|Dock Street Theater|
I have not personally experienced any of these types of encounters, but I have seen things that border on the peculiar. While traveling in and around Charleston you could see some strange and unusual things. Not saying that Charleston is the only place in this big country you could be confronted with the bizarre and unusual, other places have their own unique blend of quaint happenings. In the Lowcountry, the farther off the beaten track you go, the more bizarre some things may get. Some of them make perfect sense and others make no sense at all. Although, to the originator it probably appears very practical.
Both strange and unusual are appropriate adjectives for the next entry. I first happened upon this soon to become an iconic piece of Edisto Island history some years ago while driving the roads less traveled, at least by me. It was an old mattress hanging by four ropes from a large oak tree. Admittedly, at first I thought the peculiar sight to be rather repulsive. A mattress left outdoors, subject to the heat and humidity of the Lowcountry summer, would likely become a smelly, heap of decaying fibers over time. But then, as I reflected back over the uncommon spectacle, I found it to be amusingly uncanny, and so did many others who happened upon this contrivance posing as a double-wide hammock. It was the famed "Mattress Swing" and the place at which it hung was known to some of Edisto's oldest islanders as "Mattress Point." It was an ingenious invention of practicality and southern comfort. It was audacious. So audacious, the maker and owner of the swinging quilted pad, Frank Gadsden, charged drive-bys $10 to take pictures. The "Mattress Swing" no longer hangs from the old oak tree standing at the bend in the road on SC-174. Time and unforeseen circumstances have vanquished it.
White Gables, a quaint southern community development off of Central Ave in Summerville, is patterned after the colorful row houses of Charleston. One delivery man referred to it as the crayon box houses. The main entrance drive is flanked on each side by ponds, and once you past the first stop sign, lined with live oak trees. A clubhouse straight ahead and beyond a green area with benches and gazebos, stands as a center piece and hub of activity. It is a close knit community where the uncommon is as foreign as a Steeler jersey in the Dawg Pound of Cleveland Stadium. Until one day, a friend happened upon a freakish sight sitting on the lawn of a resident and shared it with me. A mechanical conjoinment of two dissimilar objects reminiscent of the Transformers. Someone finally discovered a way to mix work and play with this amalgamation of steel and wheels. It was a bike and a grass mower fused into one.
My final entry is unusual, but not bizarre. I happened upon it while visiting one of my favorite hangouts in Summerville, the Coastal Coffee Roasters, which is a contradiction for me because I don't partake of the dark, aromatic brew. While freshly roasted coffee from organically grown beans is Coastal Coffee Roasters niche, it is much more. Spending time there is like hanging out at a neighbor's garage for a community party complete with beverages and live entertainment, and if you are so inclined you can bring your own acoustic guitar to pick a few of your own favorites. CCR calls it open mic night.
See you around the Lowcountry and beautiful Charleston.