The afternoon of Mother's Day in 1981 I changed out of my long white formal gown, carefully wrapped up the dozen red roses I had carried earlier that day (as a southern girl I still have every corsage, bouquet, or single stem ever given to me since I was three), packed the remainder of my college belongings into my 1975 Gremlin and left Charleston. I had just graduated from the College of Charleston and was doing something I swore I would never do - leave Charleston. But love is a true narcotic and my future DH had a job in Atlanta and the sirens were calling me there.
Fast forward 35 years, 2 children, 1 grandchild, several careers, and I finally find myself where I wanted to be that May afternoon - back in Charleston. It has been quite the circuitous route.
All this came home to me this morning at the break of dawn as I walked the pups on our morning constitutional. In the distance, the fog horn from the harbor reminded me I was just blocks from the water. Looking down Columbus street I have a great view of the Ravenel Bridge - that new structure that replaced the frightening John P. Grace bridge that only the grace of God saved most of me and my college friends as we made our way across its 1929 rickety grates at all hours of the early morning on our way back from large times on the beach. But, I digress.
As I walked past one of the old single houses on the street, I heard an old geechee voice exclaim, "Lawd child, you can't be fah real. Ain't no man gwanna take you serious."
A cook passed me dressed in his white uniform riding his bicycle on his way to one of the many kitchens here in the Holy City. A student or two made their way down the middle of the empty street on skate boards to school. We crossed the street to avoid the yellow house half way down the block that had the less than friendly pit bull in the yard.
And from the dark down the block coming toward me I heard the familiar baritone voice that often greeted us as we made our way along Nassau Street. This morning he was singing, "Old man river, he just keeps . . ."
Yes, I'm back in Charleston. And it is wonderful, especially in the morning before the traffic and tourists overtake the city. Right now, "The fish are jumpin and the cotton is high!"