Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Revisiting America

Looking back over my blog I realized I didn't comment on our dinner at "The Fat Hen",  a small restaurant , in an old house; really it looks, from the outside, like two houses joined together, a porch with tables, outside seating, nothing fancy, but cloths and candles on the tables which always adds to the ambiance.  My meal was a salmon steak with a bernaise sauce, potatoes, garlic spinach, and the most wonderful lemon cake(we shared a piece).  It's amazing how one chef can take a piece of meat, make it so different from anything else you've ever tasted, but still have the flavor of salmon.  Our waiter spent so much time with us, explaining the menu, tending to our drinks, checking on us every few minutes;  he never seemed hurried, or rushed, or even like he had other tables to tend.  Well, it was a delightful meal, and you'll never know how much it cost.
Janie mentioned the angel tree, which was a sight to see-she gave you the history, dimensions, etc: You see it and yet don't believe it has survived all these years.  Some limbs are propped, and people are limited in what they can do around the tree-no climbing, sitting etc:  The pictures will give you an idea of the size.  One happy thought-it made us look so small.
Sunday, the 20th, we attended church in Charleston, The French Protestant Huguenot Church of Charleston, S.C.  More ritual than our Baptist churches but yet not as formal as the Episcopal service we attended. 
Beautiful stained glass, enclosed pews, chandeliers, and the best choir I've heard(up in the balcony to our back, so I couldn't see them),  good organist, friendly people.  Again, the hymnal, Bible, and prayer book, so I listened more than participated.  Someone gave a short history of the church after the service.  Then, we went to a collation, which is the same as our "fellowships", for coffee and sandwiches.
On April 30, 1680, the ship, Richmond, from London, dropped anchor off Oyster Point in the new province of Carolina, a new site, having been moved from Albemarle Point.  On orders from King Carles,II, the settlement was re-named Charles Town. The Richmond also brought forty-five Huguenots-French Protestant refugees from France's continuing religious persecutions. They had fled to England and waited for months for transportation to a land where they could work and worship in peace and freedom.  King Charles subsidized these skilled people in their effort to establish, on British territory, crops and industries that had been French monopolies.
This church, still standing on the original site on the corner of Queen and Church Streets was founded by these refugees, and later augmented by other groups.  There is quite a history of fires, closings, different ministers, and firemen blowing up this particular church to make gaps in the flames of a fire in 1796 which started in the loft of a nearby stable, spread, leaving many homeless.
 Mural tablets placed around the walls in memory of individuals helped stave off financial crisises.  Many
prominent americans of both North and South who share a Hueguenot heritage have murals on these walls.
A good worship experience, different, but the word was shared.
Now to another experience, my first ever.  Last night we attended the first night of Charleston Fashion Show Week.  Huge white tents set up on the lawn of Marion Square, downtown, and hundreds of people, dressed every which way, some quite tasteful, others awful, basically anything you wore would be okay.  We did dress up a little.
We were treated to runway showings from three boutiques and five new designers.  Most of the clothes were beautiful and something ordinary people would wear, but some were outlandish, and you wonder who would buy them.  The models, not one of them would weigh a hundred pounds, even those that were six feet tall, had that gaunt, pale, expressionless look, which you expect from professional models, but the clothes looked so elegant on them.
On Saturday night, a winner, will be chosen from the sixteen semi-finalist emerging designer competition
East.  We were given the opportunity to pick our favorite last night-mine didn't win.  It was a fun night for us, but we are sure this was not something Charles Kuralt did or wrote about in his book.

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