I ran away from the rat race this week, across the continent to a beautiful place called South Carolina. I enjoyed fall colors along forested highways, the off-season stillness of Lake Murray, warm afternoon sunshine on a wide beach, and the laughter of kids catching crabs in the marsh. I delighted my palate with catfish and grits from Lizard’s Thicket, peach ice cream from a Breyers freezer display a full four doors wide, conch chowder and a grouper basket from the Inlet Crab House, and homemade Italian sausage pasta from Pastaria 811. Conversation with family warmed my soul, relaxing the tension that builds up over time, living far away.
The rat race followed me here. Friday’s public radio broadcast featured my company’s layoff plans. Family members expressed concern — what a supportive environment to hear the news. It made the final day of vacation bittersweet. Not only would I be returning to the rat race, but that race would be even more intense, as we batten down the hatches and prepare to compete in the uncertain times ahead. But South Carolina had one last gift for me.
On a tour of the Kensington Mansion on Friday, the docent described the hardships of the first lady of the house. Just before the mansion was completed in 1854, her husband died, leaving 38 creditors behind. She sold land, reduced her workforce, divested one family business, scaled back on others, and invested in new businesses that were better suited for the economic climate. The creditors were paid, and within 10 years her estate was in better shape than it had ever been before. The story was a perfect reminder that folks have been faced with hard times for ages now, and adversity can be overcome.
Thank you, South Carolina. For your natural beauty, for good food and family, but most of all, for perspective.