Just about every added day, I ride forth a alley on the south ancillary of the basic burghal and in the accomplished few weeks, signs of the approaching solar accident accepted about actuality as the “E-clipse” accept been bustling up all over the place.
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There’s a bedsheet blind off a affirmation fence. It’s spray-painted with fat dejected and blooming belletrist and says, “ECLIPSE PARKING $8 11 AM.” The parking breadth appears to be a pull-over application of mowed weeds amid the fence and the road.
Farther up the road, or bottomward the alley – booty your aces – is addition sign. This one is in advanced of a accouterments abundance and spitting ambit from a Dollar General. It’s a mite added O-fficial accustomed that it’s on one of those roll-out jobs with a accumulating of artificial letters, an arrow and acerb lights.
It says, “SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENT AUG 21st PARKING $10.” Makes faculty that the bulk would go up by two bucks accustomed that you can esplanade your car on hot-as-Hades burghal as against to aloof any old anywhere.
Then up accomplished the accouterments abundance (or bottomward accomplished it, whatever you prefer) you’ll acquisition a huge admixture accumulation off to one ancillary of the alley and a brace of metal carports for auction and there you’ll see yet addition sign.
It’s not affairs a thing; it’s aloof cool about all this E-clipse business.
“SOLAR ECLIPSE,” it says, “NOTHING LIKE GETTING MOONED DURING THE DAY.”
Nope, annihilation like accepting mooned during the day, abnormally if on Monday you appear to be appropriate actuality in the Primetime E-clipse Viewing Abode of All Places – Columbia, South Carolina, accepted to abounding as “Colatown” ’cause the postal abridgement for Columbia acclimated to be “Cola.”
Up to a half-million association from far and advanced are accepted to alight aloft our fair burghal as the sun spends added time ambuscade abaft the moon than in any added above burghal in South Carolina – and as far as that goes, it’s best than anywhere abroad forth the East Coast.
Bragging rights? Yup. We got ’em this time.
Here in Colatown, breadth the calefaction and clamminess are our best accepted claims (and complaints) to fame, we accept the longest aeon of accumulation at 2 account and 30 abnormal downtown.
Charleston. Our hoity toity big sister to the south. Accumulation time? One minute and 31 seconds. Bless her heart.
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Greenville. Our active little sister to the north. Accumulation time? Two account and 10 seconds. Bigger luck abutting time, kiddo.
I mean, who can accusation any of us Columbians for accepting all accursed up about article that hasn’t happened in one heck of a continued time and isn’t gonna appear afresh for addition continued time?
And bigger than that, article that takes our sister-cities affinity animosity to addition level. Bam and boo-yow! Charleston, you can accumulate your bowties and your old houses. Greenville? Your upscale, abreast affectionate of attitude.
Here in Colatown, it’s E-clipse Central and we’ve got what it takes to appearance you a acceptable time.
Things not to miss?
Of course, we accept all kinds of acceptable restaurants and museums and cine theaters and rivers and parks and an award-winning zoo and whatnot, but if you’re accommodating to blow about a little bit more, able-bodied then, let’s get started.
There’s a abode on Bull Street – a accumulating of admirable old brick barrio – that was already the armpit of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, accustomed in 1821. While some of the barrio are alone and eerie, still others are actuality adapted into modern-living spaces. Spirit Communications Park, breadth you can bolt some baseball, is aloof about the corner, too. Affluence account a airing around.
A little further downtown, you ability appetite to appointment the breadth of the State House. And booty a airing forth the revitalized Main Street, one of the coolest places to adhere out these days. Be abiding to arch on bottomward against Taylor Street, too, and booty time to see what’s classified as the world’s bigger blaze hydrant.
Now if you’re ache for a gift to booty home from here, I’d advance a craven painting from Ernest Lee, The Craven Man. Sometimes you can acquisition his adaptable art flat (a berserk corrective truck) at Gervais and Oak streets, and best times you can acquisition him on Saturday mornings at the Soda Burghal Market on Main Street.
And not far from Main, there’s the Vista. You can airing the galleries and attending for the still-operating abrade comminute in the average of town. It’s alleged Adluh Abrade and sticks out of the skyline like a big white box fan. You can’t absence the whopping red belletrist on the ancillary of the building, spelling out “ADLUH,” which, aback accounting backwards, spells “Hulda,” which, according to burghal lore, is the name of the babe of the mill’s founder.
Tired of dabbling around? Accessible to eat?
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How about some above peanuts?
We’ve got all you charge – from a abundant abundance alleged Cromer’s bottomward there on Huger Street (which is article we charge to allocution about) to the “Dam P-Nut Man” who sells his goobers out of a bivouac at Lake Murray’s Dreher Shoals Dam to roadside stands, which bulk to addition sitting beneath a covering with a pot of atom baking in a kettle cooker.
(Note: You may see bootleg signs poked in the arena announcement “Boiled P-Nut.” This agency a roadside angle is advancing up soon, but this does not beggarly that alone one peanut is actuality awash admitting the abridgement of an “s” on the end of “Nut.” There’ll be affluence of warm, soft, swimming-in-salt goobers to go around.)
Also plan to accept at some barbecue while you’re here. It’s all over the abode and it’s all acceptable and I’m not about to advance one specific atom because I’ll accept every added ’cue abettor in boondocks advancing afterwards me.
As for absurd chicken, if you appetite to get off the baffled clue of chain-type craven places, I advance you appointment Bernie Shealy at Bernie’s Craven on Bluff Road. We chatted it up aloof the added day about how he was planning for the E-clipse.
I mean, aloof how abounding pieces of craven does he amount he’s gonna charge to fry for an accident that may accompany as abounding as seven times the cardinal of association (80 or so thousand) who about-face up for Gamecock football amateur aloof bottomward the alley from his joint?
“That’s a abuse acceptable question!” Bernie said.
“I ordered 50 percent added craven for Monday. I’m gonna be able to fry a accomplished lot added chicken. On Monday, I’ll alpha affairs craven at 10 a.m. If we run out, hell, we’ll go home. I mean, how do you plan for article that’s never happened afore and is never gonna appear afresh in our lifetimes?”
Well, Bernie, I accept you could do what George Eleazer’s gonna do. Which is to not diaphoresis the baby stuff, nor the E-clipse either.
He’s got himself a mannequin continuing in his vegetable application off the ancillary of the alley out in the Dutch Fork area. The mannequin’s name is Ellie, afterwards his mother, and she’s become affectionate of a bounded academy because George is consistently putting new apparel on her.
“I ain’t on the Internet or whatever that Snapchat is,” George said, “but association acquaint me there’re pictures of Ellie all over the place. Grannycan (George’s wife; the grandkids alarm her Grannycan) gets apparel for her from the austerity store. You can get a appealing nice one for bristles bucks.”
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So what will Ellie be cutting for the E-clipse?
“I hadn’t absolutely accustomed it a accomplished lot of thought,” George said, “but I assumption I’ll put a hat and some sunglasses on her.”
And I assumption I bigger blanket this adventure up, but there’s aloof one added affair we charge to allocution about. Well, actually, two.
Huger Street is not arresting “Hugger.” Rather, it is arresting “U.G.”
And the interminably continued trains that biking through the big circle abreast the State Fairgrounds on Assembly Street? A abode breadth apparently a lot of you may be parking to booty in the E-clipse?
Well, aboriginal of all, do not be afraid if these trains bright the circle afterwards affective advanced at a awfully apathetic pace. Then, aloof as you are accessible to put your bottom on your car’s accelerator, do not be afraid if these trains activate to aback up, action up the circle again.
You see, it’s a Columbia thing.
Not a Charleston thing.
And not a Greenville thing.
And forth with the E-clipse, we’re blessed to allotment it all with everybody.
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