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Blogs and Such

Bang, Bang. On the Door, Baby!

Brandon Joyner

I'm a costume designer and I have been designing costumes for more years than I care to admit. And, I love it! Most of the time.

I have worked for many of the local theaters, schools, universities, and churches, but one theater stands out-- a theater downtown. (The theater season starts in the early fall and so do the “ghost” tours around Charleston. You can be a part of “ghost” tours other times of the year, but the fall lends itself to the tours.)

There are so many “ghost” tours in the Charleston area because Charleston has ghosts... ghosts... and more ghosts!  Ghosts in our old churches; ghosts in the old theaters downtown; in our hotels, our parks, and especially our cemeteries! Ghosts everywhere around the city-- pirate ghosts at White Point Gardens where they were hanged; criminal ghosts in the old jail where they were held until they were hanged. We even have ghosts and the outlying areas – the Summerville light! These stories send chills up and down my spine!

We all love a good ghost story once in a while and we always wonder—is it true?

Do you remember when we were kids at a party we would sit in a circle, holding hands and telling spooky stories until we would all get a good scare, scream, and fall over laughing!!  I sure do! So much fun!!

But—back to the “ghost” tour story.

One of those tours passed by the rear of the theater where I worked about once an hour—most of them at night. Right down the alley outside the loading doors. And, since I worked almost every night during the “season,” I got used to the stories being told till the hair would stand up on the back of my neck. Night after night; detail after detail.

I would listen through the doors that lead out into the alley, until one night I thought... “Hey, why don't I help this ghost story along?” There were chains hanging on the sliding doors so they could be secured until someone needed to load supplies into the theater.

What an opportunity!

So, with the support of my “most able-bodied assistant,” as the tour headed down the alley, we jumped at the chance to rattle the chains, moan and then scream. Everyone in the alley immediately became quiet as a “ghost” as they listened to our sound effects. Night after night the tour groups came through and they almost always stopped close by our doors waiting to hear any ghostly activity there was to be heard.

On this one particular night, we were busy with our costumes when another tour group came by. Ah-ha!!!

The perfect time to strike!

So, with my “assistant” by my side, we turned out all the lights and waited for the group to assemble outside the door.

And, strike, we did! As soon as the story reached its climax we struck!!!

Chains rattling, groaning and moaning, and when the moment was right, screaming at the top of my lungs. But this time it wasn't laughter that we heard in response. WE were shocked to hear screaming right back at us. We didn´t realize someone had a small child with them!!

Oh, my goodness, had we made a mistake!!!

We had scared this child until they were sobbing uncontrollably. The “ghost” sounds and the chilling ghost stories were more than they could handle. The parents tried to console the child but to no avail. Still screaming, the parents grabbed the child up and proceeded to head off to finish the tour.

Well, that little episode cured me... No more scaring little children! I felt terrible but you have to admit... It was fun!

~ Jeannie Joyner

Goin' Down for Real

Brandon Joyner

“We’re going to Disney World!”

Where have you heard that before?!? Usually it’s because someone is very happy because something spectacular has happened to them!

Well, just GOING to Disney World is pretty spectacular to me!

I have a wonderful travel-buddy. She says, “You pick when we are going, you drive, you pick where we are gonna stay, you pick where we’ll eat.” Can’t get any better than that. Easy traveling with my ¨bestie¨.  She just doesn’t care. And travel we did! Whenever we could get a little time, we headed out of town... to Disney World; once we went seven times in one year! We never tired of it!

This one particular trip to Florida, we met up with our two sons and a couple of their friends. Now, I don’t ride all the roller coasters or the “death drop” rides. Don’t really like them. Never did! We all decided to go on the “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror".”

Or so they thought...

For those of you unfamiliar with this ride—you get strapped into a seat in an “elevator” with a group of people, doors close, you sit and wait to be dropped (and scared to death)! Thirteen stories high!

Now, why would any sane person do or even want to do this???

And, it happens not once...

Not twice...

Not thrice...

But, numerous times!

And... we actually PAY for this!

We had our sons believing that we were gonna ride “this monster” but in reality, we were gonna go through the line, get all the way to the ride entrance... and take an alternate way out—through an “exit” elevator.

Good idea, right?

We were waiting forever in the line just to convince them that we were very serious about riding “The Tower.” Those lines can be 1 or 2 hours long and sometimes even longer. Well... we got all the way through the line... and, there (you could almost touch it) was the entrance to this “death drop”.

Almost there... Almost...

Then the ride attendant walked up to us and he said, “We have these ladies here (real cute teenagers, skimpy outfits, very buxom, giggly... you get the picture) who have been separated from their parents and they are trying to get to the front of the line to make sure they can ride the ride with them!”

“Do we look stupid?” I thought. But, being the kind Charleston people we are... “Sure, go on through.”

So, our wait becomes LONGER.

We watched this guy escort these “ladies” to the front of the line. Guess what? That’s right, folks... No parents! Does that surprise you?

So, my friend and I thought, “How can we get back at this guy?” “Well,” I said, “when we get in the ‘alternate elevator’ ride exit, I’m gonna scream like I’m riding the real ‘death drop.’” She agreed.

Our turn came and yes, our sons were disappointed that we didn’t ride with them but they understood. This “Donovan” opened the “alternate elevator exit” doors and we proceeded, with others, into the elevator.

Doors closed.

We all exchanged pleasantries. And, then the elevator button was pushed. As soon as the button was pressed, and the elevator started the descent, we both grabbed hold of the rails like we were falling and I let out a blood-curdling scream—not a wimpy scream... I mean a loud, resounding scream—remember we are all in a tiny elevator.

The scream lasted all the way down—till the elevator stopped.

As I watched Donovan, he also had grabbed the rails—like HE was falling.

Remember the old-fashioned cartoons where the cat is flat up against the wall and its hair is standing up all around its head?!

DONOVAN! Yep, that was Donovan!

He had no idea what had just happened. Doors opened, we let go of the rails, we exited—first—and behind his white face and “bug” eyes, he starred at us all the way out and never said a word.

I can still see him standing there wondering what had just happened. And, the other people in the elevator—they may still BE in that elevator.

As we strolled out through the gift shop and around the corner, we burst out laughing. I´m sure Donovan had no idea why that had just happened, but the look on his face was satisfying for us.

Petty maybe, but it gave us such satisfaction knowing that we had gotten our revenge on this “dude” who was sure that he had pulled one over on us.

Honey – he met his match that day!!!

~ Jeannie Joyner

Fully Charged

Brandon Joyner

(A Brief History of The Battery)

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Charleston has many historical landmarks and as you venture through our wonderful city, you will see most of them. Though you might not realize the exact history behind it, the Battery is one of these intrinsic points of Charleston history.

When the settlers first sailed into what is now Charleston Harbor, looking for a place to land, they passed the tip of the peninsula and landed at Albermarle Point down the Ashley River in 1670. By 1678, it had become obvious that the point that they had passed was the most suitable for a protected settlement. Oyster Point was the name given because the Indians had dumped all of the waste oysters at that point in the area above the low water mark where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers converged.

Colonel William Sayle, the first governor, noted about the area, “It is as it were a KEY to open and shutt this settlement into safety or danger,” in his letter to Lord Ashley, the lord’s proprietor. Defensive positions began to be established to fight off the pirates of that day. In 1718, the notorious Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, blockaded Charleston Harbor in order to blackmail the royal governor for medical supplies. Blackbeard threatened execution of a number of prominent citizens he had captured. The governor complied and the citizens were released. Getting no response from the lord’s proprietors when asked for assistance, the local merchants banded together with William Rhett as their commander. Capturing Stede Bonnett, the gentleman pirate, they brought him to Charleston to be tried. His crew was first to be sentenced to be hanged. This hanging took place on the limbs of the Grand Oak Trees which fronted along the Battery. On November 8th they were left hanging for days with the expectation that their captain would soon join them. Due to Stede’s pleading, his trial was delayed 7 times. Bonnett was ultimately hung on December 10th, 1718 at the White Point portion of the Battery.

The Battery has seen attempts to capture Charleston throughout the years from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. As a result, there are many fortifications from Water Street around the point and back to the foot of King Street. During the Revolutionary War, those fortifications included Colleton Bastion at Water and Meeting Streets, Broughton and Fort Wilkins at Oyster Point, and Gibbes Fort at the foot of King Street.  Battery Ramsey occupied White Point Garden during the Civil War.  Even though the city of Charleston does not recognize the Battery Park or White Point Garden as “official designations,” the citizens of Charleston will always direct you to “The Battery” if you should ask for directions to either of those destinations.

As the City of Charleston continued to grow and develop, the seawall at Oyster Point was built first using large tree trunks. Along that portion of the Battery from Water Street to the point. One of Charleston’s early hurricanes washed the wall away. It was later replaced with a rock wall that became the foundation for the Battery that we know today.

Along both Murray Boulevard and East Bay Street, you will find glorious homes of great distinction and architectural design. They vary from the simple Row House structures on Murray to the very large mansions of East Bay along High Battery. Looking out across the harbor away from those homes, one can see Charleston´s new Ravenel Bridge, Patriot´s Points´ U.S.S. Yorktown, Castle Pinckney, Fort Sumter, and James Island.

Today, the Battery has been developed into a grand promenade. Both High and Low Battery now run from Chalmers Street, around the point, and down the length of Murray Boulevard. This thoroughfare sees countless pedestrian and vehicle traffic on both the seawall’s sidewalk and the avenues that are considered to be Charleston’s Battery. If you haven´t visited this spot in Charleston yet, you’re in for a real visual treat!

~ David Joyner

Ginger-Shortbread Cookies

Brandon Joyner

Prep: 10 minutes/ Cook: 25 minutes/ Cooling: 15 minutes/ Total Time 50 minutes

Servings 30-40 cookies

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INGREDIENTS:

2 Sticks-- 1 c-- Butter (Salted)*

1 Stick--½ c-- Butter (Unsalted)-- to make Browned Butter**

¾ c Brown Sugar

½ c Molasses

3 ½ c All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 Egg

1 ½ tsp Cinnamon, ground

2 tsp Ginger, ground

½ tsp Nutmeg, ground

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

½ c Powdered Sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Brown 1 stick of unsalted butter in a pan over medium heat (approx. 2 min.).

    1. Butter will melt, foam and then brown. 

    2. See ** note below.

2. Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. 

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  1. Begin by creaming 2 sticks of salted butter at medium speed for 30 sec.

  2. If browned butter is in solid form (made prior to now), add in/cream here. (But, if the butter has just been browned at the top of the recipe & still in liquid form, add in at step d after the egg and molasses.)

  3. Blend together butter and sugar.

    1. First, powdered. Continually mixing down the sides of the bowl until thoroughly combined.

    2. Then, brown. Again, mixing until thoroughly combined.

  4. Add in a cracked egg and molasses.

  5. At low speed, gradually pour in the flour.

  6. Sprinkle in the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ginger (Hey, did we mention putting the ginger in?!?).

  7. Drizzle in the vanilla extract.

  8. This will all come together as a well-blended crumbly mixture.

3. Cover and stick in the freezer for 10 minutes until easy to handle.

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4. At this point, you can choose your shape:

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  1. Circles: 

    1. If you want perfect circles, form the dough into a log-roll and wrap with parchment paper prior to chilling.

    2. Then, place in freezer for 15 minutes.

    3. Remove from freezer & take off paper.

    4. Cut into uniform circles approx. ⅛-¼” thick.

  2. Cookie-Cutters:

    1. Place powdered sugar on a flat surface.

    2. Roll out the dough to approx. ⅛- ¼” thick.

    3. Use desired shape to make cookies.

  3. Baker’s Choice: Shape these babies to your heart’s desire! ***

    1. Sprinkle powdered sugar over a flat surface.

    2. Roll out the dough to approx. ⅛-¼” thick.

    3. Form your shape with a pizza slicer into triangles, hand-patty into anything you like, cut out with a juice glass… the choice is yours!

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5. Preheat oven to 335 F degrees.

6. Place cookies on 2 baking sheets or 1 extra-large one lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.

7. Bake 13-15 minutes at 335 F until just lightly browned & desired firmness is achieved.

8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until all dough is used. (At least 2 cook sessions of 13-15 minutes.)

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9. Cool on a plate or wire rack.

10. Optional: Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.

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** Browned Butter-- Place 1 stick of butter (cubed) into a small saucepan over Medium Heat. As soon as bubbles begin to form, start whisking. Continually stir for 2 minutes until you begin to see brown pieces at the bottom of the pan forming. Immediately remove from heat and continue to whisk for 30 seconds. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 months or allow to cool before using. 

Postcards from the Edge

Brandon Joyner

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I like postcards a lot.

The first postcard I remember getting was in Nashville; it was beautiful. This was a calendar, but I thought it was a postcard. It had fireworks on it. It had the Tennessee Waltz Ride, Flowers, Buildings, etc. But the very first ACTUAL postcard I picked out was in Dollywood and it was of Dolly Parton.

If I could say anything to Dolly right now, I would say,” Thank you for letting me go to Dollywood. I enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Sometimes I get postcards from places I travel: Dollywood, Junaluska. I look for different things in postcards.

I get neat postcards. If I like it, I get it.

I like good pictures like Disney that are beautiful, hard, wooden and other specialty postcards like the ones I got from Pam and Derrick from other countries.

I get ‘em from other people.

Sometimes I get my postcards from Florida—Universal and Disney. I get some from other countries from my friend Sandy—she gives me bunches from all over: Canada, I’m assuming like Mexico, Italy, India. Sandy Katz showed me a different way to collect postcards. It has a lot to do with our friendship. I like these postcards a lot.

I collect postcards ‘cause it’s very interesting. Sandy gave me some postcards and I liked them and thought it might be a good idea to start collecting them.

Brandon and Kristen brought me tons of postcards back from all the states they traveled along Route 66.

Some of the old ones I have from Mom are in covers so they stay protected and so they don’t get dirty. It’s hard sometimes to make sure you don’t have a repeat. What if I already have what I looking at now at home? I’ll say I have this already…

My favorite postcard----whooooo, whooo, whooooo—I have a LOT! Well, my favorite one would be… some of the sunsets from Florida, some of the nighttime scenes in Florida—I love the landscapes. I’m not really sure why. I just like them because they’re beautiful, I guess.

If I could choose a postcard from anywhere in the world, I would choose one from Mexico.

But, of the places in the world I haven’t been, I would want one from Japan. It’s just a different culture… Japan in EPCOT is beautiful.

If I could say anything to someone in Japan…  I would say, “Hello!” and “How is Japan?” because I would want to know about their culture. I would like to know if it’s very different than ours. How different is their country than the US? I would also want to know their favorite place to go.

And I would want to tell them to let me know if they’re ever in Charleston and I’d take them out to eat. Maybe to one of my favorite Southern staples—Harvest Moon or Easterby’s if it’s a Tuesday or Mexican any other day—Rio Chicco’s or Sr. Tequila or Los Reyes.

Why Postcards?  Because they’re beautiful and the technique. Because I can’t take pictures, it’s my way of remembering a specific place the way I see it. Some have paintings and are embossed so I can feel them.

I collect them because it’s a lot of fun and they are easy to find wherever you go.

~ John Joyner

Hugo

Brandon Joyner

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“Hurricane season.” Who could get excited about those words?

Well, I did. As a child when you were told that a hurricane was approaching the coast… party time! That’s right, folks. A Hurricane Party.  

How many of you remember or participated in such?

Well, my father never believed in leaving town just because a hurricane may hit the Charleston area. Who ever heard of that? You would hunker down and ride it out. No matter what. That’s what we were taught. That’s what we did.  

Off to the store, stocking up on party food, putting ice in coolers, getting batteries, stocking up on water, etc. You invited all your friends, family and neighbors to wait it out and see what track the storm might take. Really hoping that it wouldn’t hit but come just close enough so we could get out of school for a day or two.  

We would wait all day, and then drive over to some areas where we might have a good view as the storm approached. Did any of you ever do that?  

We would sometimes go to the Battery. We would walk High and low Battery with waves splashing and soaking us.  

Or go out to Folly Beach to watch the waves crash on the sand. It was always more beautiful and ferocious when a storm was near. And, we just couldn’t stay away from it all.  

Hurricane Hugo was no exception.  

But, this time, it was MY children who were the ones waiting to see where Hugo was gonna make landfall. And wait we did. We grocery shopped a little. But not that much – because in reality, we thought it was never gonna hit us! Famous last words.

When we decided we were gonna stay-- the finalization came from our friend, John Reid. We checked the topography map. The area that we were living at was the highest area. So, we decided we would stay.  

After we went to look all around Charleston-- from James Island to Downtown, from the Marina to Folly Beach-- we went back to hunker down. We had boarded up what we thought we should have and still had some plywood.  

Turns out we hadn’t done all of the boarding up that we should have… David had secured all the windows with boards except for the kitchen. And, Nana (who was staying with us as the time) was in the garage-- we moved her into the kitchen to be with us since it was where the family would be.

During the storm, the wind picked up and continued to get faster and stronger until it got so bad, we thought maybe we had made a mistake. As the night progressed, we were watching the windows in the kitchen move—breathing in and out.  We thought they were gonna blow out but they didn't.

A twister tore down the street. The sound was horrendous. The tornado continued along the street popping lines and trees and ripping through yards, but somehow it seemed to just jump over our house, hitting down the street, taking out all of our neighbor’s timber.

Our kitchen had a “U-shape” to it (with an island) and we were sitting on the kitchen floor. It was me and Brandon and David and John on one side. My momma was across from us... And we started singing songs. We sang everything: from “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” down to all the “Church songs.”

We sang all night long. On one hand, the night flew by, on the other hand, it drug on.

Brandon and David fell asleep...  

And… who was left singing?! Just me and John and Nana!

The eye of the storm came and the roar of the winds stopped.

We went out in the eye and our neighbors hollered at us to make sure we were ok. And we were… we had made it through the first half of the hurricane.

Only able to see the flashlights through the pitch black as the storm was returning, when the winds started picking up again, we returned to the kitchen and continued our concert. John had to be occupied because he was so scared and stressed.

When the sun came out the next morning we didn’t even recognize where we lived.  

I had mowed the lawn a couple days before the hurricane hit. I remember lamenting: “I’m so tired of mowing this lawn.”

And… do you know that there wasn’t a strip of grass left!

It was difficult to get around in the aftermath of Hugo. So many trees were blown down to the point that we couldn’t find the road beneath our feet – until a sweet neighbor came through with his small bulldozer and pushed the debris to the side so we could move about.  

Another neighbor, who had gotten extra water, appeared at our doorstep with water enough for our entire family.  

Yet another neighbor emptied his freezer and cooked for all of us.  

None of this was solicited. They just did it because we were in need!

Did you lose your phone service? We NEVER did! Not during Hugo. Power, yes. Phone, no. People called from all over to check on us (and our neighbors).  

Remember how it was with the National Guard? Well, our son was on medication for seizures but do you think we remembered to pick up extra medicine or fill up our car with gas or get cash from the ATM? Why would we do that? We only planned for parties, right?  

Storm wasn’t gonna hit us.

By calling around we found that we could get his medicine from MUSC –  IF we could get there. .

Getting in our car, we headed downtown. What a mess – looking at large sailboats washed across the street from the Harbor. Telephone poles down. Buildings crumbling; some missing. But, we made it to our destination. And there they were – the National Guard.  

What were we doing there? Did we look like looters to them? Maybe by that time we did. No power, no hair dryer, wrinkled clothes. Hmmmmm. Now that I think about it maybe we did look a little shabby. But definitely not chic.  

Fortunately, my husband explained and showed the Guard the bottles for medications so they let him pass. Completing this task, we headed back to James Island. Just one problem…

National Guard.  

Again.  

They were stationed at the bridges not letting ANYONE onto the Island.  

Oh, my gracious. 

Never thought of this because when we left the Island they were not in place. We drove up to the Guard, showed our credentials, told them we were residents of the Island and needed to get home.  

So what? So did everyone else.  

He would let us on the Island… but, only if we walked to our house.

Are you kidding me?

That was miles away and we were not dressed for walking nor prepared for all that. We had sad little sandals on – not for walking. (Remember we had no air at home so we were wearing as little as possible.)  

And, another thing – I had left our two sons home. So here we are – off the Island. Our sons – on the Island.  

Problem!

As the Guard continued to explain to us why we couldn’t do this or that, I took my house keys and handed them over to him.  

With a curious look on his face, he asked, “What are these for?”

I said, “Well, since we can’t drive to our house… I’m making you responsible for getting this medicine to my son and babysitting them until we can get home.”  

He paused for a moment. But not for long, and said, “Go right on through and have a good day.”

We all have horror stories: houses destroyed, lives lost, unimaginable flooding, rescues made. But, at the end of that devastation, everyone helped everyone!

God takes care of fools and children and he sure took care of us.

I vowed to never stay through another hurricane that looked like it would hit Charleston.

This IS Charleston.  

We may not agree on everything. But, the bottom line… we are all “OUR CHARLESTON FAMILY.” We are there for each other!

The Horror! The Horror!

Brandon Joyner

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Moving to a new home when our children were young was a bit unnerving in many respects especially when our children were very comfortable with all their friends and with their schools. How were they going to take a move? It would be a real change.

We were looking at a house on a cul-de-sac on James Island when there were many children in the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Should we take it? Should we not? We had never lived on James Island so living this far out might be a problem.

Traffic? Horrible!

Restaurants? Few!

Shopping? Inconvenient!

Lots to think about because this was before the James Island Connector and most Charlestonians remember what that was like just trying to get down Folly Road. What a nightmare! As one neighbor told us, “Once we are on the Island after work, we don’t leave again till time to go back out to work the next day.”

And, that was exactly like it was. But that was very different from our family lived. We were always moving about and keeping those roads hot.

My husband and I talked and decided even though it was “out in the boonies” that we would give it a shot. It might be a good move for us. But, how do we tell the kids? Maybe we wouldn’t say anything right now. Maybe we would just put the kids in the car. And drive over to the Island and show them the house. You know, get a feel from them before we finalized things.

So that’s just what we did.

The four of us hopped in the car and headed over to the Island. By the time we arrived, it was dark.

NOT GOOD!

No power in the house so how would we handle this? My husband turned into the cul-de-sac and stopped right in the middle of the open area facing the house.

It was a full moon. The house was a large, stately, two-story gray house with a circular window in the center of the second floor. That window reminded me or something. But what?

The house was surrounded by woods except for a small house on the left that was hidden by sprawling oaks and pine trees. No street lights anywhere. Pitch black dark. Everywhere.

We sat in the car, motor off, lights off, staring up at this house. The full moon was situated right behind the house, illuminating it from the rear. All one could see was the outline of this dark, black, eerie house. But the moon shone right through the circular window like an evil eye looking down on all of us.

Creepy.

Real creepy!

“What do you think?” we asked them.

“What do you mean what do we think?” our youngest said.

“How would you like to live in this house?” my husband asked. “Don’t you think it’d be fun?”

Our youngest slowly peered up at this house with the circular window and exclaimed, “I’m not moving into this Amityville Horror House. No way!”

“AHHHHH!” I screamed to myself. “That’s what this house reminds me of.”

We, being the wonderful parents that we were, decided that this was the perfect house for us. Within the month we were living in the Amityville Horror House.

And, a bonus – my son decided that the little room with the circular window would make the perfect play area for himself and his little friends… real or unreal.

It's a Little Whack

Brandon Joyner

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Not having much time to get away for a vacation, our family would grab a “day vacation” or weekend whenever possible. Because my husband worked most Saturdays, two days in a row were hard to come by.

My youngest son, Brandon, was anxious to go out of town for the weekend so he put together a “getaway” to Myrtle Beach and invited me, my girlfriend, and three of his friends. One of my best girlfriends… well… how can I describe her? She was always so much fun because she’s crazy as a loon. My son tried to include her in our trips as much as possible-- she was one of the gang! 

We headed out to enjoy our glorious time in Myrtle Beach. We toured, shopped, ate, talked (or not) and laughed. It was a long day and we didn't want it to end but we decided we would call it a night. We needed to get a little rest to be ready to start all over again the next morning. So, off to bed we went.  

Now one of the people my son included on the trip was a young man named Austin. He had just gone through a break up with his girlfriend and a weekend getaway would help him forget his troubles.  

Or so we thought!  

Anyway, it was decided that Austin needed a make-over-- to be given a new look-- to make him feel better about himself. It hadn't been easy for Austin going through this breakup and Brandon was going to help him. Austin was a nice guy and Brandon knew that. Under those big glasses, shaggy, mousey hair and nerdy clothes there was a self-confident soul. After the four had discussed this, they hopped in the car (around 2 AM) and headed to Walmart.  

They purchased clothes, hair dye, scissors-- whatever they could put their hands on to improve the appearance of their friend. About 3 AM, the gang return to the hotel and began transforming Austin. Picture this: Austin, sitting in a chair in front of this huge mirror—glasses removed—with Brandon holding a pair of scissors. Then Brandon went for it! 

Snip…  

Snip… 

Snip! 

Whack… 

Whack… 

Whoops!!! 

All of a sudden, Brandon was shaking me awake. “Mom, mom, wake up! I need your help!” he stressed frantically.  

“What is it, son?” I said. 

“One of the girls was cutting Austin’s hair and I think she cut it wrong! Look at it and tell me what to do!” he said.  

So, crawling out of the bed, I headed to were Austin was, still sitting in front of the huge mirror—glasses in hand—staring at himself in the mirror.  

Did I tell you he was blind as a bat? All he could see in the mirror was a big blur! 

He couldn't figure out why we were all laughing. We were all standing behind him, staring at each other, rolling our eyes and wondering what we were going to do. Because, as we observed... there was a big chunk of hair missing from the back of his head... A big whack!  

“Oh, my goodness!” I said as I tried to catch my breath from laughing. 

“It's a little whack, it'll grow back.” 

Austin grabbed the back of his head in disbelief. But what could he do now? What was done was done.  

I took the scissors from them and tried to trim it up as best I could. It looked pretty good. Even if I did say so myself.  

They continued that weekend dying his hair, changing him over to contacts from glasses and picking out cool clothes for him. He was ready to be introduced to the public and they were all thrilled with the finished product. Even Austin.  

We all had such a wonderful weekend, even with the “little whack,” it was full of adventure and laughter. What a pleasure it was to have been included in all their mischief! After all, age has nothing to do with having fun.  

Want to come along on one of our weekend adventures?  

Hope you don't need a haircut.  

~ Jeannie Joyner

Mexi-Corn and Bacon Dish

Brandon Joyner

Serves 6 side dishes or 1 party dip

Prep: 5 min / Cook: 20 min/ Total: 25 min

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INGREDIENTS:

6 slices Bacon, diced

2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted

4 c Corn Kernels (frozen-- thawed, canned or fresh), off the cobb

2 Tbsp Green Chiles (fresh-- deseeded or canned-- drained), diced

¼ c Red Bell Pepper (fresh or canned), diced

2 oz Cream Cheese, softened & chunked

2 Tbsp Milk (to taste)

2 Tbsp Mayonnaise

½ tsp Chili Powder

1 clove Garlic, minced

Black Pepper & Salt (freshly ground-- to taste) 

Lime, juiced

2 Tbsp Cilantro (fresh leaves), chopped

2 Tbsp Cotija Cheese, crumbled

 

DIRECTIONS:

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  1. Cook bacon: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon. Cook until crispy (approx. 8 min). 

    1. Place aside on a paper plate or a napkin-lined plate to allow grease to leach a bit. 

    2. Blot excess grease from strips prior to cutting. 

    3. Drain grease from skillet, leaving the residual drippings (approx. 1 Tbsp) in the skillet.*

    4. Return skillet to medium-high heated stovetop.

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2. Bring butter to a sizzle (approx. 30 sec).

3. Add corn, green chiles, red bell pepper.

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4. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture is slightly charred (approx. 7 min).

5. Stir in cream cheese and milk until melted and well combined (approx. 3 min).

6. Stir in mayonnaise, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic and lime juice.

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7. Sprinkle cilantro, bacon and cotija on top.

8. Serve immediately.**

*Note: Bacon drippings will yield just under a cup. It is best to dispose of this in a glass jar as it is hot and will melt plastic. Additionally, it is not good to just pour this down your drain. 

** This dip can be served with corn chips or eaten as a side dish.


See How the Main Sail Sets

Brandon Joyner

(A Brief History of Charlestowne Landing)

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We all have the privilege of being part of history. Not so much because we have created some new invention, medicine or social algorithm that brings happiness to everyone but because we just happen to be where we are when we are.

Real historians like to populate their writing and oral dissertations with items of real information shared by one or two people and sometimes groups who shared similar ideas and goals.

On the 300th anniversary of the founding of Charleston (1970)--  Charles Towne Landing was created as a tribute to the land originally founded by the English colonists who left England for a brighter, free-er life for themselves and their progeny.

The first Carolina settlers landed at Albemarle Point - west of the Ashley River -  just across and south of the peninsula that would later become Charles Towne (1680); Charles City (1729) and finally Charleston (1741).

An impressive 604-acre site, Charles Towne Landing, has remained open as a Parks and Recreation facility operated by the state and by local authorities since its opening in 1970. It has seen many changes and improvements over its lifetime including the removal of the original meeting facility-- a geodesic dome – which was used for various functions. The pavilion has seen modifications over the years with the goal to increase its public desirability.

The nature trail has always been popular with visitors who try their best to view the animals from the elevated walkways that traverse the habitat.

One of the other very popular facilities located at Charles Towne landing is the Legare-Waring House which reflects the style of many of the buildings throughout the Lowcountry-- whether in downtown Charleston or on many of the plantations. You can't come away from Charles Towne landing without visiting their tall-ship, “The Adventure.” The current model - like its predecessor – is a replica of a 17th century ketch that plied Charleston Harbor. From its maritime beginnings, it hauled all sorts of cargo and passengers. It is a traditionally rigged vessel with two masts - the main and the mizzen - with the mainsail being forward and the mizzenmast being amidships (in the middle). Some had a lower boom that allowed it to be used as a crane for loading or unloading cargo. The main mast exceeded 40 feet in height which resulted in the nickname of “tall ship.”

There are multiple designs of tall ships that will fill picture books with visions of days gone by and history being made, but you don't have to go far in Charleston to actually feel the excitement of being part of the founders’ history or the thrill of being at sea on a ship that is still making history with every visit.

~ David Joyner

Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground

Brandon Joyner

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As a parent have you ever had to sign a consent form for your child so he or she could go on a field trip or participate in something? Well, that's how it all started with a children's production that my husband and I were directing at a downtown Church!

Simple, huh?

You'd think so.

This particular production was an amazing opportunity for children who love to sing and act and... Fly. That's right. I said, “fly.”

We rehearsed our productions for three months in advance because they were usually pretty involved and we had a variety of ages... toddlers, right on up too early teens. And my assistants (and we needed plenty) were wonderful-- some of them were parents, some not-- but, my oh my, the talent we had in those assistants.

One particular fellow was a “jack-of-all-trades" and I do mean he could do anything. So we brought up the subject of flying a couple of kids...

“No problem,” he said.

“Great,” I said.

We had never done this and so it was a new adventure for all of us. We had our production meetings, discussed the possibilities, and drew up all the plans for the rigging. All the guys wanted to be in on this process ‘cause, let's face it, how often does an opportunity like this come around? They were like kids in a candy shop, each throwing out ideas of how this could or should work! But in the end, it all rested on the shoulders of the man we knew who could really handle it!

Weeks went by, rehearsals continued, music was memorized, costumes were made and fitted, scenery was painted, and hardware was gathered for the assembly of the rigging for this “heavenly production. “

Getting back to the story... we decided that we would fly at least two kids in our production so instead of sending forms home for parents to sign with permission to fly their kids -- and we pretty much decided that most parents would not give us consent for this -- we decided (an assistant and myself) that we would fly our sons so if we killed them, that would be okay... ‘Cause they belong to us.

Now don't get all stirred up. Would you have given your consent?

We had asked our sons and they both jumped at the chance. So, we were on for the “Big Show.”

Everything was ready.

Last rehearsal before show time...

The kids were excited and so were we. What a production this was going to be. The BIG announcement had been made in the morning church service (we were on TV) about the grand surprise for the production that night.

Excitement was in the air!

The rigging was completed and tested. Our angels were ready to fly.

Everyone had been instructed after the testing that there were certain steps that we had to follow in order for everything to work properly without a hitch.

Except-- one of the volunteer crew members decided that he wanted to try out this mechanism one more time before the evening performance.  So, without permission and without proper setup, he decided to go ahead and run through the scene where the Angels would be flying through the air.

Remember-- I said, “without proper set up! “ So...

Crash.

Crunch.

Clunk.

Crack.

“Oh, my goodness! You are kidding me? “

The whole set... dragging on the floor. The others who helped construct all of the set came in to see this mass of a mess and the thought of murder crossed their minds.

But remember... they were in church and that sort of thing is frowned upon in church.

We were so close to performance time that we didn’t have enough time to reset anything. We had to make the announcement to the cast that there would be no flying.

Such long faces!

Frowns!

Sadness!

Disappointment!

All that work down the drain. The adults were just as disappointed as the children!

But never sell the children short, for once the initial shock was over, they all went on in their precious angel costumes and behaved just like angels. They made us all proud. Disappointed, yes. But so excited to share their talents with their parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, and the entire congregation. And, as we watched those little smiling faces, you could never tell that anything was missing from this production.

Maybe the crack...

Crash...

Crunch...

Clunk... was a sign that we shouldn't be flying our precious children. We didn't need to have that to have a successful production. The kids were absolutely wonderful.

Even though they didn’t get to fly that evening, they truly were angels!

The Name's Joyner. John Joyner

Brandon Joyner

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I watch a lot of movies.

The very first movie I ever remember watching in the movie theater was Star Wars. I like the coloring and the original actors better than in the more recent ones. Episode 4 through Return of the Jedi are easier to follow.

But it’s a little different now-- I don’t like the new ones as much; they’re too confusing.

Now what I look for in a movie is a good movie. Good actors & acting, good dialog, good music.

I like Comedy.

Drama—yeah.

Romantic movies-- yeah, I like that.

Action and Animated. Some yes, some no.

Scary-- Not that much.

I used to like Scary movies, but now they’re too scary. I used to watch earlier scary movies like the old Dracula movies (Hammer Horror) and classic Monsters in the newer settings-- the 2nd wave in the 70’s.

I like Final Destination, Gremlins, Monster Squad for Horror. Kinda more of a scary comedy...

Mom remembers taking me to The Three Musketeers in 1973 and when the part where a guy’s throat was slit, I laughed out loud because I just knew it wasn’t real. But now, things seem too real.

I love Spy movies. I enjoy the Bourne Movies because of the action and spies. I’ve watched the I Spy TV Show.

Some that make the most impact on me? BOND! I like the earlier Bond movies the best.

My favorite is Sean Connery. It’s hard to find the words to say, but I like his acting and his playing of Bond. The Spy Who Loved Me with Roger Moore is my favorite of the Bond films. Moore has different skills than Sean Connery.

The gadgets and things in Bond are cool. I like the briefcase From Russia With Love with the rifle, throwing knife that popped out and the gas that came out the side.

The cars are fast! My favorite Bond car is the white one: Lotus Espirit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me that goes under the water.

I love the MUSIC too! The Bond Themes are great. Actually, I think I like The Spy Who Loved Me the best because of the song-- Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better.” 

I grew up reading comic books and liked watching detectives like Perry Mason and Batman on TV as well. My favorite superhero is Batman. It’s just a lot of fun. I like the Michael Keaton Batman and Batman Returns. The new ones are a little different than the ‘89 Batman (which I prefer). I like the ones that tell you the story the whole way through, like the origin stories.

About the various formats? There’s a difference in sound and look when you think about Beta, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray. I liked VHS better than Beta. They kept getting better. But, now, I ONLY watch movies on Blu-Ray (if I can help it) because it’s better.

Mom says the very first VHS I bought was downtown at Woolworth’s and it was KRULL. But the first one I actually remember was Mannequin. I replace my VHS tapes with DVDs and then have gradually transitioned everything over to Blu-Ray when they are available. The first DVD I remember getting is an Action movie… something Game… with Ben Affleck... Reindeer Games!

My favorite place to watch movies is at home on Blu-Ray, but sometimes I go to the movies and it’s fun I can add them to my shopping list.

You used to rent movies and return them and get more.  Every Thursday I get to go to the library to find new movies. I miss having a store to go in to rent movies from, but now I go to the library and check movies out.

  ~ John Joyner

Quick Facts About John and Movies:

  • I love watching my TV series: Batman, DC Comics TV (Flash, Arrow, Super Girl, Legends).

  • I have some box sets as well: Bond, Batman, Star Wars, Harry Potter.

  • If I could be in any movie of all time I would want to be in Singing in the Rain.

John’s Top 5 Movies of ALL TIME:

  • Singing in the Rain

  • Casablanca – Thought I don’t own it...

  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

  • Death Becomes Her

  • *batteries not included

Baby’s Day Out

Brandon Joyner

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Ahhhh…... those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. 

And I do mean CRAZY!

As I've told all of you before, summer is my favorite season.  Folly Beach is my favorite place to be and relaxing on the beach is my favorite thing to do.

“FORGET YOUR TROUBLES, COME ON GET HAPPY, YOU BETTER CHASE ALL YOUR CARES AWAY. SHOUT HALLELUJAH, COME ON GET HAPPY, GET READY FOR THE JUDGEMENT DAY.”

This particular July day, with our family of four, I thought I could forget all my troubles and be happy...... NOT SO!!! Because it felt like judgement day to me.

It was a day filled with blue skies. It was a fluffy white "name-that cloud" day with the most wonderful, warm tropical breezes.

We always carried numerous "toys" to keep us occupied... not that we needed anything, but we liked to "do" things at the beach, not just bake in the sun. Playing handball, shelling, playing frizby, body surfing, talking, listening to music, and let's not forget the best part... eating.

This particular day, I think all of Charleston had decided to go to the beach... not just any beach... Folly was the beach of choice.

It was difficult to find a vacant spot to sit on the sand much less room to put a blanket down. And I didn't carry a dinky towel. We travelled with a huge blanket. One that all four of us could get comfortable on. 

A place was spotted and we proceeded to set up for the whole day. As far as the eye could see... PEOPLE… hundreds of PEOPLE... and they all had the same idea... with all of their paraphernalia; people surfing, people jogging, people building sand castles.

John was on the blanket with us and Brandon decided he would play in the sand next to us. That was OK with us ‘cause I could see him out the corner of my eye... or so I thought.  Besides, there were lifeguards on duty that day to make sure everyone was safe and we never let our children go in the water without an adult. So, as we sat talking, I was sure Brandon was still playing in the sand next to me. But, when I turned to check on him, he was gone... GONE!

My head did a 360 like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist"... this COULD NOT be happening! "He was right there!!!," I screeched, "David, where is he? He was right there just a second ago!!!"

Panic set in. We jumped up and started scanning the beach with our eyes... NOTHING!

Besides, how could I possibly spot him amongst hundreds of people?

We split up, David going to the left, me to the right. I was running down the beach headed for the lifeguard stand when my eye spotted a little figure in a bright red bathing suit, his head of blonde hair just glistening in the sun, running in the opposite direction. Do you know how fast a five year old can run?

"Oh my goodness! When I catch him, I'm gonna kill him!" I thought.  (Well, as a parent you know how panicky we feel if our children get away from us for 5 seconds in a grocery store or a mall. And it happens to ALL of us—no exceptions. You can think of those stories now as you’re reading about mine!)

What a relief I felt when I spotted him. Happiness... anger; anger...happiness. But I have to remember, he's the child, I'm the adult. We should have been more attentive, and he should have never wandered off...but he did.

Anyway, I finally caught up to him and I grabbed him and squeezed him so tight I thought I'd broken him. Scolding would happen... not then... but later on in the day when my body stopped shaking and my heart stopped pounding (so hard that I'm sure everyone on the beach must have thought they were listening to a boombox). We had a "Come-To-Jesus" meeting about NEVER LEAVING US without letting us know first.

I really don't know what he learned from all that, but I learned, as a parent, there ain't no relaxing with kids. Sit up, stay alert, keep your eyes ON your children and enjoy your day... maybe. And as far as judgement... we are always so much harder on ourselves than anyone else could ever be. At times we can't let ourselves be human.

We all make mistakes, we just hope and pray that we don't make them with our children.

Wild N' Watermelon Punch

Brandon Joyner

Serving Size: Makes 1 Refreshing Summer Beverage (Don’t worry! The punch bowl recipe is below too..)

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INGREDIENTS:

¼-½ c Watermelon, diced

¼ c Whipped Vodka

½ c Lemonade

⅛ c Sprite, splash

1 Lemon Wheel Slice (for garnish)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare Watermelon-- deseed and cut into ½”-1” cubes. (This is the major prep time unless you purchase a seedless and already cubed watermelon from the store.)

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2. Measure out ¼ cup of Whipped Vodka. (You don’t have to be fancy here… Burnett’s works well :-) ).

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3. Pull out a Summer Sipping Glass* to toss the Watermelon Cubes into and pour the Vodka over.

4. Pour the Lemonade to the Mix.

5. Stir in the Sprite.

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6. Garnish with a Lemon Wheel.

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7. Drink up!

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* May we recommend serving this in our Rainbow Row Wine Glass? -- with the Lemon Wheel garnish it looks like the sun shining brightly over all the colors of Charleston!)

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Make a party bowl full:

Prep: 5-30 min / Put Together: 5 min / Total: 10-35 min

Serves Approximately 16 glasses, because you’re gonna want seconds… or thirds. 

We’re not your mom, we don’t judge!

INGREDIENTS:

4 c Watermelon, cubed or diced

4 c Whipped Vodka

8 c Lemonade

2 c Sprite

2 Lemons, cut into wheels (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare Watermelon-- deseed and cut into ½”-1” cubes.

  2. Measure out 2 cups of Whipped Vodka.

  3. Pull out a Large Summer Party Pitcher or Bowl to toss the Watermelon Cubes into and pour the Vodka over the Watermelon.**

  4. Pour in the Lemonade to the Party Mix.

  5. Stir in the Sprite.

  6. Float Lemons in the bowl and/or Garnish as above for a sunny effect!

  7. Cheers!

(If you have time, allow this to soak and chill in the fridge for about an hour-- If you’re at party time, then serve away! Both versions are wildly popin’!)

** You can even hull out that watermelon and use the rind as a bowl!


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All the (Good) News That’s Fit to Print

Brandon Joyner

(A Brief History of St. Michael’s Church)

As you drive through downtown Charleston, as a resident or visitor, you have to wonder—how did they find the space to build so many churches? It would be easy to conclude that all the original colonists must have been refuges from the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution or the English Reformation of the Anglican Church!

Charleston's earliest settlers built a simple wooden church at the corner of King and Broad Streets. The St. Phillips’ congregation started their services there in the early 1680s. As the town grew with the arrival of others from all over Europe, the small church could no longer house the congregation, so they built a large brick church on Church Street just four blocks away. The other property was then available for the St. Michael’s congregation to build on the King and Broad site in 1752. This opened in 1761 for services as directed by the South Carolina General Assembly.

St. Michael’s Church has remained virtually the same from that day until now except for the addition of the sacristy in 1883. The interior design of St. Michael’s is set according to the Book of Common Prayer. This puts the church on a very short list of those holding to that standard presently.

From the beginning, St. Michael’s church was a formidable edifice. The steeple was originally 193 1/2 feet in height until the 1886 earthquake caused it to sink eight inches. Inside the church there are almost too many significant pieces of art and architecture to take in with just one visit. The original chandelier, imported from London in 1803, was fitted with candles and is now, for safety’s sake, electrified. The pulpit is original to Saint Michaels and is notable for its height and its structure. The central panel on the face of the pulpit with the religious insignia was looted after the Civil War, but luckily it was later voluntarily returned. There are scars in the woodwork from the wartime bombardment of 1865. The Victorian Alter (1882), the Chancel Chairs in the vestry (1887) and the wrought iron chain rail (1772) all represent remarkable historic enhancements to not only St. Michael’s but also to Charleston.

It's impossible to conclude a visit during a service or a guided tour without paying particular attention to the gorgeous stained-glass windows and door. “Easter Morning” and “The Annunciation” were gifted to the church in 1897 and 1908 respectively. The door was a gift in 1915. The long-term restoration and preservation of the windows was completed as part of St. Michael’s 250th Anniversary Celebration.

The sounds of St. Michael’s are significant because of the Snetzler Organ installed in 1768 and restored and refurbished in 1994 by Kenneth Jones of Bray, Ireland; add to that the clock and ring of eight bells imported in 1764. All of these instruments provide the congregation and Charleston’s citizens and visitors with its hourly peel and the beautiful choral music accompanied by the magnificent organ.

It would be so easy to continue the conversation about St. Michael’s church because its history is so deep. And just think, we haven't even talked religion or politics!

~ David Joyner

Friendship: The Perfect Blendship

Brandon Joyner

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Since[our family had been involved in many movies that were being filmed in Charleston, it was no surprise to us that the casting director called to offer a part in an upcoming movie to our youngest son, Brandon, who was around 6 years old at the time. So, I asked him if he would like to participate. Knowing how long it takes to shoot a scene, he was a little hesitant but finally agreed.

The day came to film and we were instructed to meet at The Aiken-Rhett House in the historic district of downtown Charleston. When we arrived, we were asked to sign in and wait for further instructions. To our surprise, there sat a very good friend of ours along with her 6-year-old son, Ryan.

Within minutes the wrangler came out and whisked the two boys away. And, thirty minutes later they were back in full “Civil War” era costumes. The boys, very happy to see each other, were having a grand ole time playing, running and laughing, waiting for the shoot to begin.

The wrangler came to collect the boys at which time she told us that the scene they would be shooting was a birthday party for Jefferson Davis’ son-- and, that she was not sure how long it would take. She said, “Just make yourselves comfortable, have a water and relax for a while.”

 I knew what that meant. We were in for a long day... And it was hot outside.

Well, they were back in the blink of an eye, already out of costume and in their own clothes. “My goodness,” I said, “That didn't take long at all.” The Wrangler said, “They did such a great job that the director shot the scene in one take!”

“Excellent,” I said.

Months went by, the “made-for-TV” movie was released. Time for the big day! Each family gathered around their respective television sets for the “viewing.” We were all so excited to see how the boys had handled themselves. The movie started, the big scene comes up and the boys are playing a version of “blind man’s bluff.”

Ryan, the one who was “it” and trying to get the targets—all of the other children playing the game—was spun around, feeling his way around the room, finally catches one of the other boys. The camera immediately pans away to another room but we continue to hear Brandon’s laughter coming from the party as the boys continued to play.

Not being able to see Ryan's face or even tell that it is him, his mother said, “How did you end up wearing the burlap blindfold in that scene?”

 Ryan said excitedly, “I raised my hand and volunteered!”

“Well,” she said, “how do you think all of our friends are going to know that it's you?”

“That's easy,” he exclaimed. “I'll just tell them I'm the one in the blindfold!” He was just as happy as he could be knowing that he had done something special by volunteering to wear it.

You gotta love ‘em!

By the way, both “men” are still heavily involved in theater as writers, actors, directors, makeup artists, set designers... You name it and they can do it...

Still working together and still great friends.

~ Jeannie Joyner

It's a Good Day at the Beach

Brandon Joyner

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Summertime and we were ready for the beach! This particular day we were planning a whole day out on the water in my cousin Derald's boat. I had waited for this all week and I was ready!

Derald, my best friend, Ladonna, my husband, David, and I headed out to Folly Beach towing the boat behind us when all of a sudden, the tire blew on the boat trailer.

Bad news… no spare.

It was Sunday and the only place open with the type of tire needed for the trailer was Sears and it would take quite a while to go pick up the tire and get back to the boat. Afraid to leave the boat unattended, Ladonna and I agreed to stay and protect it... with that one small weapon—a puny knife.

So, with Ladonna and I dressed only in our bikinis, perched high in the boat, the men drove away leaving us to protect the boat. “Don't get into any trouble,” David said.

Ladonna said, “I can take care of us...” and she showed the puny knife to David.

“Famous last words,” he said, “Oh, and smirked as they drove away.”

In a moment, a patrolman passed by and through his open window asked if we were okay and wanted to know if we needed anything. He said he would keep an eye on us as he drove up and down Folly Road on patrol. He rolled up his window as he left… and we waved.

And just a few moments later, a car pulled up with two guys in it, looking at us and just grinning... Not paying any attention to where they were going, they drove straight into the ditch! They got out of the car to assess the situation and, still grinning, decided they could not get out of the ditch by themselves. In the meantime, a guy in a truck noticed what had happened and decided to stop and help.

He hooked up a rope to the car to help the guys out of the ditch. As he did, his wheels just spun and dug deep into the mud! A traffic policeman showed up and started directing traffic around the cars because Folly Road, at that time, was only 2 lanes. The other patrolman drove up… and we waved.

So... we have: LaDonna and I still in the boat, the guys who had pulled off to help still in the ditch, the guy in the truck who had pulled off to help the other guys now stuck in the mud, the traffic cop directing traffic, and the patrolmen passed by again... And, again, we waved.

Because of the two vehicles in the ditch, a tow truck was called. The tow truck arrived, connected the chain to the car in the ditch—and what do you think happened?

Right!

The tow truck caught on fire.

That's right, folks! The tow truck is now on fire… and LaDonna and I are still sitting in the boat observing all that is going on around us with one puny little knife for protection.

Someone called for a fire truck because the tow truck was on fire. A guy in a red car, seeing all the commotion, stopped to help. He had a fire extinguisher and so he put out the fire on the tow truck. So LaDonna and I are still sitting high in the boat on the side of the road, still observing the car in the ditch, the truck in the mud, the burned tow truck, the traffic policeman directing traffic on Folly Road, the Good Samaritan in the red car who put out the fire and the fire truck that had been called.

Once again, the patrolman drove by… and we waved.

When David and Derald came up Folly Rd toward where they had left us, they spotted the police lights, the emergency vehicle lights, the hazard lights on the tow truck and David said, “See, Derald, we couldn't leave them alone for a minute without them getting into trouble!”

So… they tooted the horn and drove on by pretending not to know us.

The patrolman who we had waved at, finally came back and stopped. He approached the car in the ditch and noticed the car had a crack in the windshield larger than allowed by law. He proceeded to write them a ticket for the cracked windshield. Ladonna, seeing what was going on with the guys in the ditch hopped out of the boat (without the puny knife) and ran over to the patrolman, pleading with him not to give the guys in the ditch a ticket!

David and Derald finally turned around to come back to where we were through all the traffic that was now backed-up all the way down Folly Rd.

I'm sitting high up in the in the boat—by myself—in my bikini with the puny knife for protection in my hand observing: the guys in the ditch, the truck stuck in the mud, the traffic policeman directing traffic, the burned tow truck, the Good Samaritan with the red car, the passing patrolman, LaDonna still

pleading with the cop trying to avoid the ticket, and now – my husband and my cousin looking at us shaking their heads.

I still haven't said a word...

Just observing...

Never got out of the boat.

LaDonna, being the “cutie pie” that she was and is ends up talking the policeman out of giving the guys in the ditch the ticket.

Finally, after all is settled, each one was on their merry way, the guys in the ditch drove over to LaDonna and I—I'm still in the boat—and invited us to their party on Folly Beach… while David and Derald finished changing the tire on the boat trailer.

It was a long, long day. We didn’t get to the beach, we didn’t get to the party, but we did get to work on our tans!

~Jeannie Joyner

(Photo Credit - Brian “Kentucky” Ross)

A Little Bit Country. A Little Bit Rock and Roll.

Brandon Joyner

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I like to listen to music; Country Music.

I was really young — in about ’76 -- I was 6 years old; my mom’s dad, Frankie, got me into the country music scene. He started listening to it and that’s when I got into the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s style.

The first song I remember listening to in the country music genre— I can’t remember, it’s hard to think—it was a Donna Fargo song— oh, yeah... “Happiest Girl in the USA.” I know it’s crazy that’s all I can remember... it was just me and Frankie in Walterboro, South Carolina.

After that, I kept listening to all the country music.

I became more and more interested in listening. Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden.” The 60’s style music. Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton. And then... in the 80’s-- I was still listening to Dolly Parton and the Highway Men, Johnny Cash.

In the 90’s I listened to Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Dwight Yokum.

2000’s gets a little bit different and gets into the rock style. I like this one and I don’t like that one. It’s like you listen to the song on a Hot Country or Classic Country (CMT, Country Music Television for those of you who are unacquainted).

I started listening to rock when I was about 7.

Before listening to Country, I was listening to “Pop Music” of the day (70’s, like Janis Joplin) a little Rock & Roll (like Elvis). In the 60’s style, The Beatles and the 70’s you have the Eagles. I wasn’t much of a Rolling Stones fan.

The biggest band I listened to before country music was probably KISS—I had posters on my wall and was part of the KISS Army! The costumes and make-up were fine—I love that—and the loudness didn’t matter as long as it was good.

I wasn’t much on the Rock of the 80’s and 90’s. But I continued my love for Country all along. I’d listen to The Mavericks and Bluegrass.

Then, after the rock thing, I went back to country music.

Some of the best early country music concerts I went to were: The Gatlin Brothers in ‘82, The Oak Ridge Boys in ‘83, Mel Tillis in ‘85, Ronnie Millstadt in ‘87, and Will and June in ‘88.

And, some of my favorite concerts of all time were: Mel Tillis, Ronnie Millstadt and Loretta Lynn. I enjoyed Kenny Rogers and Dolly and Willie Nelson too.

Today, my favorite artists are Dan+Shay. I really love “Tequila.” The song. Not the drink.

My favorite album? Willie Nelson’s ‘78 edition of Stardust. My favorite song of all time is Hank Williams, Sr.’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” But to sing at karaoke? It's “King of the Road.”

Something about the music. I just like it and feels like it keeps bringing me home.

~ John Joyner

Pen Pineapple (Fountain) Apple Pen

Brandon Joyner

(A Brief History of The Pineapple Fountain)

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Charleston's history and charm are both very real on a stroll through its streets and alleyways. Its sights and sounds remind us of the “then and now.” The living history of Charleston is a large part of its charm—horses’ hooves clip-clopping on cobblestone streets, carriages used for sightseeing and the lapping of waves against the city shoreline. The smells of the salt air and the pluff mud of our marshes adds to that charm. The draw of all that pulls us to the waterfront where the current remnants of the maritime industry can be seen from many points along the battery and the side streets of East Bay.

At the Vendue Range end of Waterfront Park is the iconic Pineapple Fountain which represents -- for native and visitors alike -- the warm welcome and obvious hospitality of many a Charlestonian.

The Pineapple Fountain has stood tall on the waterfront since it was open to the public in May of 1990. It took a lot of planning, preparation, and prodding to launch and complete this elegant sign of Charleston’s hospitality.

Union Pier all the way down to the fancy house used to be just a bunch of burned out pilings of warehouse remains from the 1950’s. In the late 80's, Mayor Joe Riley created a rejuvenation plan. The Pineapple Fountain was part of this shoreline revamp for the areas of Charleston that would be on display and prominently seen by all.

But this wasn’t executed until almost a decade later.

The biggest question: Why a pineapple? Accepted legend has it that many of the captains of maritime day gone by would announce their return by the placement of a pineapple upon the front fence post. This signified not only their return but also their intent to share the stories of their adventures during the voyage. The use of such curious cargo was a reflection of where they had been and much of what they had experienced.

One of the most desired viewing spots is Charleston’s Waterfront Park. It allows our friends and visitors the opportunity to take leisurely strolls with their families through the quarter-mile length of the park. One can enjoy a quiet space on the greenway amidst the trees or a calming repose on the large sets of swings under the canopy next to the river. You might also wave to your friends taking one of the many river tours or out testing their skills in a sailboat.

Pineapples are a global sign of peace and hospitality and this is Charleston’s way of welcoming all!

~ David Joyner

(Photo Cred: Kristen Granet)

Baby, You're a Firework

Brandon Joyner

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What's your favorite memory of the 4th of July?

A cookout in your backyard?

A picnic at the beach?

An evening sitting under the stars watching a fabulous fireworks display?

We've done them all... Even driven to Altamonte Springs near Orlando, Florida to see one of the most outstanding fireworks displays in the Southeast... And it was!

We've driven to Helen to celebrate the 4th in this little Bavarian Alpine village nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia.

How about driving into a parking garage in downtown Charleston to watch fireworks from the top level? Guilty!!! (Please don't share this secret with anyone. This is just between us!)

So, however you choose to celebrate this holiday, I think we would all agree that spending it with your favorite “peeps” is the best way to go.

Come on over to Charleston and grab a tall glass of sweet tea with a slice of lemon and take in the sights, sounds and smells of our beautiful city by the sea.

It’s heaven on earth!

~ Jeannie Joyner