Who is Pat Conroy? (Kiss my shrimp and Grits)

My inspiration for writing is devoted to one person, and a whole lot of other ones.  That was written with confusion, but allow me to explain.

His name is “The Prince of Tides”.

Visiting the majestic city of Charleston, South Carolina, my wife and I drank the beer, ate the cool shrimp and grits and tasted a dish called “she crab soup”.  I will never find its’ equal.  My favorite author, Pat Conroy, is respectfully known in Beaufort, South Carolina as a man who wrote, “The Prince of Tides”.  He has also written many other books blessed with grace and a voice I’d like to hear and have one beer with.   I did not wish to receive an autograph, see his home or annoy him in any way.  It was pure maple syrup curiosity.

In South Carolina, Britt, (my wife) and I, would ask questions as to what we determined the nicest people in the world. Our questions seemed to be answered. They shook hands.  They said strange phrases such as “Please and Thank you”.  When I opened the door for anyone, they replied,  “Thank you Ma’am, or Thank you, Sir. These were white women and black men treating all of us as equals.  I am indeed a man, but if they were to refer to me as a ma’am, I would  reply with great dignity and say to them….with a genuine smile.”You are very welcome”.

Pat Conroy provided excitement for the mere notion of the scary attempt at doing what I wished for. Writing.  Middle School students provided the gasping relief to know I required a different profession.

My first job interview as an English novice, I was asked one very, and  dreadfully dishonest question.  ” Who is your favorite Author?”  Initially, I thought, in the most phony of ways, Shakespeare,  Chaucer, Hardy, and even the saddest and craziest of all, Emily Dickenson.   I needed to impress these idiots so I could make forty grand a year with summers off.

Beg to differ.  Rather than pulling out the confusing cards such as Shake, Chauce, Emily Dick and even Hardy…..who made me suffer for three long years without baseball, I busted out Pat Conroy.  None of these imbeciles knew who I was referring to.  I said, “you know, the guy who wrote the “Prince of Tides.”

Their response………oh……….yeah, yeah…..good good.  Anything else?

Nope.  It was at that moment,I recognized how ridiculously stupid administration could be.  There was no Waaaaayyy I was going to work for them.

I didn’t get the job, but I knew where my path was leading.  After fifteen of years teaching, I finally found my Shrimp and Grits.  And, I’m going to retire with her.

I did meet Pat Conroy, and he was just as expected.  He was the Prince of Tides, and South Carolina is definitely, the prince of tides.

Ben Gannon




3 thoughts on “Who is Pat Conroy? (Kiss my shrimp and Grits)

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