Adventure: “An undertaking of uncertain outcome which may involve danger or unknown risk, perhaps an enterprise involving chance, fortune, or luck.” To me, adventure is any exciting or remarkable experience.
Growing up on Sullivan’s Island, I was often an unsupervised adventurer. Morning adventures were based on the tides; low tide brought wonders in from the tidal pools—slimy, oyster shells laden with jetties; stone crabs creviced deep in the rocks which I’d coax out and snap off a claw for a seafood lunch and other mornings, there’d be stranded fish or minnows which I’d trap and release into Breach Inlet.
I was a fish rescuer. Retirees fished the inlet every day and they called me “The Aggravator.” They’d catch a spot tail bass, flounder or mullet, place them in their croaker sacks and lay them on the sand. Once they turned their attention to the next hit on the surf rods, daring little Linda Page would spring into action and sneak fish with gasping gills out of the sacks, race up the beach and release them. Many mornings of my youth were spent running along the shoreline. Various characters—Mr. Carl or Mr. Bellansano—fished every day, and nearly every day, each threatened to tell my parents what a menace I was.
At high tide, the beach was off limits. Our home, located next to the old rifle range on the island, brought plenty of adventure. I’d gather buckets full of civil war bullets or hunt and trap horned toads that I thought could spit blood out of their eyes if angered. Depending on the season, I foraged blackberries, sour grass or wild asparagus. There were old military forts and batteries to explore and we’d enter their dark interiors, usually on a dare and without the benefit of a flashlight. Kids on the island knew you could easily slide past a half-closed gate or hop a worn-down fence and climb to the man-made hilltops to slide down on cardboard boxes. What great adventures we had!
Sullivan’s Island had scrubby old trees within sparse woods. When we moved to the mainland of Mount Pleasant, I discovered lush woods, full of trees that needed to be climbed and hidden forts that needed to be built. My Dad had a shop on Coleman Boulevard that was heated with coal and the coal pile was my “gold.” I pretended to be a pirate like Anne Bonny, declaring the bounty as mine. I played glorious games with the kids whose parents owned Cockcroft’s Barbecue and we’d play Pirates (my favorite) as well as Cowboys and Indians. I recall being cast as the hapless settler often; captured and tied to the stake in the barbecue pit.
The adventures I have now—trips on a C-17 with Joint Base Charleston, road trips north to pick out the best items for resale here in the big red barn and the weekly adventures of seeking solutions to the many issues that face my beloved Mount Pleasant and her residents—are all exciting and remarkable.
When I was elected Mayor, I heard from the outgoing Mayor Billy Swails that he had cleaned out the office and it was all mine. When I opened the door for the first time, I smiled, finding a large Jolly Roger flag strung across the back wall. He and some fellow council members were responsible, believing that there were now “pirates in the palace.”
I hope your life is full of adventure, because it’s important to not just live…but to create a life.