Sunday, April 30, 2023

Zentrum #AtoZChallenge

We have come to the end of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with the letter "Z" and a rare Sunday post.  Normally, we in the Challenge don't blog on Sundays, but, this year's calendar dictated otherwise.  

Let's return to South Carolina one last time and visit a museum near Greer, South Carolina.  

The full name of the car maker we popularly know as BMW is "Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH", which translates, roughly (according to BMW's website)  to "Bavarian Engine Works Company".  

BMW started out as an engine manufacturing company in 1913.  During World War I they supplied aircraft engines to the German military.  But the treaty that Germany had to sign as part of their defeat in World War I forbade Germany from manufacturing aircraft engines.  Eventually, manufacturing shifted to other products, including motorcycles and, eventually, automobiles.

BMW is still headquartered in Munich but has a manufacturing plant near Greer, South Carolina.  It's an extensive campus.  We had hoped to take one of the available tours, but they were all booked up.

The next best thing was visiting the Zentrum.

"Zentrum" means "Center" in German.  It's a combination meeting/events center, cafeteria, and what they call a living museum.

If you want to tour the history of BMWs (and see a short looping film taken on the manufacturing floor), this is the place.  And, it's free, unlike the BMW cars, which cost way above my budget.

Let's go in and look at some of the BMWs you will find on display at the Zentrum.

Helpfully, for "Z" day,  a number of BMW models begin with Z.

The Z1 (1989). 

James Bond (well, the actor playing him)  drove a BMW Z8 in "The World is Not Enough".

The last of this model to be produced, the people on the assembly line who helped build it signed the vehicle. 

If you like older vehicles, here is a BMW from 1930.

A 1934 BMW, complete with my reflection.

There were also a couple of electric vehicles on display (didn't take pictures).  One can dream....

We had quite an enjoyable conversation with an employee at the gift shop (of course there's a gift shop).  He tried to get us on a tour (just in case there had been a cancellation) but, it just wasn't to be. He told us that every vehicle that comes of the Greer assembly line has already been purchased, and is customized to the buyer's wants. 

What a way to end the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I hope you've enjoyed my posts, and have also visited some of the other participants.  And now, back to my New York home (and reality).

"Z" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Yellow #AtoZChallenge

Yellow is one of the main colors of spring, it seems.

Once again, for my "Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I am devoting it to the beautiful yellows of spring.  Because I can't resist, I'm returning to my home area in the Southern Tier of New York State today. 

 From my garden - the first tulip to open (April 22).

Wood poppy (April 21)

Bladderwort (April 22)


A species tulip.

Daffodils and grape hyacinth.

Golden dead nettle (April 27) 


My last two tulips to open - pale yellow (April 28)

My last daffodil to open (taken April 28)

From earlier this month (not mine), a forsythia.

"Y" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme: "Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States. 

Tomorrow, the last day of Blogging from A to Z for 2023, I will return to South Carolina one last time.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Xcite #AtoZChallenge #SkywatchFriday

For me, "X" is the hardest letter to use in the Blogging from A to  Challenge, but I remembered something that has been open in my mall since around 2019.  Perfect!

Xcite. Wrestling exhibitions and practice take place in this space.

Today is also Skywatch Friday. What can be more Xciting than some nice sky pictures, including one where the sky has provided clouds almost like an X?

Let's go to the Carolinas today, both North and South.

Mt. Airy, North Carolina, sunset, February 18.  We had not been in the area since August of 2017 and it's our overnight stop on the way to South Carolina.

The next morning, I took this picture as a mockingbird sang (and sang, and sang....)

From a slightly different angle.

Lake Norman, near Charlotte, North Carolina, has become more and more popular over the years.  We've seen the area grow from the comfort of our car.

Near Moorseville, North Carolina.  Things change as population grows  This certainly wasn't here in 2017.  Express toll lanes.  In 1990, the population of Moorseville was about 11,000.  Today, it's around 51,000.  Xciting times for this area.

Finally, the Saluda River, South Carolina 2017.

Joining Yogi and other skywatchers each Friday for #SkywatchFriday.

"X" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme: Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Words of Wisdom #AtoZChallenge

I usually have trouble with the W post for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge because there are so many choices for W.  

This year, I decided on "Words of Wisdom" after visiting Greenville, South Carolina's Cancer Survivors Park (also see my "P" post on April 19.  This entire park provides support and inspiration for those facing cancer and those who have survived it. 

The park is full of plaques with words of wisdom.  Let's pay a visit and be inspired.

The Power of Teamwork - a quote from Helen Keller.
The power of Laughter, from famed author Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and other beloved books.
Finally, the Power of Exercise.

This statue is called "Fear Not".  I also featured it in my "P" post on the park, but it is worth repeating.  It carries a powerful message.

What a beautiful park full of support and inspiration.

"W" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme this year is: Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Victory (Over Hate) #AtoZChallenge #WordlessWednesday

 In 2015, I blogged about an amazing man I had the privilege of meeting in March of 2015.  It's time to tell, as someone used to say, The Rest of the Story.

This is the story of Pearl Fryar, a man living in Bishopville, South Carolina.

During our meeting, Mr. Fryar told me his amazing story.

Mr. Fryar told us that he had come to Bishopville from the borough of Queens, in New York City, when his job transferred him to South Carolina around 1976.  He and his wife, both African-Americans, purchased a lot - really, a cornfield- in an all white neighborhood, in order to build a house.  To say that his new neighbors were not happy with people of color moving in might be an understatement.

They said African Americans couldn't keep up their yards. 

Mr. Fryar decided to prove them wrong - with love.  He took a short course in topiary. After his 12 hour shift at a local factory, Fryar would come home and work  on his topiary. It took over 20 year but Fryar eventually built a three acre topiary garden on his property stocked mainly with castoffs from a local nursery.

Pearl in his younger days.

Eventually, visitors from all over the world came to see this garden in the Pryor backyard. This is a garden that is truly a victory over hate.

In 2015, the entrance to the display.  The tree (a palmetto) and the moon are the state symbols of South Carolina.

Pearl Fryar's house.
This display was called "Hate Hurts".

More art.

Now, the rest of the story.

When I met Mr. Fryar in 2015, he was 75 years old.  At this writing, he is 83, and in declining health.  By 2020 he was unable to keep up the garden and it was declining, too.

Fortunately, help arrived.

A man, Mike Gibson, is working to preserve the work of Mr. Fryar.  

Others are helping, too.  Still others help with funding.

The three acre garden is still free.  Donations are accepted.  

Pearl Fryar is a national treasure.  I am blessed to have met him.

"V" Day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Joining Sandee and other bloggers each Wednesday for #WordlessWednesday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Urban Finds #AtoZChallenge

Today, I am returning to Greenville, South Carolina, to explore some of the views I saw in and around its downtown.

This fountain around Poinsett's Spring was built to slake the thirst of travelers on a main road through what is now Greenville.  This article explains that hundreds of people pass it daily without knowing what it is, but at least there is now a historical marker.

I never did investigate the bridge, though, which is the oldest surviving bridge in South Carolina.  And, speaking of the Poinsett these structures were named after....

This is Joel Robert Poinsett, scientist and politician.  If the name sounds familiar, the familiar Christmas plant the poinsettia is named after him. He was also our first Ambassador to Mexico and a Secretary of War.

Two pieces of rock with pansies in front of them. I wonder what the significance of this is.

Last but not least is this large cookie jar.  I first learned about Byrd's cookies years ago when we first visited Savannah, Georgia, where the original store still is.  Byrds has been expanding into other cities and has a store in downtown Greenville.  Their cookies are small but full of flavor.  I've been a fan since my first taste, and it was years since I had one.   And yes, you can sample any flavor in the store. (No, I am not being paid for this endorsement.  Just a fan of these cookies.)

One final picture.  These papers were in various storefronts in downtown Greenville.  This initiative is called "Keep Your Change To Be the Change" and addresses the growing problem of the unhoused in Greenville.  The money donated through the QR code or the website goes to the City of Greenville, which, in turn, will donate various outreach organizations.

We may not want to think of this population, but it is part of the urban scene in many places, not just Greenville, and, unfortunately, it was visible the two times we visited the downtown.

"U" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme this year is: Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Monday, April 24, 2023

The Twist (South Carolina Musicians) #MusicMovesMe #AtoZChallenge

It's Monday and it's time for music.

Who are the Music Moves Me bloggers? We are bloggers who blog about music each Sunday or Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only-meaning at least one music video, please!)   Our head host is Xmas Dolly, and our co-hosts are Cathy from Curious as a Cathy, joined by the knowledgeable Stacy of Stacy Uncorked and Yours Truly.

Why not join our music loving folks?  It's so easy. All you have to do is join the linky above with a music post that contains at least one music video.  No music video? Your post may be removed, or may be labeled *NO MUSIC*.   

Today our theme is "You Pick".  Because this is T day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, why don't I pick some musicians born in South Carolina and find songs that begin with "T"?

Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans in Spring Gully, South Carolina on October 3, 1941.  His big hit fits right in with this Them:  The Twist.  "The Twist" was a cover of a Hank Ballard song. With his group, The Midnighters, they recorded the song in 1958.  It charted for them, and for Chubby Checker in both 1960 and 1962.

James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, was born in Barnwell, South Carolina on May 3, 1933.  The song I've chosen is called "Think".

And, just because, I will include this song, although it doesn't begin with T, because I love it.  Here is "Living In America".

Darius Rucker was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 13, 1966.  He formed the group "Hootie and the Blowfish"while at the University of South Carolina.  This talented musician ended up switching genres and becoming a country star, so I had to decide if the song I featured would be rock or country.  I chose one of his country songs, "True Believers", because the lyrics and video are so beautiful.

The Marshall Tucker Band was not ever fronted by pianist Marshall Tucker, who died earlier this year at the age of 99.  The band itself is from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Mr. Tucker was from South Carolina also,  so it qualifies for this post.  Here is "Travelin' Man", a song with a blues vibe.

John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas was born in Parris Island, South Carolina.  I'm choosing a cover of "The 'In' Crowd" for their song.

One last artist for today: Eartha Kitt was born in North, South Carolina on January 17, 1927.  One of her best known songs is "Santa Baby" from 1953.  This may be a bit of a cheat, but the year after Santa Baby was released (1953), a sequel (yes, a sequel!) called (This Year's) Santa Baby was released.  It's perfect for this "T" theme, although it was not a follow up hit for Ms. Kitt.  

And that's a wrap!

Join me again next Monday for another episode of #MusicMovesMe.

"T" day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  My theme:  Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Spring 2023 Flowers

It's the day of rest in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and I thought I would show you scenes from my yard in the Southern Tier of New York in the last couple of days.

We have been on a weather roller coaster.  70's, 80's, 50's, back to the 70's, 80's and today, maybe 50's.  Yesterday was so windy that one of my six inch clay flowerpots with a houseplant I keep outside in warm weather fell and broke.


Grape hyacinths.

Cherry tree getting ready to bloom.

One of the three varieties of brunneria I have.

And in the areas where I like to walk:

A crabapple tree.
Closeup of another crabapple.
Beautiful flowers for sale at a local supermarket.

More red tulips.

It's so nice to have flowers in my life again.  

Thank you, spring.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Swamp Rabbits and Shoeless Joe #AtoZChallenge

Today, we return to Greenville, South Carolina to investigate swamp rabbits and Shoeless Joe Jackson.

No, I don't have any pictures of real swamp rabbits.  Just a statue of a rabbit I found in Greenville, South Carolina.

This will have to do, which brings up the question "why would Greenville, South Carolina have a statue of a rabbit?  And what does that have to do with Shoeless Joe Jackson?

Bear (no pun intended) with me.....

A swamp rabbit is a large cottontail rabbit (the largest cottontail, actually) and is found in the Southeast United States and Gulf Coast regions.  They are good swimmers, too.

One had a famous encounter with President Jimmy Carter in 1979 while he was fishing near Plains, Georgia.  The hissing rabbit apparently tried to climb into Carter's boat.  It may have been trying to escape some dogs.  The rabbit was dubbed a "killer rabbit".

I don't know exactly why swamp rabbits are popular in Greenville, but it could have originated as Sa local name of the Greenville and Northern Railway that began operating in 1920. After the railroad ceased operations part of it eventually became part of a 22 mile walking/multi use trail that runs from Travelers Rest, South Carolina through Greenville.   The name of the trail?  Well, of course, the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

As for Shoeless Joe Jackson, he was a baseball player that you may recall from the hit movie "Field of Dreams".  "If you build it, they will come" and the ghost of Shoeless Joe was one of them that came.  But let's start at the beginning.

In 1919, eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of trying to throw the 1919 World Series to the opposing team, the Cincinnati Reds, for a payment of $5,000.  One of them was South Carolina's "Shoeless Joe" Jackson.  They were acquitted in a trial, but the baseball commissioner banned the eight players for life.  

After the scandal, Jackson returned to Greenville and ran a dry cleaners and a liquor store.  Shoeless Joe Jackson died in Greenville, South Carolina in 1951, at the age of 64, and is buried there.

Enter two somewhat lost tourists....

When we were driving around trying to find a Swamp Rabbit trail head (parking can be difficult), we passed Woodlawn Cemetery.  Something rang a bell - "quick, drive into that cemetery!" I asked my spouse.  "I think this is where Shoeless Joe is buried."


After a little searching, we found it.

There is also a museum devoted to Shoeless Joe in Greenville, but we were not in town the one day of the week it is open.

"S" Day in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  My theme:  Exploring South Carolina and the Eastern United States.