By Mark A. Leon
This story will be a little anecdotal, but will paint a picture of the way life in Charleston was less than a decade ago, when locals wore nothing more than a tee-shirt, jeans and flip flops on Upper King, your best friend was your neighborhood bartender, rent, beer and food were reasonable and faces on King Street were always familiar to you.
Many of us remember the peninsula being void of heavy regulations, sidewalks were not paved with tourists clustering the walk ways, traffic was bearable and a friendly greeting from a neighbor always made your day.? That was a time I remember fondly and last week I was reminded of that once again.
As the newbies know, that world no longer exists, nor have they ever had a chance to experience that small-town intimacy that used to be the staple of Charleston.
On Spring Street, the incredible folks that brought bring us King of Pops opened a small local neighborhood restaurant and bar called Crooked Crown.? We were fortunate not only to dine on Wednesday night, but become a part of a revolving door of friends coming in to celebrate with Sean, our server and bartender who turned twenty great (28) on this very day.
With two rounds of homemade birthday cake, friendly dogs, and neighbors stopping by from upstairs, we felt like extras on the cast of Cheers.
With strangers and new friends toasting one another celebrating the life and times of Sean, I began to reflect, with fondness, a different time when I first moved to Charleston.
Early in the evening, as Sean was sharing a story of a date gone wrong, I noticed one of my favorite Instgrammer and her beautiful dog walking by.? I quickly ran out to say hello and thus, making each other’s day.? This once again, fueled my nostalgia seeing a very familiar face on the street.
The night carried on passed midnight as Sean and I spoke candidly about life, relationships and goals for the future.
We sat outside while Sean had a cigarette and we both indulged in the quiet peacefulness of downtown Charleston.? This was just the right way to end the night.
Seeing a familiar face in the street greeting me with a smile, sharing stories with strangers who truly felt like friends, singing “Happy Birthday” in the bar like a scene in the “Piano Man” video by Billy Joel and just feeling like a true Southern small-town was enough to yearn for the Charleston life so many of us fell in love with, now so long ago.