Welcome to Port Summerville

This is a fiction, but most of it is true.

On a map, Port Summerville isn’t distinguished with a dot like other cities. Port Summerville is more of a speck. If by chance you took the correct exit, and after about a two-hour trip down this winding stretch of a farm to market road, you’ll bump into Port Summerville, which confirms the expression, ‘a blind squirrel can find a nut every once in a while.’ At this part of your journey, you couldn’t miss it if you tried. Port Summerville is like a geographic cul-de-sac — one way in and one way out. Perhaps that was the plan. It sounds more like the opening of a Twilight Zone episode than a little trip to the coast. When you arrive at the imaginary entrance line, the first thing greeting you on the outskirts of town is an itty-bitty sign about the size of a postage stamp.

“Welcome to Port Summerville and Enjoy Your Stay.”

If not for the local scout troop, we wouldn’t have a sign. The city spends thousands every year grooming palm trees, but they’re too cheap to shell out a few bucks for a decent sign, but that’s Port Summerville.

Port Summerville was just plain weird and more like a movie set than a town, meaning you saw what the producers wanted you to see; just the pretty stuff. The leaders of the community, or in this case, the movie directors were aware of how their bread was buttered — by tourism. Tourists, or what I refer to as the cast and crew, and in a trance-like state, instinctively knew where to go and what to avoid. To help them stay on the beaten path, city planners in cooperation with the Visitors’ Bureau, cleverly positioned street markers. You will notice the occasional “You are Here” maps, aided by well thought-out “One Way Only” and “Do Not Enter” signs. All the time and expense were an attempt to keep the cast and crew near the set and shield their eyes from the ugly stuff such as the poverty, crime, and worst of all, unkempt palm trees. All the ugliness and eye-sores were neatly tucked away behind the stage, hidden from plain view. The movie was a constant, and never a rerun, and the players remained the same until the next election or new appointees. After spending more than a few days there, and as you continued your way through town experiencing all its charm, you will soon realize Port Summerville made Mayberry look more like Peyton Place.

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