Rocking Through Rocky Weather…From the Mountains, to the Midlands, to the Coast

Dear Reader:

What is it about a rocking chair? I love them…I think it is just the rhythm and aimless motion that soothes us as adults like it did when we were babies and toddlers.

The first thing the Ya’s love to do when we get to the Saluda cabin is throw everything inside and run to the porch…to settle in….because like worshipers at church whatever chair or sofa you first settle in is where you will be the rest of the time…that will be your place. So I got a chair that slowly rocked back and forth.

Little did any of us know, upon first arrival, that the time to rock would be quite limited but a God’s Wink would keep rocking throughout the retreat.

Saluda is so cute….you just want to wrap it up and put a bow on top. It has been awhile since we came directly to the cabin and not Honey’s home first…so I was amazed at how much Saluda had grown with boutiques, diners, bakeries, floral stores, clothing stores and lots and lots of fun antique shops! We only got a few hours one morning to see a couple of shops but it was so much fun. Even coming in…the signs for Saluda were bright and inviting.

Unfortunately for the International Tryon Equestrian Show…Hurricane Florence was threatening to put a “damper” on festivities though the plans for the show were still going on…Saluda had put up their horse art decor, along with the other small towns, to show their support.

No matter where we shopped or went we always agreed on where we wanted to pick up breakfast or lunch….Ward’s Grill! (Adjoined to Thompson’s grocery store…the oldest grocery store in North Carolina.) Both places take us back to our childhoods and youth growing up.

Honey told Brooke about a cute, fun shop called Random Arts….run by Jane Powell. We had so much fun in there and Jane made us feel like part of the town family immediately. In fact everyone in Saluda is so outgoing and friendly you just end up leaving every place with a smile on your face. This shop has a little of everything you can ever imagine wanting and then some…(it is located 1 mile off I-26 coming into Saluda!)

Brooke, Jackson and their new friend….and Jane Powell, the owner!

There were more places to see…unfortunately we only got to visit a couple of them…but these Saluda shops have the most unique items for sale…things that you or a recipient would never see again. And the flower baskets take your breath away they are so pretty. The western mountains have gotten a lot of rain this summer and you can tell it in their drop-dead gorgeous flowers.

On the way down from the cabin into  town…we kept passing such beautiful home gardens and even a community garden which is such a wonderful idea!

Lunch was at Ward’s Grill...what is it about a grilled cheese sandwich fixed in a diner that is the best comfort food in the world? And we would need it (comfort)…because right after that  Hurricane “Flo” made a western turn more towards the middle of the state and then on up towards the upcountry.

So we packed up but not before Honey came racing down the mountains to bring gifts… a fast birthday gathering. Honey had planned to have us all up for supper so she brought the food down for us take along with gifts galore. We had all gotten Honey something too…one of which was a artsy fun necklace from Random Arts. It might have been quick but thank you all, everyone, for my early birthday remembrance!!!

Honey…we ate all the ‘fixin’s in Columbia and Walterboro…those tomato pies were eaten at each meal…starting with breakfast…along with the squash casserole and the banana pudding!!!!

I will always associate this storm with this particular birthday… just like I associate Hugo with a much earlier one (benchmark 40)….hurricanes seem to time their appearance around my birthdays (spoiler alert)…but maybe God is telling me that it might be stormy but hey I’m still here through storms and all. The best gift of all…life.

I told Brooke I forgot to put on my Clemson necklace the Ya’s got me for the game Saturday (maybe why they seemed a little off)…besides giving me way too many other things….but love you girls…and Honey thanks for my  Clemson Rabbit!!!!! He, too, needed to watch the game! I will plan better next Saturday while I light my candle….that should do it!

One good thing about not getting around to several places on my wish list…is that they will be there next time we go….places like the Saluda Depot & Museum, lots and lots of cute shops, and Pearson Falls…a beautiful walking, bird sanctuary, and wildflower display area around the falls between Tryon and Saluda.

Our adventure now extended into Columbia… getting two of the Ya’s home and a fun spend-the-night with Jackson before we took the back roads home to Walterboro where I stayed until after the storm (which thankfully was not as bad as some thunderstorms we have had this summer.) But it did give us time to have our own little Hurricane Florence party…Ted makes a mean marguerita!

*As we came into Columbia…Brooke and I looked up to see a rainbow right in front of us…staying put all the way to Jackson’s home…a good omen.

A museum I want to take the grandchildren to…is another railroad museum  in Branchville…I think they would love it! It was so relaxing (we were about the only people on the road) to go through small towns with beautiful old houses and perfectly manicured lawns.

Since Hurricane Florence seemed intent on taking her sweet time to arrive…Brooke took me to the nature park with their HUGE logo rocking chair smack dab in the middle before the nature trails start.

Yep….we rocked in Saluda and we rocked in Walterboro…We had come full circle- from the mountains to the lowcountry!

So until tomorrow…One day (of all the birthdays that will stand out in my memory)…the “Hugo” and “Florence” birthdays will definitely stand alone….one left me with a lot of repairs, the other left me alone… thanks for my present Hurricane Florence.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The couple God Wink? Meet Betty and Vick Murdaugh…actually Dr. Vick Murdaugh. We  met them three times randomly on our trip…

*The first time was at a very popular diner off the Winnsboro/Newberry Exit  from I-26…a place called Bill & Fran’s. It was so packed in this diner (we traditionally stop there) that all of us could hardly get in the door. This nice couple started talking with Brooke and they agreed to help each other look for someone leaving a table and grab it for each other. So nice and friendly…they made a lasting impression immediately!

*Then when Brooke, Jackson, and I went to Ward’s Grill for lunch Tuesday…lo and behold there they were with friends from Saluda who Brooke knew! We couldn’t believe we had ended up together again in the same mountain town… it was crowded at Ward’s lunch seating too. *(It felt like we had a part in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ and we just kept repeating the same crowded lunch scene over and over.)

Then Wednesday all four of us went back to Ward’s for lunch and (you guessed it) there sat Betty and Vick. This time, however, our booths were next to each other and we discovered that Betty had once lived in Charleston, they both now lived in Columbia, and everyone of us had a connection to them through mutual neighbors or friends or family…  we even shared health issues that Dr. Murdaugh once specialized in.

It wasn’t six degrees of separation…it was closer than that…maybe two. It got me thinking…that every time we go somewhere…a movie, a restaurant, a social event…we probably don’t realize that people we are talking to socially are somehow related to us or to someone we mutually know. Once again, it brings home the universal truth that we are all connected…citizens of the world!

We couldn’t end our time together without an eating photo…it is what we do best and enjoy the most…life is too short not to! Vick took this last picture of us together at Ward’s Grill.

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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One Response to Rocking Through Rocky Weather…From the Mountains, to the Midlands, to the Coast

  1. bcparkison says:

    And a grand time was had by all.

    Like

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