I hear the familiar ‘trot-trot-clump’ of heavily worn out horse shoes as I walk along the historical downtown of Aiken, South Carolona. It is not uncommon to see horses in the streets of this town. Sometimes they carry carriages behind them, but more often local folks are riding these beautiful creatures on the saddle on the same roads as cars. The city of Aiken prospered because of its horses. Every year the city hosts its Steeple Chase where owners come to race their horses and spectators come to have a good time in the warm summer afternoons. The city’s reputation has allowed it to also be the host of the Olympic Equistrian Team try-outs.
The fields always smell as if they have been freshly mowed and fish never cease to lack in sport. Many people come to this town to retire and live out the rest of their livelihood playing on a multitude of golf courses, and participating in hunting and fishing.
As I remininse about the people I grew up around in my small town, I am often comforted to realize I grew up in a community that cared for one another. Asking for your neighbors permission to borrow a tool from their garage or a spice from their kitchen seemed offensive in a way. It was much more appropriate to simply walk into each other’s welcoming homes and use what you needed.
The city life is fast and the country is sparse, but Aikem is a perfect mixture wrapped inside a small community. It is a place where neighbors are neighbors and historical influences meet southern hospitality.