Monday, November 17, 2014

Nothing in Common Goes South, Part 2, Day 4 something

It is a much longer trip from Greenville, SC to Milledgeville than anticipated. This could be on account of a lengthy stop in Pendleton, SC a small town with more than its share of historic buildings.
Despite rumors that we have nothing in common, CSB and I both like old historic buildings and old graveyards, though his fondness for unrestored and decrepit old buildings far outstrips mine.
While we are walking through the old and atmospheric St Paul’s Cemetery in Pendleton, I get the first call regarding my mother’s driving license. Or the revocation of her driving license. The driving license that is no more. I am reading Confederate era gravestones when I get the call from Bill P., her caretaker and great friend, who is also a Fire Chief and hence a super-safety conscious individual. He has learned from the local police that my mother’s license has been revoked, effective immediately, for “Immediate Threat-Medical.”
This is the best news I have heard in a while.
Someone else, a faceless entity, someone/thing who is neither me nor my sister, has taken away my mother’s license to drive a 3,560 pound machine capable of moving at over 100 mph, and we can stop worrying about her driving off the road into a snow bank, or mistaking the gas pedal for the brake and driving into a plate glass storefront and killing a family of six celebrating a child’s birthday, or getting hopelessly lost and ending up in a sketchy neighborhood in another state.
My mother, however, does not see this news as the positive step it is. She has informed Bill that she plans to appeal this egregious error.
I am standing here, reading the epitaph composed for his wife, Anna née Calhoun, by Thomas Greene Clemson, “erected by her disconsolate husband.”
Meanwhile, CSB would like to visit Ashtabula, a lovely example of the Lowcountry plantation style. The lady at the Visitor Center – she is wearing period costume, and yes, people wearing period costumes make me very anxious – informs us that Ashtabula should be open now for visitors, but she is not making any promises.
We drive over there, and it is closed. It is unclear if it is closed for the day or closed for the season, but it is closed.

Here is CSB looking in the windows. We discuss, heatedly, the shade of blue used for the porch ceiling; CSB feels strongly that it is not the correct, that is, robins’ egg shade of blue traditionally used for porch ceilings as a mosquito repellant, as well as because it is lovely.
Later, at the Agricultural Museum of South Carolina – where we can operate a real cotton gin, a very small hand-operated cotton gin, but a real one – we see the same lady from the Visitors’ Center, but now she has shed her period costume, and it is a definite improvement. She is enthusiastic about the genuine old McCormick Reaper on display. It also works. I mention to the Visitor Center lady now in mufti that Ashtabula was closed this morning. She does not seem surprised.
This is a lot of architecture and agriculture for a morning, and CSB has heard rumors that somewhere in the vicinity is a restaurant called The Esso Club which is in an old gas station, an oddly appealing concept. I won’t mention which brand, and it serves many types of local beer. We find it. We slake our thirst. We have still not left South Carolina.

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