Monday, October 24, 2011

Ever been to Pumpkintown (while feeling punk) ?

Continuing with our South Carolina adventures...
We drove back to Greenville SC on Sunday night.  Bernie had to go to work the next day.
Outside it was warm and rainy.
I felt totally glum, and a tad "off".
I snuggled down into the hotel bed, and began to read the book "Unbroken", which has been on the best seller list for months.  It is the true story of a WWII POW.
Quite a gut wrenching story.
Probably not the best "read" for one who is already feeling inexplicably down.

Outside the window the warm fog and rain offered my mood no respite.
At noon Bernie called for me to come join him for lunch.
I got turned around driving the few short miles there, and he was pretty unhappy by the time I got to his office.
No one with a short lunch break enjoys waiting outside a building in the rain.
We did have the best shrimp and grits ever.
(Harry and Jean's Restaurant: in case you ever visit Greenville...don't miss their version!)
I then returned to the hotel to camp back down deep in our bed's down comforter.

Occasionally I would prowl out to the living area of our suite.
For some reason the door lock system kept refusing my key card and if I left to go to the lobby, eight stories down and then came back to the room, the key swipe wouldn't work.
I'd have to go back down and have them reset the card every time.
Eventually they had a building engineer come up.
He suggested that I wasn't doing the card swipe right.
He is very lucky to still be alive after saying that to me.
I clenched my teeth and suggested HE try the card.
It didn't work for him either, surprise surprise...
He kept swiping and felt that two reads out of eight tries wasn't too bad.
I disagreed.
Eventually they installed a new card reader to our suite.
But that wasn't the only low moment.
Right after lunch with Bernie I got a call letting me know I had been selected for a position with the St*te  of  Ut*h  L*bra*ry  system.
(I am putting * in the words as I do not wish to "found" if you know what I mean....)
I had been looking for a new job, and had applied for the open position which had sounded interesting.
I was shocked when six weeks later I was called for an interview.
The interview had gone well two weeks earlier...I felt that I had nailed it.
I just mentally wasn't in the place to get the news of a new position while in SC.
Especially since I was feeling funky.
And the new job would be both full time and much more challenging.
Anyway, I told the person calling me I needed to think about it before accepting.
She was OK with that...but said they would like me to start ASAP.
I asked if it could be a first of Nov. start date.
She was OK with that too.

So while I was mulling what it would mean to take this job (which believe it or not also required getting a truck driving license...I don't do well with mirrors...)
I got ANOTHER call.
Remember I had written about having a racing heart rhythm back in August/Sept?
I had seen my general practitioner who referred me to a cardiologist, who put me on a monitor for a full month.
(My upper chest area skin may never look the same, the monitor pads left circles everywhere.)
Well, this second call on a rainy unpromising looking Monday was the cardiologist's office.
They wanted to see me IMMEDIATELY.
I explained I was in South Carolina.
They asked if they could see the next day.
That got my attention fast, let me tell you....
Eventually we booked an appointment for the day after we got home, which was to be Friday, five days after this disturbing call.
It kept raining all Monday and Tuesday.  For every moment of bliss I had experienced in Charleston I now was experiencing a nightmare.

What exactly was the problem with my heart?

What would the new position be like, really?
How could I start a new job if there were cardiac issues to address?

Would you be surprised to learn that it wasn't too long before I was mentally and emotionally strung out?

And that then the stress then took on my digestive system?

Being sick in a hotel is NO fun.

By Wednesday I had had enough. 

I took the car and decided I would drive around and eject any troubling "what if?" from my mind for the afternoon.

I bought a map, turned on my cell phone's GPS and headed out to the countryside.

It was a bit sad to realize that fall scenes like this are common just about everywhere.
Where was a scene that was as distinct as the sights of Charleston?

Perhaps the southern red soil was distinctive?

I had decided to head to the town of Travel's Rest, thinking it was a small town.
It actually was a sprawling area, so I took another tactic:
I would take a drive to Pumpkintown.
Nice back roads, pretty scenery, and I had no idea what charms a placed called Pumpkintown might hold.
I felt my hopes rise when I saw the sign...
And then I was at the town's crossroads.
In one corner: A produce stand.

In the caddycorner...a general store.
Now aren't you glad that I went to Pumpkintown so you don't have to?
Really, there wasn't anything else to see.
This was as good as it gets.
From there I checked the map for other "interestingly" named places.
"Table Rock" sounded interesting.
So away I went.

At Table Rock State Park, beauty berries were to be seen in large plantings.
Their leaves had turned golden in the sun; the plants growing in the shade still have deep green leaves.
I thought that was kind of interesting.

A view to Table Rock.
Well, I was not overly impressed.
The state park offered camp sites and cabins. I could imagine camping there and hiking up to Table Rock would be a nice family activity if I lived there.
I glanced at the interpretive materials and still was not impressed. 
(Do you get the sense of how glum I was during this last part of the trip?)

This was near the same area where the movie the Last of the Mohicans was filmed.
I think I might have liked it better if I could of seen Daniel Day Lewis charging through the trees with his long musket in hand.

Someone in the park commented to me that the triangle on the rock face is quite curious, and no one knows who put it there.
I really didn't care.
I still don't.
From there I turned my car towards a place called Pendleton.
Bernie's great, great, great, great, great grandfather Reason settled there in 1790 with his wife Comfort.
Their son Elijah, Bernie's great, great, great, great grandfather was raised there, and left there to enlist in Washington DC to fight in the War of 1812.
Elijah's son James Joseph (JJ) was born in Pendleton.
Elijah died of consumption there in the late 1820's.
JJ was taken as a six year old up to Illinois with his mother and her brothers.
To the best of our knowledge, he never returned, and we only know that Reason continued to live there until the late 1830's when we lost track of him in the census.

My goal in visiting Pendleton:
To photograph buildings that stood during the time that Bernie's family lived in that area.
I parked in front of an old gas station that had been converted into an antique shop.
Since it was quite warm and I was still feeling quite off, I didn't indulge in shopping.

Instead I crossed the street to go over to this building.
Farmers Hall.  The dates were right for Reason to have visited this building.  He was a lawyer but of course would have farmed as well.

I did admire how the town had added fall touches to the area of the town square.
The Pendleton Visitor center was inside the Farmers Hall. I was able to get a handout that would guide me through the area's historical district.
The woman manning the center said they could do some research on my husband's family if I wished. I got an email address and hopefully they will assist me in identifying which bit of area property was owned by our family way back when.
I selected to see only the building that would have been standing between 1790-1840 when Reason's family lived in the area.
Lowther Hall was one such candidate.

Lowther Hall.
Now seriously...would you have guessed this house dated back to 1793 if you didn't have a guide to tell you so?

Of course the massive oak tree in front might have tipped you off that it was a very old piece of property.

Next up...Elam Sharpe House.  Built shortly after the War of 1812.

It had that double stair case to separate the men from the women thing going on.
I would have liked to see what it was like inside.
These houses are private residences and no touring hours were offered.

My favorite house...

Boxwood was my idea of a charming home. 

Another view of Boxwood.
I could picture Reason riding up to this place, maybe standing in front discussing the War of 1812 with the owners...

Reason was born in  31 August 1766 in PG Co. Maryland and was baptised in an Episcopal church.
I do know his wife, Comfort Dedman was from a family with a varying political/religious take on life, and he met and married her in Rowan North Carolina.

Not sure if they were Episcopalian or not while they were in Pendleton.
I do know he and she were not buried at this church.

Kind of too bad that they weren't as it was such a charming old graveyard.

The damp air brightened then clouded over and over again, with the moments of sunlight causing the fall leaves to glow like stained glass windows.

Pecans had been hulled and shelled at one crypt.

I just wandered a bit...wondered if Reason or Elijah or even JJ had ever had to attend a solem occasion here during their lives.
Wondered if they had ever sat in the pews on a fine autumn day and enjoyed seeing the colors glowing outside?
Perhaps someday I will know.
My explorations done, I got back into the car and drove back to the hotel.
We flew home the next day with a stop over in Detroit.
Flying while one's stomach and emotions are churning is pretty crummy.
The next day we saw the cardiologist.
I have what now seems like a rather common (and mostly correctable) heart rhythm problem that will be treated on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
I accepted the new job and will begin work on Halloween (!!!)
How much time I will have to enjoy blogging once I begin work will be much more limited than before.
I hope I will still be able to enjoy reading favorite writers and friends, and post occasionally as well.
My new position will involve me overseeing librarians across the state...I will be traveling to rural areas and hopefully my camera will go with me as I travel.
My life is taking a turn, heading into a new chapter both physically and professionally.
And in other ways as well...

To be continued...


ellen b. said...

It really must have been surreal to get those two phone calls like that. I'm glad you were able to get out and about and to possibly be able to think of something else. We got the living quarters will be ready for Katie to sign for on November 29th phone call so we'll be flying on that very busy Monday after Thanksgiving weekend...Oye, life is constantly changing.
I'm praying for you Jill!

Vee said...

Good heavens! I was ready to see the cardiologist by the time I arrived at the final paragraph. So glad that every little thing has worked out so very well. I would think that they could have settled your mind for you by telling you a little more information over the phone. And congratulations on the new job. I am sure that you will do very well with it...driving a truck? Did I read that correctly? Oh well, I can see you driving a truck.

I enjoyed your vacation in SC and hope that you may return for more adventures another time.

Lovella ♥ said...

I knew the story and still I sighed at the end.
We all have those inexplicably punk feelings and then when disturbing or at least unsettling phone calls come at the same time. .it is certainly no wonder your tummy took a turn.
Still praying dear friend. .still praying.

Judy said...

Whew...that story had a lot of twists and turns...and a hopeful ending. Wishing you all the best with your heart issues...and in your new job as well!

Sorry that Pumpkintown was such a let-down...but you got nice photos on your drive-about.

Vicki said...

Like Lovella, I was still feeling anxious and unsettled as I read through your post, even though I knew what to expect. Sometimes we're put through seemingly endless trials, but we know that by trusting in Him, knowing that He will get us through it all, we will be just fine.

Four years ago this month, we escaped for a few days because of "a situation." We found ourselves in Greenville, SC, and loved exploring the area. We had the time, so we drove aimlessly and found ourselves in Savannah for a bit, and then on to St. Simons Island. That was a wonderful respite and balm for a pair of weary souls. Your photos took me back to that little escape.

Jill, you and yours continue to be in my prayers!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

You have a lot on your plate all of a sudden Jill. But you know there are several of us praying for you through all of these changes. I love your next post about planting the bulbs and waiting in quiet trust...for the many wonderful new things expected this spring.

Kathie said...

Dear Jill - just catching up on your news - that was certainly a scary experience for a while. Are you going to have an ablation? I've had one. We seem to have a lot in common - librarian, heart problems, camera and yes . . . (the other too - we're just not telling yet!! yay!!!)