austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Boy, how you can shuffle

After the ride we still wanted to wander around town a little despite the cold and we aimed for the mystery shop bunny_hugger had seen. It was chill and windy enough that we ducked into another shop, one we thought was a cafe, to warm up. It was actually a shop for selling spices and cocoa and chocolate and and such, so it didn't sell cups of coffee, but it was giving away samples of spiced hot chocolate as well as various dips we could put on crackers. We didn't actually buy anything, but it was a pretty close call.

The mystery shop meanwhile was a disappointment: though it had a modest selection of board games (like a commemorative anniversary edition of Clue) and mystery novels (and books whose inclusion was itself a mystery, eg, Tom Clancy and Co-Author's Tom Clancy-Branded Political Technothriller For Paranoid Conservative Males), it was mostly a dinner theater and we were nowhere near dinner. The lone staffer we could see working there explained the overall concept and explained how far we were from the show and we wandered off without finding, like, junior fingerprinting kits or other fun stuff.

My parents wouldn't let us get through another day without letterboxing, though: there was one near an intersection referred to as the Four Corners of Law, a name given by Robert Ripley to the intersection of Meeting and Broad streets, where a church, city hall, a county courthouse, and a federal courthouse --- thus representing ecclesiastic, local, state, and federal law --- can be found. Again, though, cold and windy, so we ducked into a historical society museum-and-gift-shop along the way, letting us warm up and use the bathrooms as well as admire books and antique furniture and sacks of souvenir grains and the like. They also had an actual centuries-old well discovered when the building, formerly a gas station, was renovated into the historical society structure.

The letterbox clues for the Four Points of Law location were not the usual ``follow the path until you come to the fallen tree'' sort of thing; instead they were a set of photographs of things you would see if you were going in the right direction, which would be really charming if it were about fifteen degrees warmer and it felt like time to just wander aimlessly around looking at things. As it was we found the park where the letterbox was, we thought, likely to be and found the second or third photographic clue first, letting us skip to the prize which it turns out was right about where we expected. And this surprised me since it was in a reasonably well-maintained and not neglected yard. This was another pretty well-used letterbox, not as ancient as the one we found in Isle of Palms (which had stamps going back to 2009, an eternity as letterbox logs go), but still, a great find.

As we were getting near the end of the afternoon we went to one of the hotels downtown, an upscale place with the sort of restaurant that's too nice for people like us to actually eat in. They serve a coconut-frosted cake there that my mother had wanted us to experience --- she'd suggested we get it to go the night before, but my father thought eating at the restaurant was part of the experience --- and we went to the restaurant's small bar to get a drink and two slices of cake, shared between the four of us. The slices, I should point out, are huge, roughly as tall as a standing badger, but my mother was right that they're delicious. While there my mother explained some of how she'd gotten to have a social circle in a state where she knew, as far as I can determine, not a single soul; it was all church groups, she said. I'm still left wondering how my father hasn't got more of a social circle, then.

While my father and I finished our slice of cake, my mother only had one or two bits of the one she and bunny_hugger shared, and we would take the remains of that home. My mother walked back to the car through the hotel's lobby; she pointed, a bit snippily, to the gardens outside, which my father had described the night before as part of the restaurant's ambiance and which we hadn't seen on the way in. This felt like part of a broader little squabble that, on reflection, I didn't want to get into. We did walk through the garden, though; it was small but quite attractive.

And after all that we went back to my parents' apartment and got a fresh new bit of unwanted hassle from US Airways.

Trivia: Cluedo was invented during the Second World War by former Britigh government actuary Anthony Pratt, with help from his wife. Material shortages delayed its introduction until 1948. Source: The Game Makers: The Story Of Parker Brothers From Tiddledy Winks To Trivial Pursuit, Philip E Orbanes.

Currently Reading: The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, Diane Vaughan.

PS: A Hundred, And Other Things, about how wondrously many different things can be meant by a ``hundred''. Sixth of these since the last roundup, if you haven't been following the Livejournal Syndicate feed, or the raw RSS feed it started from.

Tags: south carolina visit

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