This has surely been an odd winter season; in fact, it's almost strange to talk about signs of spring when most of the East Coast has experienced spring all winter long. But, sure enough, there are lots of signs of spring abound in the Lowcountry.
While a huge portion of the country looks to a groundhog named Phil to predict the arrival of spring, in the Hammond House, there are signs a little closer to home to look for. You know, like Michelle scrubbing red dirt out of baseball pants and a bat bag constantly residing in the floor of the front foyer. If the baseball equipment doesn't provide enough of a hint that spring has sprung, perhaps a drive down Central Avenue in Summerville, SC will serve as a reminder. Prior to moving to the Low country seeing the televised images of azaleas in full bloom at Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters formed an iconic identity of spring in Dixie for me. But I now believe that some of the most vibrant pink flowers reside right here in Summerville during the spring when azalea bushes the size of a house burst into bloom as the sun warms the air.
Of course, along with the explosion of color comes the telltale layer of yellow pollen that settles on cars, outdoor furniture, porch railings and sidewalks. It reminds me of the chalk dust accumulating on the chalk rail under the chalkboards in my elementary school back in the day. But the reminders of the coming of spring and summer are not all provided by Mother Nature. Even though Charleston is a year-round tourist destination, the South Eastern Wildlife Exposition followed by the Charleston Food and Wine Festival leading up to the Cooper River Bridge Run ushers in the high-season for tourism in the Land of Palm Trees.
But even though all of those things SCREAM spring has arrived, there is a single clue that serves as the one undeniably "Chawlston" reminder that beach season is just around the corner. Yep, you guessed it, the Seersucker Suit advertisements from M. Dumas & Sons on King Street are back in the Post & Courier each day. I never owned a Seersucker Jacket until I came to the Lowcountry, but it is a staple for every Southern Gentleman's closet and as "Chawlston" as Shrimp-n-Grits and Bawled Peanuts.