Sunday, May 23, 2010

South Carolina - May 23, 1788

We were in Charleston, South Carolina on July 1, 2000. The day the Conferderate flag was taken down from the State House. I remember listening to the radio of a blow by blow as the flag was lowered and moved to a different location as part of a Civil War monument. It was a surreal day to be there. I couldn't even understand why the Conferderate Flag was still flying in the first place.

The South Carolina state flag has a crescent and a Palmetto tree. The Palmetto was added during the Civil War after South Carolina seceded. According to this site, the Palmetto played a significant role in the Revolutionary War.

Charleston is a beautiful city. I really liked seeing Rainbow Row and visting Folly Beach.

Dorothy Allison's Two or Three Things I know for Sure explores the author's abusive family history through photographs and memories. There is a kind of a stream-of-conciousness to it. It is not written in a linear fashion, but rather by topics. Interspersed throughout are maxims that begin with "Two or three things I know for sure..." but there are a lot more than two or three of these in the book, so I guess she really knows more than she claims. This is a slim volume that can be read in a few hours. It gives the reader a view of the more sketchy side of southern life, a world without estates or "coming out" parties. Fans of Dorothy Allison will only be disappointed by the fact that the book is so short it ends too soon.

The List appears to be nothing more than a poor facsimile of The Ultimate Gift. A young man feels dissed by his deceased father when he discovers that he was left only a key to a safe deposit box. The contents of the box lead him to a secret society formed during the Civil War, which invests the families' fortunes. Billed as a "thriller" the summary in the Internet Movie Database says "a list from the past leads to unimaginable evil". I wondered then about the PG rating, and, as it turns out the movie was pretty tame for something with claims of "unimaginable evil". I couldn't tell if one of the characters was supposed to have made some deal with the devil, but the conflict of "good vs. evil" was nevertheless pretty straightforward. I found the religious aspect of it too sappy, which was really disappointing. I picked this movie because the other movies I identified for South Carolina did look too sappy (The Notebook, and Dear John). I will refer blog readers back to Dorothy Allison for a non-sappy South Caroline movie - Bastard Out of Carolina.

In reading the South Carolina essay in State by State I saw reference several time to the Lowcountry, and heard it mentioned also in The List, but in neither case did I see what area it included. I found the  Lowcountry homepage, but even it doesn't make it obvious. I get the idea that if you don't know where it is, you don't belong there. Anyway, Wikipedia to the rescue. The Lowcountry is the coastal area of the State. We will be visiting the Lowcountry next month when we see our friends in Charleston and visit the Bigelow Tea Plantation as part of James' tea research.

We enjoyed some delicious Pecan Pie as our South Carolina treat. All three of us liked this recipe, (James and Paloma each had two pieces!). The pie turned out to be not super sweet, which I find is too often true with Pecan pies. This recipe is really for "tarts" but since I don't have tart trays I just used the same recipe to make a pie.

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