The First District

Today we cycled past fields and forests and historic sites, being careful not to trespass!

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It is a land of surprises.

This is the congressional district where lying adulterer Mark Sanford, disgraced former governor of South Carolina (not to be confused with Terry Sanford, distinguished late governor of North Carolina), will run against Elizabeth Colbert Busch, elder sister of faux-conservative commentator Stephen Colbert. What can we say but . . . Surprise!

David lives at a motel in Conway.

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David asked about the trike and human rights issues. Jeffrey explained that HRF tries to dry up supplies of weapons, fuel, etc., that enable oppressive governments to create refugees. He didn’t think this young South Carolinian, who worked as a “line waxer” in Florida until the food processing plant closed, would know much about it. Surprise! David asked, “Do you know that the U.S. is the number one arms dealer in the world? We’re number one in a lot of things. Some they brag about, others they want us to forget.” Sounds like David is a member of our team!

John Walker is a hard-working man.

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He works for a local power company, and has his own grocery business in Pee Dee. Many people called out greetings to us today (we were on quieter roads with fewer rumble strips!); when he said he’d seen us earlier and was amazed at how far we’d gone when he passed us on his way home, Jeffrey stopped to chat. He loved the trike and the focus of HRF (no surprise there), treated Jeffrey to a drink, and showed Jeffrey a jar of pickled sausage, a South Carolina delicacy.

Four of John’s friends drove up.

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John introduced Jeffrey. Jeffrey told them about the trike, the Ride, New York, and HRF. These gentlemen expressed sympathy for refugees. Jeffrey told them his disappointment at the monuments in Wilmington, noting that in Vienna, a public square inscribed with an emperor’s anti-Jewish taunt also has a plaque apologizing for Christian indifference to the Hitler-era murder of their Jewish neighbors. They laughed at the thought of an apology for the Confederacy that had persecuted their ancestors. But they seem to think it doesn’t matter.

John said when he was young (he is Jeffrey’s age but doesn’t look it), things were pretty bad there in Georgetown County. But now, he said, the local people are good.

The man on the left grew up in Philadelphia, and came south 20 years ago when his aunt was sick. The sickness really was loneliness, so the man stayed on to keep his aunt company. He said he never had any problem with local people, that this is a good place to live.

Jeffrey asked why the town is called Pee Dee. One man said, “You’ll have to ask a white person!” Surprise! And they all laughed.

One of the men hugged Jeffrey twice, and one called out as he rode away, “Glad to have met you!” The feeling was mutual.

Jabbar was out riding his bike, enjoying the end of his spring break.

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Jeffrey questioned Jabbar and learned that he is in 6th grade, likes bicycling and math, and does not like to read. Two out of three ain’t bad. Jabbar said it was OK to take one photo but not two.

Ordinarily on a warm, dry day like this, we would have covered more ground, but Andrews has the last motel for many miles, so we stopped here.

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Jeffrey’s high school friend Peggy drove for hours to see Jeffrey and to buy him dinner. Jeffrey had not seen her for nearly 40 years, and took me out of my plastic bag for the occasion.

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Peggy is a tenured librarian and psych teacher at Clemson University. She, Doug (whom you met when we were in Virginia Beach) and Jeffrey were classmates at a rural high school near the border with Canada. All three won National Merit scholarships – unusual for such a small town. And none ever thought they’d see Jeffrey decades later when he was cycling through the South with a kangaroo puppet. Surprise!

One thought on “The First District

  1. I guess you won’t be seeing any monuments there to Chubby Checker in his home town. Perhaps he wasn’t Confederate enough.
    Enjoy your Sunday ride thus SC.

    Cousin Joel

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