Friday, March 30, 2018

This is the retirement version of "Sweet 16" ......

Last Friday of each fiscal quarter. 

March, June, September, and December. 

Easy to remember.

The group of retirees from the Post and Courier have it marked on the calendar. 

And they wander over to Mt. Pleasant to the Liberty Taproom a bit before lunchtime to see old friends, do some catching up and lots and lots of "whatever happened to..." and "Remember the time we..."

We had 16 members of the "134 Gang," gather around noon today.*

Some admitted it had been a year since they last came to the quarterly lunch. Others seldom miss any of these good friends gatherings.

I must have missed a meeting or two because for many years I was named the "contact guy" who alerted members of these 4x a year functions, mailing out reminder postcards and seeking elusive email addresses.

The others tell me the first gatherings were at the old Ryan's Steakhouse in West Ashley and then it moved to Mt. Pleasant at what used to be the restaurant now called Harbor Breeze next to the Omar Shrine Temple. 

Today at Liberty, our server stepped back and took the group photo. 

I had finally realized I was NOT in the group photos because I usually was the guy holding the camera.

Well, I am a photographer.

Not only do I now hand over the camera - or Smartphone - for an overall photo, I no longer send out the notices and reminders. 

Norman Newton took on that challenge and does a great job of informing the "members" of the upcoming event throughout the year.

Today, Good Friday, some members chose fish and across from me, I saw a full plate of what I'll just call the Codfather.

To maintain my determination to avoid salt, my chicken club came with broccoli instead of those delicious-looking fries. What willpower!

Oh, as you looked at the group shot you may have counted only 15 members in attendance.

Latecomer David MacDougall completed the Sweet 16 number as he was handed a menu and encouraged to try and catch up.

Tough room!

Again, ALL of the lunches were paid for by a member who tries to remain anonymous. He has done this for the last 4 or 5 lunches.

I shook his hand and thanked him. We all did.

There are no secrets here, we're newspapermen.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Glad you were able to stop by for our quarterly event. 

As the saying goes.."Newspapers have been very, very good to me."

*134 is the address of the P&C building/plant on Columbus Street as well as the address for decades on Meeting Street.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

"A license to spill..."

 Speaking of fake ID cards/drivers' licenses, the College of Charleston (S.C.) was founded in 1770 and chartered 15 years later in 1785.

 (No indication why there was a 15-year gap but possibly it was tied in with the growth of the city, the fact that it had finally shucked the awkward original name of Charles Towne, and it started to build and develop its famed Historic District downtown.)

The C of C has about 10,300 students roaming around its beautiful 52-acre campus. 

 Many of these students are under the legal drinking age (21) and yet, many of these same students do a LOT of drinking and partying in public bars, of which there are many.

 Bartenders are wise and have several ways to discern if the proffered driver's license is valid or even real.

 One downtown bar of an Irish persuasion started sticking captured fake IDs around a back bar mirror but, because they were hard to read at that distance, it created a tabletop, covered with all sorts of fake and dubious pieces of identification.

A license with a girl's face on it, shown by a young man, is pretty easy to discern and it is kept by the bartender. 

 One that caught my eye among those on the Tabletop of Shame, was an out-of-state license that was printed vertically, indicating the bearer is underage. Duh.

You go to college to learn. Some quicker than others.

I just went through the rigid DMV guidelines to renew my driver's license and now have the REAL License. 

With it, I can go through TSA to board airplanes and step foot on military bases.

Without the yellow star on the face of the license, you would have to carry your passport to do that after a certain date next year.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tin Roof musical treats..

An unplanned evening often is the best kind.

My buddy came by and we decided to go eat at Yo Bo Cantina in Park Circle.

It is well known for its big, fat, and tasty burritos and its large Mason jars of MargaRitas. During happy hour, they are extra reasonable and not too bad the rest of the night.

I sipped an IPA beer and noshed on the chips and guacamole platter as my buddy worked his way through a veggie Burrito-in-a-bowl.


Then he remembered there was a 2-act show at the Tin Roof, so we headed there, arriving just as the first act -local Lily Slay - finished her sound check.

Naturally, I snapped a few photos with my cell phone.
As stated, this was not a planned event so my camera had stayed at home.

I have enjoyed comic and singer Lily Slay several times before when she teamed up with Mackie Boles and they perform as the Royal Tinfoil.

Tonight Lily was solo and opening for her friend Lara Hope, down from New York and ending a grueling regional tour with 3 weeks to go.

By herself - well, with a drummer backing her - I was thinking back to when I had met Mama Cass Elliott on a set at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Miss Elliott was starring in a film on the lot and I was a publicist at the time.

Tonight was a mix of comedy and song and I laughed while sipping a beer when she sang an original love song about a wish to make love with a friend's father. A strange May/December relationship if there ever was one

Lara Hope, the headliner, and her 3-piece band took the stage.

She was a whirling figure, in her black cowboy hat, her dress and even her boots were fringed.

Yes, the boots were black and fringed. A cowgirl from the Bronx!

Both ladies had fans who showed their support, loudly singing along, dancing and clapping.

I had worn a t-shirt that said MARINES and a fellow seated next to me at the bar, asked if I were a Marine? He had been one too and offered to buy me and my buddy a beer.

I accepted and added that I was probably more "Old Corps" than he.

We swapped dates we had served and I had him beat by at least 20 years. Both of us had served only a four-year hitch.

As we drank our beers, I noted he was sipping a $2 PBR while we were enjoying a $7 IPA.

I quietly asked Johnny the bartender to not only let me pay for the next Pabst Blue Ribbon for my new former Marine friend but also a meal if he happened to order food.

I wanted to close that gap between what he paid and my effort in returning the favor.

Glancing at the "merch table" for Lara Hope, I saw a posted lyric that I found amusing.

Wouldn't you know it, that was part of the song she sang at the close of her performance.

I hope she and her group safely finished their long, extended tour on the road.

It reminded me that they were "down South" while her hometown suffered through a third Nor'Easter in less than 10 days of blizzard conditions and flooding.

Kind of a good time to "be on the road again."

(Click on the photos and links for more details.) 

Thanks for hanging out with me for some cold suds and music.

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Friday, March 02, 2018

The BIG fire of 1955...

Here is a "memory-flogger from 1955. It is part of Charleston's history and I was directly involved - well, at least in my dad's mind. 

Let me explain.

I was a 17-year old Junior at Bishop England High School, spending the day on  Sullivan's Island.
When we guys saw the smoke billowing up from downtown, there was a mad dash to hop in the car and race home over the 2-lane Cooper River bridge.

Living in Ansonborough on Society Street, I was fairly close to the fire near Queen and East Bay Streets so I jogged on over there. 
I saw other teenagers were helping firefighters "pull hoses" so I joined in to help.

Meanwhile, my dad too saw the thick black smoke and heard all the fire equipment racing past our house. 

He walked down to the waterfront to see what was going on.
  Other buddies from BEHS were assisting the firefighters and my dad saw one he knew and asked if he had seen me.

"Yes, he's right around the corner...under a blanket."

Technically, he was right. 

Like most of us, my eyes were stinging from the acrid smoke and a fireman had squeezed an ointment in my eyes, handed me a CFD blanket and told me to take a break. So I did.

My dad saw me, rushed up and hugged me tightly. Then he yelled at me ....for scaring him!

That ended my participation in "fighting the fire" and we slowly walked back home, agreeing we would not tell my mom what had raced through his mind.

Here's my photo the next year at the BEHS Junior-Senior dance. My hair no longer smelled of smoke.

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