few days in nobody’s favorite vacation spot in South Carolina – Fort Jackson – Terry and I figured we were due for a couple of days in our favorite vacation spot in South Carolina – Charleston and the Low Country.

We’ve been there many times – my parents retired to Yemassee in the heart of the South Carolina Low Country and lived there for roughly two decades.

We took as many opportunities as we could to visit them during those years – usually after a long, cold winter up here when we needed some sun and warm weather for therapeutic reasons.

There were plenty of other reasons for going, of course – with visiting my parents at the top of the list but others like seafood, Southern cuisine, shopping, sun, swimming and more also on the list.

So it was that, after Ethan’s graduation from Drill Sergeant School and a farewell lunch with him at a barbecue restaurant outside Columbia, we headed off south and east from Fort Jackson.

Our first stop was in Yemassee, which I hadn’t been to in seven years since my Dad died and Terry closer to 10 years.

It’s a small enough town that not that much had changed in that time.

The little church at the end of the street my parents lived on, where we went to many a Sunday service – and got prayers for travel mercies for our trip home – and where we had our mother’s funeral, was still there, looking pretty much the same.

Since it was Wednesday afternoon, there was no service to stop for, but we did get a picture to send to the rest of the family as a reminder.

We headed down the street past the old homestead and found that it had a new roof and new siding but it still looked pretty much the same.

The big old tree in the front yard had been cut down – the one that all the grandchildren climbed in time and time again – but the rest of the trees are all still there.

We might have stopped to ask the people living there if we could check out the inside, but nobody was home so we didn’t get to see what else had changed.

We did nearly have a crisis on our hands when we continued on down the road to visit Terry’s favorite – all right, second favorite, but a close second – place in Yemassee.

We pulled down a side road off the interstate looking for the LeCreuset factory outlet store, only to see an empty lot at the end of the road where the store had once stood.

Terry was just about on the verge of tears and ready to call the whole trip a complete failure when I noticed a sign next door on the building that used to house a local restaurant.

Apparently, LeCreuset had taken over the building and moved their store into it since we’d last been there.

I can’t say for sure, but it’s probably the first time LeCreuset has had a customer walk in the front door singing “Hallelujah!”

To make it even better for Terry, the new building is larger than the old one, so there was more for her browse through and shop.

Naturally, it also meant there was a lot more stuff she wanted to bring home with her.

The store, and its location, may have changed, but one thing hadn’t – we brought back more LeCreuset items as her souvenirs from yet another South Carolina trip.

Since it was getting late in the afternoon, I finally managed to get Terry away from her Mecca and we headed for our motel outside Charleston.

Our room was on the third floor of the motel, and I have to admit it was a bit disconcerting when I got in the elevator and saw the inspection sign inside the door.

It said it was “Inspected by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides.”

I’m not sure how reassuring that was – I mean, did I really want to ride in an elevator inspected by the same people who inspect amusement rides?

I kept expecting to free fall from the third floor to the lobby in one-tenth of a second or so.

I was looking around for a safety belt or harness to buckle myself in, just in case, but fortunately I didn’t need it after all.

NEXT WEEK: Coming home to Charleston.


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