To Everything There is a Season.
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At the foot of Spring Street in Charleston just before the Old Ashley Bridge and on the corner by the Police Station is Crosby's Seafood. The building is neither historic nor architecturally significant, but the business has occupied this choice piece of real estate for well over twenty years. We were drawn to Crosby's for more than their pleasing application of blue coloring.
Crosby's sells only seafood and such condiments as might be used in its preparation. This runs counter to the trend of ever larger supermarkets which sell an ever growing variety of foods and durable goods.
Just a few blocks up Spring was Carl Harley Meats. Mr. Harley was a butcher by trade and sold every kind and cut of meat, but only meat. A few blocks east was the Avenue Meat Market on upper Rutledge Avenue. Near that was Bullwinkle's Bakery, just one of many on the peninsula not so many years ago. The supermarkets have absorbed those markets, have their own butchers and bakers. Candlestick makers cannot be far behind.
The supermarkets don't do so very badly with their meat and bakery departments, but it's certainly not the same as those independent stores. The butchers and bakers might put their entire lives into their trades and gather a wealth of friends and customers in the process. Those trades were their identities of which most were quite proud. They were components of the community and not merely transients within departments of commercial giants.
Supermarkets also sell seafood these days. We worry that independent seafood stores like Crosby's or Simmons Seafood in Mt. Pleasant or Carrig's on upper Rivers Avenue might follow butchers and bakers down the dusty road to extinction. We worry, too, that local folks seem to have lost all sense of season. Today we want everything regardless of the season. It reminds us of using credit cards to grab something now rather than saving for such treats. In the old days you had them fresh in season or frozen later, but we didn't get shrimp from Ecuador or fish from Chile. So, it's not simply the feared demise of the independent seafood houses, but our loss of seasonal orientation which robs us of things we look forward to. To everything there IS a season.