It seems like nothing in the South is ever purposefully torn down. Buildings are left in peace to pass away in their own time, to fade into the background under encroaching vines, lean and sag into the sand, succumb to saplings that grow right up through the floors and
shoulder them off their foundations. Next to go is the roof, piece by piece of rusting tin, first lifted and loosened, then flying right away in the hurricanes. Finally the rains soak the wood and, helped along by the termites and sow bugs, the millipedes and carpenter ants, they turn to dust and disappear into the earth.
Bonnie's Barn on the highway to Charleston was a country store from the early to late 1900s, owned and run by Bonnie Thames. Bonnie was one of three brothers who owned stores in the area. On the hour drive between Charleston and the next town, Georgetown, it was a place for touring motorists to stop for gas and a cold Coke on the trip through the Francis Marion National Forest on the way to the hunting camps and Myrtle Beach fun.
Bonnie Thames must have sold plenty of gas and Cokes because here is his once-fine home next door.
The old Southern mansion is and was the lone home for miles around. It is surrounded by protected wetlands, pine forests, and old rice fields near the Santee River.
It's easy to imagine evenings and Sunday afternoons on this porch, sipping sweet tea and watching the cars on the highway that runs up the coast from Florida to Maine, US. 17. I wonder if the rooms upstairs might have been used as lodging for travelers in those days gone by.