Jul 13, 2012

Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and searching for clues to the truth

  After leaving Beaufort I had the unfortunate timing of witnessing an accident. It was a good thing I had the webcam on, it was a good thing I was first responder and it was a damn good thing that the lady who got hit (who I went to check on) was just fine. A little shocked but no worse for wear. I emailed a video to both the trooper and her, she was the only one who responded saying thanks. I wish her well.

 I didn't really know where I was headed but my mom had asked me to check out some plantations...so i chose Magnolia Plantation as it was fairly close to Charleston...and made my way there. 

 I had the opportunity to read a classic book in a classic setting, it's not very often you get to do that. Uncle Tom's Cabin is not recommended reading in Canada, in fact it's not even mentioned from what I remember. So when I purchased the book in Fort Gaines I was looking forward to taking some time out of the books that I was reading already to get a feel for this book that they talk up so much.

 Well the opportunity presented itself in the classic setting of the Magnolia Plantation. Magnolia is the oldest public garden in the United States and it was an incredible place to read this book.

 I'm not doing a book report, review or anything of the sort so don't look for too many details. All you need to know is that it was a great read in a place that brought some  connection with the characters and the situation depicted in the story.

 As you saw in the video Magnolia is the oldest public gardens in the USA. The Drayton family has been in ownership for 9 generations now. John Drayton the original garden visionary wanted to create a place of such beauty that his love would no longer long for her native Philadelphia. If his accomplishment did not sooth her want for beautiful surroundings she must have had a lump of coal embedded in her eye.

 It was beautiful, every corner had something new and I'm sure every time you look through it you would find some new marvel to watch over. 

 The story has it that the original slave caretaker walked to Drayton's summer house in North Carolina after the civil war to tell him that while the house had been raised to the ground (supposedly by the slaves) the garden remained largely intact. That brought Drayton back to the property to resume his work. He was a few slaves short though and so to survive he had to sell off a massive portion of his land in order to survive in his "modest" house and garden. It was then that he opened the garden to the public in a very successful attempt to generate revenue.

 The picture that Harriet Beecher Stowe develops through Uncle Tom's Cabin certainly is moving. It's no wonder it became such an impactful book and assisted in the public outcry against slavery. Written before the Civil war started the characters have spotted modern day language since she put them on paper.

Still no slouch this house is nothing compared to the original

The Bennett family was the gardens caretaker for many, many years

About the most uncomfortable bench I have ever sat on...and he used to do it in wool pants, full jacket, hat..madness

The Audubon Swamp

Just a little guy...

The amount of birds in the rookery was amazing!

Greenhouse...it was like visiting a hot fart...why the doors were even open in the peak of 100f was beyond me...but I checked it out anyway.

Turtles, gators...swamp stuff!!

The Chariot chilling in the shade

awesome old

Biggest one I have seen up close, rest of the body was under the swamp slime (it's not actually slime but a type of plant)...I wish I had brought a live chicken...just saying ;)

Spiders galore!!

Swamp music

 While reading the book in the Audubon Swamp the plight of the escaped slave really sunk home. To imagine that someone cast off their shackles and braved the swamps, the bugs, the serpents in hopes of a brighter tomorrow is heart wrenching.

 It also reminds me that there is never just one side to the story and I was looking forward to speaking with some true southerners about their history, opinions and background. Needless to say that my "never trust the official story" is as on alert as ever when i read a one sided account of a situation. Certainly slavery was a vile thing and there is no disguising the impact it has on families, nations and individuals...but the civil war in particular wasn't a "pure" war based on justice and there was a reason for it above and beyond slavery. For the record...every single war you can think about is about more than people. Rich people set wars up, governments cater to them...so a war is about resources and control...not justice.  The civil war may have freed the black slaves of the south but if you follow the money and not the heart throbbing story it tells a tale of vile propaganda and distortion. It would take a lot more than a blog post to explain it all and I'm not smart enough nor well read enough to capture my own attention let alone a readers....so pick up some books, read some southern tales, see the big picture that moved a generation of slaves out of ownership and into taxation, into starvation, into segregation, into today.

 And so after a full day of reading and enjoying myself I decided it was time to find a place to bunk down...Ghivan's Ferry was the spot on my map I chose and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip!

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