The wonderful Bubba Crosby has just celebrated his 90th birthday in grand fashion. The birthday fete was held at John Cay’s Delta Plantation where Bubba’s grand-nephew is the caretaker. The group feasted on Lowcountry boil and enjoyed an oyster roast while sitting around an old syrup kettle fire pit.
Bubba and his wife Joyce were joined by their four children, Ricky Crosby, Cheryl Crosby Phillips, Janice Crosby Austin and Karen Crosby Hettinger, and their families. Also enjoying the fun were Taffy and Jim Scheider, Jackie and Allen Ulmer with son Allen and his wife, Kay, and family friends Beth and John Vann. Danielle Hicks, soon to join the Crosby family, serenaded Bubba with great songs from the 1930s.
The one and only Bubba still maintains a large, beautiful garden and finds time to hunt and fish. He may not remember, but one year I convinced him to be the town’s Santa Claus in the Bluffton Christmas Parade, a feat I was very proud of. Happy birthday to a much-loved person!
Remembering the old ‘state of mind’
Genteel poverty is a term I have not heard lately.
Loss of the middle class is the new mantra now being tossed around. A friend of mine and I were talking the other day, and she mentioned that no longer can anyone live in genteel poverty in Bluffton. I thought about what she said, and I agreed with her. This term is of Southern origin, I think, because it is a phrase that is soft on the ears.
When one lives in poverty, their basic needs are hard to come by. “Genteel” poverty usually happens later in one’s life, when the person’s circumstances have been reduced from what they were before. The term “state of mind” could very well fit that sort of lifestyle, which is what Edith Inglesby probably had in mind when she coined the phrase many years ago in her book “Corner of Carolina,” a book which is now out of print by the way.
Bluffton used to be a small haven for those seeking a slower pace in life — a place one could live comfortably and enjoy life without having a large staff of servants or pots of money in the bank.
My mother moved here after selling her house in Athens, Ga. She was born in Savannah, and this area had always had a special place in her heart. She had three friends who also had moved to Bluffton, where each had found a charming little house near the water for $20,000 or less
All of these ladies were well-educated, well-read, had been to Europe at least three times, had been married — some two or three times — and just wanted to do their own ladylike “thing.”
They each had at least two well-cared-for dogs they treated like children. In fact, if anyone left their faithful “friends” at home, the television was left on to a cartoon channel so the pups would not get lonesome. It was quite a sight to see any one of the ladies driving around town with the car windows rolled down and very happy dogs hanging out, their ears flapping in the wind.
At 5 o’clock most days, they all met at one of their houses to listen to music, talk about books and have a drink. I never heard anyone discuss money, ever. It was almost a taboo subject, very unladylike.
Tucked away from the world and safe from many worries, they had a wonderful time together.
Once in a while someone comes into my store and asks about houses for sale. They don’t want much, they say, just a little shack to fix up. My eyes glaze over, and my reply is always the same: “You are 40 years too late,” and light years away from that old “state of mind.”
For whom the bell doesn’t toll
I found an amazing snippet of news online the other day. The British foundry that made the Liberty Bell, London’s Big Ben and other famous bells in Europe has had no orders lately for large bells and is closing up shop. Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, plans to close in May 2017.
The foundry was established in 1570 and has been in its present site for 250 years. The business will not take on any new contracts in the meantime. I find this very sad, and if you have ever heard Big Ben in action, you know why I do.
By sea and rail
If you love ships and love to follow their routes around the world, there is an app for you to try. You will find photos and descriptions of ships on the MarineTraffic app.
Dreaming of a fabulous trip in the spring of 2017? The exclusive Golden Eagle, launched in 2007, travels through Russia by train on its Trans-Siberian Express Winter Wonderland itinerary and features English-speaking guides.
The two-week trip, March 5-17, travels from Siberia to Moscow and into Mongolia. There will be no TV or Wi-Fi, but there will be lectures and on-board lessons in Russian — and I bet lots of vodka to pass the time.
Visit Exeterinternational.com for rates and information.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street or at firstname.lastname@example.org.