I have smoked and slow cooked my first wild boar. I feel like one of the boys now. The hardwood charcoal did the job along with Albert Heyward who shot the young thing from our land in the country. I smoked it with hickory chips on our simple round charcoal grill in the back garden. Actually it is the pork that flavored our okra soup this week, though I was afraid to admit it.
Tackling a wild boar, even though a small one is Nothing compared to tackling twenty five years of marriage to the same man, Preston Hipp! Now that is Wild! Our silver anniversary is today and I did not need a thing. What did The Man do? He gave me silver, naturally, from Croghans, no less, a well worn path created for his mother by his father, Charles Rucker Hipp. Preston’s family came to Charleston because of the Heywards, whose ancestor Thomas Heyward signed the Declaration of Independence, whose descendant shot that wild boar, you see. What was the silver he gave me? Come and see! It is something I do not have and something I will always cherish. Two gifts actually. He was giddy with excitement like the young man he was when he had the diamond ring in his pocket for a few weeks before he asked me to marry him.
He gave me this morning at breakfast an old silver basket lined in an etched glass vase for which I picked the last of the daffodils on John’s Island. It had arrived that very day to Croghans. But then he saw a silver jar to hold tea leaves; he thought, a tea caddy, and Lover that he is, he bought that for me, too. I asked why both, why not one or the other. He said he liked the tea caddy one and wanted me to have the other, too. I will keep it on the tea tray cart to add more tea when serving. The real miracle he said is that they are from the man who the real estate market has not been kind to these last few years. A silver wedding anniversary only comes around once. We have the silver punch bowl that was the silver anniversary gift from old Mr. Harleston to his wife, Frances, from Birlant’s Antique store where he proudly bought it. That punch bowl graced many a table for church events as I was growing up before she passed it on to me. Little did I know that in referring to it as their silver wedding anniversary gift, I was setting a standard for my own.
A day of wine and roses it has been. Kind thoughts of guests for today’s Charleston Tea Party Private Tour, and friends…but then my husband says we should share the hurts of life, least all should think we live behind a veneer of perfection. My beloved mother, who has kept the walking tour going until last spring, is turning into an octogenarian this month. She alas has begun this week treatment for the C word in her throat we all hate. My own husband, 53, the most loved and best looking man in Charleston, fit as a fiddle, has that prostate C word, too.
We are not immune to the visisitudes of life; but we are blessed with a community of life as it should be being lived out. It is not just a shell of a city of historic houses. There is a heritage of the faith of our fathers that runs deep and steadies us still. It is an attitude of gratitude. Come, partake; eat and drink. You will leave us wiser than when you came.