It was about six or seven years ago, during one memorable Charleston trip, that we christened our friend Drew with the title, The Lurker. One of the original photo-bombers, somehow, he would just end up in the background of most of our photos. Eventually, we had him “lurk” there on purpose. Over the years, the nickname has lingered, and he still has a talent for silently walking up behind people, or appearing in pictures he wasn’t intended for. It’s a talent that most of us don’t have.
Of course, I wasn’t thinking about this, when I left Clemson. I hit the road at 8 am, and was half an hour past Greenville, enjoying my music, when I noticed a truck starting to pass me. Well, I thought it was. I glanced to my left, looked away, and then looked back again, slightly startled. Sure enough, Drew was looking determinedly at me, from the passenger seat of that truck. I promptly grabbed my phone, to tell my two best friends that “Drew’s lurking at me… from Tom’s truck!”. They thought that was funny, because he had come up in conversation, so technically, he was lurking in the conversation, too. Such talent.
Yes, my girls from Pennsylvania were on their way south. When I lived there, we would drive to Seabrook Island, together, all 10-13 hours of it, depending on traffic. Now, they have to make it on their own. This time, they drove down early, stayed overnight in Charlotte, and were on target to meet me in Summerville at noon. From there, we would leave my car at a friend’s, and travel to Charleston and Seabrook, together. After a year in Australia, I still don’t think we’ve caught up on talking, in our handful of visits, since I returned.
Within half an hour of my destination, I was entertained to see “The Ark” go rolling down the highway, next to me. That was the first time I pulled out my camera and I took it with me everywhere, for the rest of the weekend.
We stopped for lunch at Tbonz, near the Market. Just now, when I finally looked at my picture of the menu again, I thought the menu had been misspelled. Turns out, I never knew that Tbonz’ full name was Tbonz Gill & Grill. For a minute there, I was worried. Spelling mistakes should NOT be in your menu, that’s for sure. Their sweet potato fries were awesome, but don’t order the she-crab soup. Not a winner.
After wandering the whole Market, we crossed the street to look inside of Charleston’s Candy Kitchen. Located on the corner of North Market Street and East Bay, I had never noticed it there, before. Usually, when we cross the streets, outside the Market, we’re further down, and don’t notice what’s up on the corner. As you can see, this is one of the places where you gain weight by looking…. or breathing in the scent of chocolate.
My only purchase was a stick of rock candy. Ah, the memories that come with those treats. Not all good, of course. The main one was from going to Charleston on a school trip, and staying overnight on the U.S.S. Yorktown. We also did the Fort Sumter tour, and I bought some rock candy for that trip. Promptly chipped a tooth that I had just had fixed. Or maybe that was the first chip. I had to have that tooth fixed three times within two weeks, because it just wouldn’t stay fixed. But at the age of 10 or 11, I was horrified by the mishap.
After climbing all the stairs to the roof of the parking garage, and making our way back to the car, I was in the driver’s seat again. Charleston isn’t my favorite place to drive, but I am much more used to city driving than my friends, so I always volunteer for this part of things. If my directional sense goes wrong, we get the GPS out. But that always ends interestingly, because I don’t always listen properly to that little voice.
So, last time we used it in Charleston, we almost got seriously lost, trying to follow the directions “Jane” gave us. I’m much better off using my own judgment, and not worrying too much. Charleston is on a peninsula, and sooner or later, you reach the waterfront, and/or come to a bridge. I generally know which direction I should be going, even if I don’t remember the street names.
Having eaten lunch rather late, we skipped the dinner get-together, and went straight to Freshfields Village, at the roundabout in front of Kioway and Seabrook Islands. Goodness, I still remember back before they built that place. And before they built the big bridge on Main Rd. There used to be a “spinning bridge”, instead of a regular draw bridge, and it was a pain, if you got stuck on the road, when the bridge was being “spun” to let boats through.
Instead of dinner, we went to the Marble Slab Creamery, and hemmed and hawed over our choices. I finally decided on Amaretto ice cream, with chocolate chip cookie dough mixed in. The guy working there thought this sounded wonderful, and said he’d have to try it. From there, while I was paying for my ice cream, he asked where we were from, and when I told him Clemson, he said “That’s where I go to school!”.
Turns out, not only that, he’s an engineering student and comes into my cafe regularly. When I informed him that I was the cashier, he KNEW that I had looked familiar. But who really would have thought you’d find your Clemson cashier at an ice cream join, near Seabrook Island? He never “woulda-thunk-it”. He wouldn’t know that I’m at Seabrook, twice a year, every year since 1998.
After all the ice cream was devoured, we headed onto the island, driving “gently” as we went. Yes, the signs really do tell you to drive gently. And after the gatehouse, you HAVE to follow the speed limit (25 mph), or risk getting pulled over by a golf cart, if you go more than 3 miles over the limit. I kid you not. It happened to a friend, about ten years ago, and he still hasn’t lived it down. Most of our group have forgotten how Kelvin drove his motorcycle to Seabrook, only to find that motorcycles weren’t allowed on the island. So, he had to wait for someone to give him a ride to camp. But Gary has never lived down getting a ticket from a golf cart.
Arrival involves much unloading of cars, running and hugging all the arrivals, and lots of general excitement. For me, it used to involve running up and down the boardwalk in my flip-flops (I only fell once), but a foot injury wasn’t allowing that, this time. It was a beautiful evening, with a gorgeous sunset. And even the deer are somewhat friendly. Or at least, unafraid of humans. I got quite close to this one, to take these pictures. But I didn’t go too close, I was afraid the deer would panic and run me over. That’s something that I would never live down.
People still don’t quite believe the story about Kelvin and I finding a deer head washed up on the beach, so many years ago. Aside from us, there were no witnesses to the event. Unlike when the plane landed on the beach, or the large turtle washed up after a boat collision. But if I got run over by a deer, there would have been multiple witnesses, as everyone was on the boardwalk, in the snack shack, or in the gazebo. So, I behaved myself, and so did the deer.