June 2015

June 2015

Charles Towne

They call it “The Holy City.” They have for years. One reason: all those churches, which more or less look like where Babar might go on Sunday mornings. Or Saturday afternoon or anytime Sunday if he happened to be Catholic. (What denomination are elephants anyway?)

The deep-down reason for the good-natured name is the good-humored adulation, veneration even, that Charlestonians have for the supernally beautiful place in which they live.

Charleston, its residents like to say, is where the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers unite to form the Atlantic Ocean. Where ancient families are said to emulate the Chinese in that they eat rice and worship their ancestors. Where denizens treat “outsiders with so much graciousness and consideration…visitors end up feeling as if they’re wearing shoes for the first time in their lives.”

And now another, truly remarkable reason. “I forgive you,” said Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, looking at the barely-past-boyhood face of her mother’s killer on courtroom video. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you.”

 

“I forgive you.”

Lovely Charleston.

 

You’re more exciting than you think. Remember how your mom, or your teacher, or maybe that lady at the drug store told you on your birthday that it was “your special day?” Well, in my case it’s also once-little Britney Spears’ special day and long-ago-little Harry Reid’s special day, among others’. Try this. Enter your month and day on HistoryOrb.com and watch your day unfold in luminaries born, battles fought, inventions wrought, books and music written – the whole lollapalooza. You, my friend, are historic!

How do chimps drown their sorrows? Just like everyone else, it would seem. Scientists have at last been able to watch chimps dunk leaves into fermented tree sap and get slowly plastered. The consequences: “Some drinkers rested directly after imbibing fermented sap,” the researchers found. Some decided to get away from it all for a bit, climbing to the top the trees to drink alone. (Intervention time?) Others gathered in groups and together got drunk as monks.

Somebody second this menu. Many winters ago, Indiana sugar cream pie was invented in the absence of fruit. This first cousin to Southern chess pie recently rounded out the menu (and probably a few of the diners) at the weekly Capitol lunch of Republican senators. Some weeks, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia opens wide the doors and brings in down-home brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. And he brings not just in senatorial Republicans, but also Democrats, office staff, Capitol police, and the occasional stray reporter. (By the way, “down home” in this case refers to barbecue from across the Potomac in Virginia.)

Triple Crown excitement. We all saw American Pharaoh and his proud owners, his jockey and his trainer, the carnations and the (very cool) 93-year-old lady of Secretariat fame watching form her box in the stands. Thanks to some wonderful camera work, we also got glimpses of the thrilled onlookers. A gal on the green jumping up and down for the helicopter, some exulting old dudes and wild-with-joy little boys, young couples, babies. Everybody. All of them about to bust. Show us more. They’re the people there for us. You’ve probably got about 38 years to script it out.

Department of Newspeak. Following aging yuppies (average age now about 55), and the near extinct hipster is the “yuccie” (young urban creative), a hybrid of those two. Like their predecessors, yuccies still want the yacht and the country club, but won’t shy away from an artisanal donut or vintage Kodachrome.

Speaking of new words, did we mention “couch?” Verb. To ditch, toss, chuck, spike, shelve. “That idea has been couched.” How about couching the word “yuccie?”

Feeling faint at the mailbox. Sure, stamps are 49 cents – outrageously expensive, we know – but the impact of an actual letter, inscribed with a personal “Happy Birthday!” slipped into an envelope, sealed, addressed, mailed, and received (early, late, or on time – it matters not) has a much greater impact on the recipient than it does on your wallet or your time. Even if it’s sent to Harry Reid. Meanwhile, digital wishes, which are almost always prompted by pre-set electronic notifications, are turning us into Pavlov’s dogs. With thumbs.

 

Quote to note: “Just like how the camera puts on 10 pounds, the printed word puts on snark.”

– Retiring Atlanta food critic John Kessler in urging more respectful writing.

Thanks for reading,

joe.ledlie@theledliegroup.com

@LedlieGroup on Twitter

 The Ledlie Letter is read on six continents by ranchers and farmers, ministers and priests, scientists, attorneys, industrialists, students, and media people. We couldn’t be happier you’re a reader.

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