An ode to Beaufort: 'I am from sweet tea and grits'

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comSeptember 30, 2013 

A pair of Southurn Rose carriage tours cross paths near downtown Beaufort in Sept. 2011.



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Thanks to Bernie Eveler of Lady's Island for sharing a poem written by his 14-year-old granddaughter as a school assignment in Kennesaw, Ga.

"Home on the River"

By Naila Meese

I am from sweet tea and grits. From biscuits and gravy and Southern hospitality. I am from strolling down Bay Street, On a scorching, humid Beaufort, South Carolina day. I am from a slow-paced Southern town that beats every other place in the world.

I am from my home away from home. Where I know I'm always welcome. With the town and my Grandma's warm, amicable embrace waiting for me to arrive. I am from my Marine Drill Instructor Granddad, Also known as my Paw Paw. The Beaufort River is a shining oasis in the big world around us, And being with two beloved people makes it even better.

I am from Downtown Beaufort. It is a paradise getaway from the reality we call our life. I am from shopping at Hollyhocks and Barefoot Bubba's. Licking sweet, dripping butter pecan ice cream from Sweet Treats, my favorite ice cream shop. I am from Sunday brunches at Blackstone's, the corner Southern breakfast restaurant. The place filled with Forrest Gump posters and college football flags. With grits, pecan pancakes, bacon, and sweet tea Waiting for me to make them disappear, like I'm a magician performing a magic show. And my loving family all surrounding me, enjoying their decadent food. I am from picnics with my family down by the river and later to the playground. Hearing my then 3-year-old brother screeching on the top of the swings, "Higher, Niya, Higher! Wait! Yook at that dolphin in the wiver!"

I am from dolphin watch boat rides down the river. Nothing beat watching my funny baby brother, Fascinated by the wonders of the river, Light up with shock and admiration when a triangle shaped fin rose to the surface. I am from carriage rides through the small Civil War town. Being told stories about the adorable, antique antebellum-era houses and their former owners. I am from those monumental mermaid statues that are so rare, Handled and looked at with great care, Scattered through the small town, Each meaning something small yet symbolic. I am from all my favorite shops and restaurants down on the peaceful Beaufort River.

I am from my Grandma's heartwarming home. White all over with forest green shutters, Glistening in the warm Carolina sunshine. I am from her big backyard garden. Chasing yellow butterflies who I once observed as baby caterpillars; All while listening to birds sing their sweet songs in the towering canopy of the garden. I am from home-cooked meals in that family home filled with memories. My grandma's culinary skills that make sweet, savory smells smother the house. I am from family dinner in her well-decorated dining room. Laughing and telling stories with her ornate China gazing down on us. Their hand-painted designs like tattoos telling their life story, Just like we live out ours with each other.

I am from the dock down Old Plantation Road. Hearing the golf cart growl like the alligator lurking in the petite ponds, As we make our way down to the secluded dock overlooking the river. I am from crabbing on the dock with delicate chicken and string, As I feel the amazing, blazing sun on my tan skin sting like a summer fling. Seeing gazillions of fiddling frisky fiddler crabs fiddle away on the musky, shelly shore. I am from stunning sunsets on the river, Like an incredible Moroccan mosaic with dancing shades of pink, yellow, and orange.

I am from Parris Island. A U.S. Marine base that is the heart and soul of Beaufort. I am from my Granddad, A former Marine who is still a Marine at heart. I am from Friday morning recruit graduations, Feeling proud that these are the brave men and women who will protect my country. I am from seeing them march under the famous Parris Island Arch down the streets of the base, And hearing them chant expressions of freedom from afar through the tinted windows of my car. I am from Patriotism and the Marines.

I am from my favorite charming town that will always hold a place in my soul. The feeling that I get when I sojourn there will always be with me. The vibe and atmosphere of the town is unforgettable. I am so lucky to call Beaufort, South Carolina my second home. Because I always know that where I'm from, Sweet tea, grits, my grandparents, and the urbane, unhurried lifestyle Will always be ready and waiting for me.

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