Wednesday saw the publication of a mess of articles on the impact of Geechie / Gullah traditions on Charleston’s dining scene in the Charleston City Paper, and a nice blurb on the Post House’s perennial favorite Deviled Crab Stuffed Flounder in the Post and Courier. After reading a related article and discovering that the matriarch of the long lamented Miss Alice’s was herself cooking at My Three Sons, I was ready for lunch.
I made the drive up to 1910 E.Montague and got there after the lunch rush. I ate whiting, limas, mac n’cheese. They’d sold out of the ‘nanna puddin’. I visited with Miss Alice, letting her know I used to frequent the old place on King St in my college days, always sitting under the framed painting of JFK and MLK. I took pictures. I think she was a little tickled.
I got back in the car to drive home with Gullah on the brain; the tremendous debt to which we owe our current limelight. I thought about Nat Fuller, about which so much has been said already. Having previously read Dr. Nic Butler’s post on Nat Fuller’s final resting place, curiousity got the best of me and I decided to pay Nat a visit. It wasn’t far.
What I found was a small overgrown lot on Heriot St, not far from the Tattooed Moose, Edmund’s Oast and my old neighborhood of Wagener Terrace. Across from a new modern storage facility and brand new firehouse, I wouldn’t have known the cemetery was there if not for my gps. At first, it just looked like an overgrown lot. I was getting eaten up by those vicious tiger mosquitoes, I wanted to turn around and just go, but something compelled my to stay.
My eyes acclimated. I began to see divots in the earth, like at the Old Sheldon Church. In the clumps of overgrown grass, I saw pole markers. Then, here and there, I began to see little corners of stone. Markers that, upon closer inspection, showed inscriptions only faintly still visible.
There’s no way to tell who is where. i wouldn’t even know where to begin. I was, truth be told, more than a little saddened that the remains of those who came before us were not cared for more properly. There wasn’t even a marker noting the presence of a cemetery. Still, knowing I stood at the final resting place of Nat Fuller, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by a strong sense of acknowledgement and thanks.
Turning to leave the cemetery, I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye. As I approached, I saw it was a goblet resting on an overturned headstone. Upside down, it was as though it was waiting for someone to share a toast with the departed. Today, on the anniversary of Dr. King’s Civil Rights march in Washington, I can’t think of anything more appropriate than to acknowledge thanks for Nat Fuller, Tom R. Tully, William Deas and for Miss Alice. For all those who have come before me, inspired me, and motivate me today. Tonight after service, I shall toast the living and the dead.