No, No, That’s North Carolina

My last post was about Texas.  This week I felt the call to write a bit about my adopted state of South Carolina.  I adopted it because both of  my parents were South Carolinians but they decided to bring me into this world while on an education safari in Texas.   I am a Texan by birth, a South Carolinian by lineage.

Historians call Roanoke the Lost Colony.  I think it is South Carolina.  We’ve been around for a long time but no one really knows we are there.  I tell people I am from South Carolina and  they say, “oh, I love the Carolina Panthers!”  No, that’s North Carolina. Or, “I had a good friend who went to Duke”; or, “I flew into Charlotte once”; or ” wow, Billy Graham lives there”.  No, that’s North Carolina.  They all give me this half smile, half frown, puzzled expression and make a mental note to look up South Carolina on Wikipedia. 

Case in point, I am from Beaufort, South Carolina.  Beaufort is a collection of islands off the South Carolina coast.  Beaufort is quite simply a beautiful location on the way to nowhere.  Either you  planned to visit Beaufort or you are lost, you took a wrong turn, you are directionally challenged.  You meant to go to Savannah, Charleston, or Hilton Head but you ended up in Beaufort asking for directions with a half smile, half frown and a puzzled expression on your face.  Beaufortonians are very adept at handling cases of  wrongturnitis, in fact, most of Beaufort’s population is composed of lost tourist who arrived by mistake, discovered how beautiful it was and decided to stay.

I fear that South Carolina only gets attention when we do something news worthy.  In other words we do something dumb or out of step with the current century.  Examples of this news worthy attention would be:  

Starting the Civil War which led to Congressman James L. Petigru’s famous remark that “South Carolina was too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum.”

Miss South Carolina in the  Miss Teen USA Contest Beauty Contest, no further commentary necessary.

A governor who mistakenly believed that the Appalachian Trail was the fastest route to Argentina.

The  Citadel (my alma mater) admitting women into the Corp of Cadets and or conducting one of our infamous mess hall food fights.

We boast the largest Peach Water Tower in the nation, but it could be mistaken for other things.

These are just a few famous highlights for a state that is largely forgotten.  So what is the good news?  South Carolina is a beautiful state populated by gracious and caring people who encourage you to visit places like  Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head, eat pork barbacue sandwiches with the locals at Piggy Park or fresh shrimp from the boats on Shem Creek.  You can also read Pat Conroy’s book about growing up in the South.  Of course we are more than happy to pour you a glass of iced tea as we help you figure out where you took a wrong turn and ended up in that “other Carolina”.

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