I am between gigs, as the pipe-hitting jazzmen say, so what better time to return to my ancestral stomping grounds in Savannah for a few months? My brother has been suffering from unelucidated health issues, too, so I'm doing a bit of dual caretaking: him and my soul.
The key to wringing pleasure out of a coastal town is a boat, of course, so we've been ploughing light chop and glassine high tides, exploring them old haints. Primarily Daufuskie Island. It lies across Calibogue Sound from Hilton Head, and is memorable from the movie Conrack. The island used to be singularly populated by the dusky descendants of slaves, who spoke only the Gullah patois, and would sell you crabs, shrimps, and beer if you behaved your cracker ass. In fact, the Senator used to take us to the beach at Bloody Point as youngsters, there to pic-a-nic with the fambly, the feasts consisting of extremely sandy mayonnaise sandwiches, unsweetened Kool-Aid in Scotch-plaid Thermoses, and canned sardines and Southern Comfort in a Dixie cup for the old man.
As an aside, the Senator had considerable fun toying with me and my brothers over the local denizens, admonishing us: "Stay out of those woods, boys! There's wild ni**ers in there, and they'll gitcha!" Which fact was only half true.
Now the island has a hundred McMansions, yet fortunately it is still only accessible by boat, precluding the horrid rapine that befell Hilton Head, population density: infinity. One may still traffic with back island trash on Daufuskie, and the few remants of Gullahs who haven't been property-taxed off the island are still ebullient of heart, and courageous of soul. Those fuckers from Hilton Head run ferries there every day, however, and they covet. How they covet. Like paedophiles at a scout jamboree.
South of the marina, in the opposite direction of Daufuskie, lies Wassaw Island, best taken from the south end (like a good woman), then work one's way north along the tree-stumped beach to the north end, where the revelers congregate. South of Wassaw is Hell Gate and Petit Gauke Island and the true rat-dom of Bryan County. Lest one is red drum fishing there is no reason to navigate those waters. The fishermen are obstreperous, the crabbers bilious. If one is not of the first degree of genetic relation one is a provocateur.
It shocked me, really, how much I'd missed the salt water, having been domiciled in Deliverance country for so long. One cannot close one's eyes and inherit the wind of the mountains, but low tide, as they say, is forever. I'm three decades into gainful employment, and five away from my retirement monies. If honest work comes my way I'm alla in. If not, my Great Black Father in the District of Columbia has extended my unemployment benefits, which was kind of Him.
I am perhaps a true hobo now, traveling light. My only necessities are my fishing tackle, well-prepared meals, and vagabondage, should the right girl appeal to me.
Of course, even the wrong ones appeal to me.