A day of celebrities. We started in Pineville, NC, birthplace of our 11th president, James K. Polk. (Surely you remember him,) Nice and humble, as befits a man of the people. His family moved to better times in Tennessee when he was a kid, but North Carolina can still claim him.
Then off to the historic town of Cheraw, South Carolina. This place is full of charming Revolutionary, antebellum and Victorian homes, and can celebrate not being burned by Sherman. He actually had to stay here for a few weeks while the bridge over the Pee Dee (Debra, don’t ask) River was being repaired, so he kept it in habitable shape. Otherwise, he is of course considered the devil.
The town is also the birthplace of Dizzy Gillespie, so plan to come in October for the South Carolina Jazz Festival, the 17th through the 20th. Excellent Friday special of fried catfish at the Mennonite restaurant.
Now for the big one. Ever since we saw the film “A Man Called Pearl,” (http://www.pearlfryar.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=15), we have wanted to meet Pearl Fryar. And we did. We made the pilgrimage to Bishopville, South Carolina and saw the man himself in his amazing topiary gardens – driving his John Deere with his actual hedge trimmers in the back. Pearl just wanted to win the local “best garden” award one year, and now people from all over the world come to meet him and visit his masterpiece. He is as real as can be, and inspiring, as he talks about following a dream and not accepting that there is anything you can’t do. Quite a story, and quite a guy. I highly recommend the movie, particularly if you can’t get to Bishopville.