In documenting our travels, it has become my practice to review our pictures each week and wait for them to tell their story. The message I scribe is most often a joyous one, as Betty & I are very much enjoying what we are seeing on our overlandish adventure. At some point this week – most likely while returning my camera to its bag – the settings unintentionally changed from colour (or color in U.S.A.) to black & white. We took historic city tours through Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, and are now camped at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, South Carolina, a park I last visited with my parents over 50 years ago. While we are keenly aware of the history of difficult race relations in this part of America, Betty & I have experienced nothing but the warmest of southern hospitality from blacks and whites during this visit. This blog post highlights our brief time here.
After the RVillage rally in Live Oak, Florida, we journeyed east through Jacksonville to Amelia Island, making a brief loop around the island and its many golf courses before stopping for the night in site #8 at Crooked River State Park, just over the Georgia border. (How nice to visit a state named after our youngest granddaughter! Lol.)
A short drive up the coast from Crooked River took us to Skidaway Island State Park on the outskirts of Savannah. A popular park, we were unable to book a single site for two nights, but made the quick trip from site #64 on our first night to site #1 for our second. As has been our practice in many new cities, we took an enjoyable trolley tour around Savannah, whetting our appetite to see more of this attractive, historic city on a future occasion.
Our next stop was Charleston, South Carolina, where we found a full service site (#P3) at Oak Plantation Campground. Since the site was unavailable for a second night, we moved to a local Walmart where we stocked up on groceries, unhooked the Smart, and headed for another guided tour of this beautiful old city.
After dinner at downtown Charleston’s Sticky Fingers, we decided to hook back up at Walmart and head out to an I26 rest area near Orangeburg, SC.
To our surprise, a hose blew off from our water pump shortly after our arrival at the rest stop, and we were without water for the night. But John’s RV in nearby Lexington, SC fixed our plumbing problem and got us back on the road again the next morning. As mentioned, we are now in site 29 of loop 1 in Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, SC., trying to confirm or deny a childhood memory that each of the sand-covered tent sites was raked in a herringbone pattern when my family visited over 50 years ago. Well, the sand is still here on tent sites but it is not raked between visitors. Of course, many of the sites now have electricity & water, and gravel has been added as
a parking base. The campground still has work to be done to level quite a number of sites, whose uneven elevation is not apparent on campground maps. But it is still a nice large park on the outskirts of Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina.
During our time in America’s deep south – with its historic plantations and slave cabins – we have purposely sought out encounters with its inhabitants. It is difficult to capture the complexities and nuances in a brief post, especially one labelled Black & White. But permit me to relate a couple of very brief stories (each of which could take a separate post…).
The Haircut: I have always been cautious about who cuts my hair, but purposely chose a barber shop with four black barbers and a shop full of African-American customers. When my turn came for a cut, I had some difficulty describing a “normal” haircut, when no one in the room had hair like mine. Lol. It was my first haircut without scissors being used – just razors – and it took place with the chair turned away from the mirror on the wall, so I had to put my trust in the barber. Would I leave with the logo of a popular sports team carved on the back of my head? Well, due to hair loss in that area, the possibility was significantly lessened, and I don’t have the tight curls that make that job easier. Lol. In any event, I was warmly welcomed by everyone in the shop, with handshakes and heartfelt thanks for coming from each of the barbers as I left. BTW, I’m happy with the haircut, too!
The fiery preacher: For church on Sunday, Betty & I chose the nearest church to our campground, which turned out to be Windsor United Methodist Church with a mainly white congregation, but a lively black female minister. Rev. Leatha Brown’s message on forgiveness – both the need to extend and receive forgiveness – seemed most impactful personally and in a part of America where black & white have struggled with reconciliation.
May we pray that we can all turn the lenses through which we view the world from black & white to see the richness of full color around us?