Certain annual events are marked by sightings, such as the return of the swallows at Capistrano, the blue fireflies returning to the Piedmont, etc. In this case a Friday night sighting of the Batmobile driving down Main Street marks the return of the South Carolina Comicon.
I never knew my Aunt Dess. She died when I was only three years old, so I don’t have any memories of her. Other siblings and cousins have said that she could be mean, and was a bit…unusual. You see, by all accounts Odessa Lee Taylor Poole, younger sister of my grandfather, was one of the last of the granny witches.
This past Saturday Laura and I joined the Upstate Minis for their annual History/Mystery Tour. In the past the group has visited the Georgia Guidestones and other historic locations in South Carolina. This year the tour took on an X-Files theme, with a visit up to the Pisgah Astronomy Research Institute, aka PARI, in Rosman, North Carolina. This was our first time on the History/Mystery Tour, and despite bad weather, we had a blast.
I was driving on Wade Hampton when I made a sad discovery. Shinola Antiques has closed. There was a real estate sign on the building and a huge dumpster out front.
I did it. I downloaded the Pokemon Go app and have been playing it off and on for the past week. My intent was to sit down and write up a blog post, but as soon as I got a few seconds to gather my thoughts, some other blog post or news article had come out covering, hyping, complaining about the very points I wanted to cover. It seemed that anything I wrote would just be additional noise. But, to heck with it…
We were running errands up in Vero when I spotted the following sign along US 1:
Hmmm….”3 Days of Family Friendly Piracy.” Sounds a bit…oxymoronic to me. Truth be told, I’ve always thought that the Disney ride “Pirates of the Caribbean” was a bit weird, long before the movie series even came out. I’m not a prude, but a ride celebrating raping and pillaging just didn’t seem quite right. Sure, the real violence has been sanitized into something suitable for kids, but given historical realities and real incidents of piracy off the African coast, I’m often left scratching my head over the popularity of pirates.
We had some free time away from household duties, so we decided to check out the Vero Beach Pirate Fest.
Flashback – Summer, 1981
I was in-between semesters at Furman and was trying to earn a bit of cash for school by working maintenance for Laurens School District 55. This particular summer I was painting Sanders Middle School with an older guy (and by older, I mean probably in his mid-30s) whose first name I could only remember – Willie. Willie was a hard worker, and taught me lots about commercial painting, most of which I’ve long since forgotten. I liked Willie, and enjoyed my work with him that summer.
Willie was a devout Christian, and enjoyed listening to a local Black Gospel station on AM radio. I got into it, too, listening jealously to some of the piano chops these guys had. However, the one thing that made my day were the advertisements for Reverend Yuri. At precisely 11:25 am and 2:25 pm these would air.
Reverend Yuri was a spiritual advisor and reader located on Cedar Lane in Greenville. To this day I can point out his former establishment, which still looks rather weird. (I only know it was the place because there was a large billboard proclaiming it as Yuri’s, and not from any actual visits to the establishment.) His advertisements featured him using the vernacular, and started like this…
Is you tired? Is you lonely? Has your friends let you down? Reverend Yuri can help…
In the following years I’d tune in every now and then to listen to the ads, simply because I loved the use of the lilting vernacular. A couple of years later Reverend Yuri was replaced by “Sister Yuri.” I don’t know what happened. Sex change? Had I misunderstood the gender from the get-go, and the voice I was appreciating was that of the announcer? Who knows? Eventually Yuri closed shop and the ads ended.
This Memorial Day weekend actually started Thursday morning, and it’s just barely getting started. So far I’ve been kayaking, gone to a midnight movie to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, attended a history lecture on old maps, looked for mythical meteors, visited an Irish pub, and had coffee and a great visit with old friends – and it’s only Saturday. The highlight so far, though, has been our participation in the Great Scot! Parade through downtown Greenville with the Upstate Minis.
A couple of weeks ago Jeff Goodman had posted on the Upstate Minis Facebook page about the group participating in the parade. I asked Laura if she were interested, and she jumped at the chance. So, Friday afternoon a little after 5:00 we lined up with ten other Minis on Townes Street. We would bring up the rear of the parade.
I had been working around the house most of the day and needed to get out and about. I decided a cup of coffee was in order, but I didn’t just want Starbucks or Atlanta Bread Company, my usual haunts. Then I remembered Java Fix, a coffee shop in a tiny weird building on Wade Hampton Boulevard. That simple decision turned into an afternoon’s adventure.
I’m a sucker for weird angled buildings. These are usually built to take advantage of a limited footprint where roads intersect at a sharp angle. Often there will be an entrance at the narrow end, then the place widens out. There used to be a really cool building at the intersection of Poinsett and Highway 183, but it was torn down when the Pete Hollis Boulevard was build. That was a shame.
Located where Mohawk Drive veers off of Wade Hampton, Java Fix is in a tiny little angled building. I think it started as a car service place. For awhile it was a record store, and I remember stopping in to browse. It’s also been a hairstyle saloon and several other things before the Fix people took over.