CHARLESTOWN, S.C. -- For my mother's birthday I decided to take a trip to Charleston, S.C. Our family is stretched out all over the United States but my grandmother was born and raised in Charleston.
I have lived in a big city -- from San Francisco to Chicago, to Washington, D.C. and Milwaukee -- my entire life. I flew into Savannah, Ga., where my mother met me and we drove back to South Carolina. The ride is somewhat like the distance between Milwaukee and Chicago, but more road kill and lots of gas stations called EL CHEAPO.
It was about 98 degrees and sticky. I was hot but this was a normal day for everyone I met. Our first stop was to new friends of my mother, the Mungins. They were from New York, but have lived in Charleston for over 20 years. After many miles of dirt roads and moss-covered treetops, we pulled up to this quaint home and immaculate yard. From the front of the home you could see the garden that grows in the back. My mom is considered like family there so we just said a quick hello and entered through the screen door.
Since it was her birthday, they were nice enough to help us celebrate it with some amazing BBQ and a South Carolina staple, fresh greens right from their back yard. The meal was amazing, and I was glad I held off on airport food. We ate, drank wine and once we felt as if we could fall asleep, it was time to go out into the garden and pick plums. It was the most amazing little tree I have ever seen. More purple plums than the eye can see. The tree was so giving and I was so happy to receive it. The plums were eaten right off of the tree and were so flavorful they really tasted purple.
We continued to walk through the garden and I saw the pecan tree, as well as the rows or corn, watermelon, squash, peanuts and more. The peaches and grapes weren't ready yet but when they are you better believe that I will back to pick them off of the vines and trees and eat them. What amazed me most was the fact that the peaches had peach fuzz. If you think abut the last time you saw a peach in the store, unless it was grown locally with no chemicals, there was no fuzz. The tomatoes have less acidity than when I was a kid, too. Well, not here, not food grown fresh in your backyard and brought to the table.
While we were in the yard, we got the call that it was time to make ice cream. We sat and cranked the churn for about 20 minutes and when we were done, we had an amazing vanilla treat that was just perfect. A surprise that was not expected but really appreciated was the birthday cake that was presented that read "Happy Birthday Portia." There we sat in the sun room eating birthday cake and homemade ice cream. It was still hot but no one noticed.
It was time to go and make the drive about 40 miles out of the country and back to Charleston (still country). We said goodbye and thank you and they welcomed us back again before I leave, and I eagerly accepted ... I want more plums!
So far, so great! The hospitality has been marvelous, and everyone here speaks and smiles to one another. It is so refreshing, and something that our most beloved big cities could really use a refresher course on.
We made it to my mother's home in North Charleston, and was I blown away. The homes here are amazing and so thoughtfully designed. As she was making pickles and canning veggies from her very own garden, I was relaxing on the couch and getting comfortable. The rest of my trip will consist of me going to my great-grandfather's property and visiting the farm that my mother created, some shopping in downtown Charleston, and seeing family member after family member.
I am excited and so relaxed, I close my eyes and wait for the second chapter of City Girl in the Country.
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