Reunited in South Cackalaka … For A Few Minutes

Ah, South Carolina. What crazy memories I have from those 728 days I lived in the foothills of Appalachia. The reporting assignments in places like Sugar Tit (real name) and Fingerville (yep), the big debate over whether the new Dollar General was going to ruin one of the old mill towns, all the fantastic friends I made that I think about quite often.

It’s also the place the campaign trail could come to a halt for my former governor, Rick Perry. So I contacted one of my fave television photogs, Steve, flew down on Sunday morning and we joined forces, just like the old days, to shoot a political event — Perry’s return to the Palmetto State for a 21 day tour/likely last stand. (See earlier post.)

Grabbed a few behind-the-scenes snapshots from the event, and I want to test out my new slideshow plugin (more on that to come, eventually), so here goes:

Did He Say “Extra Governor?”

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Dropped in on the campaign trail real quick to get some video of my former governor, Rick Perry, in my 2004-2006 stomping grounds, Spartanburg. This is the same place where my friend Latoya and I met at Denny’s nearly every Friday night for dinner because we didn’t have much else to do. (Or anywhere else to eat.) And the same place that a guy killed his girlfriend by throwing a hot iron at her head and telling the police that all the blood on the carpet was actually an explosion of condiments like hot sauce and ketchup.

Speaking of ketchup, Perry spoke at The Beacon, a South Carolina drive-in-that-doesn’t-have-a-drive-in-anymore and a standby for visiting politicians. Here’s how my colleague Don Gonyea described it:

There’s no paper or computer here — J.C. takes your order, then hollers instructions to cooks in The Beacon’s unique lingo. For instance, a chili-cheeseburger a-plenty means your plate is going to be covered with french fries and onion rings.

The place goes through 300 pounds of chili on a Friday night. Just the kind of crowd a campaign is looking for.

“If you want to be elected for president, you better come to The Beacon,” Stroble says with a chuckle.

It goes without question that all the food here is predictably greasy — cheeseburgers, onion rings, chili cheese. The Texas governor ordered something which I believe was the go-to order, Chili Cheese A Plenty (double or single patty available). But he gave it a name of his own: