Monday, May 21, 2012

Country life

The tropical storm that wasn't moved back up the coast today, leaving behind about 25 raindrops in this area.  But the sky was incredible again--huge puffy cumulus clouds with big tops rising against peacock blue.

The morning was cool so we picked basil from the garden and whipped up a lot of pesto to use in soups and over orzo.  After that, we sat on the porch having coffee and listened to yelling and expletives being screamed by the deranged teenager who lives with his mother and step-father on the adjacent property.  I don't know what his problem is, but he has been having disruptive rages for several years.  He has been committed to the psychiatric institute for depression. And the police have been called by his mother when he has been out of control.  This morning, the yelling went on for about 15 minutes, after which it ceased and all was quiet.  I figured that either every one was dead over there or some resolution had been reached.

The country around here is generally peaceful.  Once in a while, there will be something out of the ordinary, like a theft (which we experienced) or the occasional murder every ten years, or someone dying in an automobile accident after having too much to drink.  I'm sure that there are drugs on the island.  But at no time, have we felt unsafe.

When we first moved out here, we used to drive home from work and if we saw ten cars, we thought there was a traffic jam.  Today, there are more cars and more people.  There is a wine festival that is held at a vineyard on the island.  And the First Flush tea festival was held up the road at the tea plantation over the past weekend.  This will draw lots of people to come see this part of the Lowcountry.  Hopefully, they will decide that it is way too far to travel, and they will decide that a suburb nearer to the city is a better place to live.

Some of the characters that I used to see walking the roads are gone now.  There was Tripod, the three-legged dog who would walk along the highway with his owner who would turn around and stare at everyone who drove past.  I thought that he must have a fear of being hit by a car because he would stop walking and turn around as a car went past.  Tripod died a number of years ago, and his owner hasn't been seen walking the road anymore.

Then there was the "Greeter" who would also walk along the road and raise his cane at every one who passed by.  After his house burned down, we didn't see much of him.  Someone bought his property and has a horse farm there now.

I also think of Joseph who would walk our road to get to the horse farm across the field.  He took care of the horses there for years until alcoholism got the best of him.  I would sometimes give him a lift, but toward the end he reeked so badly that I stopped.  A neighbor once found Joseph sleeping in his car.  After Joseph lost his job caring for the horses, it was all downhill from there.  He died living in a shack about two miles from here.

I regret that I didn't get photos of these people.  It's said that there are the "Bin Yah" or "Come Yah" people in this part of the coast.  The following video explains this better than I can.

It is a special place to live.  I may be a "Come Yah" but it sure feels like home to me.


  1. Your countryside fascinates me Syd -- we may have less safety out here at the moment, but we have many of the same characters and a vanishing way of life. that slow idiosyncratic country living. Beautiful.

  2. You know Syd after reading this it really brought home to me though were about a thousand miles apart our neighborhoods really aren't that much different. I bin yah for 23 years and bin yah 58 in the city, now empty cuz of all the left yah's and have seen all but three of the people who were here when we moved in move off. some dead, some foreclosed out and evicted, some just couldn't keep their marriages together.

    But the truth of it is as you described every neighbor has a story, some good some bad and most just want to live in peace. some crime, some watchers who prevent crime and never yet a murder withing a thousand feet of here.

    It ain't as pretty as the low country I know cuz I bin there but it is home and we are comfortable and unafraid of here.

  3. I love the names of the characters you've had in your homeland. Enjoy the day, Syd. God is good.

  4. It is much like that here, too, but the culture is not as old, as deep.
    We have our characters. We have our history. We have our water and our live oaks.
    You touched on so much here, Syd. So much. There are so many layers to life in the south. It is a special place.

  5. Greeter and Tripod had me laughing out loud. I would like to think that me and GCP are becoming part of the community color. Lord knows people see that dog coming halfway up the street. My house is now the place to stop and pet the dog. I know that because I sit on my couch and watch the people from my living room window. Its kind of sweet.

  6. love your little captures of the people...i love meeting people like this and they all have stories you know...even without pictures you honor them...

  7. Just remember that that family next door could be any of us parents here who you read everyday. I can assure you my neighbors have heard an earful from my house on many occasions. The parents are mortified and worried and don't know what to do next I am sure.

  8. Syd, I love this post. I'm curious what island you are on. I lived in Mount Pleasant for a few years in the 90's and miss it terribly!! I love the Low Country.

  9. Annette, his parents are really nice, good people. They are mortified. We have talked to both of them about the kid who has claimed that he is abused. We don't interfere but know that if a gun shot happens, we will call the sheriff.

  10. Very interesting and beautiful, your photos exquisite, and the video educational to the culture and mindset of the low country. Thank you. I really enjoyed your blog today.

  11. Interesting stuff, Syd. I've always been fascinated how each life that I meet seems to have a drama attached ... some more dramatic than others.

  12. I feel for those parents also. Many, many people have adult children who cannot live on their own due to psychiatric problems. In our state all the mental hospitals were closed years ago, and the group homes that were supposed to replace them never materialized.
    Parents are left with a choice--disturb your neighbors or have them wandering the streets pushing shopping baskets.

  13. The beginning of the video is haunting to me. Just the music and the production of it, I suppose. The woman's voice and her message.

    It's interesting, though, the history of your area. It makes me want to learn more about the history of the area I live in. From what I know, there used to be a lot of sawmills in the area, but I think there were also plantations and slavery, too.

  14. Hi Syd! Caterpillars are eating my basil. I'm trying vinegar spray to get rid of them. Oregano came back on it's own from last year but is much bigger. Delicious. Your place certainly does sound special. How nice!

  15. That last picture is so striking.

    I enjoyed the video. In one of our neighbouring provinces, a person who you would know as a "come yah" is called a "come from away".

  16. I too have dealt with repeated
    rages from my son, triggered many times by his substance use. They
    are very hurtful. For six months
    when he was sober, he was calmer
    and the rages disappeared.
    I am glad that you have
    compassion for your neighbors'

  17. Beautiful photos! I felt like I was living this post... I could see the beautiful white clouds and taste that delicious pesto out of the garden.

    I also love to observe those around me... my old commute to work, there was an older gentleman that would "jog" along the busy road and raise his hand up to ever single car. I always waved and smiled back.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.