state flag

Above is the flag of the State of South Carolina.  It features a crescent moon and our beloved Palmetto tree.


Often our state flag is modified to make a point.  Its design lends itself to this kind of thing.  Credit to Gil Schuler Graphic Design (

A huge rebellion against the Confederate Battle Flag posted on the front grounds of our state house is brewing.  Again.  This is old news, of course.  One Republican governor recently occupied his office only for one term, and his support to take down the battle flag was a big part of his defeat.  Today, Saturday, the state house will be the site of two demonstrations.  At 1:30, a group organized under the idea of “let us vote” (for or against the idea of taking down the flag) and at 6 PM, a demonstration, as far as I can tell, sponsored by no one will demonstrate for taking the flag down.



Above credit:

I think the taking down of the flag may be achieved this time.  But probably not without violence.  I lend my physical self to demonstration anytime I can.  It is a right, and a powerful feeling to be part of a mass that believes the way you do.  But these days, one has to think twice.  If this event has no sponsor, will there be security?  This week in South Carolina, although almost nothing is being spoken about other than the tragedy in Charleston, there is the dangerous fringe element, one of which now sits in jail.  Should we go?  Should I subject my family to this danger?  If nine people could be murdered in a church while studying the Bible, my choice seems like a no-brainer.

In the 80s during the beginning of the AIDS scare, I sent my children to daycare.  It was the right thing to do even though kids bite and blood could be exchanged.  Some here pulled their kids out. Not in favor of stigmatizing anyone, or acting like Chicken Little, we trusted that nothing would happen.  Nothing did.

If it weren’t for the guns that are everywhere, I would trust this time.  Can I?


I have had trouble finding a dermatologist.  For a while, living between SC and MO, the fabulous Sam SaMIMI in St. Louis helped me.  That transitional time ended and the local crop had to be explored.  Now my insurance company dictates some choice, but I found a lady that is great.

We live in a majority minority county and my new dermatologist is a black woman about my age.  She comes to Orangeburg only once a week.  She is very busy.  In her office yesterday, I counted 25 chairs in the waiting room, and all were full. Two patients were standing.  Her office manager has an interesting way of organization, and patients are liable to wait for hours.  I take at least two books and my smart phone, reframing the problem as a way to get some reading done.  Then the wait is OK.


Black people, unfortunately have always had to wait.  It is their history.  They do not complain.  It shouldn’t be this way, but it has been, and is.  When you are a client of a black business, you must understand this.  Yesterday, and I have experienced this before, a new patient, upon entering the waiting room,  door opening from the outside to 25 pairs of eyes looking up, said “GOOD MORNING!” to all.  Most everybody said “Good Morning” back.  It was such a humane interaction.

Glenn thinks it comes from the black church.  Maybe like a “call and answer” thing.  I wonder if it comes from strong black mamas and their directives.

Another interesting thing that happened in that waiting room was that two women were having a conversation across the entire room.  It was kind of like white noise to me while reading; I could not understand what they were saying.  Looking around I thought, would I have asked someone to move so conversation with my friend would be easier?  Think so.  But that did not happen in this case.

At the end of my stint (as it turned out to be) in the waiting room, a very tall and elegant black man came in.  “GOOD MORNING!” he bellowed and just as loud, all 25 of us responded.  I expected him next to say “You may rise and sing Number 112 from our hymnal”.  Loved it:  we need to speak to each other much more.

The Waffle House restaurant chain in Winston-Salem, North Ca

Have you been to Waffle House?  They do this too when you enter the restaurant.


Damn. The famous travel writer Paul Theroux was in Orangeburg and I didn’t know. It wasn’t to speak or anything like that, who around here would go?  He was doing what he does, this time in his own country.  My husband has been talking the past couple of days about an article he is reading in Smithsonian Magazine. Flipping through the article backwards this morning with coffee and hummingbirds, it is so long. Finally reaching the first page, there was his name. Of course! Only a guy like Theroux could command that much space in Smithsonian.

This article was long overdue. Other than the famous interchange from some years back between Bill Cosby and a woman from North, SC (Noo-ath), in a remake of the old “You Bet Your Life” show, this part of my South is pretty invisible.

We have our roadside curiosities.  I love the little old now vacant restaurant on 301 that is crowned by a large coffee pot.  I have tried to buy it before.  No luck.  Through the windows Edward Hopper and men in fedoras can be imagined.

coffee pot


The UFO Welcome Center on the other side of Orangeburg is popular.

another ufo

Or the home of our Govette is in Orangeburg County, for what that counts as.  Some think she is the next Sarah Palin.


Theroux does talk about the Orangeburg Massacre, a locally famous event, which gets more to his “soul of the South” topic.  It was what was happening here when the rest of the country was focused on Kent State. In the article, a Mr. Johnson, the man who told Theroux about the Massacre, to whom Kent State was mentioned,  said “But you know those kids that died were white”.  “People here understand how it is to need help, to be neglected”.  So we do.

Finding some pictures from the event, it was pretty amazing, and pretty tame to have had three students killed.

all star bowling alley


Above is the bowling alley where it all started.  The building looks just the same now, but vacant.  It is in a part of town that boasts lots of vacancies, and has since I have been around here.  The alley is about six or eight blocks from SC State University (College then).  That was the destination of the march.  Back home after being rejected service in the bowling alley.

marchers oburg massacreLook at the marchers, how well dressed they are and marching in a line!  Kent State did not break out like this.  For two days peaceful demonstrations called for integration of the business so students could use it.  For sure, there was not another place where they could.  They were turned away by an owner who did not want to integrate, and the third day of demonstrations got dangerous.

the t and d oburg massacre

Here is the front page of the local paper for Feburary 9, the day after the violent night.  There is a building named after the three on the SC State University campus.