Doug and Jean Corkern remember well the day that Pressana Grant dropped in on them.
They knew her from the neighborhood. She lived around the corner on Wharf Street in the heart of old Bluffton.
This unexpected, old-school, up-close visit literally is the heart of old Bluffton, something people worry is fading with time.
But good neighbors do that. Or, at least Pressana Grant still did it, before she was killed Wednesday in a fiery crash on Bluffton Parkway.
“We sat and had a nice visit,” Jean Corkern remembers.
Their friend Ed Pinckney happened to drop by at the same time.
“Then Pressana said, ‘Let me sing a song for you’ and she sang her signature song,” Jean said.
It was “Amazing Grace.”
“I looked up and Ed Pinckney had big old tears running down his cheek.”
Pressana dropped by another day when she needed some financial help with a concert she was going to hold at the Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church.
“We’re going to miss her in the neighborhood,” Doug said. “She used to walk in and we’d sit around the kitchen table and talk. It’s the kind of neighborhood we were looking for when we moved to Bluffton from Hilton Head.”
Doug Corkern was one of the earliest architects on Hilton Head when development started, and Pinckney was one of the earliest landscape architects. They helped shape the “Hilton Head look.”
In his retirement, Corkern does sketches of life in Bluffton. He’ll soon publish a whole book full of them. They’re wonderful.
And although his good neighbor Pressana Grant is gone, her memory lives in drawings by a neighbor who opened his door and life to her.
He painted Pressana singing at Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church. And this June, he painted her singing at the dedication of the Garvin-Garvey House at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park.
But his best one is a portrait of his classy neighbor, whose probably didn’t know her visits fulfilled his own life’s dream.
He calls it “Amazing Grace.”