12 Apr 2011
Charleston is a town where history is in the houses and the stones. It leaps out at you, smiling sometimes, sometimes grabbing you by the heart. It’s a place I’ll visit in the future.
I don’t know how we managed to time our overnight visit so that we arrived on the exact 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War. Just happened that way, without planning, which kind of describes my life. I remember aiming for a quiet moment in early 2008 to drive my rental car around the Arc de Triomphe. Early arvo, I thought, it will be about as empty as it gets during daylight hours. Of course, that happened to be just a few seconds before the Olympic flame for the Beijing games passed through, and there were about a million protestors and gendarmes and helicopters and tourists…
Charleston was full of tourists for the anniversary. People dressed in period costume, people with cameras, sometimes all three in the same frame. We stopped at a bakery to pick up a bunch of saltwater brownies and the struggle to find a parking space within walking distance reminded me of the Arc de Triomphe episode.
Anyway, we eventually found a spot that was legal, dropped a quarter in, and looked into the bakery. Big jars of goodies: muffins, cookies and yup, saltwater brownies.
Flummoxing the Southerners
A young man asked me what my desire was, and I looked him square in the eye, and said in my Australian accent, “I have travelled here from the year 1957 to buy a dozen of these brownies.”
This is technically correct, but he gasped, said, “What?” and gave me the sweet pleasure of repeating my line. I then fumbled with the coinage when paying him, holding out a palm of change to let him select the correct amount. US currency is always difficult for an Aussie, with those nickels and dimes the wrong way around.
Speaking of sweet pleasure, FutureCat and I sampled one out of the dozen and dear glory, but it was good!