The second level porch was accessible from his grandmother’s bedroom. She had French doors that opened to the porch overlooking the front yard. From that vantage point, Ryan could walk to where the porch curved elegantly to overlook a side garden and an expansive brick terrace. Interspersed within the terrace were brick edged planters which contained geraniums and roses, along with other plants Ryan couldn’t begin to name. In the midst of all this, he spotted an outdoor glass table surrounded by chairs. He supposed you could eat meals outside, but could not imagine trying now. The weather was ungodly hot and humid, and the mosquitoes within the shade of the garden were killers. He was drinking a can of cola, and the condensation ran off the can like a faucet. The climate was a far cry from Wisconsin.
The house was located in the historical and fashionable section of town. Palm trees grew in the yards and beside the street, along with huge oaks covered with moss hanging from the branches like delicate scarves. The neighborhood was actually a square, with old homes–many of them antebellum–surrounding a small park. Additional oak and palm trees graced the park, which served as an attraction for people to stroll at a leisurely pace to beat the heat while enjoying the locale. Horse-drawn carriages containing tour groups were present, with the guide’s comments about the area drifting leisurely up to Ryan on the porch. The tourists snapped pictures of the park and surrounding homes with their digital cameras and cell phones, and Ryan was confident he was in some of the shots. His grandmother said their town could never be confused with Charleston as a tourist destination, but they were starting to receive their fair share of visitors–nearly as many as Beaufort and Georgetown. Ryan found it amusing just the same to be considered a tourist attraction.
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