I walked with my heavy laden basket of home grown and home made edibles from my garden to Husk, the new, chic restaurant of local edibles on Queen Street. Queen St ends on Colonial Lake, and our house is around the corner from the far side of the lake. My old English shopping basket was spilling over, I mean green, lacy foliage cascading over with a jug of fresh coriander both blooming and with fresh, green coriander balls, its pepper corn size seeds. Another jug contained my Confederate Mint originally from the Confederate Home in Charleston 25 years years ago, transplanted from garden to garden, the sweetest mint there is. Then there was the bottle of Essense of Loquat to both drink and use as flavoring, fruiting heavily right now all over Charleston in its mellow orange round plum form. Lastly, I had a big jug of Elderfower Cordial, a concentrate of sweetened lemons and elderflowers blossoms to be diluted with water, champagne, or wine. It also makes a great sorbet or iced cream. These are all edibles I serve often on my private tour where they are grown and made at our Tradd St home.
“De alms, dey git so TI-yid,” explained Flower Lady Albertha Stokes telling me long ago of how she learned to carry her flower baskets a top her head. Her words rang true echoing through the years as I switched my heavy basket from arm to arm as I walked. What would people think if they saw ME with a basket a top MY head? I thought. I ain’t too high and mighty to do such a thing. I’ll do it out of necessity! A top my head the wicker basket went, and oh, what a relief it was! I found that the top of my head is pointed so that I cocked my head to the side. A lady called on my cell phone about my private tour as I walked. Two eras converged as I walked down Queen St talking on my cell phone and carrying a basket heavy laden a top my head.
As I happened to walk home alone at dusk after dinner at Husk for my husband’s birthday, I met Mr Alston, descendant of Charles Alston of the Edmondston -Alston House at 21 E. Battery, where I was the assistant administrator out of college. Mr and Mrs Alston live on Queen Street in the residential section. I discovered the Old Charleston I love again in a fresh way in meeting Mr. Alston. He is a descendant of the black mistress he says of Charles Alston. He is very black so that it is hard to believe and yet he is convincing. He and I alone in all of his acquaintances know his ancestry in the Alston familyand can dicuss it. We got to talking about life and work. He gave me a good bit of practical advice in response to my taking my edibles from my home and garden to sell to local restaurants.” People these days need a helpin hand and you’ve found your helping hand is at the end of your wrist!” Words to live by.
Spoleto this year was wonderful ending June 12. This arts festival was dynamic this year with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra accompanying the Westminster Choir in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms sung in HEBREW with subtitles across the top of the Gaillard Auditorium proclaiming to a packed house of several thousand:
“We praise Thee, Oh God. We acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting!”
Many thanks to the people this spring who have gambled their vacation time (and money) with me on my private tour of Charleston. I used some of the proceeds to treat my family of three children and husband and my mother to a few of Spoleto’s finest offerings. In addition to the afore mentioned, we also saw Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, and the Australian dance/gymnastic group Circa, which was, in our technological age, impressive to see what can amaze us with the human body. A lady climbed a rope with no knots as easily as if it was silk and she a spider. Make Spoleto reservations for next year, late May, early June!
This week is calmer as we transition to summer. Call me for a private tour of Charleston. 843-577-5896. If I do not answer, please leave a message as to the date you are interested in, and I will call you back. On rare occasions when not on a tour or with my family, I can be reached on my cell at 843-708-2228. I hope to meet you soon.–Laura