Boiled Peanuts, Fascinators, Gardenias, and Gullah Memories…

Dear Reader:

Yesterday… 100 Rainbow Road, felt like a train station where friends, surprise gifts, and unexpected memories popped up to turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one!

It started with a book trade between Anne and myself… I texted to let her know I had just finished two novels I thought she would enjoy. Anne said she had a surprise book for me and would drop it off on her way to work at the artisan center.

So around 9:00 Anne arrived bringing me a surprise – a recently published book -Drayton Hall Stories: A Place and It’s People by a mutual friend of ours-another middle school teacher…Sue Anne McDaniel’s husband- George McDaniel, retired executive director of Drayton Hall.

Anne and I, along with Lorraine White ( Music teacher at Alston Middle School) wrote and won a humanity state grant to introduce eighth graders to the Gullah Culture. We agree it was the best experience we all had in our teaching career. We went to the Penn Center, ( once a school for freedmen to learn to read) Beaufort, museums, took the Charleston Gullah Tour, art exhibits, learned basket weaving and had the children write poetry about colors that define them and construct Story People that revealed their dreams and aspirations . ( My daughter Mandy took on the project of the Story People ” mannequins ” ) *Enlarge

Anne saved hers and sent me a picture of it!

Anne created a ” red” outfit to symbolize the boldness she wanted to acquire-wearing bright bold colors… an exaggerated ear for listening closer to those around her and she chose this MLK Jr quote from the Penn Center as her life mantra.

Men hate each other because they fear each other…

They fear each other because they don’t know each other

They don’t know each other because they can’t communicate with each other… because they are separated from each other” ( Dr Martin Luther King, Jr)

The Gullah Connection project ended at Drayton Hall Plantation where the students shared their new experiences with skits, Gullah dances, songs, art basket displays , poetry readings and Gullah cuisine brought by the students and families served outdoor buffet/ picnic style! We can never think George McDaniel enough for opening up Drayton Hall for educational learning centers and ” living history ” at its best!

As I showed Anne my gardens she stopped and snapped the title photo of me in front of the giant gardenia bush… as we walked farther along the garden path the strong sweet scent of the gardenias mixed with the airy Confederate jasmine growing on the picket fences. I wanted every sense to be present when I imagined my sanctuary and it has them all!

After Anne left Susan called to say she had been practicing making boiled peanuts-would I like to try some? Would I??? Yes, Yes, Yes… been craving some! ( Susan… they were perfectly out of this world) We had some wonderful catch up time… after she left I was watching more of the pomp and ceremony across the pond. Some women were modeling their latest fashionable hats… the young gals, especially were modeling “fascinators” … I went looking for the adorable breast cancer fascinator Mollie bought me years ago when the girls attended a luncheon to raise money for cancer research! I stuck my Boo hat on and ate peanuts … a lovely lunch as I watched all the British activities!

So until tomorrow… Friends, surprises, and visits can suddenly turn an ordinary day completely around… leaving a smile pasted on our faces as we fall asleep!

Today is my favorite day/Winnie the Pooh

A special thank you to Tommy and Walsh for taking Uncle Ben and Butch ( Kaitlyn’s dad) golfing Thursday… Ben was beyond excited… his description of heaven… even on a hot day! It was just nice being around family!

Here comes the rain-happy garden flowers!

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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