Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last day...

I have been fighting a cold so day 3 & 4 have been spent in bed with juice, aspirin and my pillow. Fate always gets in the way. But before I was forced to my bed we did do a little sightseeing on Saturday.
Charleston is a mixture of cobblestone streets, paved cement, and country roads. So from one part of the city to the other you
 never know which century you belong in. Southern Living calls it its favorite city for touristic and for food
. You want to eat something special, Charleston  has it. We have Sushi, Chinese Mexican, American. you name it there is a restaurant for it. 
Downtown everyone walks. The city lends itself to walking tours, the college of Charleston students ride skateboards and bikes, tourist on walking tours enjoy the city more. It is a friendly walk, people smile and nod. Everyone is willing to give directions wherever you need to be. Vendors selling hot doges and sometimes pretzels lend an almost party feeling To  the whole thing.The Battery or White Point Gardens is a beautiful park in the middle of the city. You can hear the band concerts from the old days at the Bandstand in the middle of the park. people walking there dogs, children running on the green grass, couples or runners running along the sidewalk next to the  water. You get an Erie feeling watching the children climbing on the cannons. You look across the water and see Fort Sumter, with it Union Flag flying.Look behind you and you See Rainbow Row and old mansions of the rich who watched the battle first hand. 
On April 14, the silence was split wide open when the confederates fired upon the union encampment therefore starting the Civil. There would not be peace in Charleston for the next 5 years. 
Sitting on the grass, looking out to Charleston Harbor, I wonder if the black marketers slipped there contraband here? Did the Merrimack or Monitor slip past quietly on their way to their great 
battle? How much of history happened here we didn't know about. 
The Ladies sitting on the grass by the bandstand whisper, silly gossiping the days before the war.
When Charleston was the city of the south. Can you hear them?
Now the ships are cruise ships bringing in passengers for a brief
visit before moving on. the Aircraft carrier the Yorktown,, hero of WWII is stationed at Patriot's point. 
We walked downtown and went to Waterfront park, where we found this ship loading and getting to sail for point unknown. 
We walked the pier, children were playing siting in the swings, we saw college kids doing homework, on the grass by the fountain. 
The cobble stone streets were privy to the horse and buggies that carry the tourist and around lending an authentic air to the city. 
There were street preachers there making sure we were saved,  and Charleston's fire department let us know they were on the job.they were removing tin roofing that had blown 
loose in the wind that day. Last year 9 Charleston Fire Fighters were killed in a shoe store fire not to far from where we live. They are honored every day by the community. 
Our time was about up at the meter, we headed back to the car.
We can't say all the is to say about Charleston in one or two posts. As a lover of history there is to much. Too many ghosts walking the streets. 
There are ghost tours so you can look for the ghosts, but why pay to do that? they whisper to you in the breeze. If you are very quiet you can hear the band playing, by the bandstand. You can see Ladies with parasols, and  carriages pulling up to the old mansions, men tipping their hats to say good day. 
The cannons are silent, but you can see the blast in the sky if you look closely.
You can hear the slaves at the drop off point on Sullivan's island, and you can hear them cheering at the same location after the war. At the Citidal the first Miltary school in the new world, you can hear and see generations of soldiers training to protect our country. The only school close in age is VMI inVirginia, home of General Lee and Stonewall. 
Charleston speaks for the south, the good and the bad. She is a proud city. A surviving. and I am proud of her even though she is not my hometown,  She is my home. 

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