In his eyes
This is a text in english that my son wrote this past year at school. I think he is a good story teller with a great sense of humor.
Pat Conroy was one of my favorite authors then and still is, after his passing in 2016.
A few years back, in 2014, when me and my family still lived in the US, and when we still did huge road trips around the multiple states of the enormous country, we came to a town called Beaufort. It was located on the swampy coast of South Carolina, and was not very big (that’s an understatement as the town only had a main street with three rickety houses) yet it had some beautiful suburban houses, built in the old Creole plantation style. The neighborhood was very nice to drive through (drive, because who would have walked in that humid yet boiling atmosphere, with the bitter sweet scent of pollen from all the great magnolia trees harassing the nostrils, and the possibility of a surprise attack by the swamp’s inhabitants, ranging from alligators and crocodiles to snakes and fearsome raccoons!).
Yet we had a reason for braving the dangers of the wild South Carolina. My mom had learned that a famous author, Pat Conroy, lived in the area surrounding Beaufort. This and the awesome restaurant that served the « best shrimp and grits on the east coast». We set off trying to find Pat’s house, which we all thought would be so majestic we would not miss it. We were mistaken. The author, probably in fear of paparazzi assaulting his private life, had camouflaged his house among the others. An hour later, we had searched through the entirety of the neighborhood. Twice. At that point we were tired, and if they had not already, the good people of Beaufort were probably asking themselves whether to call the cops on the odd grey « soccer mom van » driving in the eerily empty street. Tired and hungry, we decided to go to the visitor center in the historic part of town to gather information of the whereabouts of the house.
The historic district was bigger than the main street, since it had four grand buildings. We entered the cool and dry visitor center and just stood in the doorway, enjoying the wonders of climatization. My mom was the first to come out of that trance and went to ask the woman working in the gift shop a bit of information of the town, and the not too subtly asking for where good ol’ Pat might happen to live, so we could totally not drive up to his house and take a bunch of pictures and not ask for his autograph. The woman, who had probably been paid off by Pat, said nothing of where he was, but gave us a book he had hand-signed.
After this short and unfruitful encounter, we went back to the car. Again, we had a bad surprise. In the three minutes we had parked in front of the visitor center, we had gotten ticket from the local (and probably only) policeman. But I guess my parents were too tired to argue and we left and paid the ticket later.
After this not so great encounter with bad luck, we were too tired for anymore adventure and went back to our hotel room. So people can say what they want about this story, but at least we tried our best to meet the renowned author.
Pour ceux qui ne lisent pas l’anglais, voici ma traduction qui malheureusement pour vous ne reflète que pauvrement la truculence du texte original.
Quelques années en arrière, en 2014, quand j’habitais toujours aux US avec ma famille et que nous faisions encore des énormes road trips traversant les multiples états de cet immense pays, nous sommes allés dans une ville nommée Beaufort. Elle se trouvait sur les rives de la marécageuse Caroline du Sud et ça n’était pas bien grand (c’est un euphémisme vu que la ville n’était composée que d’une rue principale et de trois maisons bancales) mais on y trouvait quelques belles maisons, construite dans le style « vieille plantation créole ». Le quartier était très sympa à traverser (en voiture, parce que QUI aurait marché dans cette atmosphère humide mais brûlante, saturée du parfum doux amer de tous ces grands magnolias qui nous assaillait les narines, et la possibilité d’une attaque surprise par un des habitants du marais, alligators, crocodiles, serpents ou encore de redoutables ratons-laveurs!).
Après cette rencontre plutôt mesurée avec la chance, on repartit pour l’hôtel, trop crevés pour chercher d’autres aventures. Les gens peuvent dire ce qu’ils veulent mais au moins on a fait de notre mieux pour rencontrer Pat Conroy.