Lovely title for my entry, I realize. I figure I have earned a certain right to call Columbia names since I have been here awhile. I also profess to love this town, so it is with love that I call it an armpit. But really, this week is about my mom, so let me get on with it.
When I was growing up, each summer my family rented an old clapboard beach house with sandy floors and ceiling fans in every room. The house changed each year, but it was usually on the beach with nice breezes, it never had air conditioning, and it was almost always at North Myrtle Beach. There were no hotels at the time - just old houses. In order to get to North Myrtle Beach from Maryville, TN we had to drive over the river and through the woods to SC, eventually going through Columbia and then on to the beach. Our family car was a big green Buick with bench seats and premium vinyl upholstery. The other siblings and I drew imaginary lines down the back seat and I asked "How much longer?" the whole way there. My favorite spot in the family car was in front between my parents, and if I got tired, I would lie down with my head in my dad's lap and my feet in my mom's. Great stuff. Except when we were driving through one of the hottest, humid, energy zapping areas in the whole world. Air came to Columbia and got so tired of blowing it just stopped and took a nap. It still does this every July through September. It was and is stifling in Columbia in the summer. And this is where our family car overheated one year. The fix - turn on the heater at full blast to pull heat away from the engine. The entire family was sweaty, sticky, and literally stuck to the vinyl in the big green Buick. The temperature outside was well over 100 degrees. It was memorable, that's for sure. We all remember that trip. That memory is why when I heard Columbia referred to as the armpit of SC, it stuck with me. What I don't remember is my mom ever complaining. Me, oh definitely. But my mom is a trooper - she always has been. It's one of many qualities in her that I admire.
To Mom and Dad - Thank you for all those vacations. They are still treasured; even the hot parts!