South Carolina does not do itself many favors when it comes to public relations. Far too many people think South Carolina is a backward hillbilly state that just got plummin' and electricity dern near ten years back. I oversee a plant in SC and I quite like the state, so I decided to take my camera with me when the Normal Mormon Family drove south of the border last week to set the record straight for those of you who have misconceptions about the Palmetto State.
Why does South Carolina have such a bad rap? First off, the Confederate flag flew over the state capitol building until 2000. This poor decision is as subtle as if the state of Missouri decided to fly the Mormon Extermination Order over its courthouses or wait until 1976 to repeal the order. As if anything that crazy could ever happen! While the Confederate flag has come down, there are still window decals on all SC state government buildings depicting the mischievous character from Calvin and Hobbes relieving himself on a map of all of the "Yankee" states. I'm shooting for 2095 for those to come off.
Another self-inflicted public relations wound was the decision to select the Gamecock as the mascot for the University of South Carolina. I can just imagine the Board of Trustees having the following conversation:
-"We need a dignified mascot. Something regal."
-"You mean, like a varmint of some sorts? Maybe a dingo?"
-"Perhaps. But I'm envisioning something just a little more noble. More valiant."
-"What about a mole. Or maybe a chicken?"
-"Yes! Perfect! A chicken! But there needs to be a hook. An angle. Something that says this chicken is special."
-"How's abouts an egg-layin' chicken."
-"Naw. I want something more backwoods. Perhaps something illegal and blood-lusty."
-"Somebody get this man another helpin' of turnips!"
Just to show that South Carolina has come a long way over the years, here are some of the images that caught my attention during our quick trip a few days back.
If you are passing through the state and need to get some fresh veggies, I highly encourage you to stop by and visit the kind folks at Hobo Hollar Produce. I do not want to speak for the rest of you, but when I have a hankerin' for some squash or cucumbers I definitely think of homeless people yelling at the tops of their lungs. I heard that the owners just opened a second store in downtown Charleston called Hobo HOLLA! Produce.
One of the most popular items on the menu at Hobo Hollar are the hot boiled P-Nuts. I have heard of peanuts before, but am not quite sure just which"P-" nut they are referring to. Pinenuts? Pistachios? Does anybody know what to expect here?
If you look closely at this picture you will notice two key elements: 1) The trendy, classy "Hobo Hollar" font that is now available on Microsoft Word. This font takes random letters and decides to willy-nilly capitalize some of them in order to form words like HoT BoiLED P-NuTS. 2) The sign in the lower left hand corner that expressly forbids dogs from using Hobo Hollar as their personal Port-a-Potty. I bet this "No Going" policy was as difficult to implement as a an Indoor Clean Air Act in Winson-Salem. Just for fun, here is the close up:
This sign underscores the point that South Carolina is actually much more progressive than most other states. For example, in most other states we see signs that say things like, "Shoplifters will be prosecuted" and "No shirt, no shoes, no service." While businesses in the rest of the country have to focus no preventing bare chested thieves from stealing VCR's and Slim Jims, South Carolina businesses are only worried animals not defiling their premises. Now that's a state that has its house in order!
So take that, every other state!
Oh, yeah, anybody up for some cockfighting?