Notes on Folly Beach South Carolina

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Folly Beach, South Carolina, is believed to come from an old English word meaning “clump of trees”

According to legend, six pirates chests were buried between two oak trees on Morris Island and were believed to still be there by the time of the Civil War.

  1. George Gershwin wrote the musical “porgy & bess while staying there, including the line “Summertime, and the living is easy”. And judged a beauty contest

1955 While renting a cottage on Folly, Elmer “Trigger” Burke (the man who killed Joseph “Specs” O’Keefe of the $1.2 million Brinks robbery) was arrested by the FBI at the corner of Erie & Center Street

The first surfers showed up in the 1960s (Pat Thomas).

Palm reading was banned in 1964.

— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

Jonesville History: Horseshoe Robinson

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Today’s Jonesville History lesson connects the dots between Pineapple Hill in Jonesville and Morgan Square in downtown Spartanburg.

Morgan Square was once the center of Spartanburg. The first jail, courthouse, businesses and taverns were there (as far back as 1781). Today it includes the original town clock and the 1881 Daniel Morgan monument, from which the square derives its name, but the shopping and restaurant district has expanded far to the east along Main Street.

Daniel Morgan, now the protector of Morgan Square, is considered by some to be one of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War. He’s credited with the British route at the Battle of Cowpens –now a national park, nearby and well worth visiting.

The confrontation at Cowpens was loosely portrayed in The Patriot starring Mel Gibson.

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Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot was based on South Carolina’s Francis Marion (aka The Swamp Fox”)

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The Upstate had its own “Swamp Fox” hero: “Horseshoe” Robinson.

The book about him is considered a bit more more fiction than fact. But one of its most exciting tales involves Horseshoe Robinson in Jonesville.

According to legend, Horseshoe Robinson was captured by the British and held prisoner in Christies Tavern in Jonesville. The ruins, on private property, are a short walk from Pineapple Hill.

In my opinion, if you have to be held prisoner, a tavern would be an excellent spot for that.

Anyway, our hero Horseshoe managed to escape through a secret trap door and, from there, ride away to many more adventures in that exciting moment of time, place and folklore.

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Horseshoe Robinson was an early ancestor of the Robinsons in Union County and across the Pacolet River in Cherokee County. Crystal is one of these Robinsons.

The family name has also been spelled Robeson and Robison. (It’s spelled two different ways on the same road not far from Pineapple Hill: One end says Robinson Farm Road, the other says Robison Farm Road.

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— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

Anejo Tequila (my Austrian nun)

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In the pantry this morning I happened to notice a fancy gift bottle of limited edition anejo tequila.  It was hidden behind the cat food. I’d forgotten it was there. It had been given to me by a client in Dubai. We were setting up to promote a new eco-resort in Romania where Uzi-toting bodyguards were necessary and where bribes had been handed out like Mardi Gras beads.

I find it amazing that, when you consider the situation at Pineapple Hill—the vacationing lifestyle in general and some of our freewheeling guests in particular—that bottle of tequila has remained as tightly sealed up as an Austrian nun, escaping every possible threat: from oyster roasts and birthday parties to New Years Eve and visits from Little Brother. Regardless of our mood swings—from full throttle-wide-open gleeful partying to sullen-deep/dark-hung over introspection—it remains virginal.

It has waited and waited and waited while, all around it, a plethora of rum, bourbon, vodka and gin bottles have rotated through like a hysterical mob of disoriented passengers arriving and departing Miami International Airport on the day before Thanksgiving. Its handsome bottle and stylish crystal storage case (“in case of emergency, break glass”) make it nice enough to be on display out in the open next to other special favorite things: a brass ship’s clock, a rare first edition of French-American ornithologist and painter, John James Audubon’s color-plate book The Birds of America, a WWII era mint condition officer-of-the-deck spy glass in its eye-pleasing wooden case, a larger-than-my-fist prehistoric shark’s tooth, a vintage Tiffany sterling silver tea set and flintlock dueling pistols.

Instead, it’s been in a butler’s closet on a shelf beneath the drinking glasses (tumblers, steins, and stemware) across from the canned soup, peaches and broth, canisters of flour, rice and beans, large cereal boxes and little tins of tea, and the aforementioned crunchy fish-flavored cat food morsels kept for Pineapple Hill’s never ending parade of strays.

My thought was to save that tequila for a special occasion—never remotely thinking it would last so long—but now so many have come and gone that I’m not sure what to do. It has crossed that invisible unspecified line that warrants preservation, much like the amazingly large lobster that makes the news now and then, so old it is pardoned and tossed back into the sea.

I don’t mean to cause a big stir about this bottle. I don’t mean to cultivate a death watch as if it were the oldest woman on the planet or the last living ex-president or the only surviving veteran of a war, but it bears mentioning because it’s on my mind today.

It has not been forgotten.

# # #

–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

If grapes could talk (Labor vs Management)

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This morning I found this photo of a handsome overhead arbor for grapevines and wondered if it would have been a better approach than stretching cable as I did at Pineapple Hill. My little  “test ” vineyard gets hit by deer every fall.

In business, hindsight isn’t always, as the saying goes, “20/20”. Sometimes hindsight remains blurry. Other times its way better than 20/20.

Creeping out on gravel, driving Pineapple Hill’s old but sadly not vintage Jaguar this morning, it hit home that if the grapes at Pineapple Hill had feelings, my grapes must be pretty miserable.

If my grapes could talk, there’d be a lot of serious “labor vs management” grumbling out at the strands of cable at night…

Firstly, there is the problem of Management’s lack of experience—not a good thing on its own and even worse when paired with totally unreasonably high expectations.

Management being me. Labor being the grapes.

Management demands that a dry wine grape variety succeed where usually only sweet wine varieties are found.

Management demands grapes that grow in bunches versus the native berry-like muscadine and scuppernong.

Management, of course, doesn’t really understand —and appreciate—what Labor is up against because Management has already moved on—mentally, physically and emotionally—to other matters (i.e., to whatever shiny object has next caught Management’s eye.

Management, in small business settings especially, must often address The World through a multi faceted, prism-like perspective of desires and fears.

Management often feels surrounded by snarling frothing rabid hyenas.

Management is tired. Management rewarded itself with too many sessions on the pool lounger this week and is nursing a sore shoulder. Management rewards itself with pool lounger time  because Management needs stress relief and networking and besides, if you can’t slip out away on a pool lounger, why even be in Management?

It’s true that, on Pineapple Hill, Labor faces awful working conditions and is expected to succeed in blazing hot sun with a minimum of water whilst totally exposed to the threats of Pearce’s disease, fire ants and hungry deer.

But Labor is counter positioned (i.e. “at odds with”) the realities of Management’s goal: (i.e., testing several different grape varieties to see which does best with the least amount of effort or expense).

Management’s attitude is one of water seeking “the course of least resistance” as it runs downhill.

Happy grapes, schmappy grapes.

Consequently, I doubt my grapes include Management in their prayers at night (other than to pray that Management someday “gets a clue” or, sweeter, is replaced by better management).

Labor wants the cables tighter.

Labor doesn’t just require more pruning, the pruning must be strategic if  Labor is to deliver greatest ROI.

More than anything, Labor needs Management to be more careful when leveraging the weed wacker and lawn mower. There’s a been a run of terrible on-the-job accidents lately.

And it doesn’t help matters that Management, despite the carnage, passes by Labor in an air conditioned British import, waving to Labor and smiling, eyes all a twinkle, as if to say “keep up the good work fellas”. No condolences or a promise to do better. Nothing.

If grapes had tempers, mine would be rounding up torches and pitch forks.

# # #

I’m going to run the numbers to see which is cheaper: Spending more to help Labor …or buying sturdier door locks for protection against Killer Grapes.

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Management spends too much time on the porch sipping wine and not enough among the vines growing wine.

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Management does not want to be a prisoner in its own home, constantly fearing retribution from Labor. Utopia, Management realizes now, requires a trip to Lowes for fertilizer, some irrigation hose, and more of those ratchet thingies that tighten cable.

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Management  also realizes it can probably do better than saying “ratchet thingy” –I’m sure the tool, whatever it’s called, has a better name.

Management realizes it must “man up” and take more responsibility—perhaps buy a book on grape growing. Perhaps take a class.

# # #

Management hopes to never again have “clueless” and “Management” used together on Pineapple Hill anymore.

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IF grapes had feelings and could talk, of course.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

More on Pirates: FYI

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  • The great or classic era of piracy in the Caribbean extends from around 1560 up until the mid 1720s. The period during which pirates were most successful was from 1700 until the 1730s.
  • The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate. Originally, buccaneer crews were larger, more apt to attack coastal cities, and more localized to the Caribbean than later pirate crews who sailed to the Indian Ocean on the Pirate Round in the late 17th century.
  • From this became derived in French the word boucane and hence the name boucanier for French hunters who used such frames to smoke meat from feral cattle and pigs on Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).[2] English colonists anglicised the word boucanier to buccaneer.
  • Although a few historians have claimed, with no evidence, that homosexuality was universal among the buccaneers, it is recognized by most that matelots shared women as well as their chattels, and that buccaneers were frequent and enthusiastic patrons of female prostitutes. It is nevertheless agreed that a substantial minority of buccaneer matelots were likely homosexual.[8]
  • When buccaneers raided towns, they did not sail into port and bombard the defenses, as naval forces typically did. Instead, they secretly beached their ships out of sight of their target, marched overland, and attacked the towns from the landward side, which was usually less fortified. Their raids relied mainly on surprise and speed.

[These facts were stolen from one or more places. That’s what pirates do.]
— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple HIll

Union County. Get Smart.

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Union County, South Carolina, reminds me of Get Smart, the 1960s spy parody television series starring Don Adams.

Remember?.

Each episode opened with Agent Maxwell Smart (aka Agent 86 …”Max”) walking a long narrow hallway through a series of strange doors. One door opens to reveal a stairway. Another, fake prison bars, opens to reveal a simple telephone booth. And the booth, it turns out, is a trap door through which Max drops down into the secret headquarters of his spy agency.

Union County, where Pineapple Hill is in South Carolina, does the same thing …metaphorically.

It has secret entrances only the natives know about. Long winding roads that disappear into trees. You quickly vanish as far as the rest of the world is concerned.

After woods, you follow the path to a lovely meadow at which point the sky opens up on a bright blue sunny day.

All of a sudden you feel safe and at home. This land is for getting away, keeping the rest of the world and its unnecessary chaos at arm’s length. For some, at barrel’s length.

It’s the opposite of malls, movie theaters, crowded sidewalks and traffic jams. I came here because a woman made me. But most are here by choice and would have it no other way.

I get it now.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

Funny sailing video from Irish Sailing Olympics

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Tacking to and fro across YouTube for just a minute and just for “kicks” I found this funny sailing video from the Irish Sailing Olympics. The commentator is clueless. The more he yammers on, the more befuddled he gets.

It’s here to wish you a wonderful day. At least compared to his.

 [Warning: some profanity in this one.]

Be sure to watch the end (which is really just the beginning).

–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple HIll

 

Jonesville History: Ghost Cigars, Etc

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My telling of Jonesville History includes local ghost stories and legends.

I’m told that at least ten ghosts at the Inn at Merridun (c. 1855) in nearby Union. The hauntings have been described in Haunted Inns of the Southeast by Sheila Turnage and Haunted Inns of America by Terry Smith and Mark Jean.

The most commonly cited ghosts are the Duncans (T.C. and Fannie). They lived in the Merridun in the late 1800s and are said to make their presence known in the form of two unique scents: cigar smoke and perfume. Too, it’s said they sometimes scatter pennies about the place.

Other ghosts include a white dog, two children (believed to be brother and sister), and an African-American housekeeper. Too, the sound of Native American drumming is sometimes heard.

–Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

The Story of Bob

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One evening we found a baby bird on our sandy driveway, not far from a large oak tree, flopping around, unable to fly, unable even to stand.

We carefully scooped him up and created a substitute nest for him out of a shoe box.

We named him Bob.

Then we went online to find out what to do next. We found the phone number for a bird rescue person. We called and were told to keep Bob in his shoe box and him up in the oak tree.

So we did.

We punched holes in the shoe box, ran kite string through the holes, then used more string to suspend Bob’s cardboard nest from a low hanging branch (but high enough off the ground so that our outdoor cat, Ellie Mae, couldn’t get to it).

As nightfall came, there was a breeze and, looking out across the lawn to the oak tree and Bob’s swaying shoe box ,we were reminded of the lullaby:

Rock-a-bye baby on the treetops,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

The wind blew harder and harder. We could feel the heaviness of storm clouds moving in across the darkness. And then came a sprinkling of fat rain drops. Followed, soon, by a slamming downpour.

From time to time through the night we would peer out toward the oak tree and, in between flashes of lightening, would see the Bob’s shoe box swinging wildly in the wind.

And one of us would say “Wonder how Bob is?” or “Hope Bob’s okay.”

 

At first light, we went out to check Bob’s shoe box.

But Bob was gone.

We like to believe he made it back to his momma somehow.

However,  later that afternoon, Ellie May—the original Pineapple Hill mouse cat—showed up with bird parts in her mouth.

Small, Bob-sized bird parts…

We left the shoe box hanging from the tree limb for the longest time.

Eventually it became just a rumpled mass of cardboard and string that barely resembled a shoe box anymore and certainly no longer resembled a bird nest anymore.

Finally, without ceremony, I walked out to the oak tree one day with scissors and took down what was left of Bob’s cradle.

 

We still talk about Bob.

He belongs to this land eternally now and to our lives here as much as we do.

 

# # #

–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

On the Bright Side (Innovation During Crisis)

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“I read the news today O Boy… ”
(Remember that line from the Beatles’ song A Day In The Life?)

While sidelined with an injury, I’ve been following the

Checking out the new Pineapple Hill property with my bud Palmer, a West Coast entrepreneur making a deal on his cell phone, I led us up a hill and over a fence …stepping out in front a bull. Didn’t know if it would charge or not but Palmer never missed a beat on that call.

situations with Ferguson, Isis, Ebola, Mid term elections, IRS scandal, Secret Service screw ups, the up and down stock market, the global water shortage, global warming…

…and all the other things in the gator pile.

I’m not hiding under the bed in the fetal position sucking my thumb because I also remember George Harrison’s “All things must pass”.

I’m a big believer in Mankind’s ability to get out of the messes that seem to always come along on the timeline of history. Trouble rides the rails.

Looking back as the ground we’ve covered

so far you’ll see a connect-the-dots story of “bad things happening to good people” (Have you seen the commercial using that line?)

It may not always be pretty, but somehow “we” (the All Of Us that makes the world go ’round) not only survive but continue to advance the ball.

We figure something out. We break on through to the other side.

I’m not just mimicking Kevin Bacon in Animal House (“All is well!”).

I see evidence of Mankind’s ingenuity all around us.

It can be found in our bodies …and far into deep space.

 It’s so amazing what’s been achieved…

…and will continue to be achieved.

Not only has Mankind brought light to the world in its darkest hours –he continues to innovate better ways of doing so.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a Wall Street Daily article on Innovation During Crisis.

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Although probably not inspired by crisis, you might enjoy this list of 33 Genius Products.

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Still think it’s the end of the world? …Check out “Fibanacci’s Golden Ratio” sometime.

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— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

Jonesville History: Civil War Hot Air Balloon

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Another Jonesville History lesson from the much too thin folder at Pineapple Hill…

There’s an unusual roadside marker in the Pea Ridge area of Union County near Jonesville. It tells the story of a Civil War Hot Air Balloon…

Just a week after Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, Thaddeus Lowe took off from Ohio in a hot air balloon to prove that he could fly eastward on upper air currents.

Nine hours later his balloon landed in the Pea Ridge area of Jonesville.

Lowe was arrested as a Northern spy but managed to persuade his “hosts” he was on a scientific mission.

There’s a roadside marker in Pea Ridge sign marking the spot where Lowe’s hot air balloon landed.

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Have your picture taken beside this roadside marker in Union County –holding a balloon of course.

 

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From what I’ve seen so far, there’s some real talented moonshine makers in Pea Ridge. I assume they started drinking when they saw that balloon. A UFO for sure.

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Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed “Lawnchair Larry” or the “Lawn Chair Pilot”, (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship. Dubbed Inspiration I, the “flying machine” consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Here’s the Wikipedia entry. 

Don’t be so dumb as to try this.

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–Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill

 

Why Pineapple Hill?

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The other day I heard from a good friend and, during the

Painting fish on pallet wood cleared writer’s block. I gave this up after the car wreck. It was a hobby that got out of hand.

course of catching up, asked him to check out this website.

He did, asking “what have you gotten yourself into now?” He knew me. Well. Knew about my taking up different interests all the time—sparkly things that caught my eye—such as scuba diving, guns, buying hundreds and hundreds of new and used books, growing grapes, researching the ruins of a Colonial era tavern down my road “because it’s there”. And so on.

Specifically, he mentioned my painting fish on pallet wood phase. At one point I practically had a factory going down in Pineapple Hill’s conference room (which I briefly renamed Board Room). Painting fish on pallet wood cleared writer’s block and got me out of the house at the height of my reclusive Howard Hughes period–a phase I’m still in somewhat.

Thank goodness the car wreck got me out of the pallet art business before I sent the labor-intensive production over to China or down to Mexico.

Anyway, after we got off the phone I decided I better explain this Pineapple Hill web site to my friend and to myself.

HERE’S THE LETTER I SENT OUT LATER:

Great talking to you yesterday. When mentioning Pineapple Hill earlier and asking you to take a look I really only expected a quick glance and perhaps a bit of feedback on colors (glad you like them) and navigation (sorry it moved a little slow for you –I need to check on that).

Wow! Very glad to have you weight in. It got me thinking. Made me decide to flesh out this website’s reason for being so if I have thoughts of moving on to something else—goat yoga, for instance—maybe I won’t.

The PURPOSE OF PINEAPPLE HILL

  • a place to express myself (I write “just for fun” for an hour or so every morning)
  • a way to be more sociable (compensating for my remote location in the boonies)
  • motivates me to finish the next book I’m writing now that Blue Rubber Pool is published.
  • showcases the surrounding community (history, climate, restaurants, attractions, etc)
  • builds relationships with like minded people: sailors, surfers, shooters, grape growers, bamboo and banana tree lovers, corn hole players and other writers too.
  • clear my head of the jetsam and flotsam so that, hopefully, it doesn’t end up in a book with my name on it.

Like I said, this is “just for fun”. Unless I can figure out how to monetize it. Then it’ll be my ticket to umbrella drinks on sugar white sand. More satisfying even than painting fish on pallet wood.

Bottom Line: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

 

Best regards as always,

Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill