Pluff Mud Chronicles

By David Farrow and Charles W. Waring III


If you follow me on Facebook, you know I take a lot of those little quizzes like what rock and roll star would you be (John Lennon), what Greek deity are you (Eros), what Gone With The Wind character are you (Rhett Butler) and so on. This very morning I took a quiz that asked, “When Will You Die?” The answer? At a whopping 57 years old. Thing is, Charles, on the 28th of this month on the birthday you and I share (happy 50th), I will be 62.

Yikes! I’ve been dead for five years. Well, that explains so much. Since my near fatal collision with pneumonia and cancer a few years back, I have gained weight and gotten some color in my rosy cheeks. Four or five times in the past month, people have stopped me and told me how good I’m looking these days. Believe me: That should not be confused with good looking.

Death seems to become me — not in that attractive, “Gosh-he-looks-so-good,” open casket kind of way — but more in that cutting a fine figure of a man type of je ne sais quoi.

To be honest, I don’t remember dying or what caused it. From what I see on the TV, any medicine on the market these days seems to have side effects that include hair on one’s palms, situations lasting four hours or more, coma and death.

How was the funeral? I trust it was really short and my cousins, Renee, Francie and Park Dougherty, sang some spirituals and everybody came to the afterparty and enjoyed excellent liquor, food and rock and roll (Marvin, Janice, Jimi, Duane, et al.). With any luck, you could scare up a Tam or two. Charles, did you bring that venison tenderloin?

No matter, it should be smooth sailing from here on out. After all, my number one rule is that life is something that gets in the way of your plans. Well, what with life no longer an impediment, that huge advance check should be here any day now.

I wish I could give you the skinny on the vast spiritual questions that have plagued mankind since the advent of time, but to be honest with you, you caught me with my pants down. No, really. It was four in the morning and I was sitting on the couch in my boxer shorts gazing at my phone. Point being, so far being dead doesn’t seem to be what I thought it might be. So far today, I’ve had to deal with the cable company and I am somewhat piqued. I thought things would be more in line with that whole trailing clouds of glory business and all. Well, as it ever was in life, I’ve been dead for five years and had no clue until I took that pesky quiz this morning.

At least I landed upright in Charleston for, as Alfred Hutty once telegraphed, “Come quickly! Have found heaven!”

Just got your phone message. I’ve never heard you swear like that. I can’t believe you would excoriate my source. It was on the Internet, for gosh sakes. As you well know, if it’s on the Internet, then it absolutely, positively has to be true.

Happy birthday Charles, Lese, etc.


            David, happy birthday to you, Lazarus; glad you are hanging around a little longer. I would rather celebrate someone else’s birthday than my own; it is that of my late father, who would have turned 85 this October 21. Something called a glioblastoma was more than he could fight, but he would not wish to dwell on that topic.

He was simply crazily joyful about the month of October and not so much because of his birthday. He did not understand why the rest of the world did not take a deep breath and look around and see how wonderful life could be in this glorious fall month. After all, Dad thought life in Charleston became civilized once a fellow could wear a tweed coat in the middle of the day without breaking a sweat. Once he starting sporting tweed, the smiles were constant and the plans to hear the hounds entered his mind.

            The afternoon light of fall makes social gatherings even more special, which was something Dad lived. I recall catching my father looking up into the changing leaves in the trees and then glancing around at those standing next to the tailgate after a long day in the field chasing wily white-tailed deer. He understood that those small moments were what Archibald Rutledge called “Life’s Extras.” We pick up many things from our parents and my father was not one to lecture — at least not too often. Rather, his method was to show the way and let the chips fall where they may.

            He also lost his father in the fall — a few days following a duck hunt up at Tibwin Plantation where they each took a limit of mallards. Dad never discussed in detail the importance of his last hunting trip with his father. However, he left it up to me to use my brain and figure out that life is dern short and that you had better make the most of those rare days in the field where close friends, fine sport and inspiring woodlands were there because we have a loving God who gives us just what we need.

After he got in his fall groove through the driven deer hunts, he would start to speak of Gentleman Bob and begin making plans. I never knew what would end up becoming our last bird hunt trip, but I should have taken in a clue. He never missed a single bird that flushed that day up at The Oaks in Georgetown and I could not hit squat.

He was swinging a double Sauer; it was a new acquisition and suited him perfectly, as he demonstrated. On quail alone, I usually did fairly well while Dad often shot high because his regular Browning was too light for him, but that was not the case that February day. Let me be clear: I am not bragging about my shooting, because Dad always did better than this wretch with the ducks and doves, but this day was Dad’s day.

After we put away our guns, we had a visit with Herb Butler and laughed about old times. The sun was soon to be scarce, so we said farewell. I drove Dad home in his truck and he sipped a bit of Grouse and spoke of going to South Georgia the following year or maybe he’d finally buy a place in Scotland … after all, a man has to dream and live to dream. Dad knew how to live and understood October was just what a true Lowcountry citizen requires to get recharged in this brief jaunt on planet Earth.


If you have a legend for us to uncover or a historical quirky point you wish for us to address, please send same to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, please email David Farrow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Discover the real “southern charm”; join him at for a look at Charleston 25 years ago with updates and new interviews with Harlan Greene and Jane Thornhill as well as new stories. Visit his Facebook page “Dusk: Charleston in the 20th century.” This is a chance for you to tell tourists exactly what you think and a chance for tourists to do the same. Check it out: it’s really fun.


Mercury newspapers can be found at the following locations:


Buxton Books

Caviar & Bananas

The Meeting Street Inn (Rack)

Clair's Service Station, Folly Rd. (Rack)

Harris Teeter, Houston-Northcutt Blvd. (Rack)

Mt. Pleasant Library, Mathis Ferry Rd. (Rack)

Pitt St. Pharmacy

The Square Onion, I'On (Rack)