Page 1

Change out

Spring & Summer Travel guide

ROAD TRIP!

E n E rgy Q& A

Seal gaps, save money SC Sto r i e S

Catch of the day Humor me

April 2013

Crime doesn’t pay

Behind the scenes at South Carolina’s famous roadside attraction


SIMPLY BRILLIANT Commands lawns. Captures attention. Leads the way. Now available for

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*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for terms up to 36 months on purchases of select new Kubota equipment from available inventory at participating dealers through 05/31/13. Example: A 36-month monthly installment repayment term at 0% A.P.R. requires 36 payments of $27.78 per $1,000 borrowed. 0% A.P.R. interest is available to customers if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance with state laws. Only Kubota and select Kubota performance-matched Land Pride equipment is eligible. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. Not available for Rental, National Accounts or Governmental customers. 0% A.P.R. and low-rate financing may not be available with customer instant rebate (C.I.R.) offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 05/31/13. See us for details on these and other low-rate options or go to www.kubota.com for more information. Optional equipment may be shown.

© Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2013


THE MAGAZINE FOR COOPERATIVE MEMBERS Vol. 67 • No. 4 (ISSN 0047-486X, USPS 316-240) Read in more than 450,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033 Tel:  (803) 926-3 1 75 Fax:  (803) 796-6064 Email: letters@scliving.coop EDITOR

Keith Phillips ASSISTANT EDITOR

Diane Veto Parham FIELD EDITOR

Walter Allread PUBLICATION COORDINATOR

Pam Martin

ART DIRECTOR

Sharri Harris Wolfgang DESIGNER

Susan Collins PRODUCTION

Andrew Chapman Van O’Cain COPY EDITOR

Susan Scott Soyars

FEATURE

& Sprinmger m su el Trav e Guid

22 Not just another roadside attraction Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no ignoring South of the Border, the state’s largest and zaniest roadside attraction. See what the owners and employees have in store for motorists as they gear up for another summer tourist season. Plus: The curious connection between South of the Border and Blenheim Ginger Ale.

Keith Phill ips

WEB EDITOR

April 2013 • Volume 67, Number 4

Contributors

Becky Billingsley, Mike Couick, Jim Dulley, Tim Hanson, Hastings Hensel, Carrie B. Hirsch, Jan A. Igoe, Charles Joyner, Bob Polomski, S. Cory Tanner Publisher

Lou Green ADVERTISING MANAGERS

Tel:  (800) 984-0887 Dan Covell Email: dan@scliving.coop Keegan Covell Email: keegan@scliving.coop National Representation

National Country Market Tel:  (800) NCM-1181

ADDRESS CHANGES: Please send to your local co-op. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Address Change, c/o the address above.

© COPYRIGHT 201 3. The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor. is brought to you by your member-owned, taxpaying, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative, wise energy use and the faces and places that identify the Palmetto State. Electric cooperatives are South Carolina’s — and America’s — largest utility network. SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

6 ON THE AGENDA

Mark your calendar now for the toe-tapping fun of the Clemson Blues Festival. Plus: A seven-point checklist to make sure your trees can weather any storm.

POWER USER DIALOGUE

10 Adapting to change

South Carolina’s electric cooperatives are working to make sure every co-op member benefits from localized power generation. ENERGY Q&A

12 Insulate cracks, gaps for

maximum efficiency

Hidden air leaks throughout your home may be driving up your power bill. Learn how to fill the gaps and enjoy greater comfort this summer. SMART CHOICE

14 Hobby helpers

STORIES

16 Catch of the day

Even at age 73, An Mathis Springs—aka the Crab Cake Lady of Murrells Inlet—shows no sign of slowing down. RECIPE

18 Treat a sweet tooth

Lou Lou’s carrot pineapple cake Egg custard pie Dave’s banana nut bread Chocolate cream dessert GARDENER

20 Pest alert: Rose rosette virus Learn how to safeguard your garden rosebushes from a deadly new threat.

22

HUMOR ME

38 Thou shalt not snatch the

church lady’s purse

Jan A. Igoe dissects the short and unhappy career of a street criminal who picked on the wrong Sunday school teacher.

EVENTS

Spring Summer& Travel guide

ROAD TRIP! E n E rgy Q& A

Seal gaps, save money SC Sto r i e S

Catch of the day Humor me

April 2013

Crime doesn’t pay

Member of the NCM network of publications, reaching more than 7 million homes and businesses

18

34 MARKETPLACE

With leisure time in short supply 36 SC these days, it helps to have a few gadgets to maximize your weekend pursuit of happiness.

Printed on recycled paper

30

SC LIFE

Lee Ann White / iStock

Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices.

Cooperative news

Tim Han son

Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. If you encounter a difficulty with an advertisement, inform the Editor.

4 CO-OP CONNECTION

Behind the scenes at South Carolina’s famous roadside attraction

Big Pedro—all 97 feet of him—lights up the sky and draws tourists off the highway at South of the Border, the state’s largest roadside attraction. Photo by Milton Morris.


On the Agenda

Highlights Courtesy of Culture & Heritage Museums

For a listing p m co lete s, see of Event 6 page 3

APRIL 6

Kessie’s Tales of the Civil War

Award-winning storyteller and reenactor Kitty Wilson-Evans devotes herself to preserving stories of South Carolina slave life. Her book, “Kessie’s Tales: The Adventures of an African-American Slave Girl in South Carolina,” offers a young slave girl’s point of view. A volunteer and “Keeper of the Culture” at Historic Brattonsville, Wilson-Evans will share songs, stories and interpretations at York Public Library in a free event sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Beth Shiloh Chapter #1799.

MAY 10

B l u e R id g e F e s t

Party by the numbers at Blue Ridge Fest: one night, four legendary bands, 600 classic cars and thousands of dollars raised for 13 charities. The “Largest Cruise-in in the Upstate” will showcase The Drifters with Charlie Thomas (“Save the Last Dance for Me”), pictured at right, The Clovers (“Love Potion No. 9”), Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs (“Stay”) and The Party Prophets, who will pay tribute to the late Billy Scott. Cars are on display starting at 2 p.m., and music and food are on tap from 6 to 10:30 p.m. at 734 West Main St. in downtown Pickens. The 16th annual event is hosted by employees of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security. For details, visit blueridgefest.com or call (800) 240-3400.

APRIL 18–21

Clemson Blues Festival

The “Year of the Harp” celebrates that beloved Southern blues instrument, the harmonica (aka Mississippi saxophone, mouth organ or sidewalk Stradivarius). The talent line-up for this second annual festival features Jimi Lee, Mac Arnold (left) and Plate Full O’Blues, and The Blues Doctors with Adam Gussow, just for starters. Gospel Sunday is an afternoon of “old-time religion” tunes to benefit the Clemson Area African American Museum. Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative is a sponsor.

For details, visit clemsonbluesfest.com or contact clemsonbluesfest@mindspring.com.

6

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

For details, visit yclibrary.org or call (803) 684-3751.

TOP PICK FOR KIDS MAY 2–4

South Carolina Strawberry Festival

Come berry hungry to this Fort Mill festival that ushers in strawberry season. Saturday starts with an all-you-can-eat strawberry pancake breakfast, then come strawberry shortcake and ice cream eating contests. Thursday night’s Pick-n-Flick lets families gather their own berries, then relax with live music and an outdoor screening of the animated film “Surf’s Up” at Springs Farm. Don’t miss the action-packed Kids’ Zone and the popular piglet races. York Electric Cooperative is a sponsor.

For details, visit scstrawberryfestival.com or call (803) 547-2116.


Email COMMENTS, QUESTIONS AND Story suggestions TO LETTERS@SCLIVING.COOP

Home Safety

Take care of trees to prevent hazards Trees provide significant benefits to our homes and communities, but they can become liabilities when they fall or break apart, causing property damage, personal injuries and power outages. Although some failures are unpredictable, many can be prevented by inspecting your trees twice a year for these common structural defects. Diana De Rosa

MAY 2–5

Heart of the Carolinas

Southern 8ths horse park in Chesterfield welcomes beginner novice, novice and training level riders to hone their longformat skills at its third annual So8ths/ Nikon Three-Day Event—an equestrian triathlon (dressage, cross-country and show jumping). The park features regulation-size arenas, a steeplechase track, manicured roads and tracks, dressage rings, crosscountry courses, a derby field and more for training young riders. Volunteers and spectators are invited to watch, help and learn—no horse experience necessary. For details, visit so8ths.com or call (843) 623-5005.

MAY 3–5

Orangeburg Festival of Roses

Coinciding with the blooming of thousands of roses at Edisto Memorial Gardens, this fragrant festival offers fun from land, river and air. Gardens feature more than 100 varieties of roses, plus azaleas and other blooming plants, and visitors can stroll the boardwalk along the Edisto River. A Friday night street dance, canoe and kayak races on the water and airplane rides over Orangeburg are among the festival events. For details, visit festivalofroses.com or call (803) 534-6821.

Dead, hanging and broken branches.

Weak branches larger than 2 inches in diameter may cause damage if they fall and should be removed immediately.

Co-dominant branches are often weakly attached and can separate in storms.

A leaning tree. If your tree leans to

one side, it may be an imminent hazard that requires removal. Other signs to look for: exposed roots or a mound of soil near the tree’s base.

the wood, contact an arborist to have them professionally inspected.

Multiple trunks. Look for cracks or splits in co-dominant stems and wishbone-like trunks of equal diameter. These branches may be weakly attached, and they tend to separate during wind and ice storms.

Decayed wood.

Weak branch unions. Inspect large

branches greater than 3 inches in diameter at a point where they attach to the trunk. A crack or split at the union indicates a high probability of failure, and the branch should be removed.

Trunk and branch cracks. If you find

cracks in the trunk or in a branch and they extend beyond the bark and into

For advice on preventing tree problems, see “Prunin g for structure” in the Febr uary 2012 issue of South Ca rolina Living or online at SCLiving.coop.

Cavities, cankers, mushrooms or conks growing on the trunk or on large branches are indicators of internal decay. Contact an arborist to evaluate the tree as a hazard.

Root problems. Examine the base of the trunk for damage from rodents, string trimmers and mowers. Look for a soil mound, soil cracking near the root collar or broken roots sticking out of the soil. If you find any encircling, constricting roots, consult a certified arborist (isa-arbor.com) to address this problem. —Bob Polomski

energy efficiency tip  

Properly installed shades are one of the easiest ways to improve the energy efficiency of windows. Lower them during summer to keep your home cooler. In winter, raise shades during the day and lower them at night on south-facing windows. Dual shades, with reflective white coating on one side and a heat-absorbing dark color on the other, can be reversed with the seasons and save even more energy. Learn more at energysavers.gov. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

7


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On the Agenda

AD NAME: GONE Campfi re FISHIN’ The Vektor Fish & Game Forecast provides Third Pg.

feeding and migration times. Major PUB(s): periods can bracket the peak by an hour. National Minor Country peaks, ½ hour before and after. Market Reader AM PM Minor Major Minor Major Regional Insertion: -Rural Electric April Nebraskan 17 8:01 12:46 — 5:16 -Country Living 1:46 18 10:46 — 6:46 (OH) 19 8:46 2:31 1:31 7:46 -S. 20 Carolina9:16 LIving2:46 2:46 8:46 -The Tennessee 21 3:16 Mag 9:46 3:46 9:31 -Texas Co-op Power 22 3:46 10:16 10:16 4:31 -Wisconsin Energy 23 4:01 10:46 11:01 5:16 Co-op 24 News 4:31 11:16 11:31 6:01 — 5:01 7:01 12:01 Ins 25 Dt: 26 April 201312:16 5:31 7:46 12:31 27 1:01 6:16 8:46 1:16 TRIM: 28 1:46 6:46 9:46 2:01 2.75" x 10.875" 29 2:31 7:16 10:46 3:01 30 3:46 8:16 — 4:01 LIVE: 2.125" x 9.25" May 1 6:37 10:22 — 6:07 BLEED: 2 8:22 2:07 12:37 7:22 3.25" x 11.375" 3 9:22 2:52 2:37 8:37 ACTUAL BLEED: 3:22 4:07 9:37 4 10:07 3" x 5 11.375"3:52 10:37 10:37 5:07 (no 6 bleed right 4:22 side 11:07 11:07 5:52 of page) 7 4:52 11:37 11:52 6:37 8 — 5:22 7:07 12:07 LS/COLOR: 133 9 / CMYK — 5:37 7:37 12:37 10 12:52 6:07 8:22 1:07 QUESTIONS CALL: 11 1:22 6:37 8:52 1:37 Karen Newman 12 1:52 6:52 9:37 2:22 214-891-5875 13 2:37 7:22 10:22 2:52 14 3:07 7:52 11:07 3:37 15 4:07 8:22 12:07 4:07 16 5:52 9:07 — 5:07

T Y P E B M OTO R H O M E

Only on

SCLiving.coop T Y P E C M OTO R H O M E

T Y P E A M OTO R H O M E

Snap a photo of this tag with your smartphone to find an RV dealer, watch videos, and more.

Visit SCLiving.coop this month for web extras and other cool stuff. South of the Border: Go behind the scenes at The Reptile Lagoon, then view a slideshow of South Carolina’s famous roadside attraction in full neon splendor. A recipe for success: Calling all cooks! Share your recipes with our readers online at SCLiving.coop/food/recipe.aspx. For each one of your recipes we publish, we’ll send you a $10 BI-LO gift card.

Like us on Facebook

Let the world know how much you enjoy living in South Carolina by liking our page at facebook.com/SouthCarolinaLiving.

S.C.RAMBLE! By Charles Joyner, See Answer ON Page 35

Did you know? South Carolina has been referred to as “_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _” d a r m l c m b r e d s d r because of the high concentration of this element found in our vegetation. Use the capital letters in the code key below to fill in the blanks above. A D E H I N O S T spells “scrambled”

Letters

When in Rome I just read the article about Rusty Myers (“S.C. Stories: Doing as Romans did,” March 2013). I was particularly moved when I read that Longinus was the Roman he would most like to meet. I would consider it a blessing to be able to see and meet Rusty when he is “in character” somewhere. Is there a calendar of events available? Nicholas Maxim, Bluffton

Nicholas: You can learn about upcoming events and contact Rusty Myers through the Legio VI website at legvi.tripod.com/index.html. —Ed.

Deep thoughts I just finished reading the article “Deep Secrets” (February 2013) and wanted Solving the mystery of the H.L. Hunley to thank you for sharing it. My husband and I have seen the H. L. Hunley during weekend tours of the Warren Lasch Conservation Center and were impressed with its story and the conservation that is ongoing. I hope South Carolina Living will update us, your readers, in another piece after the conservation process is complete. It’s such an exciting piece of our history.

DEEp sECRETs SC Sto r i e S

Dwelling in the past SC tr av e lS

Secrets of the Maya Humor me

February 2013

Starting at just $6,000, it’s easy to find your AWAY.

CLIENT: Go RVing

Kicking the bucket list

Jody Nyers, Conway

Write SCL Letters to the editor We love hearing from our

readers. Tell us what you think about this issue, send us story suggestions or just let us know what’s on your mind by clicking on the Contact Us link at SCLiving.coop. You can also email us at letters@scliving.coop, mail to Letters, South Carolina Living, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033, or send a note by fax to (803) 796-6064. All letters received are subject to editing before publication.


What’s your idea of AWAY? Wherever or whatever it is, an RV is the best way to find it on your terms, your timetable, your itinerary. And it’s more affordable than you might think.To learn more, visit GoRVing.com and see an RV dealer.


Dialogue

Adapting to change History is full of innovations and ­revolutions

Mike Couick

President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina

10

that have fundamentally changed our lives. In America, we owe our unprecedented standard of living to the social, political and t­echnological revolutions that have occurred throughout our shared history. One could even argue that the movement that led to the formation of our electric cooperatives was a revolution of sorts. Less than 100 years ago, most of South Carolina was without electricity and had little hope of getting it. Investor-owned utilities simply couldn’t make profits running lines to rural areas and refused to provide service. Not willing to take “No” for an answer, friends and neighbors across the state banded together to form nonprofit electric cooperatives to improve their local communities. They shared equally in the costs of planting utility poles, stringing power lines and purchasing electricity, and just like today, each member had an equal say in governing the co-op. Today, these member-owned electric coopera­ tives maintain the state’s largest utility network, one that provides reliable, affordable power to more than 1.5 million consumers in all 46 counties. In the current energy climate, our cooperatives face a revolutionary change that you should know about because it can affect how they serve you and your neighbors. I’m talking about the proliferation of distributed energy resources (DERs). As defined by the U.S. Department of Energy, a DER is any small, decentralized energy source designed to provide on-site power to a home or business. Common examples include generators, small wind turbines, fuel cells and photovoltaic solar panels. Fuel sources for DERs can be dirty or they can be clean. They can be intermittent and uncontrollable or they can be constant and ­controlled (sometimes even by an electricity provider). By their nature, DERs can create technical challenges for the power grid, but

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

the largest problem they create is that, absent changes in rate structures, DERs shift costs from consumers who own them to consumers who don’t. Let me explain. There are two major costs included in your monthly bill: the energy cost, which is the price of generating the electricity, and the system cost, which is the cost of maintaining the power grid and getting that elec­tricity to homes and businesses. While your bill ­fluctuates each month according to the amount of power you consume, the system cost is ­basically fixed. Most co-ops use a rate structure that charges everyone a small portion of the total system cost upfront and recovers the rest based on energy usage. This is rooted in the principle that members who use a lot of energy (historically more affluent users) are better able to bear the extra costs than members who use less energy (historically the less affluent and elderly). DER owners use less electricity from the grid and thus pay less toward the system costs. However, the cost of maintaining the grid remains the same, so a higher share of system costs ­necessarily shifts to the other co-op members. This is clearly an unsustainable scenario. So what kind of rate structure will make DERs feasible? Would a rate structure that recovers system costs and energy costs separately solve the dilemma, or does it just create another set of problems? Your cooperatives are working to find the answers to the issues raised by the DER revolution, and we have pledged to policy makers what we have always pledged to you: We will do all we can to adapt to changes in energy technology and bring our members the best value we can deliver.


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ER N!

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ER !

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shown

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Charleston Columbia

Dillon Florence

Greenville North Myrtle Beach

Spartanburg


EnergyQ&A

BY jim Dulley

Insulate cracks, gaps for maximum efficiency

Q A

Stop air leakage in non-obvious locations, like recessed canister lights and window molding

Blue Grass Energy

Sealing the cracks around recessed can lights with caulk can greatly reduce air flow.

12

James Dulley

My house is fairly new, and the wall and blown-in attic insulation are at recommended levels, but my utility bills are still high. What else should I check for inefficiency? The rim joist on top of the foundation is an area of heat loss.

The fiberglass batt insulation blocks conductive heat loss, and Walls and ceilings are the areas of the the foam caulk reduces air leakage. greatest heat loss from a house—proper air will still leak out through the canister itself. insulation there is of utmost importance. Ceiling fans are another place to check. If But other areas in the exterior thermal envelope they were installed after the house was built, the of your house can have insulation voids or air insulation level may be less around the support leakage that contribute to high utility bills. blocking or where the hole was cut to run wiring. First, check the depth of your blown-in attic From the attic side, push the insulation away insulation. It may have settled, no longer reachand caulk the hole around the wire, then cover it ing the required depth and R-value for your with additional insulation. climate. (The U.S. Department of Energy has Next time you paint the trim around doors a website that calculates the amount of insuand windows, pry off the decorative molding. lation you need for your climate zone; visit You may find an uninsulated gap between the ornl.gov/~roofs/Zip/ZipHome.html.) Using a rough opening and the door or window frame. rake, make sure it’s level across the attic floor. Apply low-expansion foam in the Wind from attic vents can blow it Check these spots gap—but use it sparingly, because it around, creating high and low spots. for air leakage: Any break in the thermal envecan deform the frame as it expands. Another area that wastes a lot of lope of your home creates potential • Around outlet and switch boxes on energy is where the sill plate meets for energy loss. One common spot is outside walls the rim joist. The sill plate is the piece electrical wall outlets and switches on • O n the attic floor of lumber that rests on the top of the outside walls. Often, they are comaround holes drilled foundation. The rim joist rests on top pletely uninsulated. for wiring fans and of the sill plate, and your house walls Switch off the circuit breaker to ceiling light fixtures rest on the rim joist. The rim joist these outlets and switches. Remove • B eneath the molding t ­ ypically is not insulated. the faceplate. If you can fit the tube of door and window Buy fiberglass wall insulation batts from a urethane foam spray can into frames and cut them into short lengths to fit the wall around the conduit box, shoot • W  here lumber meets between the rim joist and the floor some expanding foam in there. This the foundation joist. With their short length, they should fill insulation voids and seal it. should stay in place without stapling. You can also install foam draft sealers behind While you are looking at the rim joist and the faceplates. They add only a slight amount of sill plate, you may see gaps between the top of insulation, but they will improve the seal. Recessed ceiling lights are another typical area the foundation and the sill plate. The top of a concrete foundation wall is seldom perfectly of energy loss, because they get hot, creating a level. Apply urethane foam insulation from a natural upward draft. The most efficient option is to replace old canister lights with newer sealed can between the sill plate and foundation wall. This will block outdoor air leakage and add some models. insulation value to that area. Don’t just pour or pack insulation against recessed lights in the attic. This can cause older styles, which were not designed to be insulated, Send questions to Energy Q&A, South Carolina Living, to overheat. You can caulk around the hole in 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033, email energyqa@scliving.coop or fax (803) 739-3041. the attic floor and the canister, but some room

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop


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In the GAME ROOM READY TO ROCK If you’re ready to graduate from air guitar to rock star, the Ion Audio DGUSB Discover Guitar kit is an economical first step. It includes a stageready, six-string electric guitar, USB connector and software to turn your laptop into a miniature amplifier and recording studio. All you need now is a tour bus and a recording contract. $90. (800) 996-8637; zzounds.com.

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Hobby helpers

e days, ort supply thes sh in e tim re With leisu gadgets like rning to handy hobbyists are tu weekend maximize their these in order to s. ines pursuits of happ

ARTISTIC ENDEAVORS SEW FAST Embroidering by hand is a fine hobby, but if you’re ready to kick production up a notch, consider the Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine. It comes preloaded with fonts and 136 designs that make full use of the 5-by-7-inch embroidery field, or you can use the USB port to load your own custom patterns. $700. (877) 276-8437; brother-usa.com.

HOME TURF With the OptiShot Infrared Golf Simulator, you can work on your swing and play some of the world’s top courses—all without leaving the living room. The heart of the system is the Optical Swing Pad, a high-tech patch of artificial turf that plugs into your Windows PC. Sensors record everything from club-head speed to club angle at impact as you hack away at indoor-friendly foam golf balls (included) or the real thing (with the optional catch net). Fore! $400. (866) 941-3644; dancindogg.com.

SHAREWARE A good camera is a scrapbooker’s best friend, so allow us to introduce you to the Nikon Coolpix S6500. Small enough to slip in a pocket, it captures hobby highlights in 16-megapixel photos and full 1080p HD videos with stereo sound. Bonus: Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to download, print and share your images without cables. $220. (800) 645-6687; nikonusa.com.

PERSONAL THEATER Think a 150-inch, high-definition, 3-D screen can’t fit in your living room? It can if you have a Sony Personal 3-D Viewer. Strap on this lightweight visor and experience your favorite movies and video games on twin organic LED screens—one for each eye—and in 5.1 virtual surround sound. Sony says the experience is the equivalent of watching your very own 150-inch movie screen from a distance of 12 feet. Popcorn not included. $800. (877) 865-7669; store.sony.com.

SCRAP IT Forget scissors. If you want to customize scrapbooks, invitations, banners and school projects like a pro, try the Silhouette Portrait. This electronic cutting tool connects to your computer to create intricate designs and cutouts up to 8 inches wide and 10 feet long. $200. (800) 859-8243; silhouetteamerica.com.

14

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

GREAT OUTDOORS UNIVERSAL APPEAL With a NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope, your family can view polar ice caps on Mars or the cloud belts of Jupiter right from the backyard. This new model has 30 percent greater light-gathering power so you can peer into more than 600 galaxies. Even better, it’s preprogrammed to locate more than 4,000 celestial objects. All you have to do is look through the eyepiece and marvel at the beauty of the cosmos. $500. (310) 328-9560; celestron.com. A-LURE-ING ACTION The fish don’t stand a chance when you take to the water with the Lowrance Elite-7 HDI Fishfinder/Chartplotter. The 7-inch color screen allows you to simultaneously track navigation charts and broadband sonar readings as you probe for fish to a depth of 1,000 feet. $600. (800) 227-7776; basspro.com. WALK WITH CONFIDENCE If a good hike goes bad, you’ll definitely want the SOL Origin Multi-Function survival kit by your side. The rugged ABS plastic case slips easily into a pocket but is packed with all the tools you need to survive an unscheduled night in the wilderness. Especially useful are a combination knife/LED flashlight/100-decibel rescue whistle and handy fire-starting tools. $40. (800) 324-3517; surviveoutdoorslonger.com.


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scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

15


SC Life

SCStories

Catch of the day

An Mathis Springs AGE:

73

HOME TURF:

Murrells Inlet “The Crab

OCCUPATION:

Cake Lady”

Mic Smith

FUN FACT: An created all her famous recipes by herself. “My [adopted] mother took me to restaurants to eat. I came home and said, ‘Ma, I can do better than this.’ It took me about six months.”

16

Most Grand Stranders know her as “The Crab Cake Lady,” but the compelling story of An Mathis Springs resides in each of her three names. An was her name growing up in Mekong Delta, which she left when she was 12 years old to work as a nanny in Saigon. During the Vietnam War, she found work ironing clothes, shining shoes, making the beds of a motel. It was hard work for little pay, and the conflict was intensifying around her. As rockets rained down on Saigon during the Tet Offensive, she moved into a U.S. military compound and met the two Americans who would eventually adopt her, John and Mary Sue Williams Mathis, who were working on base as civilian contractors. With her adopted parents, An Mathis settled in Murrells Inlet in 1972, where she quickly learned the ways of the local creek—making her own crab traps and coming up with her now-famous deviled crab recipe. “At that time, I sold them for only $10 per dozen,” she recalls. “I sold to the neighbors. Everybody knew me, but I had no sign, nothing. I just wanted to work in the creek and make a living.” In her mid-50s she married her longtime Murrells Inlet neighbor, David Springs, whose grandson Denny helped start The Crab Cake Lady company in 2006. Her crab cakes can now be purchased online, in many grocery stores and from her stand in Harrelson’s Seafood market in Murrells Inlet. At 73, she shows no signs of slowing down and still enjoys running around the inlet in a 14-foot jon boat, working her traps. “Every day the weather is good, I just take my boat and go,” she says. “I get fish or oysters. I get shrimp and get clams, whatever we need to eat.” —hastings hensel

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop


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scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

17


Recipe

EDITED BY CArrie Hirsch

Treat a sweet tooth LOU LOU’S CARROT PINEAPPLE CAKE SERVES 8–10

2 cups self-rising* flour, sifted 2 cups carrots, finely grated 1 cup crushed pineapple, 2 teaspoons cinnamon undrained 1 ½ cups cooking (salad) oil ¼ cup nuts of choice, 2 cups granulated sugar chopped 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly grease and lightly dust two 9-inch square pans with flour. Sift flour and cinnamon together. Combine oil, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat thoroughly. Add flour mixture and beat to blend ingredients. Fold in carrots, pineapple and nuts; pour batter into prepared pans, and bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan (about 1 hour). Cool 15 minutes and remove from pans. Cool completely, then frost as a two-layer cake, using cream cheese icing (recipe below). * If using plain flour, add 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt to flour. Cream cheese icing 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1 stick butter or margarine, slightly softened and cut into pieces

1 1-pound package confectioners’ sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and beat to blend until smooth. LOUISE SMITH, ROCK HILL

EGG CUSTARD PIE SERVES 8

Jean Gill / iStock

18

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add sugar, salt, milk and vanilla. Beat well, then pour into pie shell. Mixture will fill a 9-inch pie shell to capacity; reserve any excess filling and bake it in individual buttered ramekins, if desired. Bake 30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Once cooled, refrigerate until ready to serve. Keep unused portion covered and refrigerated. JESSIE S. BRYANT, McCOLL

Fudio / iStock

4 eggs ½ cup granulated sugar ½ teaspoon salt 2½ cups milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell


CHOCOLATE CREAM DESSERT SERVES 10–12

Carrie Miller / iStock

1 ½ sticks cold butter 1 18.25-ounce package chocolate cake mix 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

DAVE’S BANANA NUT BREAD MAKES 1 LOAF

1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature ½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature 3 ripe bananas, mashed ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts or assorted mixture ¼ cup cinnamon chips (optional) Cooking spray

4 cups whipped topping, divided (if frozen, thaw slightly) 3 cups cold milk 2 3.9-ounce packages instant chocolate pudding mix 2 tablespoons chocolate curls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cut the butter into the cake mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and mix well. Press into a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Bake for 15–18 minutes. Cool completely in baking dish on a wire rack. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and half of whipped topping until smooth. Spread over cake. In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix by whisking with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spread over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. KATHERINE PUTNAM, EFFINGHAM

Lee Ann White / iSto ck

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk together flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In medium bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add mashed bananas and vanilla and incorporate well. Stir in nuts and cinnamon chips, if desired, to combine. Cinnamon chips add a nice flavor to the bread, but it is good without them. Transfer to prepared loaf pan. Bake 50–60 minutes or until bread is golden brown in color and starts to pull away from the pan. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, then invert onto the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in airtight container. DAVID WINANS, SIMPSONVILLE

Turn your recipes into cash Send us your original recipes Appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes, desserts and beverages—almost anything goes. For each one of your recipes we publish, we’ll send you a $10 BI-LO gift card. Be sure to specify ingredient measurements. Instead of “one can” or “two packages,” specify “one 12-ounce can” or “two 8-ounce packages.” Note the number of servings or yield. Entries must be original and they must include your name, mailing address and phone number.

What’s cooking in SCRecipe Fresh veggies September: Shrimp and grits

August:

What to do when generous summer gardeners give you tons of tomatoes, oodles of okra and piles of peppers? Send us your best ideas for soups, pickles, c­ asseroles and other dishes that call for fresh garden veggies.

Shrimp and grits is practically the state’s signature dish, but nowadays folks like to add a little something—goat cheese, green chilies, barbecue sauce, even beer. If your shrimp and grits keep people coming back for seconds, share the recipe with our readers.

Deadline: June 1

Deadline: July 1

Submit • online at SCLiving.coop • email to recipe@scliving.coop • mail to Recipe, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033

scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

19


SCGardener

BY S. CORY TANNER

Pest alert: Rose rosette virus Every now and then, a plant comes along that fundamentally changes

S. Cory Tanner

how we garden. Unfortunately, the same is true for the occasional pest or disease. Remember the once-ubiquitous red tip? The popular shrubs were greatly overplanted in the 1970s and ’80s. Along came a leaf-spot disease called

Symptoms of rose rosette virus When roses flush new growth in the spring, look for: l shoots that elongate more rapidly and/or are noticeably thicker than others; l excessively branched stems, known as witches’ brooms; l distorted leaves that are smaller and more strap-shaped than normal; l excessive thorniness; and l excessive red pigmentation of leaves and stems. 20

Because there is no cure, it is vital to detect infected roses early.

Entomosporium, and now we don’t grow red tips anymore. We repeated our mistake when the Knock Out rose was introduced in 2000. So easy to grow, Knock Out roses became the common gardener’s rose. They bloom practically all season and are drought tolerant and disease resistant. Tens of thousands appeared in S.C. landscapes, often in mass plantings—a stunning display when flowering and a dramatic change from how older rose varieties were used. Unfortunately, a relatively new disease in our part of the country, rose rosette virus (RRV), is wreaking havoc on Knock Outs and other roses. Once a rose is infected, it cannot be cured; the disease is fatal. All roses, not just Knock Outs, are susceptible to RRV. The problem is not the roses but how we use them—or, more accurately, overuse them—in the landscape. RRV is largely hosted by wild populations of multiflora rose, a non-native, invasive species of rose that grows in thickets and hedgerows. It is spread by the tiny eriophyid mite, which cannot fly but can walk between neighboring plants or be blown up to 100 yards by the wind. RRV can spread rapidly, sweeping through neighborhoods, even wiping out a mass planting in just two to three years. One way to prevent infection is to eliminate any wild roses, particularly multiflora roses, near your cultivated roses. Because there is no cure, it is vital to detect infected roses early, before the virus spreads. RRV-infected plants can be recognized by abnormal

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

shoot growth, similar to herbi­cide injury. Other common symptoms are listed in the box below the photo. Any one symptom alone may not indicate RRV, but a combination may. When caught early, the symptoms will often be restricted to just one shoot. If you have any doubt, take a sample and a picture of the plant to your local Clemson Extension office. Any suspect plant should be removed, roots and all, and destroyed immediately, either through burning (where permitted) or bagging and ­disposing in household garbage. RRV is systemic within plants, making it impossible to prune out. It can be spread during pruning, so clean your pruners with a 10-percent bleach solution or alcohol between shrubs. Soil does not harbor this disease, so you can replant roses in the same area. However, any roots remaining in the soil could harbor the disease. Before replanting, remove all roots or allow enough time for remaining roots to die. Make sure new rose bushes are disease free and space them far enough apart so leaves and canes do not touch. Spraying approved pesticides to control the mites is possible, but it is difficult to do successfully and not recommended. Since RRV is only known to infect roses, any other type of shrub or flower could be replanted immediately without risk of infection.  is an area horticulture agent and Master Gardener coordinator for Clemson Extension based in Greenville County. Contact him at shannt@clemson.edu. S. CORY TANNER


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Winner is responsible for taxes and administration fee (approx $169 total). • One vacationer must be at least 28 years of age. • Each traveler must have a current passport. Obtaining passports is winner’s responsibility. • All reservations subject to availability.

By entering, you may receive travel information from these great sponsors:

jj Quickgetaways.co jj Pawleys Island Realty/Rentals jj Hendersonville, N.C. jj North Charleston Arts Festival jj Aiken County Parks/Recreation jj Audubon Center at Beidler Forest jj Fort Mill Strawberry Festival jj Sparkleberry Country Fair, NE Columbia jj Anson, North Carolina Tourism jj Historic Bennettsville jj Alpine-Helen/White County, Ga. jj Rock Hill Parks/Recreation jj West Virginia’s Fabulous State Parks

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(two tickets, Newberry Opera House; deluxe accommodations, Newberry Holiday Inn Express; dinner for two, Steven W’s Downtown, Newberry Bistro). Send coupon to: South Carolina Living, 133 Yoshino Circle, Lexington, SC 29072 or travel@SCLiving.coop. Entries must be received by June 5, 2013 to be eligible for drawing. scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

21


Tim Han son

Milto n Morr is

N

t s u j t o

Bill Warren

Now in its 64th year, Dillon County’s famous South of the Border gears up for another tourist season BY TIM HANSON

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SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

If you want to take in the entire spectacle that is South of the Border, hand the girl at the arcade counter $1 and ride the glass elevator to the top of the 300-foot-tall observation tower shaped like a giant sombrero. Hovering like a neon UFO over the intersection of I-95 and Highway 301, the observation deck is just one of the many gimmicks designed to lure drivers off the road and into a 900-acre blizzard of colorful gift shops, restaurants and amusements that is the state’s—maybe the country’s— largest and best-known roadside attraction. From the rim of the sombrero, visitors can take in a panoramic view of the neon-colored monument to 1950s tourist kitsch. I’ve stopped by in the middle of winter, and at the moment, things look pretty quiet, but Chris Ray, the young elevator operator, assures me this will change soon enough. During the summer tourist season, he’ll practically live in that elevator, shuttling guests to the top and back countless times a day. “We are packed in the summer,” confirms Ryan H. Schafer, president of the family-owned business and grandson of founder Alan Schafer. “Our business goes up six- or sevenfold.”


Bill Wa rre n

Keith Phill ips

Signs of the times

Most visitors who stop for gas or food or souvenirs at South of the Border are lured here by scores of colorful, corny, groan-inducing billboards featuring Pedro, the ever-smiling mascot. One typical sign reads, “You Never Sausage a Place! You’re Always a Weiner at Pedro’s!” Attached to the upper right corner of the sign, and covering maybe a third of its width, is a giant fiberglass sausage. The billboards are almost as famous as the destination itself, and they still have the power to attract curious motorists. “Every time I drive to North Carolina to visit friends, I make it a point to stop,” says Florida-based Marine

Staff Sgt. Dalene Godinez, one of my fellow visitors. “The first time I was here was about a year and a half ago. I kept seeing all these signs and I thought, ‘I’ve got to stop to see what’s here.’” At one time, more than 250 South of the Border signs decorated the landscape from Philadelphia to Daytona Beach. Today, the billboards are limited to the Carolinas and located primarily along interstate highways, where they are seen by approximately 64,000 cars a day. Richard Schafer, chairman of South of the Border and the son of founder Alan Schafer, says the company has experimented with other forms of advertising. Keeping pace with the times, they also have a website and blog (thesouthoftheborder.com), a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, but nothing lures customers quite like those billboards. “We are a tourist business. Whatever attracts tourists works,” he says. “We’ve done every kind of marketing that you can think of, but we always came back to our basic billboard program.” scliving.coop   | April 2013   |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

All uncredited photos courtesy of South of the Border

As they have for the past 64 years, the Schafer family and their employees are gearing up for another summer with a mix of anticipation and optimism, well aware that the fortunes of their roadside attraction depend on the state of the economy, the price of gasoline and the desire of weary motorists to take a break from the tailgating madness of a long car trip.

23


Tim Han son

M ilto n

M o rr is

Say cheese

snakes, More than 100 exotic iculated including this albino retat the Reptile itors python (top), thrill vis at Rocket City, Lagoon, while over an Mizell (above) Michelle Dillard and Bryof fireworks every sell millions of dollars) has been standing year. Big Pedro (belowthis giant fiberglass for decades and, like sistible subject gorilla, is an irre s. for visitors with camera

So what do travelers actually do once they get here? Well, they can eat. There are five restaurants, including a 24-hour diner and a steakhouse located in a building that is, naturally, shaped like a sombrero. They can shop for souvenirs in seven different gift stores, each with a unique theme. In the T-Shirt Shop, cashier Kristy Hunt runs through a partial list of South of the Border souvenirs for sale: several different kinds of back scratchers, buttons, sombreros, ball caps, coffee mugs, shot glasses, huge plastic fly swatters, refrigerator magnets, key chains, oversized pencils, snow globes, Mexican maracas and, of course, oodles of T-shirts. “We sell lots of shirts,” she says. “Especially during the summer. We are just swamped during that time. I mean you can barely walk around in here.” Most of these souvenirs aren’t very expensive. A back scratcher goes for three bucks. Snow globes range from $4.50 to $12. A coffee mug or a souvenir plate sells for less than $8. The shirts go for about $30. Over at Pedro’s Mexico Shop, however, there is a 9-foot-tall wooden dolphin statue that will set you back $3,500. Not a big seller, as you can imagine, but as manager Jerel Singleton says: “You never know. Somebody, someday, might walk in here and buy it.” Two of the biggest moneymakers—we’re talking millions of dollars—are the fireworks stores, Rocket City and Fort Pedro. Michelle Dillard, the shift manager at Rocket City, says most customers spend anywhere from $30 to $100 per visit; some as much as $4,000. Those big spenders often need a cart to haul away giant boxes of artillery shells, bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers and sparklers. In season, carnival-style rides and a miniature golf course help entertain the kids, but on my visit, I couldn’t pass up The Reptile Lagoon, South of the Border’s newest attraction. For $8 ($6 for kids 12 and under) you can tour what is touted as the largest indoor reptile display in the United States, home to alligators, crocodiles, turtles and more than 100 exotic snakes. No doubt about it, there are plenty of ways to spend your money at South of the Border, but the single most popular amusement turns out to be absolutely free. Almost everyone who stops here ends up posing for pictures with

24

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

Tim Han son

The single most popular amusement turns out to be absolutely


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25


either Big Pedro, a 97-foot-high neon sign at the center of the complex, or one of the brightly painted fiberglass statues—giant chickens, giraffes, elephants, dinosaurs, ­alligators, pink flamingoes and 11 different Pedros—that surround the parking lots. Richard Schafer jokingly says that if he could have a dollar for every photograph that has been taken over the years, he could kiss the rest of the business goodbye and live a very comfortable life indeed.

Humble beginnings

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in Dillon County who has not heard of the late Alan Schafer, the semi-­ reclusive entrepreneur who founded South of the Border. The Schafer family has lived in the area since 1870, when Abraham Schafer settled his family in nearby Little Rock and opened a general store. In the early 1930s, shortly after the nation repealed Prohibition, Alan Schafer’s father, Sam, began making trips to Baltimore to buy truckloads of beer, selling the cargo for 75 cents a bottle. Not surprisingly, selling cold beer in a hot state proved to be a great business. Alan and his father soon created Schafer Distributing Company, which became one of the most successful beer distributorships in the United States. Then, in 1949, North Carolina’s Robeson County decided to ban the sale of alcohol. “Well, my father came up with an idea,” says Richard Schafer. 26

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

The idea—there was never a shortage of ideas with Alan Schafer—was to buy two or three acres of land at the state line and sell beer to those thirsty Tar Heels. “He opened up what was called The Beer Depot, and it was just a place to come and buy beer,” Richard Schafer says, adding that travelers making the long haul from New York to Miami also began stopping in at the brightpink, 18-by-36-foot beer stand. When South Carolina lawmakers decided that beer could only be sold in a restaurant, Alan Schafer didn’t miss a beat. He quickly installed a small kitchen and renamed the place South of the Border Drive-In—a reference to its proximity to the North Carolina state line. As more and more motorists began stopping to eat, Schafer noticed travelers picking fistfuls of cotton from a nearby field. His entrepreneurial mental wheels began to turn once again. “He leased the cotton field from the farmer who owned it, fenced it and started bagging little cotton bales, and people would buy them as a souvenir,” says Richard Schafer. That was the beginning of the curio business. Over the decades, business boomed as Alan Schafer adopted the playful Mexican motif and started putting up those crazy billboards. He added new ventures like the South of the Border Motor Inn and experimented with various theme shops and attractions, always adapting to the tastes of customers and the rise and fall of the economy. In the process, he built a delightfully tacky place that earned the top rating from Roadside America, a travel guide and

Above: Milton Morris

After North Carolina’s Robeson County banned alcohol sales, Alan Schafer bought land south of the N.C. border and sold beer to those thirsty Tar Heels.


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website dedicated to offbeat tourist attractions. In 2011, even highbrow Travel + Leisure magazine took notice, featuring South of the Border in its roundup of “kitschiest roadside attractions in America.” According to his sister, Evelyn Hechtkopf, Alan Schafer was a somewhat reclusive man who preferred to spend his time at South of the Border thinking of new ways to attract motorists. He often worked at night and slept with a pen and notepad on his night table so he could capture the ideas whenever they came to him. From the beginning of the business, Schafer welcomed employees and visitors regardless of their skin color, a risky stance in an era of segregation and discrimination, Hechtkopf says. He also helped lead a campaign to register black voters for the Democratic Party, and that prompted the Ku Klux Klan to pay a not-so-friendly visit. Schafer produced a gun and, in so many words, ordered the men to get the hell off his property. Schafer was heavily involved in local politics and for several years served as chairman of the Dillon Democratic Party. One of the low points of his life came in 1981 when he was convicted—along with more than two dozen other people from both political parties—in a vote-buying scandal that landed him in federal prison. Schafer served

a reduced sentence, came home and threw himself right back into the business he loved. Until he died at age 87 in 2001, Schafer continued to be the guiding force behind South of the Border.

The sky’s the limit

Strolling around the perimeter of the big yellow s­ ombrero, I stop to drop a quarter into one of those binocular viewers and, as the gentle whirring of the machine starts chipping away at my time, I peer through the eyepiece and look out over the park that Alan Schafer built. Make no mistake: the place shows its age. It’s no ­postcard-perfect Disneyland, but the 300-plus employees

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Throughout Schafer experimhis life, Alan ented with a variety of attr ac gimmicks, alwaytions and marketing ever-changin s adapting to the His son and gr g tastes of customers. an that tradition dson have continued w a motocross trith the addition of ack, Google satelliteseen here in view. Google Maps / Imagery ©2013 Digitalglobe, GeoEye, USDA Farm Service Agency

keep the stores clean and well-stocked, the neon lights ­functioning and those fiberglass statues spruced up with plenty of bright paint. What, I wonder, does the future hold for South of the Border? Since Richard and Ryan Schafer took over from the old man, they’ve made a few renovations and added some attractions you might not expect—like a motocross training track. Neither man will discuss specifics, but Richard Schafer assures me that South of the Border “is big and growing and has a potential to do a lot more growing. We’ve got a lot of things we’re thinking about doing at the proper time.” “We change,” Ryan Schafer says simply. “We don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. What’s the point in being another McDonald’s? There would be no reason [for ­tourists] to stop.” 

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S PRIN G   &   S U M M ER T R AV E L G UI D E

Glencairn Garden


tory s e l A r e ng i mG T h e B le n h e i

BY TIM HANSON

Several times each week,

Milton Morris

Monte Hamilton squints his eyes and carefully mixes three kinds of Jamaica ginger and a generous dose of capsicum into 50 gallons of fresh spring water. There’s other stuff in there, too—citric acid, caramel coloring, sucrose—and all of it is blended by a huge, belt-driven propeller inside a 110-gallon mixing basin. But it is the spicy aroma of the ginger that immediately permeates the room and forces Hamilton’s eyes to water. “Once that propeller is turned on and starts mixing all the material together, it just takes your breath away,” he says. Mixing the basic ingredients is the first step in a bottling process that, by the end of the day, will yield 1,200 cases of Blenheim Ginger Ale, the famously spicy soft drink prized by

devoted fans across South Carolina and around the world. “We sell all that we can make,” says Blenheim plant manager Kenny Cook Jr. as hundreds of freshly-filled bottles rattle their way down a conveyor belt only a few feet outside his glassed-in office. The small company, owned by South of the Border’s Schafer family, pumps out maybe 100,000 cases of the stuff each year. That’s not a lot in a world dominated by monster soft drink companies like Coke and Pepsi, but you won’t hear the Blenheim

Photo s: Tim Hanso n

Water from this spring in Blenheim wa used to make the origins al stomach tonic that evolved into Blenheim Ginger Ale.

30

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

people complaining. “Our business has steadily picked up, and we’re pretty much at capacity,” says Ryan H. Schafer, president of South of the Border and grandson of legendary entrepreneur Alan Schafer, who purchased the soft drink company in 1993. “It’s profitable, and we try not to mess with it.” Blenheim, of course, isn’t for everyone. Its zesty, sometimes sneezeinducing character delivers an adult portion of ginger and spice that makes more traditional ginger ales taste bland in comparison. While it may be an overstatement to say that Blenheim has a “cult” following, there is clearly a faithful clientele who often will go to great lengths to keep bottles of the powerful concoction in their refrigerators. One fellow in Montana, for example, buys Blenheim by the pallet. He happily pays $1,100 for the 60 cases and tacks on another $1,500 to have it shipped to him. South Carolinians have an easier time getting their Blenheim fix. Sixpacks of the state’s native soft drink can be found on the shelves of every South of the Border gift shop, at select grocery stores, and—if you know where to look—in coolers at farmer’s markets, country stores, barber shops and even bluegrass pickin’ parlors. Beverly Owens of Marion has been drinking Blenheim since she was a child. “In those days, that is what Mom would give us if our tummies weren’t


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S PRIN G   &   S U M M ER T R AV E L G UI D E

Tim Hanson

t) Cedric Jacobs (righiago nt Sa R. rt be Ro d an cases move hundreds ofer Ale ng Gi im of Blenhe e bottling onto pallets at thounds of gr e th on t an pl er. South of the Bord

South Carolina’s native soft drink started as flavored sulphur-spring water used to treat stomach disorders. feeling good,” she says. “It’s a lot stronger than Canada Dry or other ginger ales. I think that’s what I like about it. It’s just got more of a punch to it.” The drink got its start back in the late 1800s in the tiny Marlboro County community of Blenheim, home to an iron- and sulphur-charged spring that a local physician—Dr. C.R. May—­ recommended to patients suffering from stomach disorders. Patients drank the water but complained loudly enough about the taste that Dr. May figured he’d soften the blow by adding some sugar and ginger. And that, apparently, was just the ticket. Stomach problems or not, people started putting away enough of the beverage that it finally dawned on the good doctor that he had invented a genuine American soft drink. A bottling plant was built next to the spring in the early years of the 20th century and over the next 90 years or so turned out a product that won the hearts of ginger ale fans far and wide, including one Alan Schafer. Schafer grew up drinking Blenheim Ginger Ale, and when he became wealthy enough to do pretty much whatever he wanted, he 32

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

added the famous beverage to his business empire. The original plant sometimes ­produced as little as 18 or 20 cases in a day and was in pretty rough shape by the time Schafer came along. Rather than refurbish the building, the new owner figured it would be cheaper to build a new plant on the grounds of South of the Border. Blenheim comes in three varieties, each identified by a different colored bottle cap—pink for the spiciest blend, gold for the regular and white for the diet version. While the basic recipe for Blenheim hasn’t changed since 1903, the soda being bottled today isn’t as peppery hot as it was when Alan Schafer was alive. Ryan Schafer figures that maybe his grandfather had lost some of his taste buds in later years and, to compensate, kept dialing up the heat in the Blenheim recipe. Once the old gentleman passed away, however, Ryan Schafer figured the drink was just a bit too spicy. “I backed the heat out of it a little, slowly over time,” Schafer says. “But it’s still hotter than anything out there.” 


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Calendar    of Events Please confirm information before attending events. For entry guidelines, go to SCLiving.coop.

MIDLANDS

26–28 • Santee Birding and Nature Festival, Santee National APRIL Wildlife Refuge, Summerton. 11–20 • Come-See-Me (803) 478-2217, ext. 106. Spring Fling, downtown, 3–5 • UPSTATE Festival, various venues, Spartanburg. (864) 562-4195. 26–28 • “You’re a Good APRIL Rock Hill. (800) 681-7635. Man, Charlie Brown,” Circle Party 4 • Down for the 16 • Irish Fest, downtown, 12–21 • Indie Grits Festival, various Theater of Barnwell County, Playground with Retro Vertigo, Gaffney. (864) 487-6244.  venues, Columbia. (803) 250-5292. Barnwell. (803) 259-7046. Greenville Downtown Airport, 16 • Black Violin, The Peace Greenville. (864) 634-1380. 17–28 • PSJ Carolina Spring 27 • Sweet Celebrations, North Center, Greenville. (800) 888-7768. 4 • Strawberry Festival, Slater Circuit, Highlands Event Center, Augusta Community Center, Aiken. (803) 649-3505. North Augusta. (803) 426-1284. 16 • Herman Melville, a Hall, Slater. (864) 288-6470. free Chautauqua discussion, 18–21 • Midlands Plant & Flower 27 • Microscope Program, Aiken 4 • Fountain Inn Chamber CHSA Hughes Main Library, State Park, Windsor. (803) 649-2857. Horse Show, Berry Woods Farms, Festival, State Farmer’s Market, Greenville. (864) 244-1499. West Columbia. (803) 734-2210. Fountain Inn. (864) 862-2586. 27 • Historic Beech Island Tour, 16–21 • Clemson Players: One-Act 4–5 • “Tcheers” for 19 • Kemopalooza, Beech Island. (803) 867-3600. Play Festival, Bellamy Theatre, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Peace Center, MAY Brooks Center for the Performing Tchaikovsky, Columbia. (803) 434-6021. Greenville. (800) 888-7768. Arts, Clemson. (864) 656-7787. 2 • National Day of Prayer 5 • Natural Discovery Day, Hagood 19 • Chanticleer, USC Aiken Observance, H. Odell 18–20 • Clemson Blues Festival, Mill Cultural Series, Etherredge Historic Site and Folklife Weeks Recreation Center, Patrick Square and other locations, Center, Pickens. (864) 898-2936. Center, Aiken. (803) 641-3305. Aiken. (803) 640-4689. Clemson. (864) 650-0585. 19–21 • Olde Towne Artisans 6–29 • Handbuilding: Beyond 2–5 • The Black Cowboy Man 19 • Shindig at the Cabin with the the Basics, The ARTS Center, Fair, Living History Park, North or Myth African American Out of Towners Band, Limestone Clemson. (864) 633-5051. Augusta. (803) 279-7560. Fest, Greenfield Farm, Street, Gaffney. (864) 487-6244. 20 • Original Columbia Doll Rembert. (803) 499-9658. 7 • Spinx Charity Classic, 19–20 • Pickens Azalea Festival, Chanticleer and Riverside greens, Show and Sale, National Guard downtown, Pickens. (864) 878-3258. Greenville. (864) 233-5421, ext. 0. Armory, Columbia. (803) 438-9578. 3 • Aiken Lobsterfest, Newberry Street Festival Center, 19–20 • Stone Soup Storytelling 10 • Blue Ridge Fest, 734 W. Main 20 • Run United 5/10K Aiken. (803) 646-0523. Festival, multiple venues, Race, historic downtown, St., Pickens. (800) 240-3400. 3–4 • South Carolina Strawberry Woodruff. (864) 476-8770. Aiken. (803) 649-6245. Festival, Walter Elisha Park, 10–11 • 2013 Whole Bovinova 19–21 • Abbeville French Heritage 20 • Recovery Road Race, Fort Mill. (803) 547-2116. Roast for Charity, Heritage Festival, Abbeville Historic Square, Cow Swan Lake Iris Gardens Health Park, Simpsonville. (864) 346-3838. 3–4 • Hog on the Hill Abbeville. (864) 942-2850. Pavilion, Sumter. (803) 436-2500. BBQ Cook Off, downtown, 10–11 • Slater Marietta High 20 • Laurens County Humane 20 • Pork in the Park, downtown, Chester. (803) 385-4803. School Rodeo, 205 Bates Bridge Society Wag ’n’ Walk, Laurens Newberry. (803) 321-1015. Rd., Marietta. (864) 313-8533. 3–5 • Orangeburg Festival of County Higher Education Center, 20 • Bark to the Park Walk Roses, Edisto Memorial Gardens, 10–12 • Artisphere, downtown, Laurens. (864) 984-6484. Festival for Animals, Finlay and Orangeburg. (800) 545-6153. Greenville. (864) 271-9398. 20 • Furman Earth Day Park, Columbia. (803) 407-9174. 4 • Prosperty’s Hoppin’ 11 • Swim & Race for Pendleton Festival, Furman University, with Arts and Antiques, Place, Greenville Westside Aquatic 20–27 • Striped Bass Greenville. (864) 294-3655. Prosperity. (803) 924-1717. Complex, Greenville. (864) 467-3650. Festival, various venues, 20 • Spring Bonanza, various Manning. (803) 435-4405. 4 • Arts on the Ridge, Century venues, McCormick. (864) 852-2835. ONGOING 21 • Party for the Planet! House, Ridgeway. (803) 272-6471. 25–27 • Reunions of Upcountry Tuesdays through Saturdays Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, 4 • Peach Blossom Festival, through June 1 • Brim Families, Southern Wesleyan Columbia. (803) 779-8717. downtown, Johnston. Full of History Hat Exhibit, University, Central. (864) 898-0840. 21 • The Big Nosh, Tree of (803) 275-2345. Anderson County Museum, 26–27 • Mayberry Comes to Life Congregation, Columbia. Anderson. (864) 260-4737. 4 • Tour de Cure, Little Westminster, Westminster, (803) 466-9835. Mountain Reunion Park, Little Tuesdays through Sundays (864) 647-5316. 21 • Annual Bass Fishing Mountain. (888) 342-2383. through May 4 • Carl 27 • Ghost Creek Gourd Tournament, Gravatt Camp Plansky: 30 Years of Painting, 5 • Camden Cup Polo Match, Fest, Ghost Creek Gourd Farm, and Conference Center, Spartanburg Art Museum, Camden Polo Field & Fine Arts Laurens. (864) 682-5251. Aiken. (803) 648-1817. Spartanburg. (864) 582-7616. Center, Camden. (803) 425-7676. 27 • Central Railroad Festival, 25 • Palmetto Health Tuesdays through Sundays 7 • Wildflowers of the downtown, Central. (864) 654-1200. through June 2 • The Hunt for Foundation’s VIP Auction, The Southeast, Birds and Butterflies, Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium, 30–May 5 • Great Anderson Treasure! Children’s Museum of the Aiken. (803) 649-7999. Columbia. (803) 434-2830. County Fair, Anderson Sports Upstate, Greenville. (864) 233-7755. 10–11 • Aiken Bluegrass Festival, & Entertainment Center, Artista 25–27 • Vista, the Vista, Thursdays through August • Highfields, Aiken. (803) 640-9287. Anderson. (864) 296-6601. Columbia. (803) 250-5292. Music on Main, Denny’s Plaza, 10–11 • Spring Cooterfest, various 26 • Palmetto Health MAY Spartanburg. (864) 562-4195. venues, Allendale. (803) 584-4619. Foundation’ s McDaniels Golf 2–4 • Abbeville’s Spring Fridays through May • Jazz 11 • Mead Hall Strawberry Classic, Fort Jackson Golf Club, Festival, various venues, on the Square, Morgan Square, Festival, Mead Hall School, Columbia. (803) 434-2830. Abbeville. (864) 366-5007. Spartanburg. (864) 562-4195. Aiken. (803) 644-1122. 26 • Barnwell County Golf 2–5 • Piedmont Plant & Flower Saturdays, May through Tournament, Sweetwater Country 11 • National Train Day, Aiken Festival, Greenville State Farmers November • Hub City Visitors Center & Train Museum, Club, Barnwell. (803) 259-7446. Market, Greenville. (864) 244-4023. Farmer’s Market, Magnolia Aiken. (803) 293-7846. 26 • Taste of Fort Mill, Street Train Station, 3 • Spartanburg Regional Springfield Golf Club pavilion, Spartanburg. (864) 585-0905. ONGOING Classic, downtown, Fort Mill. (803) 547-2304. Spartanburg. (864) 598-9638. Second Saturdays • Music Thursdays through May • 26–27 • Sparkleberry Country on the Mountain Bluegrass Rhythm and Blooms, 3–4 • Greer Family Fest, Fair, Clemson University Sandhill Jams, Table Rock State Park, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, downtown, Greer. (864) 877-3131. Research and Education Center, Pickens. (864) 878-9813. Columbia. (803) 779-8717. 3–5 • Heritage Trail Pottery Tour Columbia. (803) 920-1621. & Sale, The Museum and pottery studios, Greenwood. (864) 554-0336.

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SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

27 • Marsh Tacky Beach Races, Daufuskie Island. (803) 517-2545. 27 • Charleston Dog Show, Marion Square, Charleston. (843) 860-4973. 27 • Southern Flame Southern LOWCOUNTRY Food and Music Festival, The Ponds, Summerville. (843) 851-3939. APRIL 28 • Blessing of the Fleet, 12–21 • Society of Stranders Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, Spring Safari, various venues, North Myrtle Beach. (803) 366-5506. Mount Pleasant. (843) 884-8517. 15 • Hootie & The Blowfish MAY Monday After the Masters 1–5 • Southern 8ths Celebrity Pro-Am, The Dye Farm’s/Nikon Heart of the Club at Barefoot Resort, North Carolinas horse riding event, Myrtle Beach. (843) 399-7238. Chesterfield. (843) 623-5005. 15–21 • RBC Heritage, Harbour 3 • People’s Choice: A Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Community-Curated Exhibition, Island. (800) 234-1107. Gibbes Museum of Art, 17 • Lowcountry Christian Charleston. (843) 722-2706. Women’s Connection Luncheon, 3–4 • A Taste of Beaufort, Hampton Hall Community Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Clubhouse, Bluffton. (843) 368-2483. Park, Beaufort. (843) 525-6644. 18 • Spring Greening, Hobcaw 3–5 • Cinco de Mayo Barony, Georgetown. (843) 546-4623. Festival, Bandito’s, Myrtle 18–20 • Puddin Swamp Beach. (843) 808-9800. Festival, various venues, 3–11 • North Charleston Arts Turbeville. (843) 659-2781. Festival, North Charleston 18–20 • South Carolina BBQPerforming Arts Center Shag Festival, various venues, and other venues, North Hemingway. (843) 625-0188. Charleston. (843) 740-5854. 19–21 • East Coast Paddlesports 4 • Dragon Boat Festival, & Outdoor Festival, Brittlebank Park, Charleston. James Island County Park, (843) 324-9505. Charleston. (843) 795-4386. 4 • Lowcountry Shrimp Festival, 19–28 • ArtFields, various Robert E. Ashley Landing, venues, Lake City. (843) 374-0180. McClellanville. (843) 887-3323. 20 • Miss Wanda Johnson at 4 • Modern Quilt Guild Arts International Festival, Reception, ARTworks, Francis Marion University, Beaufort. (843) 379-2787. Florence. (843) 762-9125. 10 • True Blue, An Indigo 20 • Habitat for Humanity Workshop, Hobcaw Barony, of Horry County Bed Race, Georgetown. (843) 546-4623. Market Common, Myrtle 10–19 • Myrtle Beach Bike Beach. (843) 650-8815. Week, various locations, Grand 20 • Edisto Island Museum Spring Strand. (336) 643-1367. House Tour, Edisto Island Museum, 11 • Mayfest on Main, Main Street, Edisto Island. (843) 869-1954. North Myrtle Beach. (843) 280-5570. 20 • Soft Shell Crab Festival, Old 11 • Bluffton Village Village, Port Royal. (843) 470-1110. Festival, Calhoun Street, 20–21 • Earth Day Music Fest Bluffton. (843) 815-2277. & Expo, House of Blues and The ONGOING Boathouse, North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. (843) 995-3199. Mondays through Saturdays, through May • Modern 20–21 • Art in the Park, Valor Park, Myrtle Beach. (843) 446-7471. Quilt Exhibition, ARTworks, Beaufort. (843) 379-2787. 21 • Home, Garden & Art Tour, Tuesdays through Oct. 8 • Old Village, Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant Farmers (843) 764-2323, ext. 386. Market, Coleman Boulevard, 26 • Lowcountry Dancing with Mount Pleasant. (843) 884-8517. the Stars Oxygen Ball, Marriott, Thursdays • Farmers Market Charleston. (843) 566-8451. of Bluffton, Calhoun Street, 26–28 • Colleton County downtown Bluffton. (843) 415-2447. Rice Festival, various venues, Thursdays through October • Walterboro. (843) 549-1079. Blues & BBQ Harbor Cruise, 27 • Ground Zero Dragon Charleston Maritime Center, Boat Festival, Grand Park, Charleston. (843) 722-1112. Myrtle Beach. (843) 497-0580. 27 • Loris in Bloom Spring Festival, downtown, Loris. (843) 756-6030. Fourth Saturdays through August • Bluegrass Series, Haynes Auditorium, Leesville College Park, Batesburg-Leesville. (803) 582-8479.


SCHumorMe

By Jan A. Igoe

Thou shalt not snatch the church lady’s purse Purse snatching is not funny. Let’s start with

that. But for educational purposes, we have to make one tiny exception for the novice who picked my friend Emily as his first mark. I urge every purse owner to read this and memorize what not to do. My friends were strolling down the street after a concert when the purse grabber arrived. He walked briskly past his first options—Angie, a kinder­ garten teacher smaller than most of her class, and Lisa, an accountant who won’t eat until after tax season. He stopped beside Emily, a gentle youth group leader who could play center for the Steelers. With no formal training in victim selection, Snatcher looked her in the eye and stepped closer. They paused for a “Do I know you?” moment as her friends assumed someone from church stopped to give her a hug. Then he grabbed Emily’s purse. Time Out: Before we go any further, you need to understand Emily’s purse. It’s only a purse in the sense that it holds stuff and hangs from her shoulder, but size-wise, it’s more like a U-Haul. By rights, this purse should have monster truck tires and a double axle. So Snatcher grabbed, and Emily clenched. Her brain cells screamed to let the purse go, but her muscles locked down like crocodile jaws on a buffalo. The purse was going nowhere. Nor was Snatcher. At this point, her friends realized this guy wasn’t from the youth group, but they were too petrified to scream. Instead, Angie began waddling back and forth like a duck in a carnival shooting gallery, waving her arms and mumbling, “Give him the purse. Please, Emily, just give him the purse.” Lisa hid behind a bush, trying to yell, but couldn’t find her vocal cords. “Help” was stuck silently on her tongue. Meanwhile Emily realized her car keys were in the purse 38

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |   April 2013  |  scliving.coop

and without them, no one was leaving. So she made Snatcher an offer he was too dumb to refuse. “Look, you can have my money, but first I get my keys.” Being a novice, he agreed. Emily began tossing purse innards to Snatcher. Out came lipstick, Crock‑Pots, Mardi Gras beads, a yoga mat and her wallet, but no keys. She kept tossing as Snatcher’s arms spread wider for the pile of stuff already up to his chin. Emily found her keys about 4 feet down. “Oh, thank God,” she whispered, plucking her wallet from Snatcher’s pile. At that point, Angie stopped waddling long enough to ask Lisa if she just saw Emily hand over her wallet and then take it back. Still voiceless, Lisa nodded. “Wait a minute, give me that,” Snatcher said. “No, we agreed. Just the money,” Emily insisted, wagging her finger at him with the unassailable authority of a longtime Sunday school teacher. Snatcher just shook his head. “Hurry up. I’ve got a date.” Emily quickly opened her wallet, which was empty. “Do you take debit cards? ” she asked Snatcher, whose eyes were spinning in opposite directions. That’s when Lisa began hurling change at him. “Here, I’ve got money. Take this.” While Lisa pelted him with nickels, a police cruiser drove up and Snatcher jumped in. He seemed happy to see them, Emily said. Since the encounter, Emily has retired her purse, wears her car keys on a lanyard and keeps her finances in her bra. Snatcher got five years to contemplate Emily’s final words: “If you needed a ride, you should have asked.”  Jan A. Igoe is eternally grateful her friends weren’t hurt, in spite of themselves. There will be other purses. Good friends are much harder to replace. Contact Jan at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.


South Carolina Living April 2013  

South Carolina Living April 2013

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