I’ve saved this story until Halloween, but I’ve thought of it several times since this past summer. Each July, we leave our hometown of Knoxville to vacation at Pawleys Island, South Carolina, for a week. On the way home, we take different routes home just to see more of those sweet coastal towns you read about in Southern Living. This past summer, we passed through the charming Southern town of McClellanville, as we’ve done several times before, on our way home.
Visiting McClellanville is a trip back in time: Lovely homes with wide front porches sit underneath trees dripping with Spanish moss. We generally park the car, walk the two or three blocks known as “downtown,” eat lunch, and then head home with our blood pressure lowered and our need for a small- town fix satisfied.
But not this time. As we walked down the uneven sidewalk beneath draping trees, we suddenly — and I do mean suddenly — stopped dead in our tracks with this sight. Yes, you’re seeing this correctly: a head. Tall as the bottom story of the house, tucked under a porch, unpainted, and apologizing to no one.
I desperately wanted to go toward it to see what it was made of. To see if it had a back. To see if I could figure out what it was used for. But going onto the grass might mean I was trespassing, and I was a little freaked out thinking what someone might do if that someone saw me patting down the forehead or looking behind the ears.
So, with my trusty iPhone, I moved as close as I thought the law would allow and snapped a picture as surreptitiously as possible.
And then both of us beat a hasty retreat to the car, only to pass this house in full decay mode.
I guess it’s true: What’s real is sometimes pretty surreal.
Happy Halloween! And beware: a slow stroll through a cute town might actually creep you out.
— Bert and Rusha Sams