Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 – “Meet My New Friend, Otis!”
On Feb. 17, 2017, Leslie, Danny, and I drove to South Carolina to surprise mom and dad for Dad’s 79th birthday (one week ago!).
Chad and Jason and Vincent had just been there last week and Jason and Chad were looking at buying a house not far from Mom and Dad…so we took a ride to see it! Turning off the main road, there were a few beautiful homes, some older trailers, and a few cows standing in a back yard. The road continued straight onto grass, no real driveway, but behind the hedges was a pretty nice ranch style house that needs some work and some love. It had been started years ago, the man passed away, and his kids never finished it. Perfect house for these two young men, but a lot of work to be done. Using our imaginations, it could be beautiful.
Leaving the house, we came around the bend and there was a gentleman walking down the street. He was a black man who had a slight build and a little mustache. He wore a brown suit, a little cap on his head and carried a cane. We rolled down the window to ask if he knew anything about the house and in a true Southern drawl as answered, “Yes, ma’am. I grew up here.” We pulled the car over and the 5 of us jumped out to talk to him. What a treat that was!! He stood with both hands perched on the cane and told us about the neighborhood. He had grown up just around the bend and so did his parents and his grandmother. He knew the parts of this area with his eyes closed. He was a long shore man who worked in the harbor in Savannah! He also told us about all the properties he owned in South Carolina….totaling a million dollars worth of land! He even told us about his “Angus Steaks” he is raising in the yard…this way he gets the tax break for the “farm” he runs! He even chuckled at that himself. His father had taught him an important lesson – Don’t let your money sit, you need to move it around and make it work for you. Clearly he had followed his Dad’s advice!
As the conversation ran down, we introduced ourselves. Reaching out to each of us, he said, “And I am Otis Wilson, blessed to meet you” as we all shook his hand.
Almost reading our minds, as a mother of Chad, an aunt and uncle to both boys, and the 2 grandparents standing there, he assured us that “this is a very safe neighborhood”. What wonderful words to hear from a stranger who had grown up on this very street and obviously loved his neighborhood.
As we pulled away, our windows still down, Otis, with one hand on the cane, and one waving to us, he called out, “You’ll have a blessed day”.
What a treat it was to meet such a Southern gentleman!