Do you ever sit down to write something, but your mind’s anchored to a different topic? That’s my struggle today. I haven’t been anywhere since Arkansas, still I have all kinds of other places I could write about from before I started this blog. But my mind is out in the middle of the ocean somewhere today, along with my heart.
My son is serving in the US Navy. He’s on a submarine somewhere – I don’t even know what ocean. He’s been out before on a few short runs, but this is his first deployment. That means months and months with absolutely no contact from him. Nothing. Not a call, not an email, not a check-in on Facebook. I miss him terribly – and he’s only been out a few weeks so far.
Being in the Navy, he’ll get to see so many places and other countries. Many of them are on my list of places to see. He’s already been to a few but I don’t know what I’m allowed to mention and what I’m not, so I won’t name any.
But I can tell you right after boot camp, he was stationed near Charleston, South Carolina. I loved visiting him there. I was able to go twice while he was there. I went alone the first time, and with my daughter the second.
One of my favorite authors has written a lot about South Carolina. Before each trip, I reread John Jake’s Charleston and the Civil War trilogy North and South. If you’re interested in the area or in American history and have not yet read these books, you must do it. In fact, just read anything by Jakes. He’s awesome.
I love the survival of history in the South. I know a big piece of that history is ugly and unthinkable, and must be mentioned when talking about Southern history. I personally can’t bear the thought of how terribly humans have treated other humans, not just in the South but throughout the entire story of mankind. So, let’s move beyond that.
South Carolina was my first real experience with the South. I was in awe of the scenery and the environment. Beautiful trees just everywhere, dripping with Spanish moss. Colorful flowers popping out of plush, green, wild areas. Much like Arkansas, South Carolina seems to never be quite. I don’t know what the sounds were. Insects, for certain. What kind? No idea.
The landscapes are magnificent. The buildings are an exquisite combination of new growth and hundreds of years of history. The people are brimming with Southern charm. Like anywhere, there are people who don’t fit that description but I don’t think I ran into any during my visits. The weather was, well, I’m not sure how to describe it.
Both my trips were in warm months. The first in August, the second in April. Both were humid, but bearable. And during both, we’d be enjoying a sunny day, when out of nowhere a fierce rainstorm would start up. During my August visit, there was a storm so bad, I had to pull over while driving on the freeway and allow it to die down. Here in California, we don’t drive in heavy rain much.
If you’re traveling to South Carolina, take clothing for any type of weather. Take an umbrella and sunscreen. And take an open heart and mind eager for learning about Southern history you weren’t taught in school.
Both of my kids have an adventurous spirit. I like to think they got that from me. And maybe that’s part of what led my son to explore the world with the U.S. Navy. I love spending time with these two more than anything else in the world. When we’re together, we laugh until we hurt. They’re both witty and sharp, and we each see the world in slightly different ways. It’s an amazing experience to explore new areas with people like that – people who open your eyes to more than what you would have seen on your own. People who make a long drive fly by because you’ve spent the whole time laughing with each other. It’s even more amazing when you’ve watched them grow from infancy into that wonderful person.
First – Thank your son for his service to all of us. And thank you for your part in guiding him growing up, and his making that decision to join the Navy. – Also thanks for the reminder about John Jakes. I haven’t read anything by him but I just put down his name to look up the next time I’m in my local used book store. – And the travel bug, that infects so many of us. I haven’t done near as much as I’d like. My big hope is to take an extended trip along Route 66.
Thank you so much for all your kind words. Yes, read John Jakes. If you like history woven into great story telling, you’ll love it. Happy travels!