Some kids love science. I’ll admit I’ve always been a fan of “chemistry,” but really had a hard time in school. Being the class clown takes time away from listening, studying, etc. But put something in my hand and I can focus.
When I started playing saxophone in fourth grade up in PA, I had no idea what, where or who was gonna happen. The important thing was that the SCHOOL had us kids come to the band room and “try” the trumpet, hit the snare drum.
Had I heard of John Coltrane or Kenny G? Nope. But I had to play the saxophone. Somehow a bandmate of my father‘s donated an alto sax to an 11-year-old Jevon and I began to play in school. Of course, I still drew pictures of the B.C. Rich guitars I saw on MTV during class (when I was supposed to be listening to the teacher), but I now had the sax. Let’s riff!
Does this process happen anymore?
Basketball? Sure, man…you wanna play basketball? Here. Sign up and play. A decent piano costs hundreds of dollars. Drums are not cheap. Where do the instruments come from?
I know—we could get all the golf courses to donate one day’s worth of watering funds and probably buy three schools a full band’s worth of instruments, music and music stands. Then you need a dedicated teacher. And parents willing to help. You also need kids with that fire that the HHHS Marching Seahawks had in 1983. All 18 of us. We actually practiced where M.C. Riley is now—the old McCracken Middle School.
That band had some serious players: Daryl Byrd, Eddie Days, Greg Smalls.
Kim Grant. Oh, and those two skinny kids with the funny names—Jevon and Gavan Daly—ha, ha!
Gavan was an A student (with a flat top haircut back then) and a killer surfer with a lot of focus. Jevon NEEDED that band. I loved it. Yes, I was picked on for the size 42 pants I wore (all we had left in the uniform closet). You should have seen when we got into All County Band and went to Battery Creek in 1985. WOW.
Without music, school life was tricky for me. There are kids all over the U.S. just like that kid I was back in 1983. Kids that have trouble studying or sitting still in class. Kids that want attention. The band was IT for me.
What can we do moving forward for our kids? I honestly don’t know.
Music programs are dwindling nationwide. The Arts are fizzling everywhere, being replaced by website design classes and other classes my son is taking that I cannot even begin to “get.”
First, schools need instruments and a teacher.
Where would guys like me—guys and girls who make a living singing and playing now—be without our band background from school? The pride and confidence I received from that; no one can ever really know how I felt playing in that early Seahawk Band…sitting next to the tubas in the back.
We were BAD. The band played “Word Up,” I mean! Confidence beamed from every one of our faces. The Light!
Hopefully Martin Lesch and the Junior Jazz Association have something up their sleeves. Maybe teachers like Dr. Corley over at Red Cedar here in Bluffton will find a way to spark something. They have a drum corps that marches! Ya never know till ya try.
I hope someone makes some moves. If I can help, gimme a call: (843) 683-BOIL. Ask for the 44-year-old Dad guy who still has that Seahawk Marching Band pride happenin’. Every gig I do is an extension of all those kids I played with. They were some serious players. Thanks to Mr. Smith, too.
That’s where I come from.
Written by Jevon Daly.
The Lowcountry is proud of its culinary heritage – and rightly so.
No matter what the name — country, farmhouse or down-home cooking — the appeal of Southern food crosses social, racial and geographic lines. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor flock to restaurants where fried chicken, collard greens, barbecue and cornbread dominate the menu.
Of course, the term “Southern” means different things to different people. Near the coast, folks gather for oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils, with seafood and rice as key ingredients in many meals. In upstate South Carolina, fish fries and pig roasts are reason for celebration. And in Louisiana, Cajun and Creole epitomize “Southern” cooking.
However, no matter what the name, all Southern cuisine shares certain qualities. First and foremost, fresh food is a defining characteristic of the Southern table. What began as a necessity — since food in the heat of a Southern summer would have spoiled without the benefit of refrigerators and ice boxes — has now become a core part of the cuisine.
Historically, Southern cooking is a blend of several distinct cultures, including Western European, African and Native American cuisine, all of which came together in the Southern antebellum kitchen of the ante South. Native Americans taught early settlers how to grow, process and cook corn, which was used to make cornbread, hoecakes, hushpuppies, grits and whiskey. Many foods typically considered “Southern,” such as field peas, okra, peanuts, yams and eggplant, were actually African in origin and were brought to America by slave traders.
Pigs were the other major food source in the South for several reasons. Requiring little maintenance, they were often allowed to roam wild and later caught for butchering. Lard, fatback and bacon were used to add flavor to cooked vegetables and the meat could be cured and eaten later. Barbecue continues to play an important role in the South’s regional identity.
Another distinguishing feature of Southern cooking is the sense of tradition and heritage inherent in popular dishes. Recipes are often handed down from generation to generation. Nostalgia plays a large part in “comfort food,” inspiring memories of Sunday dinner for many.
The final, and perhaps most important cornerstone of traditional Southern cuisine, is hospitality, which can be found in great abundance throughout the Lowcountry.
Hilton Head Island beaches are some of the finest and most pristine in the Southeast. And since summer is in full swing and they are just a few miles away from Bluffton, now is the time to take advantage of them! Here’s all that you info you’ll need to know before you go.
Public Beach Access:
- Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Dr.
- Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Circle
- Driessen Beach Park, end of Bradley Beach Rd.
- Chaplin Community Park, off Wm. Hilton Pkwy.
- Fish Haul Park & Mitchelville Beach Park, end of Beach City Rd.
- Burkes Beach Access, end of Burkes Beach Rd.
- Folly Field Beach Park and Islanders Beach Park, both off Folly Field Rd.
Parking & Facilities:
- There are 23 metered spaces at Alder Lane, 54 metered spaces at Folly Field and 13 metered spaces at Burkes Beach Road. The parking fee is a quarter for each 15 minutes.
- Additionally, there are 207 spaces at Driessen Beach Park for long-term parking. The fee is a quarter for each 30 minutes during the week.
- The majority of parking spaces at Islanders Beach Park are reserved for annual beach passes, but there are some metered spaces.
- Parking at Driessen Beach Park for annual beach passes is reserved from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Parking is FREE at Fish Haul Park, Mitchelville Beach Park, Coligny Beach Park and at Chaplin Community Park, adjacent to Burkes Beach. Handicap parking is available at no fee at all parks.
- Restrooms, changing areas and sand showers are available.
- Possession or consumption of alcohol
- Glass (bottles, containers, etc.)
- Indecent exposure or nudity
- Disorderly conduct
- Disturbing the peace
- Unauthorized vehicles
- Fires and fireworks
- Shark fishing
- Horseback riding or motorized driving
- Removal, harming or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles, sea turtle nests and sand dollars, etc.)
- Removal, alteration or damage to dunes, sea oats or other indigenous dune flora
- Operation, launching or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft
- Unauthorized commercial activity
- Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Unauthorized wearing of life-guard emblems, insignias, etc.
- Solicitation or distribution of handouts
- Kites not under manual control
Additional Prohibitions In Designated Swimming Areas – Peak Season: (Between sunrise and sunset, April 1 – Sept. 30):
- Fishing or surfcasting
- Surfboards, boogie boards, etc.
- Frisbee or other sports involving a ball
- Games with metal components
- Stunt kites and sand sailing
Designated Swimming Areas:
Official swimming areas have been designated for the Alder Lane, Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field and Islanders Beach Parks. The boundaries will be clearly marked on the beach and in the water. Lifeguards are stationed at these designated areas for assistance and beach information.
Beach Marker Signs:
Hilton Head’s beaches are marked near the dune line with signs to let emergency responders know where assistance is needed. They are also useful as a reference point if you or your group should become lost.
Animals are NOT permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Animals MUST be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day and the Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30. Pets must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of excrement. Ordinance signs are posted at most beach access points.
– Information provided by the Town of Hilton Head Island and Shore Beach Service
Please take care of our beaches and leave only your footprints!
A trip to Savannah for back-to-school clothes offered more than one Bluffton resident bargained for.
Back in the old days just before World War I, along about the time when I was shedding rompers for shirts and pants, my family, like many others in Bluffton, still clung to the horse-and-buggy era.
Our horse was a handsome bay named Mack. He was gentle but spirited, and sleek as a sea lion and always ready to go. A slight tightening of the reins sent him forward in a burst of speed. A sudden “Whoa!” brought him to a dead halt. I tried it one time in the saddle and was catapulted over his head like a clay pigeon sprung from a trap machine.
Our buggy was shiny black with red-spoked wheels and a folding top. The dashboard sported a whip socket and the seat was upholstered with black leather. The floor in front and the luggage compartment in the rear also served as seats—for us children. One time I sat on the floor back-to-back with my brother Thomas all the way to Screven’s Ferry and back—a distance of 44 miles.
That was the time Papa and Mama took Thomas, Luke and me to Savannah to buy our back-to-school clothes. I can never forget that hot August day, because that was the day I bought a pair of those long, narrow, pointed shoes called English Cuts and suffered an unspeakable misery known only to God and me.
Long before daybreak, we got up and ate breakfast and started on the 21-mile trip to Screven’s Ferry to catch the early boat to Savannah. Usually, we went to Savannah on the steamer Attaquin. But this time Papa wanted to get back the same day, so we had to go by way of the ferry. The buggy ride took us past the Bluffton Cemetery, over the Rose Dhu bridge, through Pritchardville, over the New River bridge and then on to a winding dirt road through Levy, Bellinger Hill and a part of the Savannah River swamp, where we boys half expected, or half hoped, a big black bear would lumber out of the dense bushes, jump into the buggy, and hug us all to death, almost.
Arriving at the ferry landing, we left Mack and the buggy in the care of an old man and got aboard the flat-bottomed boat. It was a short, but exciting, ride across the river, and we boys remained glued to the rails, watching wide-eyed the great ocean vessels moving in and out of the harbor.
As soon as we disembarked upon the Savannah wharf, Papa hailed a hack and we rode to the corner of Bull and Broughton Streets, where Papa left us and went on to his business elsewhere in the city. Up to that moment, we boys were as quiet as three little lambs. But the minute Papa turned his back we became as frisky and unmanageable as a trio of unleashed puppies. Mama was too gentle to cope with us.
For my part, I lost no time setting up a howl for a pair of English Cuts, just like Henry McAlpin’s. Henry was one of my best friends in Bluffton. He lived with his uncle and aunt, Dr. and Mrs. F. V. Walker, and they kept him dressed in the latest and finest in boys’ apparel. One day, Henry came back from Savannah with a pair of those English Cuts on his feet, and for me it was love at first sight. One look at those long, narrow, pointed, shiny masterpieces of elegant grace, and my mind was made up and nothing could change it.
“You won’t wear them,” Mama warned. “And you know how your papa feels about throwing money away.”
“Henry wears his,” I argued, “and he likes them.”
“They’re beautiful on Henry,” Mama agreed. “But Henry’s feet are smaller than yours.”
“I don’t care,” I said. “I want a pair.”
Mama did her best to dissuade me. But I whined and fretted up and down both sides of Broughton Street all morning and all over Levy’s and Adler’s department stores most of the afternoon, until Mama finally gave in. She took me to the shoe department in Adler’s and asked a clerk to fit me in whatever I wanted. She left me there and took Thomas and Luke to another floor. The black-suited clerk kicked a stool up in front of a red-leather chair and told me to sit. Before I could tell him what kind of shoes I wanted he said, “I know. I know. You want a pair of English Cuts, just like Henry McAlpin’s. Put your foot up here.”
He sat on the stool and measured my foot. The top of his head looked like a soup bowl upside down. He looked up at me and something in his eyes reminded me of Mr. W. J. Fripp’s tomcat the day he ate my brother Mark’s pet squirrel. He got up and went to a shelf and jerked a box off of it and came back with the box under his arm. He sat down again and took one of the shoes out of the box, and I saw that it was an oxblood English Cut, exactly like Henry’s.
He forced it on my right foot with a shoehorn. It was a size and a half too small, but I didn’t say anything. I was afraid he would put it back in the box and tell me that it was the only pair of English Cuts in Savannah. He forced the other shoe on my left foot, and then he smiled that tomcat smile and asked me a leading question no court of justice would have allowed.
“Sonny,” he said, “they’re real comfortable, aren’t they?”
They were squeezing and pinching and burning my feet with all the fury of hell on Judgment Day. But I wasn’t taking any chance on another pair being in the city.
“Yessuh!” I shouted, loud enough for everybody on the floor to hear me.
“That’s fine,” the clerk said. “Now get up and walk. Get up and take a nice long walk. Go outside on the pavement in the nice warm sunshine and walk. It takes a lot of walking on hot pavement to break in a pair of new shoes, just like Henry McAlpin’s.”
I was glad to get away from that black-suited clerk. But by the time I got to the front door I was envying the serpent in the Garden of Eden when the Lord God commanded him to crawl upon his belly forevermore. I went out on the sidewalk and stood in the hot August sun. My feet began to swell and my shoes began to shrink. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I lifted one shoe clear of the pavement, then the other. I leaned backward on my heels. I leaned forward on my toes. I tried every position I could think of, but none relieved the pressure of those English Cuts. I thought of taking them off for a minute’s respite, but I knew I would never get them back on without the aid of that cat-eyed monster armed with a shoehorn.
I was still standing on the sidewalk when Papa returned at sundown. As he came up, Mama, with Thomas and Luke still in tow, came up too. Mama said she had finished with the children, but had to get a few things for the house. She would take a hack later and meet us at the ferry boat. Papa said he and the boys would saunter on back to the wharf. It was only eight or 10 blocks and we would enjoy the walk.
“Let’s go,” he said.
I gritted my teeth and started walking. I was on the inside, and I could see myself in the display windows. The first time I caught a profile glimpse of one of my squeaking oxbloods I almost fainted. It looked as long and shiny as Grandpa Guilford’s walking stick. A moment later, a city smart aleck passed us and made some over-the-shoulder remark about all the gunboats not being in the Navy and I wanted to die right there in my tracks.
“Son,” Papa said, “are those new shoes comfortable?”
“Yessuh,” I lied.
I tried to walk naturally, so Papa would not question me further. But that profile glimpse and the crack about the gunboats had me too self-conscious to coordinate my steps, and I kept tripping my toes and stumbling forward, as though Thomas or Luke had suddenly thrust one of Mama’s hatpins into the seat of my pants.
“Son,” Papa asked again, “are you sure those shoes are comfortable?”
“Yessuh,” I lied again.
“Well then,” Papa said, “why in heavens’s name don’t you pick up your infernal feet and walk right?”
The eight or 10 blocks back to the ferry boat stretched out into what seemed like eight or 10 miles. With every step, my feet sprouted a new batch of blisters. Before we reached the other side of the Savannah River, night had fallen. But I was still upright when we got back to the buggy. I climbed in and sat on the floor back-to-back with Thomas, with my feet hanging out. And while Papa and the old man were hitching up Mack, I took off my shoes and eased them down to the ground directly in front of the rear wheel. Papa got in the buggy and picked up the reins. “Getup!” he said, and Mack headed homeward in a fast trot.
I leaned my head against Thomas’ shoulder and closed my eyes, and my parents thought I had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion. But I guess if the truth were known, I was practically in a coma brought on by the cruel affliction suffered in those twin torture chambers called English Cuts.
“Bluffton Boy: The Collected Short Stories of Andrew Peeples” used with permission from Mildred Peeples Pemberton, daughter of Andrew Peeples.
All of us have probably dreamed of having a little cottage in the mountains or on the shore, or perhaps tucked away in the woods; but schools, work and kids dictated suburbia as the more practical choice. As the years passed, we probably had more children, our financial situations improved, and those cottage dreams turned into a McMansion in a private community, perhaps on a golf course. Eventually, we may buy a second home in the Lowcountry to escape the frozen tundra (a sign that we have “arrived”), but after the children leave the nest, we wonder…do we really need two houses?
When it dawns on us that we may not want the extra expense of maintenance and taxes on a second home, especially if a recession forces housing prices to plummet and we can’t recoup our investment, we may return to the dream. What’s wrong with life in a quaint, little secluded cottage, warm and cozy in front of the fireplace, savoring the smell of homemade soup on the stove? There’s nothing like curling up in front of a cottage fireplace with a good book, or the latest edition of “The Breeze.”
I recently visited John Strother, an old friend and Spring Island real estate broker, and asked him about cottages. He gave me a quick smile and said, “Over the last five years, we have seen a change in what people are looking for, especially in the second home market.” He continued, “More people are building a small two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, ‘Jewel Box’ cottage that is perfect for the long weekend visit or a three- to five-month sabbatical and enjoying nature up close and making friends with the wide variety of animals and birds. You can go boating, golf, ride horse trails, pull out your easel or take a long walk on the 300 nature trails.”
Spring Island has extra-large lots and a nature curtain requirement that makes each site completely private, and are large enough for a small horse paddock. An added benefit is that the island is protected in perpetuity by The Spring Island Trust.
The inspiration for Spring Island’s cottage design centers around the Lowcountry’s indigenous slave quarters. Jim Strickland of Historic Concepts modeled the “red” guest cottages after this style for developers Jim and Betsy Chaffin. Architectural guidelines for Spring Island do not permit one massive structure; instead, a main house connected—or not—to a carriage house with an ancillary guest house is the compound model. The recent trend is to purchase the lot first, then design and build the cottage to owners’ preferences, using topography, views and prevailing breezes or sun angles as a guide, and perhaps as a precursor to a primary residence master plan. Nature, and the concept of extended outdoor living and entertaining are important to Spring Island’s cottage community. With this in mind, the entry event, or approach to the cottage, is purposely inconspicuous.
We explored a variety of cottage types, each with its own personality, each blending into its natural surroundings; each with a porch and rocking chair inviting us to enjoy the view. These lovely homes are private enough to hear the breeze rustle through the trees, the squirrels play or a pine cone hit the leaf-strewn, dappled lit ground. Each cottage, whether finely appointed or quaint and irresistibly cozy, provide peace of mind, and spaces large enough to meet all needs. Though small, no space was wasted.
Whether you are returning to the dream of that “cozy cottage with a view” or want to make Spring Island your primary residence, the master plan can accommodate you. John was gracious enough to share photos of some of the community’s cottages, and we got a peek inside as well. Enjoy! For your own personal tour, contact John Strother at [email protected]
Editor’s Note: Old Tabby Links on Spring Island has retained its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program. Jay Gratton, Director of Golf Course Maintenance, led the effort to maintain sanctuary status on this course.
“Old Tabby Links at Spring Island has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for preserving the natural heritage of the area by protecting the local watershed and providing a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Tara Donadio, Director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs at Audubon International.
Written by Randoph Stewart, with photos provided by John Strother, Spring Island Realty
Except for one thing, Bluffton was the best place in the whole world for a boy to live. It was on a beautiful river, three tidewater coves cut right through it, every yard and all of the crushed-shell streets were shaded with live oaks, and most of the grown people loved children. But there were a few young bullies in Bluffton, and they made my life miserable.
I couldn’t help envying my brother Philip, who was four years older than I was. He had the courage of a lion and the speed of a panther, and bullies shunned him like the plague. One brush with Philip usually lasted a bully a lifetime.
Once, a tall lanky boy from somewhere out west came to Bluffton to spend the summer. He wore cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. He smoked Bull Durham cigarettes and used words that we boys in Bluffton had never heard before. His father, he said, was a cowboy and had killed about 20 train robbers.
One day that cowboy’s boy came down to the wharf at the foot of the main street while a gang of us Bluffton boys were swimming. He stood near the edge of the wharf and rolled a Bull Durham as he watched us do some fancy diving into the swift-running channel. Philip walked over to him and asked him if he liked to swim.
“Cripes a-mighty no,” he said. “I leave that to fish and you slimy b——s.”
Before the boy could lick his Bull Durham, Philip connected a stiff uppercut with his chin and knocked him overboard, cowboy hat, cowboy boots and all.
The channel was 30 feet deep, and the boy must have gone all the way to the bottom. It seemed like an hour before he finally bobbed up out of the water, sputtering and pawing the air, the way a puppy does the first time you throw him in. He stayed up about 10 seconds and then went down again.
Somebody yelled that he was drowning, and Philip plunged in after him. As soon as the boy surfaced the second time, Philip locked his arms around his neck and towed him to the slip. While Philip was doing that, Johnny Harrison dived in and retrieved his cowboy hat. After he got through coughing and rubbing salt out of his eyes, he wanted to know why Philip hit him.
“Jumping Jehosiphat,” he said, “out where I come from a fellow’s not your friend till you call him a ——-”
“But you’re not out where you came from now,” Philip said. “You’re out here in Bluffton where a ——- doesn’t even know who his papa is.”
I don’t know whether that boy was a real bully or not. But he never called anybody in Bluffton that name again. He turned out to be a wonderful fellow, and everybody, including Philip, liked him. Philip taught him how to swim before he went back out west.
Then there was the summer that my cousin from Savannah was visiting Grandpa and Grandma Guilford in Bluffton. One day Cousin slipped a crocus sack over my head and arms and fastened it around my waist with a piece of Grandpa’s fishing line, making me as blind and helpless as a kitten with his head in a salmon can.
Cousin had more fun that day than he’d ever had in Savannah in all his life. He crammed spurs into my pants and made me sit in ants’ nests until I screamed with pain. He pinched me and tickled me and lashed my bare legs with Grandpa’s buggy whip. He pushed me into Grandma’s flower beds and said he was going to show her my tracks. He poured a bucket of water over my head and threw me down and rolled me around in the black dirt. That was what he was doing when Philip happened to come up. I heard his voice when he asked Cousin who was in the sack.
“It’s me, Philip!” I cried. “Please get me out of here before I smother to death!”
Philip cut the string from around my waist with his pocket knife. He pulled the sack from my head, and before Cousin could make a dash for the house, Philip had the sack down over his head and arms and tied securely around the waist.
“Turn about is fair play,” Philip said.
For the next hour, Philip and I did everything to Cousin that Cousin had done to me, plus a lot of other things that we thought up as we went along. The last was to tie Cousin to a tree. Philip cut a slit in the sack and crammed his handkerchief into Cousin’s mouth, so he couldn’t holler for help. We poured a bucket of water over his head and covered him with shell dust scooped up from the street in front of Grandpa’s house. We left Cousin there squirming and groaning and trying his best to get out of that wet crocus sack.
In school, a bully always sat directly back of me, and amused himself by pulling my curls and pinching me and sticking pins through the crack in the bottom of my seat.
One boy used to keep a nail driven through the toe of his shoe. Every morning before he left home, he filed the nail as sharp as a needle. While I was busy studying my lesson, he would open a book on his desk and pretend to be studying, too. With perfect accuracy, he would lift his foot and guide the nail up through the crack of my seat—and straight into me. When I hollered “ouch,” he would quickly raise his hand and ask the teacher to please make me keep quiet so that he could study his lesson.
Inside the building, bullies could go only so far with their attacks on me. But when we were outside, I was on my own and had to do the best I could. They tripped me up and pushed me around whenever they felt like it, and I was too scrawny to do anything about it. Nor could I expect help from Philip, because he was several grades ahead of me and our rooms weren’t turned out at the same time.
There was a certain boy whom, for obvious reasons, I shall call Bully. He bided his time to beat me up. I think he hated me because he thought I had access to all the candy I wanted in Papa’s store. He didn’t know why Papa displayed his rack of buggy whips so conveniently near the candy showcase.
One day after school he was waiting for me in the street in front of the schoolhouse. The moment I started down the steps I saw that I was heading for trouble. Bully had given his books to another boy to hold. His head was lowered like a bull’s when he’s ready to charge, and he was looking right at me. I had no doubt that the dreaded moment had come.
Bully was short and all muscle. His tiny ears laid close against the sides of his head. He had been plowing his father’s mule ever since he was old enough to say gee and haw, and his hands were large as a man’s. A strain of Indian blood flowed in his veins, and he could shoot a 22 with both eyes closed and never miss. One time I saw him come out of the woods with 52 squirrels hung over his shoulders. He had killed them all with 50 cartridges. Even if I hadn’t been afraid of his plowhand fists, I would have trembled at the thought of what he could do to me with a piece of hot lead.
As I approached him, he sidled over to me. He walked along with me shoulder to shoulder, breathing threats against the side of my face.
“You think you’re something when Philip’s around,” he said. “But you ain’t nothing by yourself, and I’m gonna knock your block off.”
I believed that he could, and I didn’t see any point in trying to prove it. I didn’t answer him. I didn’t even look at him.
I just kept on walking, but my heart was running away and my stomach was crowding my tonsils.
“I can beat a scrawny scary-cat like you,” he said, “with one hand tied behind my back.”
He could have said he could beat me with both hands tied behind his back, and I wouldn’t have doubted it.
“Put your books down and fight,” he said, “if you haven’t got a streak of yellow running up and down your spine.”
I didn’t know what color it was, but I knew something was running up and down all over me, and whatever it was had me all broken out with goose pimples.
“I dare you to fight,” he said. “I dare you to fight. I dare you to fight.”
Three times he said it, and each time loud enough to attract the attention of all the children in range of his voice. Immediately a crowd of fight fans was trailing along behind us, urging us to fight, or rather urging me; Bully already had the urge.
I hooked my books higher under my arm and pretended not to hear what they were saying.
“Fight him, Kink,” somebody yelled. “You can beat him.” “Yeah,” somebody else said, “you can beat him. Jack McWhorter beat him yesterday.”
There was poor consolation in that. Jack McWhorter was almost as husky and fast as Philip.
“You can beat him, too,” Dixie Hubbard said. “I’ll make him fight fair.”
Dixie was in front of us and walking backward while he talked. A Duke’s Mixture cigarette was hanging from one side of his mouth. He was a farm boy with round shoulders and a long stringy neck. He was tough as an alligator and wasn’t afraid to tangle with a wildcat. By “fair” he meant that he wouldn’t let Bully twist my nose and ears off or gouge my eyes out. He wouldn’t let him do anything but bloody my nose and knock a few teeth out and crack a rib or two.
We were approaching the corner of Dr. Kirby’s fence, where we would turn into the main street not far from Papa’s store. For me, fighting anywhere was bad enough, but to fight in sight of Papa was a calamity to be avoided at all costs. The very thought that he might be standing in the front door of the store filled me with panic. More than once had he warned me to “steer clear of that roughneck boy.” I had to do something and do it now.
Throwing caution to the wind, my books to the ground, and my arms round Bully’s neck, I flung him with all my might against Dr. Kirby’s fence. It was an old rusty fence, and the weight of his body tore the wire loose from the ground board to which it was nailed. He fell flat on his back between the wire and the board, and both hands got caught in the wire. Following up my advantage, I fell on top of him and pummeled his face with all the strength I could put behind my fists, until he hollered ‘nuff. Then I got off of him and picked up my books.
Dixie helped him get his hands free. Then he stood up and brushed his clothes. Then, without once looking at me, he took his books back from the boy who had been holding them and headed straight for home without saying a word.
I was a hero. Glory and honor were heaped upon my unbowed head. I was in a class with Philip and Jack McWhorter. No longer was I a scrawny scaredy-cat to be pushed around.
About a week after that, I was down on the wharf alone, fishing for sheepshead. A tall long-armed boy came down there on a brand-new bicycle. It was equipped from stem to stern with all of the latest fads. It even had a coon’s tail and a rabbit’s foot dangling from the handlebar. I asked the boy where he got such a fancy bicycle, and the next thing I knew he had me off at arm’s length and was pounding a galaxy of stars out of my head. He would teach me, he said, not to make fun of his bicycle. If my younger brother Luke hadn’t come to my rescue with a brickbat in one hand and a huge stick in the other, there might have been a new grave in the Bluffton Cemetery. But that’s another story.
“Bluffton Boy, The Collected Short Stories of Andrew Peeples” is republished with permission from Mildred Peeples Pemberton, daughter of Andrew Peeples (right).
By Kathleen McMenamin Vicars, Master Naturalist
Roseate spoonbills are becoming a more common sight throughout our Lowcountry marshes. They can commonly be spotted around low tides in our marshes, beak down in the water, looking for food. They are a beautiful sight with their pink feathers and distinct bill.
Roseate Spoonbills, Platalea ajaja, almost disappeared from the United States by the 1860s. They were over hunted for their beautiful plumes. Desecration of their natural wading and nesting environments contributed to their declining numbers in the early 1900s. Once preservation efforts were set forth, the species was able to successfully recolonize the Florida and Texas coasts. By the early 20th century, their population bounced back and has slowly spread back across the coastal Southeast.
The state of South Carolina has happily seen an increase in roseate populations over the years. They come into our coastal area in the spring and stay through the summer, foraging and nesting in our Lowcountry marshes. Keep an eye out for them in our marshes at low tide and nesting on Pinckney Island in the late spring months.
Roseates are easy to identify. They have a white head and neck, with light pink wings that have bright pink borders. They also have long pink legs. From a distance, you may think you are looking at a flamingo. Their bill is long and flat with a round spoon shape at the end. They can grow to be two and a half feet tall with a wingspan of up to five feet.
They prefer to live in lagoons, marshes, mudflats and mangrove habitats. In South Carolina, they are most commonly found in our marshes and may be mixed with other large groups of wading birds. They will forage for food in shallow waters of both fresh and saltwater habitats. Their large spoon-shaped bill offers them a great advantage while feeding. Roseates will sweep their slightly open bills side to side in the water, detecting small fish, invertebrates, shrimp and crabs by touch.
These birds will nest in large colonies, with individuals of their own species, as well as other wading birds. They have been known to nest in the Wood Ibis Pond area of Pinckney Island. Courtship between a pair begins when they are at least three years old. The preliminary wooing appears to be an aggressive interaction. They then begin to perch closely to each other once a connection has been made. The final courting ends with nesting sticks being presented to one another. Once the bond has been made, the male will gather nest materials, while the female builds the nest.
Their nests can be made in willows, mangroves, low scrub or cedars, but are generally all over water. The nest is a large bulky platform with a hollow in the center for the eggs. Once the nest is complete, the female will lay two to three eggs. The pair will take turns incubating the nest for up to 24 days. Both mother and father will take turns bringing food to the young, who may begin straying slightly from the nest within six weeks. They will start to fly strongly at about eight weeks.
H2O Sports on Hilton Head Island is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages. Learn more about the birds of our area with eco-adventure tours and live alligator exhibits. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (877) 290-4386. For information, visit H2OSports.com.
Craving homegrown melons, vegetables, peanuts and other produce, fresh seafood, flowers, meats or prepared foods? Then pack up your reusable bags and baskets and hit the road to discover the farm-fresh offerings available at some of our local farmers markets, certified roadside stands and kitchens. Call ahead to confirm dates, times and hours of operation.
To view the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Guides to Community Farmers Markets and Certified Roadside Markets across the state, visit agriculture.sc.gov/where-to-buy-local.
Cahill’s Market & Chicken Kitchen
- Mon.-Wed., 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat.,
- 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- 1055 May River Rd.
- (843) 757-2921 or cahillsmarket.com
Farmers Market of Bluffton
- Thursdays, 1-6 p.m.
- Carson Cottages in Old Town, 40 Calhoun St.
- Fresh local produce, specialty items, prepared foods and live entertainment.
- (843) 415-2447 or farmersmarketbluffton.org
HILTON HEAD ISLAND
The Farmer’s Market at Sea Pines Center presented by Lowcountry Produce
- Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., weather permitting (Mid-March through Mid-December)
- The Shops at Sea Pines Center, 71 Lighthouse Rd.
- (843) 686-3003 or lowcountryproduce.com
Downtown Farmer’s Market & Food Truck
- Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m. (May-October)
- Corner of North & Bladen Streets, behind the Santa Elena Foundation
- Hosted by the City of Beaufort, the Downtown Farmer’s Market features fresh local garden produce and cuisine from 2-6 p.m. with the It’s Only Fair Food Truck serving up favorite fair foods from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
- (843) 525-7070 or cityofbeaufort.org
Port Royal Farmer’s Market
- Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, rain or shine (year-round)
- Heritage Park on Ribaut Road by the Naval Hospital
- South Carolina produce, seafood, beef, eggs, bread, BBQ, cheese, honey and plants.
- Open daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (April-October)
- 939 Sea Island Pkwy., St. Helena Island
- Specialties include cantaloupe, muscadine grapes, peaches, squash, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.
- (843) 838-7421
Dempsey Farms U-Pick
- Fall Schedule: Pumpkins, October 7-November 1
- 1576 Sea Island Pkwy., St. Helena Island
- Everything sold is grown at Dempsey Farms. Purchase a few items at the stand or pick your own produce. Harvesting dates depend on weather, please call to find out what is available.
- (843) 838-3656 or dempseyfarmsupick.com
Lowcountry Produce & Market Cafe
- Daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- 1919 Trask Pkwy., Lobeco
- A variety of produce and Lowcountry Produce canned goods and gifts.
- (843) 846-9438 or lowcountryproduce.com
Forsyth Farmers Market
- Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., rain or shine
- Forsyth Park (south end)
- GPS: use Brighter Day at 1102 Bull St. or Sentient Bean at 13 East Park Ave.
- Mission: To promote understanding and participation in a local food system that supports sustainable production and increases access to local products.
Wilmington Island Farmers’ Market (WIFM)
- Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., rain or shine (March-June & September-December)
- Islands High School, 170 Whitemarsh Island Rd.
- Mission: To support the community, highlight local talent and bring healthy foods to our doorstep.
Tybee Island Farmers and Artisan Market
- Mondays, 4-7 p.m. (March-October)
- Next to the Tybee Island Light Station & Museum, 30 Meddin Dr.
- Local businesses offer an array of goods from artwork to vegetables.
- (301) 919-2296 or tybeeislandfarmersmarket.com
Over a century ago, the first Women’s Day was held in New York to honor ladies of every stripe and show appreciation for the contributions they made to society and our hearts. Today, this celebration of mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, teachers, friends, leaders and inspirational figures continues and is held annually on March 8. So, in recognition of International Women’s Day, this month The Bluffton Breeze showcases a few leading ladies of our community, and hearkens their words of wisdom.
Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka is a wonderful example of a woman making her way in a traditionally male world—politics—and doing so with distinctly pleasant, feminine grace. She gets these traits from her mother, one of the first female real estate brokers in the state of South Carolina, who ran for mayor of their little town at a time when that was just not done.
“I was so proud of her!” recalls Mayor Sulka, who is now a mommy herself. “As a mother, you do all these things for your children, so this is just taking that service to the next level.”
Not surprisingly, one of Sulka’s top priorities as mayor is paving a smooth road for the next generation. She wants to keep Bluffton young and vibrant, and ensure it remains an economically viable place for people to start a life. “A town is built on family legacy,” she says. “So, I want to encourage our youth and let them know someone has their back.”
Mayor Sulka confides she loves it when people seem a little confused about how she manages to get three kids to three separate sporting events in different towns—all at the same time—run her own business and serve in her third term as mayor. According to Sulka, women are just better multitaskers! She considers it an important part of her role to encourage young women to step outside their boundaries without fear. “Everywhere I go, I am usually the only female,” says Sulka, who is currently the only woman on Town Council and the first female mayor of Bluffton. “I’m not an activist, but I was brought up to be strong, smart and comfortable standing my ground—and to be respectful.”
Echoing similar values but embodying them in a totally different realm, is lifelong Bluffton resident, Jennifer Green. Though she may not necessarily see herself as a leader, the generous, positive spirit she shares has certainly been a bright spot in the community. Green describes herself as a Christian who, while not perfect by any means, tries to practice the values of kindness, acceptance and encouragement.
“I think one of the things that draws people to Bluffton is the small-town community aspect,” said Green. “Yes, we’re having some growing pains, but deep down I think we are still the loving, caring community that we were when I was growing up—I mean the hurricane proved that. It’s just now we have a whole lot more people.”
Green has been president of the May River Theatre for four years, although her involvement stretches back a decade further. Now with a young daughter of her own, she sees the need for arts not only in schools, but also in the community, as a mode of self-expression and a way to build confidence or public speaking skills.
“If you can get onstage and act a fool in front of whomever, you can do anything!” said Green, adding that she hopes to implement more youth programs with the Theatre. “I think it’s so important for kids to get encouragement from a young age so that they can build their confidence. We need to keep them grounded and positive about themselves so they can stay strong enough to face peer pressure and all the horrible things that unfortunately are out there right now.”
Another leading lady who has taken on great responsibility toward the next generation is Dr. Christina Gwozdz. Like Mayor Sulka, she brings the uniquely female experience of balancing motherhood with professionalism and service, operating her own successful medical practice and giving back to the community as a member of the Beaufort County School Board. After putting three sons through public schools here, then sending them off to Princeton, she continues to feel personally committed to helping children get the highest possible quality of education in Beaufort County.
“I make decisions based on values,” Dr. Gwozdz declares. “It is important to me to be honest, trustworthy, dependable, reasonable and respectful of others and their ideas, even if I don’t agree with them. I’ve been very fortunate because I don’t feel any disadvantage as a woman in obtaining a leadership position, especially in the medical field, which is almost a 50/50 split. I think it’s good for women to have a bond with other women, and men with men. But we have to remember that we are a society of both men and women, so we need to work together as a whole.”
Native Blufftonian Shellie West, CEO and founder of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, has a similar ideal of an inclusive and sustaining community. Her work with the Chamber involves using her knowledge, experience and connectedness to not only help small businesses succeed, but to promote mutual support and develop strength in the community.
“I wanted to use my entrepreneurial background to give back,” says West, who has a master’s in hospitality management and started the Chamber single-handedly while raising three kids and running her own business. “I don’t claim to know everything, but I am going to seek out people who do. I know how to be resourceful.”
Though West hasn’t necessarily wanted to get into politics, she sees an opportunity to advocate at the local and regional level—or even at the state and national levels. “I feel like I’m one of the few out there who’s really listening to people,” she says. “I talk with them all day long, I know where they’re coming from, and I want to make sure the small voices are heard. I try to see all sides and consider the big picture.”
Yet another role model is Constance Martin-Witter, a retired educator from Michigan with Lowcountry roots extending back to the pre-Emancipation era. Her father is from Bluffton and her mother, Ida Martin, originally came from the Charleston area, but became a local icon whose legacy continues to benefit residents today.
“My mother started Bluffton Self Help out of the trunk of her car, and now it’s practically a Fortune 500 company,”says Martin-Witter, adding that in 2011 President Obama handpicked Ida Martin as one of 13 out of 6,000 nominations to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest honor awarded to a civilian. Back in the ’70s, little Constance used to go around with her mother in the car gathering food and clothes to distribute to those in need, and later someone donated a tool shed in which to house the budding mission. Ida Martin has now passed on, but her daughter carries the torch with a permanent chair on the Bluffton Self Help’s board of directors, among many other service activities.
“Everyone has a purpose and it’s up to each of us to find and achieve it,” says Martin-Witter. “It’s our charge from God. We can’t hold anyone else accountable but ourselves. We all have in us a greatness that will take us from needing help to turning it around and being able to help others ourselves. We just have to have faith and determination, and not worry about the naysayers. Then we can make a positive difference in other people’s lives—that’s what Bluffton is about.”
No one knows this better than Donna Huffman, founder of this magazine and president of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society (BHPS). “I have understood from day one the importance of what I call the Bluffton Trinity,” says Huffman. “That means the May River, the history and the people. I have always been happy to support the Town and do whatever I can to bring that Bluffton Trinity together.”
Starting The Bluffton Breeze magazine in 2003 was one of the most important culminations of her vision because it highlights within its pages the unique local people, environmental richness of the estuary and history, such as the Burning of Bluffton and the Secession Movement that originated here. Now Huffman’s work with the Preservation Society gives her a chance to focus on projects like restoring the Historic Heyward House—which doubles as the Bluffton Welcome Center—an undertaking for which they just received a significant federal grant. She is also very pleased about the Society’s relationship with the Town.
“With all the development going on, it’s nice to have a voice at the table for the historic aspect,” Huffman says. “Because this is the heartbeat—there wouldn’t be a Greater Bluffton if it weren’t for the Trinity.”
Huffman has served the community for years wearing many different hats, but always as a strong, caring female presence. “The women of Bluffton are very compassionate, very apt to give of themselves and their time,” she says, adding that the Historic Preservation Society has relied heavily on volunteers and is always eager to accept new members. “And the men of Bluffton don’t mind for women to be in leadership positions—they accept us. This is a small town that has a lot of friendship, so we can agree to disagree and still love each other.”
Written by Michele Roldan-Shaw.
Being thankful is, above all, a choice and a reflection of how we see ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
I am 40 years old. I’m married and have four kids, a dog, a cat and a fish. They all live in a house that I will pay off when I am 65, maybe. There are lots of associated bills that come with four kids, a dog, cat and, surprisingly, a fish.
So, I work—a lot. I only have one job, but it’s a demanding one that sometimes feels oppressive. While it keeps the family train running on time, I’d never write my graduate school guidance counselor a thank you note for recommending it to me.
My Wells Fargo agent told me recently that retirement is possible at age 80. My hair is rapidly going white. I stress eat. I wished I stress exercised; then, perhaps, I wouldn’t need to keep three sizes of pants in the closet.
Did I mention that I yo-yo diet too, get impatient quickly and take too much pleasure from cursing and driving too fast? While there’s nothing wrong with loving loud music and an ice-cold beer, I don’t hear as well as I used to, and my doctor is now telling me to take it easy with the beer. I have arrived at middle age with a lengthy list of vices and potential complaints.
When I look at myself in old pictures, ones from elementary and high school, I can assure you the thought of myself way out into the future was much simpler than it has become. As happens in all our lives, somehow, somewhere along the way, events and encounters changed the course of those early youthful dreams.
New dreams sprang forth from trials and disappointments, and better realities emerged in the cracks and crevices of my life—many times more robust than those I initially envisioned. Too often though, because circumstances have been different from what I wanted or took a different path, I’ve been slow to adapt my ways of thinking and, as a result, have spent many a misguided and selfish season feeling disappointed, frustrated or even unhappy with my life. I have allowed myself to be robbed of a great deal of joy and thankfulness just by how I think of myself.
Three years ago, that mindset began to change. I started to look at things in a different way. It all started when a business I took over burned and ultimately had to file for bankruptcy. My initial tendency was to wallow in self-pity and defeat.
What stopped that trajectory was being given a book on grief. In it were 365 stories, one for each day. I read it dutifully for a year and began to realize just how little in life I actually controlled. My issues with feeling tired, frustrated or unhappy were all related to control. If I couldn’t control an event, situation or circumstance, I took it upon myself to complain, escape mentally or through a vice such as food, or to look at something or someone to blame.
I have spent the past two years reconciling and wrestling with the newfound understanding that in each season of life, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It’s up to me to find joy and thanksgiving in each day or circumstance, good or bad, and, most importantly, to spread that to other people.
I will demonstrate this change in thinking by starting with that dreadfully whiny opening paragraph. It’s time to re-write my story.
I am 40 years old. I’m married to my high school sweetheart. She is loyal and has patience for my peccadillos that no other woman would tolerate. We have four kids. They are a miraculous blend of both of us and a tremendous blessing.
It is so humbling to be a father; often I get a lump in my throat just thinking about my children. We have dog and a cat and a fish. The dog eats my socks and food off the stove, but loves me unconditionally. We live in a great house, on a great street, with great neighbors. I should probably take Dave Ramsey’s advice and make extra mortgage payments instead of buying more craft beer.
I only have one job, and it’s demanding, but I am darn fortunate to have it. I knew what my chosen industry demanded on the front end. I am thankful it allows me to serve others in ways I couldn’t
imagine years ago. Now, I could probably retire sooner if I cut back on some spending and socked away some more dough, but I enjoy giving new experiences to my children and watching them enjoy life in new ways.
I’ll never regret the money we spent to take everyone to the mountains a few summers back, and I really enjoy going to watch them play sports and make it through musical recitals. I’m not guaranteed year 41, and I don’t want to waste a single day.
Sure, my hair is rapidly going white, just like my father’s did at this age. Lucky for me, my wife thinks it’s sexy. I do stress eat and need to exercise more: the bottom line is that to best take care of others, which I love to do, I need to take better care of myself. I have a large, extended family that loves me, deeply, no matter who, and that’s huge. For the rest of my petty vices, I need to be O.K. with not being 25 anymore.
I have arrived at middle age a very blessed and fortunate man. I’m not perfect at all, and I’m O.K. with it. I wake up each morning and try again.
The intent of sharing personal insights about my own life isn’t to be preachy, just mindful. The world today brings us so many opportunities to be anxious, distracted and disappointed that the difference between joyful or jealous, thankful or threatened is as narrow as a razor’s edge.
Thanksgiving is a profound word when we let it become a genuine outpouring. Often, the difference in it being an offering to others as opposed to a burden is a small degree of change in one’s own heart.
When I look out over the dinner table at my young children, I don’t expect perfect people with perfect lives free of struggle or conflict. I do pray they desire to return, as they grow older, to the table to commune with family, friends and even strangers with happy, generous hearts.
I pray, too, that what they remember of me is not a man who was selfish and petty, perpetually cross and unhappy, but rather a man who embraced each circumstance, person and challenge with joy and teased from it all a deep sense of thankfulness at having been given the opportunity to live.
This season of thanks, be mindful of the power your attitude has not only on you, but on those around you, and embrace with joy and thanksgiving every opportunity you have to share that joy with others.
Article by Gene Cashman
Taste of Hampton Lake:
Kickoff Dinner Party:
On Monday night April 8, we officially kick off Bluffton’s Restaurant Week with a special event at Pour Richard’s, one of the area’s best and most popular restaurants. The host of the Emmy-nominated show “Eat It and Like It,” Jesse Blanco, will join in on the fun talking food and taking questions throughout the evening. A special prix fixe menu of three courses is $40 per person.
Bluffton Restaurant Week:
The first annual Bluffton Restaurant Week is April 8-11 and will celebrate Bluffton’s best in food. Specials and prices will only be offered this week, so don’t miss out! Participating restaurants are Olive and Fig, Hog’s Head Kitchen, Buffalo’s and Octagon Porch.
Brews Under The Stars:
7th Annual Taste of Bluffton:
On April 13, the celebration wraps up with one of the biggest parties of the year on Saturday, April 13th. Calhoun Street in the heart of Old Town Bluffton is converted into a street festival. Vendors from across the region are on hand to offer taste of their menus. Candy to Crab Cakes, Shrimp, Oysters, BBQ and much much more. It’s the best way to sample your way through Bluffton’s Best! Event is 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cost is $10 per ticket for those 21 and over (includes one beverage). Ages 21 and under are free.
For more street festival information contact:
For more general information contact:
- The Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce at 843-757-1010 or [email protected]
We are so excited to see this festival grow and even more excited that we get to share it with you!
January 31 – February 28: 23rd Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration at various locations. A month-long celebration showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island with art exhibitions, gospel concerts, festivals, tours, lectures and more.
2019 Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration – Opening Party: January 31, 6-9 p.m.
- Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- The Opening Party is the first opportunity for patrons and friends to see the display of original work by emerging and leading artists at the Arts Ob We People: Winter Exhibition and Sale. Free Will Offering.
Arts Ob We People – Winter Exhibition And Sale: February 1 & March 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- The Arts Ob We People: Winter Exhibition and Sale is a display of original work by emerging and leading artists that represents the life of Gullah people on Hilton Head Island and the surrounding community. Artists will be on-site at various times throughout the exhibit; check for exact schedules at gullahcelebration.com. Private group tours are available by request. Free Will Offering.
Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast: February 2, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
- Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
- Home cooking that shows some, and reminds others, of a traditional Gullah breakfast: featuring your choice of stewed oysters, shrimp in a savory Lowcountry gravy, fried fresh catchfish paired with hot butter grits and fresh biscuits. Meals are prepared by people of the local Gullah community, coordinated by Ooman Chef Louise Cohen. $12.
Freedom Day: February 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
- National Freedom Day was established in 1948 by President Harry Truman, in remembrance of February 1, 1865 — the day President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which outlawed slavery. This year we will take a journey through historic Mitchelville. On this tour you will learn more about what the people of Mitchelville were busy creating in 1862 before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and how those citizens would create a guidepost for generations to follow. Free Will Offering.
Family And Friends Day: February 5, 7-8:30 p.m.
- First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Rd.
- Join historic First African Baptist Church for Family Night Program. This program will focus on the Traditional and Contemporary Gullah songs, followed by a reception with samples of authentic Gullah food. Free Will Offering.
Gullah Music Series Featuring The Voices Of El Shaddai: February 8, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Queen Chapel AME Church, 114 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installment to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features the renowned Voices of El Shaddai. Free Will Offering.
Sweetheart Ball: February 9, 7-11 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Are you ready to dance? This event is sure to keep you dancing all evening long with music performed by Stee and the Ear Candy. With the purchase of your ticket you can enjoy the delicious buffet of Lowcountry foods. You can add beer, wine or spirits of your choice at our cash bar. $65.
Taste Of Gullah: February 9, 12-3 p.m.
- Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- This one-of-kind event is an afternoon filled with authentic Gullah dishes such as okra gumbo, conch stew, fried shrimp dusted in traditional Gullah seasonings and classic barbecue favorites like chargrilled chicken and ribs. While you eat you can enjoy the entertainment of several local artists, including traditional dancers, musicians and storytellers. $12.
“Hilton Head Island Back In The Day: Through Eyes Of Gullah Elders”: February 9 & 21, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Coligny Theatre, 1 North Forest Beach Dr.
- A feature-length documentary featuring Gullah elders, the descendants of freedmen, based on the historic Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. They share personal stories about their communities, farming, fishing, upbringing, church, education, Northern Migration, food ways, language and the development that came with the construction of the bridge in 1956 and how it greatly impacted their lives. $7.
Gullah Institute Presents “The Impact Of The Great Migration On Gullah Culture:” February 10, 4-6 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Come hear from historians, authors and artists, including a fireside chat with Dianne Britton Dunham and Anita Singleton Prather, on the impact the Great Migration (1916-1970) had on the American South. Plus, a special presentation of culture and community awards for outstanding leaders and supporters. $20.
Soul Food And Friends Cooking Classes: February 12 & 26, 6-8 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Great cooking is about more than recipes – it’s about techniques. In our classes you’ll work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by authentic Gullah chefs. Get tons of hands-on practice in preparing Lowcountry favorites using locally sourced foods. $40.
Paint And Sip: February 13 & 26, 6-8 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Join us for a two-hour session and create memories that will last a lifetime. Exhibiting artists in the annual Arts Ob We People Exhibit and Sale will guide you with stroke-by-stroke instructions to ensure you paint your own unique masterpiece. Be sure to bring your favorite beverage (soft drinks, beer or wine; no spirits please). $30.
Gullah Music Series Featuring Male Choruses: February 15, 7-8:30 p.m.
- First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installment to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features the Male Choruses from Campbell AME Church, First African Baptist Church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and St. James Baptist Church. Free Will Offering.
The Gullah Market: An Arts, Crafts And Food Expo: February 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Historic Honey Horn, 70 Honey Horn Dr.
- An all-access experience of Gullah culture! The annual Gullah Market offers cultural demonstrations, authentic Gullah and African crafts and food for sale, as well as an offering of traditional storytelling, musical entertainment and the Celebration of African-American Authors. An event to be shared with family and friends, or for you to make new friends! Featured performances by the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, Wona Womalan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Gullah Ooman Louise Cohen and more. $10/general admission, $5/youth (5-12) and FREE for those 4 and under.
Community Day At The Gullah Market: February 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Historic Honey Horn, 70 Honey Horn Dr.
- Experience the ties that bind the community of Gullah people through praise and worship, followed by a Community Block Party featuring a battle of marching bands, bounce castles, health screenings, the Gullah Rappers and more! Plus, authentic art, food and beverages for sale! Proceeds from Community Day will benefit youth programs in Beaufort County. $10/general admission, $5/youth (5-12) and FREE for those 4 and under.
Gullah Music Series, Featuring Gospel Classics: February 22, 7-8:30 p.m.
- St. James Baptist Church, 209 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installation in the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features St. James Baptist Church Choir and Time 4 Two. Free Will Offering.
Gullah Music Series, Featuring Gospel Choirs: February 28, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Central Oak Grove Baptist Church, 161 Matthews Dr.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This closing event of our five-part music series features the Gospel Choirs of Central Oak Grove Baptist Church, First Zion Baptist Church Choir and Campbell AME Gospel Choir. Free Will Offering.
Please call or visit the website to confirm dates, times, pricing and locations. (843) 255-7304 or gullahcelebration.com.
From antique shops to estate sales, Bluffton offers plenty of opportunities to discover cool finds.
By Randolph Stewart, Photography by Alec Bishop
Have you ever heard the story about the couple who bought a ceramic bowl at a garage sale for $3? They later had it appraised, and it turned out to be a rare 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl that sold at auction for $2.2 million.
Years ago, a man bought some old photo negatives at a garage sale for $45. They ended up being priceless Ansel Adams negatives believed to be lost in a fire. In the end, the negatives turned out to be valued at more than $200 million.
Even if you don’t find a priceless treasure, it’s always a fun adventure to go hunting for neat stuff. Garage sales, flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores, Goodwill stores, auctions and estate sales are places where Bluffton residents can search for treasures at bargain prices.
Photographer Alec Bishop and I recently decided to have some fun, visiting three local Bluffton shops one rainy day in search of treasure. Our first stop was Al-Harry Furniture Design on Calhoun Street.
Right off the bat, we found some great stuff, including a large mirror made from old metal ceiling panels, repainted louvered shutters, a flower pot mounted on a piece of driftwood and a worn metal book cart. The reflections in the mirror revealed all sorts of treasures. Previously unwanted furniture has been transformed into beautiful pieces for your home or office, ranging from a chest of drawers and pie safe to armoires, tables and chairs.
All items have been expertly repurposed by Joe Fargione, who makes all the repairs or changes needed. Joe adds appliqués and the proper hardware, along with Allison, (left) his wife of 35 years. Al has a great eye and a talent for refinishing, painting, distressing and glazing, so you have a piece that will long be enjoyed and admired. A true treasure.
Look around closely at Al-Harry Furniture Design and you will surely find something you can’t live without. However, we weren’t ready to stop shopping for treasures yet, so it was on to Coastal Exchange, located next to Scott’s Meats on May River Road.
We didn’t have to look too far for more treasure. We spotted a set of vintage leather luggage. What a great find! And have you ever seen textile mill wooden wool spools, over three feet tall? Just place them anywhere, and they will become an instant conversation piece.
What draws your attention? Was it a memory from your grandmother? Did you think about that perfect spot in your home that needs to have just the right piece? One thing that caught my eye at Coastal Exchange was a small brass kettle nested inside an old oak wall cabinet, sitting on top of an Eastlake-style table.
Some things you see are simple forms that invite you to imagine what they can be used for now that they have been transformed. I saw a wonderful painted table that looked like it could have originally been used by a cobbler or a mechanic, but now looks like a cool folk art bar.
There is something special behind every little treasure. Nostalgia, a memory, the right color. Everywhere I looked, there was something new to experience at Coastal Exchange, including prints, lithographs, lamps, books, porcelain, tables, furniture, gadgets and gizmos.
Now, we still had a little money left and a day of treasure hunting would not be complete without a stop at Stock Farm Antiques, located just up the street between Four Corners Framing and May River Grill.
Emmett and Teddy McCracken always have new old treasures. My last trip in there, I bought a collection of Presidential campaign pins proclaiming “I Like Ike,” as well as pins supporting Kennedy, Taft, Wallace and Dewey/Warren. Dewey/Warren! Who remembers the runner-up?
Don’t forget to look down, as there are great treasures to be found under tables and just below the typical line-of-sight. Then, look up. Cool stuff can be found on the walls or on top of a display cabinet.
Sitting in a basket on a Victorian oak chair, I discovered a set of glass balls, which were originally floats from Japanese fishing nets. How unique! Fine crystal, china and silver, children’s furniture, early brass candlesticks. Hey, will you look at this? An old Chinese pipe with a finely carved wood holder and the intricate burner that held the embers to light it. That’s a treasure—you won’t find one of these often.
We collected some real treasures in Bluffton, but on the way out the door at Stock Farm Antiques, I saw something very interesting: a beautiful rosewood with applewood inlaid lady’s sewing table. English perhaps? Early for sure! Wonderful condition.
Maybe it’s Austrian and belonged to Duchess Elizabeth of Hungary, who married Emperor Franz Joseph. Maybe, like the ancient Chinese bowl and the Ansel Adams negatives, it’s worth a fortune. You never know. Happy hunting!
There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover Tomorrow, just you wait and see. There’ll be love and laughter and peace ever after Tomorrow, when the world is free.
Everyone in America waited for the words of this song (most popularly sung by Vera Lynn) to become a reality. Finally, on May 7, 1945, Victory in Europe (VE Day) arrived, the day of Germany’s surrender, which officially ended the European phase of WWII. Victory over Japan (VJ Day) was to follow on August 15, with Emperor Hirohito formally signing Japan’s surrender on September 2.
Though I vividly recall the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it’s not so for VE or VJ Day. Still, vague memories remain—of listening to the radio broadcasts describing the celebration in Times Square, reading about it in the Daily News and Life magazine, and watching the Fox and Movietone News clips at the Saturday matinee in the Surf Theater on Coney Island.
I’ve had the opportunity of talking to several individuals now living in the Lowcountry who endured hardships during WWII when they lived in Poland, Germany and Vienna. In honor of Memorial Day, I’m sharing their stories.
Gerda Stief Hollinger: Surviving the Moves
I was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1934 and for a few years I wasgrowing up a happy German kid. Just before the war broke, since my father was dead, my mother’s brother in Brooklyn said, “Anna, come over here and leave the baby (that’s me) with our other brother in Germany. You can stay with me, learn English and get a job.”
Life in Augsburg was difficult, especially during the American bombing attacks. To save the surviving children, we were sent out to relatives in the country. I was sent to Silesia. After the war, the Russians were given our town, which placed us behind the Iron Curtain. As we were not allowed to send mail, neither my family in Augsburg nor my mother knew if I was alive or dead.
In Silesia, I lived with my Aunt Traudel. We knew the Russians would come and take my aunt’s house and possessions because she was wealthy. To avoid them, we packed a few clothes and valuables and started to walk toward the west. We walked for two weeks and slept in open fields or in nearby forests. Unfortunately, as we approached Czechoslovakia, we walked right into the Russians. We were ordered back to Silesia.
The Russian soldiers periodically came into my aunt’s house and took whatever they wanted, including her grand piano. Eventually, they moved into her house and forced us out. We moved six times in six months, and with each move another soldier wanted our place to live. Eventually, we were told the residents of Silesia would be moved to Siberia. I thought, “Oh, my God, I’ll never see my mother again.”
We were in a freight train five days and six nights, but instead of being shipped to Siberia, we were transported to Hamburg, Germany. The Russian guards only let us out at night and then, to amuse themselves, would make us stand in a line against the side of the train, lower their rifles and act like they were going to shoot us. It was scary. Men, women and children were deprived of all manner of human decency. The Russian soldiers were horrible. There was a lot of cruelty during the war and many Germans were just as horrible as the Russians. Even now I can still remember the SS in their black uniforms, spreading their hatred and blaming the Jews for the downfall of the German economy.
Fortunately, I was able to contact my aunt and uncle and arrange transportation back to Augsburg and home. Then, after the war, I boarded a troop ship, which docked in New York Harbor, to join my mother. I felt good again. I was so happy to see the Statue of Liberty, I almost cried.
After high school, I got a job and met my future husband. It was love at first sight and, on our second date, we decided to get married. My husband, Wally Hollinger, became an Air Force pilot. We are blessed with two wonderful children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Allen Kupfer: By the Grace of Jozef
I was born in 1923 in Warsaw, Poland. The happiness of growing up as a child faded when the Nazis began to reign terror upon the Jewish people.
I witnessed the brutality of human beings in 1939, huddling with my relatives in a Warsaw basement with other Jewish families, bracing as German bombs vibrated the walls. Shrapnel ripped through the man next to me, killing him instantly. I was 15 years old and it was the first death I ever witnessed. It would not be the last. I soon was living with my family and more than 300,000 other Jews in a walled-off section of the city. Disease devastated the jammed community, and bodies began to fill the foul streets.
In December 1942, I fled with two friends into the bitter cold looking for a safe house, but found warmth in a haystack on a small nearby farm. The farm’s owner, a Catholic named Jozef Macugowski, saw us and took us in. I spent months at the Macugowskis, lying in near blackness in a shallow ditch beneath the basement floorboards, pondering what he called his “good fortune.” We could hear every conversation and every telephone call. The risk was there on an hourly and daily basis. But the risk was even greater for Macugowski, his wife and their three young children. If, at any time, the Germans had a suspicion that we were down there, none of us would have survived, including the Macugowskis and their children.
More than 75 years later, I still grow emotional when describing the farmer’s generous spirit, crediting it for reaffirming my faith in mankind. I didn’t know those people, and they were willing to save another human being. That’s probably the greatest calling a person can have. That’s the peak of humanity.
I came to America after the war ended, aboard a military transport ship entering New York Harbor with hundreds of others similarly displaced, scared but hopeful to start a new life in a great country.
Kurt Fried: A Twist of Fate
The Gestapo knocked on the door. I was five months old, living in Vienna, when the Nazis annexed Austria on March 12, 1938. My grandfather and father had a leather manufacturing business in Vienna, making leather jackets, coats, pants, etc., which were distributed throughout Europe. We were upper-middle class, living in a large apartment, and, from what I was told by my parents, living a comfortable life in Vienna.
One evening, there was a knock at the apartment door and there stood three Gestapo troopers. They arrested my grandfather and father and took them to the local jail, where they spent several days. In the meantime, the Gestapo drove a truck up to the business and confiscated all the merchandise and machinery. But there was a twist of fate: My father knew one of the Austrian policemen at the jail and somehow, with his help, he and my grandfather were released.
When my father arrived home, he made a decision that the family was going to leave Vienna and come to the United States. He was able to secure visas for my mother, my brother and I, since the three of us were born in Austria and fell under the Austrian quota. We also had a number of family members living in the States who were able to sponsor us. Sometime in the second week of October, my mother, 5-year-old brother, and I left for Holland to board a ship for New York. We sailed aboard the Statendam (which was later sunk by a German U-Boat).
My father, his parents, and a cousin who were born in Poland could not get an immediate visa, as the Polish quota for 1938 was closed. My father and his entourage went to Italy and arrived in the United States one year later. My parents loved this country, but could not replace the life they left behind. It affected my mother most profoundly.
Written by Arnold Rosen, a historian for the Sun City Veterans Association, who writes profiles of veterans about their military service. Arnold served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, attached to the 75th Air Depot Wing, Chinhae, Korea and the 543rd Ammo Supply Squadron, Ulsan, Korea. He lives in Sun City, Hilton Head, South Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley ordered an evacuation for all coastal South Carolina, including Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, effective on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, starting at 3 p.m. She announced that school districts and government offices will be closed in Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties.
We encourage you to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your family, home and business. Below are helpful resources where you can find additional information and updates.
South Carolina Emergency Management
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office
Town of Hilton Head Island
Twitter: @HHI Emergency
Town of Bluffton
Local News Outlets
The Island Packet
The May River Theatre’s production of “Curtains” is like no other play they have presented in the last 15 years. To say that it is a “Must See” is an understatement. This story is more than just a musical!
Set in a Boston theater, the show has it all—murder, mystery, a play within a play called “Robbin’ Hood of the Old West”; romance, dancing, music and over-the-top comedy.
The director, young theater aficionado Bryce Cofield, has perfectly cast the performers. Cofield has an eye for the little things: the movement that is just right, the timing required for comedic dialogue and the ability to create a sense of family within the cast…a “we are all in the same boat” feeling. The actors want to do their best, and trust him in every way. Cofield has instilled a sense of confidence in the cast, so they will be ready for opening night on time while simultaneously creating a connection with the audience, so that they are part of the setting and show, allowing everyone to follow the play and thoroughly enjoy it in every way.
The music “sometimes goes this-a-way, sometimes it goes that-a-way,” but it underscores the action and is masterfully presented by Warren Heilman and his ensemble. Solos, duets and difficult three- and four-part harmonies are performed by the company. The lyrics are fun and quirky, and maybe a bit slapstick, always gaining a grin…both scene and song tell the story. The funny thing is that the leading lady, Jessica (Mary Lynn Finn), sings horribly off key, can’t dance a step or remember her lines and is murdered on opening night. You may ask, did the sour notes get her killed? Who done it?
Actors and ensemble take the dance numbers and weave them inextricably throughout the play, thanks to Jodi Joy Layman, who’s choreographic interpretation of “Curtains” brings humor into the dance numbers, yet softness, romance and athleticism when needed.
You will enjoy the story of Aaron and Georgia, composer and lyricist respectively, a divorced songwriting team that still question their love for each other. These parts are played by Dan and Debbie Cort, with assistance and encouragement from their four-year-old daughter Lilyanna, who has been named honorary assistant director. You will not find a finer family of actors and singers anywhere.
“I told you we were going to Broadway no matter what you write about us.” (You have to see the play to understand what that means.)
You will laugh out loud watching Aaron become jealous over his ex, Georgia, who has begun dating Bobby, the lead dancer in “Robbin’ Hood,” played by James Siler. Enjoy pure comedic acting from Siler and the way he plays the role. When Georgia and Aaron sing a song together, you realize their love for each other is true and lasting, both in the performance and in reality. I bet you will shed a tear!
Next, we have Detective Frank Cioffi, (Daniel Derrer, who has a degree in Theater and is the complete package—a singer, actor and a dancer who gives the entire cast a performance which holds the bar high). Cioffi figures it all out with small clues, can you? He fancies himself an actor and begins a tender romance with Niki, a chorus girl played by Jean White. (White hits some notes I didn’t even know existed. She holds a BFA in theater and dance—and her acting, singing and dancing prove it!) The feeling is mutual for Niki and he shares his “lunch counter mornings and coffee shop nights” (except Cioffi has sequestered the cast in the theater, so they have not been alone).
Carmen (Jennifer Harden-Green), is the heart and soul of the production and married to self-serving and unfaithful Producer Sidney Bernstein (yours truly). Her voice, presentation of her dialogue, movement, comedic actions and command of whatever she is doing, are exactly as you would picture Carmen to be. The show must go on!
Oscar (Bob Fitzsimmons, the only true, professional comedian and New Yorker in the cast), who financed the production using his earnings from his 1954 lingerie line, plays this role absolutely perfectly. The scene where Oscar reads the “Robbin’ Hood” reviews with Carmen, Georgia and Aaron is a May River Theatre (MRT) Classic.
You are sure to love Belling, (DA Southern) the campy director of the play, “Robbin’ Hood,” the eternal optimist, both ostentatious and hilarious; whose decisions somehow turn out right. His vast stage experience and mastery of his craft are evident in this challenging role.
The way Emily Rice plays the role of Bambi, Carmen and Sidney’s daughter, is infectious. Her voice, facial expressions, stage presence, timing, dancing, singing and energy off stage is invaluable to “Curtains.”
There are no small roles, just small actors having a minor role! Although the Ensemble normally doesn’t get mentioned, here is the entire cast: Lindsey and Stephan Brannan and Jeff Cory (who marks his tenth show at MRT both as an actor and musician). The MRT bright lights and youth include Elliott Lentz, Matthew Davey, Emily Kustak, Kat Lucena and Alyssa Ratajczyk. All are dedicated to their roles and it takes everyone to make this play as special as it is.
Lest we forget, Scott Grooms rounds out the performance’s excellence; his experience with sound and lighting is impeccable. “Curtains” is demanding and coordination and skill are required from all of the technical assistants.
Just before the production opened, everything changed. After Hurricane Matthew pounded us, the mood was different. The cast had 24 hours to hold a week’s worth of rehearsals! Between rushing to safety with family or living in a hotel room holed up like a refugee then clearing trees off homes, something special happened at that first rehearsal after evacuation. Everyone knew their music and timing, were up to date with the dance steps and all that was left was for Warren, Jodi and Bryce to work their magic.
With hard work and dedication, this cast created something together their audience will not forget. That is what is so special about “Curtains” …community theater working to help bring back normalcy to Bluffton through the arts, proving that “the show must go on” and that “there are a special kind of people called show people.” The bond formed within this company after Hurricane Matthew will last long after the curtain falls.
Written by Randolph Stewart
Daufuskie Island offers a rich cultural experience and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of its structures are long gone, but there are many buildings that are centuries old and are still standing and have a great significance in Lowcountry history.
1. Brother and Sisters Oyster Union Society Building
From the turn of the 20th century until pollution in the Savannah River ruined the oyster beds in the 1950s, the primary economy of the Island was harvesting and shucking oysters. The oyster workers established the Oyster Union Society, a benevolent and burial society that held meetings and social events—often enhanced by moonshine or homemade wine—in this 1893 building. The building was restored by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation in 2012.
2. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 2 and Billie Burn Museum
Built on the north end, Church No. 1 was destroyed by a hurricane in 1940. At that time, the declining population caused the church to close. In 2001, the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation bought the property, restored the building and opened the Billie Burn Museum, named after the longtime Island resident, author and Island historian.
3. First Union African Baptist Church
This church is the oldest building on the Island, and dates back to 1881. It was destroyed by fire in 1884 and rebuilt in 1885, on the grounds of Mary Field Plantation (a former cotton plantation) and owned by John Stoddard. He divided the plantation into 12-acre lots and sold them to freed slaves for the purpose of building a church and cemetery. The church still holds regular services.
4. Mary Fields School
The two-room building was built for the Island’s black children in the 1930s. Scraps were used to make the desks. The school was integrated in 1962 after the last white child graduated from the White School House. It was immortalized by Pat Conroy in “The Water is Wide.” Closed in 1997, it has been renovated and is now used for church and civic activities.
5. Sarah Grant Home
Sarah bought this home in 1910 from Fuller Fripp and had it moved to its current location for a total cost of $40. Sarah was the Island midwife and her husband was the Island undertaker. When he passed in 1962, she took his place. It was said that “Granny bring ‘em an’ she take ‘em away.” It was later restored by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation.
6. The White School
The White School House was built in 1913 by the Beaufort County Board of Education for white children who lived on Daufuskie Island. Whether there were 20 students or just one, a teacher was sent. The school closed when the last white child graduated in 1962. Since then, the White School House has been used as fire department headquarters, an Island library and thrift shop. Currently, the White School House is home to the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation‘s archives.
7. Silvery Dew Winery
An iconic building, Silver Dew Winery dates back to 1883. It was originally constructed as a “wick house,” a building used to store oil, wicks and lamps for nearby Bloody Point Lighthouse. In the mid-1900s, it was converted to a winery by Arthur “Papy” Burn. Papy made wine from grapes, scuppernong, pears, and elderberries in the shed until it was closed in 1959. Recently the Silver Dew Winery and Bloody Point Lighthouse were purchased, and are now open to the public.
8. Frances Jones Home
The core of this vintage Gullah home is believed to have been built in the late 1860s by freemen who moved to the Island after the Civil War. Over the years, additions were made and the house become the home of beloved Frances Jones, teacher of the African-American children on the Island from 1939 to 1969. She was lame from a childhood accident but still managed to teach as many as 96 children in the morning and afternoon sessions, often the sole teacher. The building was restored in 2014 by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation.
9. Tabby Ruins
Tabby is a building material made from a mixture of ground oyster shells, sand and water. Many slave quarters were constructed of wood and have long since disintegrated, but remnants of structures made from tabby can be seen to this day, especially at Haig Point.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Hrizuk & Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation
We were always bored. I think 12-year-olds are destined to be disenchanted, but when the keys to the motorboat were relinquished, things changed.
“Be careful,” Mom said as we rushed down the dock. The tube hit the water as fast as you could say, “I’m first!” and we were off. What was she thinking? The entire goal of tubing is to destroy the rider—to throw them off so that their bodies bounce across the water like a skipping stone. How in the heck did we not injure each other? Not only was it dangerous, it was the most fun I have ever had.
My second best memory? Exploring the May River. Little did I know that these expeditions would shape my career.
We didn’t have a depth sounder, GPS, cell phone, bottled water or even a current registration, but we survived somehow. When we hit a sandbar, we had to figure out a way to get the boat to float again after collecting all of the items that flew off after hitting the sand at 20 mph. Thank goodness a Boston Whaler is “unsinkable.” After hitting the sandbar a second time, we were sure to remember it. Most of my knowledge of bottom topography in the May was ingrained during these episodes.
“Do NOT take the boat out at night,” Mom said. The boat had no running lights and drifted quite nicely down the river before we cranked the engine.
Nighttime brought new and interesting things to the water’s edge. One tool that is old school enough to be applied is the flashlight, with a bulb. LED was not available yet, but shining a somewhat dim light into the marsh grass at low tide was like plugging in Christmas lights. Of course, we were terrified and our screams scared the animals away—but they were there the next night and we were prepared to be brave. A glimpse of body shape and fur revealed that the owners of glowing eyes were raccoons, mink and river otters. Also, deer made an appearance in the background at the high marsh, closer to solid ground. That is as far as my childhood interest extended.
I didn’t wonder why the animals were there, and I’m pretty sure that they didn’t care to see children in the middle of the night shining lights in their eyes. We were interrupting their dinner of fiddler crabs and snails.
Though deer are vegetarians, they do not eat marsh grass. It is too tough and they prefer the plants you paid money for—chewy with exotic flavor. Adults may be interested to learn that deer lick marsh grass to add a mineral to their diet that they would otherwise get from rocks: salt. (FYI, rocks are not found naturally in the Lowcountry. They have all been brought here from somewhere else.) Marsh grass is the only plant on the Eastern Seaboard that drinks salt water and excretes salt out the blade. I remember thinking that marsh grass had shiny diamonds (actually dried salt crystals) on its leaves when the summer sun was strong. But again, I did not wonder why.
To me, it looked like an oyster grew branches to make the cluster. I will have to say that this is quite logical, but incorrect. Larval oysters attach to a hard surface when they are ready to settle down. Since there are naturally no rocks in the Lowcountry, the available hard surface is each other. Crassostrea Virginica, or Eastern oyster, are abundant on the Atlantic Coast, but look and taste different in a variety of ecosystems. Oysters in Beaufort County filter water from the nursery of the ocean, consuming millions of microorganisms floating in the water column—that is what you are tasting. They grow long and slender because they are growing so close to one another in the cluster. The Blue Point oyster in Connecticut is the same species, but is singular and round as there are plenty of rocks to attach to and room to spread out. Their diet is very different outside of the salt marsh estuary and, therefore, they taste different.
I also didn’t understand why my fiddler crab collection never made it past three days in a bucket with sand. In hindsight, I should have made the connection: The tide never comes inside the bucket. Without sea water to moisten their gills, the fiddler crabs dry out. Despite all of the attention that I gave them, I didn’t know to add salt water.
Another thing I didn’t quite know was the location of a blue crab’s mouth. It is between the eyes, but isn’t it logical for a child to think the mouth is the pincer on the claw? Please say yes. I thought that the crab’s teeth were the jagged sharp edges that bit you. Then they swallowed the food at the pincer and it traveled down the claw and into the belly. Actually, the pincer delivers the food to the mouthparts, which also move back and forth to force water inward and over their gills. If I had slowed down for two seconds, I may have figured these things out more quickly.
I did think from time to time about things that made no sense.
My mom told me to go wash off with the hose when I was sticky after swimming in the river. She said it was the salt drying on my back that made me uncomfortable. I HATE washing my hair—still do—but when I skipped my hair during the hose down, I thought to myself: “Salt doesn’t smell bad and water doesn’t smell bad so I’m good.” However, something was very wrong with this theory. It was the microorganisms from the ocean’s nursery still in my hair that produced the unpleasant smell. When you get out of the water in the Lowcountry and you feel sticky, it is not only salt. Just so you know.
Looking back, I wish that I had been more patient and observant, but then I was a teenager (enough said). Enjoy the river; it is more entertaining than you can imagine.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters
Imagine traveling two hours, round-trip, every week; maybe twice a week, because you care about someone.
Typically, this kind of tedium is limited to visiting close friends or family, but Mischelle “Mikki” Anderson does it out of love for the residents of Ridgeland Nursing Center on Grays Highway in Ridgeland, SC.
“She comes in five or six times out of the month,” Katina “Tina” Orr, Director of Activities at Ridgeland Nursing Center, says. “She’s always coming in, bringing goodies and doing one-on-ones.”
Every week, Mikki makes her way from Beaufort’s barrier isles to Ridgeland to visit residents at the center. She’s been doing it since she moved to Fripp Island from Florida, where she was known as the “Elder Whisperer” for her ability to make cranky senior women giggle and grumpy old men melt like chocolate candy.
“I just come because there are a lot of elders who need to be loved on. I’m very passionate about it,” she explains. “When I walk in I say, ‘Hello you beautiful people,’ and when I leave I say, ‘I love you’.”
Every time Mikki visits, she loves on the residents one at a time, listening and caring for them in one of the simplest and most effective ways—conversation. She longs to see them happy and fulfilled, in a community that feels like family.
“This is the last place they’re going to be, in some cases. So I’m going to make sure that when they take that ride, they’re going to be smiling, because they know they were loved,” Mikki says.
For a place like Ridgeland Nursing Center, which been a part of this community for the past 38 years, it’s vitally important that neighbors and families be involved, because it’s of the utmost importance that these seniors feel like they’re cared for—not just by the staff, but by the community.
Whether it be daughters and sons surrounding their dad, admitted to the recently renovated rehabilitation center due to a hip fracture; or friends visiting each week to cheer up a new resident, it’s tenderness and touch that subtly become key motivators.
“Those bonds are important, certainly for the residents here, but for the people who participate and agree to open their world and use their time to make a difference. I can tell you on a very personal level, the community here in Ridgeland is pretty amazing,” Stacey Walker, Director of Rehabilitation observes. “We have patients here who see family infrequently, if ever, and they learn to rely on the staff, especially the people who have been here forever and will be here for an indefinite period of time. The Ridgeland nursing staff becomes a secondary and tertiary family for them.”
Stacy has seen the struggle firsthand. She relocated her mother to Ridgeland Nursing Center from her home in Tennessee. “It was immeasurably difficult, I can’t even tell you,” she says. “But the staff that has been here…the vast majority have been here for a very long time, and the staff serves as family to the residents who live here.”
Ridgeland has recently upgraded their rehabilitation program and re-tooled their facility with a new rehabilitation room and walking garden. They have also collaborated collaborated with Sea Island Therapy to provide occupational, physical and speech therapists to Ridgeland’s program.
Different staff members operate in different ways. Stacy and her rehab crew handle stroke recovery, arthritic conditions, Alzheimer’s, orthopedic injuries, head injuries, pulmonary dysfunction and more, while Tina Orr coordinates activities to provide that little extra spark in their day.
Tina schedules many churches in the area, including Ridgeland Baptist Church, Faith Ridgeland Church, Church of the Cross, Gillisonville, Coosawhatchie Baptist Church, Kingdom Touch Ministry and Mount Pleasant AME Missionaries and more. These ministries schedule Bible studies or sermons, and offer music and sometimes a communion service to the residents. Tina also gets students involved by partnering with schools, including Thomas Heyward Academy, Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School and the homeschool program at Faith Baptist Church.
Some of the school activities have delighted the residents, for instance, the homeschooled students who meet at Faith Baptist Church decorated the residents’ doors with fall-themed décor. School choirs and children often sing at Ridgeland Nursing Center, and Eddie Stanley’s senior government/economics class from Thomas Heyward Academy visited to learn about the center. One of the biggest joys, Tara indicates, arrives Wednesday nights when the Ridgeland Baptist Church kids bring crafts they’ve made as gifts for each of the 80 residents.
“They really love having children coming over to visit,” Tara Hayes, Administrative Secretary and youth leader at Ridgeland Baptist Church, explains. “And I know it benefits the children because they love to see how excited the residents are when they come over there.”
It’s hard to say what trumps kids’ gift night, but nothing seems to beat the 3 o’clock bingo on Monday afternoons. Not the Saturday arts and crafts, or their mind-jogging trivia, not bean bag tosses or sing-a-longs. Possibly the mock-trial court cases in which the residents play the part of the judge…but maybe not!
A list packed with things to do and people to see may seem like just a way to fill up the day, but it’s much more than that—it’s a way to assure that the surrounding community interacts with the war veterans and other unique individuals who were once doctors, professional boxers or models and now live at Ridgeland Nursing Center.
“It’s very important for our residents because this is their home,” Tina points out. “A lot of them can’t get out and go participate in different things, so it’s very important that our community and our volunteers, which are greatly appreciated, come into their homes and make them feel special and welcome, especially during the holidays.”
This holiday season, Ridgeland Nursing Center’s annual Christmas party with Home Instead takes place on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. and includes snacks, singing and celebrations. Prior to the party, Tina secures resident gift requests and works with Home Instead to fill the wish list, so at the Christmas party, Santa can give personal gifts to each resident and wish them a happy holiday.
This month, kids will decorate cookies to bring, churches will perform Christmas carols and bring gifts and goodies, families will make special visits and Mikki will bring her usual Twinkies, chocolate Swiss Rolls, Honeybuns, suckers and sugar-free candy.
“People say not one person can make a change—but that’s not true. You can make a change,” she emphasized. “To me it’s real simple—love them and treat them with respect. Make sure they look as nice and neat and clean as they did when they came in the door.”
For Mikki, it’s a matter of not looking the other way when something is wrong—if you see someone sad, go whisper in their ear and give them a hug. Touch is powerful and it doesn’t take the world to comfort someone.
“When you do see wrong, you don’t look the other way. Think, ‘How can I make that a little bit better without tweaking the whole world in there?’” Mikki challenges.
“One person can make a difference in the community. You never know the dynamics of the family when these people come in, and you don’t know what went on before and you don’t know why their kids don’t come. You don’t judge. You just help them through this time the best that you can. I always tell my elders, ‘If you weren’t here and I didn’t come in, you would have never met me. I will be back, I just don’t know when, but I promise I’ll be back. It’ll just be a great surprise.’ And it makes them smile.”
One Bluffton resident enjoys the freedom of life on the water, casting a line for red drum, bass, trout and flounder.
By Amanda Surowitz
With easy access to inshore waters and to the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no secret that Bluffton is a great place to go fishing.
Local residents like Nancy Howes love to take advantage of good weather by getting out on the water and casting a line. Nancy’s grandfather taught her how to fish when she lived in New Hampshire, and she’s been fishing in and around Bluffton for the past 40 years.
“I’ve been fishing since I was real little,” she said. “My grandfather took me as soon as I was big enough to help carry the canoe.”
The best advice he gave her when angling for your meal? “Pay attention. If you’re not paying attention, you could miss a good bite or a good fish.”
It’s hard for Nancy to pick a favorite catch, since there are so many freshwater and saltwater species in the area. She’s reeled in bass, flounder, trout and red drum inshore, and she loves fishing offshore with friends for cobia. Between September and December, she also casts her net for shrimp.
The bottom line: if she can’t take it home and eat it, she’s not fishing for it.
“If the fish is a good size and it’s legal, it’ll taste good,” she explained. “Trout is sweet. Redfish is good, too. It all depends on who you’re with and how you cook it. There’s a lot of saltwater out there and fish to be had.”
For Nancy, spring and summer are ideal seasons for fishing, though many summer days in the Southern heat are too hot to spend an afternoon on the water. Nancy loves the fact that fall offers “the really good” fishing, as well as milder temperatures.
Ladyfish Clothing for Women Who Fish
Whatever the season, the catch or the company, the the fish are always biting in the Lowcountry.
“It’s nice to be out there,” she said with a smile. “I love the peace and quiet. Nobody telling you what to do or how do it.”
When Hilton Head Islander Kelly Stroud Spinella couldn’t find the right clothing for female anglers, she took matters into her own hands and launched Ladyfish in April 2014.
Perfect for fishing, boating and other outdoor activities, Ladyfish offers a line of high-performance clothing designed for the female body. Popular items include t-shirts, tank tops, hats and long-sleeved Ultraviolet Protection Factor shirts.
As a bonus, the long-sleeved shirts are made with an anti-microbial, moisture-wicking fabric that keeps anglers cool and protected from the sun, even in the summer heat.
Learn more at ladyfish.com.
By Steve Tilton
To say that the housing bubble and the subsequent Recession shook up the country’s beliefs about home buying and home building is an understatement.
Homeowners saw their property values drop by 30 percent, erasing over $6 trillion in accumulated equity and leaving 12 million homeowners underwater. The recession showed up like cops at a frat party – sobering things up and ending 15 years of unbridled prosperity.
Now that the dust has settled around the mortgage industry, lenders have relaxed their requirements, the real estate market has improved and the tide is turning, allowing us to pursue the “American Dream” once again.
A “New Normal”
As a consequence of the Recession, lifestyles, behaviors and homeowner goals have changed. For example, in the past you probably purchased a house, sold it at a profit in a few years, then moved another step closer to your retirement “dream home.” The post-Recession housing market doesn’t support that strategy.
The Recession reminds us of our core values. There’s renewed demand for simplicity and quality versus quantity. Shoppers are placing a premium on homes that exhibit qualities of timeliness, usefulness and versatility. Smart homebuilders are adapting to meet these needs.
Move from Scared to Prepared
There are growing reasons you should move ahead with building your dream home. Historically low mortgage rates are starting to climb, but not at a level that is dramatically affecting construction prices – at least not yet. Home prices and construction costs are rising, making it prudent to move ahead.
Just like before the Recession, it’s important to get your financing organized so that you know exactly what you can afford BEFORE you start looking at floor plans and building sites. But unlike before, you should plan as far ahead as possible. Remember, homeowners aren’t hopscotching to a bigger and better home every few years, so plan for the features that you’ll need as your life evolves. This can be something as simple as having all the main rooms on one floor instead of two. Make sure your builder has the same mindset.
Advantages of Building a New Home
One the biggest advantages of new construction is that homes are designed and built for today’s post-Recession lifestyle. For example, did you know that more 18 to 34-year-olds are now living with their parents than during the depth of The Great Depression? This means that Flex Space, FROG suites (friends, relatives, or guests) and one-level floor plans are highly sought after. Overt ostentation, formal living/dining rooms and sprawling lawns carpeted in insatiably thirsty sod are out.
Energy efficient building materials and new technologies, like digital thermostats and on-demand water heaters are among post-Recession must-haves. These features will save you thousands in the future. With energy-saving new appliances, plumbing and HVAC, you should be able to live repair-free for years, saving you money and helping you rebuild some of the equity that you may have lost in the last decade.
Of course, life always moves along no matter what the economy decides to do. The profound changes brought on by the Recession did not destroy the “American Dream” of a retirement home built specifically for your needs, but the dream home looks much different today. I believe that consumers coming out of this Recession will, like their great-grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, carry the attitudes and behaviors they learn now throughout the remainder of their lives. Simplicity, quality and value accompanied by designs for long-term livability, will be the driving objectives when you build your post-Recession home.
If you have any connection to environmental issues in the Lowcountry, you have likely heard that Hilton Head and Beaufort County are considering ordinances that would ban single-use plastic bags. What you may not have heard about is a bill, pushed by the plastic industry, that would prevent local governments from passing ordinances that regulate the sale and distribution of plastic bags—the so-called “Ban on Bans” Bill or H. 3529.
The State House of Representatives voted in March of this year to table this bill until January of 2018. The bill violates Home Rule (the ability for local governments to set their own rules) and sets a disturbing precedent. If the state passes this restriction on Home Rule in January 2018, our local governments will be prevented from addressing the problems plastic bags are causing in our communities and in our ecosystems. We will continue to see bags floating on the waterways, removed from the intestinal tract of sea turtles, snagged by oyster reefs, blowing in the streets and adorning the trees in the median. Does this picture sound like scenery we are proud to call home?
Of course not. That’s why Beaufort County is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags—the kind you get at the checkout counter. The County has not suggested banning all plastics.
Single-use plastic bags catch wind and travel great distances. When they end up over the marine environment, settle on the surface of the ocean and submerge, they resemble jellyfish, a major food source for leatherback sea turtles.
There have been Planning Commission meetings and several County Council meetings—with and without public comment—where a ban on plastic bags received overwhelming support from the community. A survey conducted by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce also conveyed the majority opinion that we could live without the single-use plastic bag.
The community supports the ban, the local government does not want to lose Home Rule and the environment will benefit. So why this push for a “Ban on Bans” at the state level? A plastic bag manufacturer that maintains administrative offices in South Carolina argues their industry takes precedent over the wishes of local citizens, the health of our environment and our water quality. But, here in coastal South Carolina, where the salt marsh estuary pervades our Lowcountry for miles inland, we understand why we should implement policies ensuring Spanish moss is hanging from our trees—not plastic bags.
Isle of Palms and, later, Folly Beach have already initiated a ban on plastic bags and look like rock stars. They are trailblazers and have been successful with the backing of communities that value the unique Lowcountry ecosystem. Folly Beach took an extra leap and banned Styrofoam and balloons on their beaches, as well. This is an example of proactive citizens working to solve a problem in their community with real results. Their decision will be grandfathered in, even if South Carolina defeats the Home Rule Act.
It’s time to protect what is beautiful in our coastal towns and the scenery we enjoy every day. It is a call to action to assist the sea turtles that are confused by the floating plastic. You can make a difference. Tell your local elected officials you support banning plastic bags. Tell your representatives and senators that you oppose House Bill 3529.
Home Rule: Home Rule is the right to self-govern. In the 1970s, South Carolina amended the 1895 State Constitution to delineate the powers of local governments. The Home Rule Act was enacted in 1975. “Local solutions to local problems.”
Article by Amber Kuehn
A fourth-generation Blufftonian, Amber Kuehn is a marine biologist and owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters. The manager of Hilton Head Island’s Sea Turtle Protection Project, she is also an active volunteer for the SC Marine Mammal Stranding Network and performs dolphin necropsies in the field for the National Oceanic Services (NOS). In October, Amber was a featured speaker at TEDxHiltonHead. To schedule a Voyage of Discovery with Captain Amber, call (843) 338-2716 or visit spartinacharters.com.
Back to school…already?
The summer solstice has come and gone and soon it will be time to gather together and learn new things in the classroom. Field trips are being organized for the coming months and will provide a smooth transition from play to pay attention.
It was always exciting for me to cover my books with paper bags, buy new pencil boxes and pick out the Trapper Keeper. Although the focus has changed from actual school supplies and library cards to touch screens and virtual access, the first day of school still seems to bring the same excitement.
It has been over 30 years but, if memory serves, I’m pretty sure I never had the opportunity to take a field trip on a motor boat to learn about the local marshland and I certainly did not have access to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston (May 2000) or the Port Royal Maritime Center (November 2014) just up the street. Our community is bringing emphasis to the Lowcountry marine environment and I am making every effort to support it.
Over the past year, I have performed several field trips aboard my tour boat, Spartina, on the May River. I have observed the things that catch the attention of a nine-year-old.
Some of them have never been on a boat and are fascinated by the wake left behind by the engine…they love to “go faster.” When I attempt to explain the basis of the ecosystem, the 200,000 acres of marsh in Beaufort County, they could care less. They want to see a dolphin and, when we find one, their attention span is about 30 seconds before they want me to find another one. The fiddler crabs that I bring along will entertain them for a moment, but only long enough for me to explain that their role in nature is to clean the surface of the mudflat when they emerge from their burrows at low tide. Then they ask, “What else do you have in the bucket?”
I attribute this need for instant gratification and excitement to the immediate access of the computer age. When I was nine, I was fascinated by the feeling of a fiddler crab running over the top of my foot, and those crabby eyes that act independently of one another…one up, one down: “Mom! He’s winking at me!”
How do we get the attention of a nine-year-old who is fascinated with things that move across a screen to notice things that move across a mud flat? Well, I have a funny, TRUE story that happened on one of my first field trips.
It was the beginning of the school year and the first time that this age group had been on the boat. One hundred second and third graders filled the Port Royal Maritime Center and teachers were frantically trying to divide them into groups. I took 20 on each trip for five one-hour boat tours. I will say that at the end of that day, I was completely enlightened—not in a good way or a bad way, just enlightened. I feel that I am more prepared for living in this unpredictable world after this experience and several subsequent ones just like it.
With this age group, I have found that in order to make an impression, there has to be a balance of fun and fact. Although sometimes they end up hating me when I tell them to get their feet off the cushions or to stop talking when I am talking, I continue to try to impress them with nature.
When I am “field tripping” for the Port Royal Maritime Center, I start with a description of the mud flat, constructed of silt and held together by the marsh grass. I proceed to explain that when the fiddler crabs emerge from their burrows at low tide, they release a gas that is the product of an anaerobic bacteria decomposing organic matter deep in the mudflat. I was pleased when one of the students immediately raised his hand with enthusiasm to ask a question. I suddenly felt pride for my attempt to spark interest in the marine environment.
The question was this: “Captain Amber, is that like a bacteria FART?”
Having no kids of my own, I had forgotten how comical toilet humor can be for this age group. After I regained control over the group, I announced, “Actually, that is somewhat accurate, but if you are going to use that analogy, you must do me a favor. When you are crossing the Broad River Bridge, roll down the window, smell the hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the mud flat at low tide and, with your fist in the air, proclaim loudly, “THANK GOODNESS IT’S WORKING!”
When your mom asks you what you are talking about, say, “Mom, the bacteria are farting and doing their job!”
Back at the dock, I explained to the teachers that the only thing the kids are going to remember about the one-hour boat ride is the word “fart.” I apologized, but made them aware that I did not introduce the concept, they did.
They assured me, “Amber, we deal with these people on a daily basis. Don’t be shocked…we aren’t.” Now that I was off the hook, I reiterated that if they remember just that one thing, it is accurate and I may have actually taught them something.
Although I am intensely fascinated with the intricate details that work together to keep our unique ecosystem pristine and balanced, I have learned to “bring it down” to a level that nurtures comprehension in a child’s mind. This is harder than you think, especially for a biologist that is passionate about the details.
For all you teachers out there, I appreciate you more than ever. THANK YOU! I’ll see you soon.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn with photos courtesy of Amber Hester Kuehn.
By Gene Cashman
I was exhausted. Successively packed work weeks and a slammed holiday schedule left me emotionally threadbare. The only thing registering as I herded the kids up the stairs for their naptime was how desperately I needed a nap myself. The work week would be starting all over too soon and I needed some space. My eyes were heavy and nearly closed when a small voice called out from the top of the stairs. “Daddy, can I come out of rest time yet?”
In our house, on Sunday afternoon, everyone takes a rest or a nap. I usually take the couch at the bottom of the stairs so I can watch a ballgame while my wife takes a nap in the bedroom. There is risk and reward here. I can cat nap to whatever sport is in season but on occasion will get interrupted when a child calls out; being the closest parent within earshot. “Darling,” I shot back to my eight-year-old daughter, “you haven’t even been up there five minutes!” I am not considered the most patient of men, and my tone, even when well rested, can be rough. The missile I shot back up those stairs was not well received. “Daddy,” she stomped, “I’m bored and I do not like the way you are speaking to me!” I stared at the ceiling and counted to 10 as I planned my next move. “Daaaaddddy,” she called out again.
I am learning as a father, especially to girls, what it means to be kind. Being kind isn’t being sugary and falsely nice and it certainly isn’t being cutting and mean. Rather, it’s being truthful in a way that is both calm and completely understood. “Please come here,” I responded tersely, intent on kindly but firmly presenting her my position. She sulked her way down the stairs, each clomp of her feet raised my blood pressure. “Shhhh,” I hissed with my index finger pressed against my lip “you are going to wake the whole house!” In my moment of exhaustion I began to lose my cool. Selfishly I envisioned all three kids, tired and cranky coming down the stairs ruining my chance at sleep. As such I was not being kind. Finally she stood before me. She straightened her glasses and crossed her arms in a huff. I was at a parental crossroads. Technically, she had done nothing wrong. All she had done was call out my name. I was the one who got bent out of shape. My choice was to lamely lecture her on respect or some other contrived thing or I could simply apologize for being a jerk. “Honey,” I confessed, “sorry I bit your head off. I am really tired. What can daddy do for you?”
She smiled with her eyes. “I forgive you daddy, anyway I wanted to read you a story I wrote.” She sat next to me and proceeded to read the most wonderful story. It was about a prince and how he met a beautiful princess and how they got married and had three babies. It was remarkably similar to what she understood of her parents’ love story. It was the ending that got me. “You see,” she read in a serious voice, “the prince grew very tired and grumpy because all he did was work, work and work. The princess and all the babies missed him very much.” I looked at her. “Is that all, is there not another page to the story?” She smiled as only children can and said, “we are going to write it together this afternoon.” The sleep and agitation retreated from my eyes and bones. I sat humbled and just looked at her, finally offering, “what did you have in mind?”
She pulled a folded piece of paper out of her bathrobe pocket. It was folded at least eight times over and covered in pink and purple hearts. She handed it to me with a big smile, “I had a few thoughts.” It was an agenda for the next two hours. “Make up and nails,” I protested, “really?” She giggled, “oh yes, sir and so much more!” Somewhere between the end of UNO and the middle of hair and make-up I completely loosened up and lost myself in complete enjoyment of my daughter’s imagination. So much so that I hardly noticed my son staring slack jawed at us from the top of the stairs. “Hey look,” my daughter laughed, “he’s awake!” “Dad,” he called out in a perplexed way, “what’s in your hair?” By this time I was in total character. “Son,” I said, “get down here; you have the next appointment.” Reluctantly and with much trepidation he slowly made his way to my side. “It is fun,” I poked at him, “take a seat.” We played and laughed until the sun was low in the sky. Ironically, by the end both kids leaned against me sleepy and satisfied. I heard the door to the bedroom turn and the sound of my wife’s feet coming across the hardwood. The sound of her snickering laugh quickly snapped us out of our collective daze. “Nice bows and eye shadow boys,” she teased, “it looks like I missed the party.”
That night after dinner my daughter sat at her desk writing. “Time for bed, it’s getting late,” I said, “you can finish that up in the morning.” She quickly turned out the light and hopped in bed. “I love you daddy,” she said, “thanks for a great day.” I kissed her on the cheek. “What were you writing,” I asked curiously. “Oh,” she said, “nothing big, just writing a new story.” I am learning as a father, especially to girls that ‘nothing big’ actually means ‘pay attention.’ I picked up the packet of papers and read the title “Love and Happiness: a princess and her dad.” She pulled the covers up over her face embarrassed. “Is it finished?” I asked. There was a long pause. “No, but I was hoping we could write it together tomorrow.” I kissed her forehead, “I will leave work early.”
I am learning as a father, to my boy and my girls, that there is no better time to pay attention than right now. It’s a matter of love and happiness.
While you are enjoying your lovely beach vacation with the family this summer, please keep an eye on your children because Poseidon is greedy and will try to steal them, if he can. Make sure they’re wearing at least three life jackets at all times and don’t let them wander. In fact, maybe put a leash on them. I remember exactly one beach vacation from my entire childhood, and I was almost dragged out to sea.
It was a perfect vacation, if that is any consolation. I was eight and my parents and I took a trip to Costa Rica with two of their friends. It was magical. We explored rain forests and saw monkeys and macaws. We even watched a sloth cross the street! Well, we watched it get halfway across the street. Then we got bored and left. They are very slow animals.
We had made it through nearly a week without any major incident. Sure, we got lost in a grocery store parking lot, but we had covered a lot of ground since then. We were world explorers, by this point. That’s when my Dad got the brilliant idea to go body boarding in the middle of the night. He and his friend Matt were pretty drunk and I was kind of just happy to be along for the ride.
So the three of us snuck by the hotel’s office and stole a couple of boards and took off for the ocean. Now, it may have been all the alcohol or a complete misunderstanding of very obvious foreshadowing, but my Dad was completely undisturbed by the giant lightning storm not far off the coast.
We plunged headfirst into the choppy, pitch-black surf. Giant cracks of lighting filled the sky occasionally, but never let us see whatever massive sharks were surely lurking around waiting to rip our legs off. As the waves threw us about, we proved to be about as graceful as ice skating squirrels. Slipping, sliding and getting lost beneath the waves.
For roughly 20 minutes, we tempted fate itself to fumble around in the ocean. We survived without incident, but after that I was hooked. Anytime we stayed near the beach on that vacation, I’d race out into the waves with a boogie board in hand.
We arrived at the Look Out Inn near the end of our stay. After settling in a bit, we befriended a hotel staff member and convinced him to walk us down to the beach so that I could get my next fix.
He dropped us off and turned to walk back to the hotel. When we asked him to stay, he just sort of laughed like a low-rent Bond villain and continued to leave. Suddenly, the ocean felt less like an old friend and more like an ex who arrives out of nowhere with cookies. Sure, we’d had good times before, but there’s a good chance those cookies were baked with rat poison, instead of love.
But we were stubborn fools and made our way down to the shore. I was told to wait and let the older men test it out first. The tide crashed in with force, like a toddler throwing a fit in the toy aisle. My dad walked out and you could tell that the current was stronger than anything we’d seen so far. Our friend Matt swam for a few moments before the waves spat him back out against a giant chunk of driftwood. Our last trip to the beach was going to be a bust.
We were getting ready to pack it in, but somehow I ended up near the shore. Water crashed in around my tiny 8-year-old ankles and before I could turn around back to my parents, it grabbed hold and ripped me down. Now, I’ve spent more time behind a sewing machine than I have on a football field, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it felt like to get hit by a linebacker.
I laughed for a moment, “Ha, ha, okay, you win Poseidon. I will not tempt you today.” But the laughter quickly turned to panicked screams as the undercurrent latched onto me and began to tug my body back toward the ocean like jungle cat pulling its kill away to eat later.
Salt water smashed into me again and again, as I felt myself get dragged away. Everyone stampeded toward me, yelling for me to get to my feet, to get out of there. I tried to get up but I couldn’t find the strength to battle the water. I’d get to my feet and immediately be pulled back down on my back or my stomach. My Mom and her friend Terri pulled at my arms and I felt like I was going to be ripped in two like some sort of medieval torture device.
No matter how much the two women tried, my tubby little body was too much for them. I could hear the God of the Ocean laughing at me in the distance as I cried, desperately not wanting to die over a stupid activity I wasn’t even good at. I clawed at the sand. I cried. I promised my Mom that I would do the dishes for like a month if she saved my life.
It could have been two minutes but it felt like five hours.
Eventually, I think through the combined might of four grown adults, I was pulled from the clutches of the ocean and onto the relative safety of the beach. We limped our way back to the hotel and cursed our guide for not talking us out of our own hubris.
So now I spend my summers locked safely away in the comfort of my own apartment. Far away from the sunshine and evil draws of the sea. But, if you attempt to brave the fearsome waters, take precautions. Invest in sandcastle building materials, show your children “Jaws” on the car ride over or sacrifice a small goat to the Ocean God. This summer, your children’s safety is what is most important.
Chase S. Wilkinson is a humorist/superhero. His bumbling alter ego graduated with a degree in writing from SCAD in 2014. Now he spends his time rescuing humanity from its own self-consciousness through laughter and dance! With self-deprecating charm, he vows to remind everyone that it’s okay to laugh at yourself.
Walking into La Petite Gallerie for the first time isn’t like walking into any other gallery. The shop itself is quiet and small with artwork hanging all along the walls. One tall glass tower filled with commissioned jewelry sits near an opening in the wall leading into the adjacent shop known as “The Store.” What makes La Petite special isn’t the space it inhabits, but the art and artists inside. La Petite Gallerie is a co-op owned gallery that opened in February 2015. Owned by the six artists showcased inside, La Petite provides a uniquely Bluffton experience along its most popular street.
“We each take turns running the gallery throughout the week,” said Murray Sease, co-owner and showcased artist at La Petite. “We split up the wall space for each of our works.”
Between Margaret Crawford, Peggy Duncan, Barbara Grubba, Don Nagel, Emily Wilson and Murray Sease, the small space within La Petite is filled with colorful paintings, glasswork, woodwork and even some jewelry, which was recently added to the show within the gallery.
“Everything in here is handmade by all the artists that own the gallery,” said Sease. “Except for jewelry. We commission local artists for that, and Jo Ann is a big seller. We’ve sold many of her pieces since we started showing her work.”
Jo Ann Graham, a local jewelry and metal smithing artist, has her work on display at La Petite. Taking form from movement, the retired dance educator has leaped into creating beautiful, wearable art through metal smithing. Her pieces show a delicate strength through shape and design, meant to mimic movement and flow she sees in everyday life.
All of Graham’s pieces are one of a kind and are not replicated. Made of sterling silver, Graham has begun to experiment, adding elements of copper and gold to her work as well. Each piece is handmade and priced accordingly. In addition to being found in La Petite Gallerie, her work is at multiple craft shows. She posts which craft shows she will attend on her personal Facebook, as well as that for her company, Silver Lining Dezign.
“There is such a strength and fluidity to her work,” said Sease.
By taking inspiration from movement around her, Graham has become a popular metal smithing artist in the area. She even gave a metal smithing demonstration outside of La Petite in mid-October. To see more of her work, you can can stop by La Petite Gallery located at 56 Calhoun Street or click here to go to her Facebook.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we celebrate three Bluffton couples, taking a closer look at how they fell in love, what strengthens their bond and ways they keep their romance stoked.
Galen + Gina Miller
After all these years, a sly glance from Galen still gives Gina a thrill. Married since 2002 and dating since 1994, these proud parents of two haven’t let the flame go out.
“The other day, we were playing a board game,” confides Gina. “He made this very strategic move, then he turned and winked at me. Well, I’m still very attracted to him, even when he’s killing me in a board game.”
For Galen, the feeling is mutual. He knew from the moment he saw Gina and her long black hair that he’d met his match. So, he did what any determined man would do and followed her in his car with tinted windows.
“Some people would call me a stalker,” jokes Galen, a local IT specialist. “I had seen her around and was blown away by her, but I never had the courage to speak to her until one day I was riding with my cousin and saw her going into a store. Maybe it was God sending me my beauty queen, because it’s been on ever since.”
Galen was so nervous on that first encounter that he forgot to say his name, which actually endeared him greatly to Gina. After a coworker vouched for him—saying Galen was her cousin and a really great guy—Gina decided to visit him at work. The two hit it off immediately, despite many outward differences. Galen is an Island man with Gullah roots, while Gina is a native New Yorker whose family came here on vacation.
She loved his calm, easygoing personality, strong family values and how comfortable she felt around him. He was smitten by her intelligence, her kind and caring ways and, above all, how she adored his grandmother who raised him and was the light of his life.
“We didn’t have much in common on the surface,” says Gina. “We were just genuinely good friends.”
Today, that same close friendship is at the core of their marriage.
“Life comes with trials,” she explains, “so it’s very helpful to have a solid, reliable partner who brings you happiness.”
When their daughter was born prematurely with significant health issues, the sleepless nights and endless state of worry caused a strain that might have driven some couples apart. However, for the Millers, creating a stable loving home for their children is of the utmost importance. This includes teaching them lessons like respect, patience and never losing sight of why you fell in love in the first place.
“Taking care of our marriage is not selfish,” affirms Gina. “It’s beneficial to our kids, as well, because the happier we are as a couple, the happier they are.”
John + Kate Houpt
If John and Kate were to enter one of those game shows where you have to answer questions about your spouse, they would definitely win. In two separate interviews, they both said exactly the same things! Everything matched up perfectly.
Kate recalled being attracted to John initially because he was so funny, while John remembered feeling good because she laughed at all his jokes. Kate said he’s always there to make sure everything is O.K. and to pick her up when she falls apart; John recounted how she has taken care of him in so many ways. For example, he broke his back in high school, and she just happens to be a chiropractor.
Both cherish fond memories of college days when they met. Kate used to come home from classes in tears because she couldn’t understand something, so John would figure it out and explain it to her. Interestingly, when he was on the verge of graduating in computer science, she encouraged him to pursue his love of teaching instead.
“One of the greatest things I’ve ever done was all because of her,” says John, who is now the physical education director and head football coach at Bluffton High School. John and Kate both talked about trust and communication and emphasized the importance of admitting when you’re wrong.
However, there was actually one issue where their points of view diverged: the marriage proposal.
“He will tell you I ruined it,” laughs Kate, explaining that they were on their Christmas break from college in Spartanburg and headed to Hilton Head for vacation the next day.
“He kept trying to convince me to go to the park and walk the dog, but it was cold and I didn’t want to, so he put the ring on the tree. I was like, ‘Why didn’t you wait and do it at the beach?’”
John’s memory is quite different.
“She was all smiles and blushin’ and cryin’ and happy,” he says. “I’m not one to hold off and stall.”
Perspectives differed even further on what happened next.
“He tried to make up for the botched proposal later by giving me diamond earrings on the beach,” says Kate, “but he ended up kicking me in the head by accident.”
When questioned about the incident, which was a failed attempt at some sort of tango move, John said only, “Yeah, let’s leave that one out. She can’t fancy-dance like I can.”
Since those giddy days, life has happened: kids, dogs, jobs and so many things to juggle. At times, romance takes a back seat to teamwork and getting the job done.
“Our days are like a dance,” says Kate. “Pick up a kid, pass them off, pick up another one. Sometimes it goes by in a blur, and sometimes we stumble and fall. But, at the end, we always come back together, and we’re always happy. I think if you don’t find the romance again, you’ll lose each other somewhere along the way.”
As always, John echoes her sentiments.
“We have to spend so much time apart with everything we’re trying to do with the kids,” he says. “But in order for a relationship to work, you also have to keep things fun. Go out in the real world. That’s where you met! When we’re old, I don’t see us going shopping or golfing by ourselves. We want to spend time together.”
Ben Turner + Molly Carrington
“Here’s the romantic in him,” Molly says of her husband since 2000. “He comes in the kitchen the other morning and puts his arms around me. Then, he kinda snuggles in and says ‘Honey, bein’ married to you isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.’”
This is the typical down-to-earth humor of a devoted local couple. Ben is a Bluffton native, so when Molly moved down from North Carolina, he found her to be an exciting change. During a neighborhood block party, he walked past her sitting on a rock, then actually did a 180 to come back and say hello.
What caught his attention? “I have no idea,” Ben jokes. “The rock?”
They spent the next 11 years agreeing they didn’t want a serious relationship, and that they only wanted to have some fun together. First, Ben invited Molly on a moonlight bike ride to Pine Island, which was a blast and showed Molly that he had some imagination.
However, the time he took her shrimping didn’t work out so well. They got in a big fight because he was impatient teaching her to drive the boat, so she simply vowed never to go shrimping with him again, and she hasn’t. That was in 1988, and today these two strong individuals still find they are better together.
“When he refers to me as his best friend, I feel so astounded and complimented by that,” Molly raves.
A major turning point in their relationship came when Molly had the traumatic experience of being assaulted by an intruder. Ben was taking care of his mother at the time, and they insisted that Molly move in with them.
“That was the thing that saved me mentally,” Molly explains. “Ben was just so kind and patient with me. He still is. I trust Ben.”
Ben has found a lot to love in Molly, too.
“I was attracted by her intelligence,” he says. “She always has something interesting to tell me. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I went shopping,’ but ‘Honey, look what I did in the yard,’ or ‘Come here, I want to show you something on the computer.’”
Ben’s typically sardonic relationship advice is: “Don’t marry someone dumber than you are.”
Once you’ve found your soulmate, he says, have the humility to consider their point of view, admit when you’re wrong and find a compromise. Then, if you’re anything like Ben and Molly, the “happy every after” will follow.
Spring Island, one of the Lowcountry’s most scenic developments, shares its unique ethos with the greater community in an exhibition titled “Where Nature Meets Art.” Comprised of over 100 works in a variety of mediums, the show is free and on display at Hilton Head Island’s Coastal Discovery Museum through April 30, 2017. It represents the island’s ecology and heritage, as well as the personal visions of its residents, featuring everything from Southern architecture and sunset marsh scenes to photographs of marine life and bronze sculptures of kingfishers.
“You can’t go anywhere on Spring Island without seeing something you get inspired by,” said Director of Arts Programming Pam Johnson Brickell. “The island is 3,000 acres but we’ll have just 400 homes at max build-out. We have a huge nature preserve that’s very well-managed, and four ecologists on staff. This is South Carolina in its natural state.”
Since its inception in 1990, Spring Island has boasted a dynamic arts program that continues to grow. This is thanks to the founding vision of Betsy Chaffin, an artist and one of the original developers, who felt Spring Island should be a true community and that having an arts program was essential to this goal. In addition to resident members, visiting artists are frequently invited to participate in one-week residencies, during which they enjoy the hospitality and beauty of the island. In exchange, they leave behind a piece of art as a record of their inspiration. Over the years, these pieces have formed a stellar international collection of 200+ works that remain on permanent display throughout the various public buildings on Spring Island. Some of the artists also give workshops and classes which are open to members and their guests.
Resident artists are a diverse lot who reflect varied skill levels and interests. Some are newcomer hobbyists, others well-established professionals. They take joy in supporting and encouraging one another.
Recently, these artists have begun organizing themselves into focused groups by discipline, such as painting, ceramics, metalworking and photography. Many other mediums are represented, including fiber arts, book arts, woodturning, jewelry and collage. These groups function as social entities, as well, taking field trips and hosting speakers at their meetings. The current show at Coastal Discovery Museum highlights the wide range of their interests—everything from pastel seascapes and photographs of egrets, to abstract paintings and an eight-foot tall hanging metal fish wind chime mounted on a tabby shell base. There is even a limited edition handcrafted “Hurricane” board game.
“I think the most interesting thing about this show is the incredible diversity,” said Lark Gildermaster Smith, who has lived on Spring Island for 10 years and is currently head of the various creative groups. She says the exchange of ideas extends across mediums and disciplines to foster new levels of creativity. “Because of the strong sense of community, there is a lot of collaboration and inspiration that goes on amongst us,” she said. “It really is a lot of fun, and Spring Island is a wonderful place to live.”
“Where Nature Meets Art” is a general retrospective that has relied on the efforts of many. Spearheaded by Geoff Lorenz, head of the 114-member painting group, he finds it exciting that approximately half of the program members are newcomers who have never been involved in the arts before.
“We really love encouraging people to try new things that they’ve always wanted to do,” said Lorenz, who started painting a little over two years ago, despite never having held a brush except to paint a house. He recalls that during his first workshop, he sat next to a woman whose paintings fetch $1,000 apiece, yet she was extremely supportive and encouraging to a newcomer. “We have proven that if you have any interest at all, we can train you,” Lorenz said. “People sit down and create something, then later they think, ‘Oh my God, did I really do that?’ It’s wonderful.”
As the program has grown, residents have broadened their scope beyond the shores of Spring Island with their artistic and preservation ideals. “It’s their passion,” she said. “I’m very proud of their work and creativity. They’re having a great time and I’m glad I can be a part of it.”
“Where Nature Meets Art,” an exhibition featuring the Artists of Spring Island, is on display at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn through April 30. For the schedule of artist demonstrations and gallery walks, visit coastaldiscovery.org. More information about the Spring Island community may be found at springisland.com.
Written by Michele Roldán-Shaw. Photos Courtesy of Spring Island and the Coastal Discovery Museum.
So, my second solo show is coming up on November 10 at Bluffton’s only listening room, The Roasting Room.
Am I as nervous as the first solo show back in February? I hope not. What am I planning to do differently this time around? Do I have new songs? Am I gonna actually take my medication this time? Will I tell tall tales about growing up in a rock and roll household or will I talk more about how strong my brother Gavan is? Will we make up words onstage and offstage? What DO I listen to on the way to pickleball?
All these and other questions are spinning right round, baby, right round.
Coming into the last show, I had doubts about what would happen when I clambered up onstage without the band at the Roasting Room last winter. I had Stu Enscoe there, the producer of my first solo effort, giving me hand signals. Hurry up and end the five stories you’re telling simultaneously and play a song!
My wife came, which kind makes me nervous because of how much I value her opinion involving my songs. Do you like THIS song, Honey? I was also being filmed by Dave Peck from A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant on Hilton Head Island and we had some visuals on the screen behind me from record executive and video editor Jessie Renew.
I do have new songs. Some of you know ‘em already because we write ‘em and start playing ‘em immediately, so we can start ironing ‘em out.
The birth of a song…Oh, what a beautiful thing. You look through that little window, the song is so cute. Hooked up to all those machines, the labor. SO EXCITING. Then the song’s warts start to show. You wake up in the middle of the night. There’s screaming. Next thing you know, the song is 5 years old. Then 15.
Do people like your music? Do they sing it in the shower?
Of course, I’ll be playing most of the old favorites like “Drunk on Daufuskie,” written with Gary Pratt, and “Born in the Lowcountry,” written 14 years ago with Andy Pitts. But, yes, I do have new ones. “Pelican Bomb Squad” will be rolled out. And, hopefully, a new song about highs and lows and crab pots and pine straw hats.
Some things NOW Jevon hopes FUTURE Jevon will take into account:
• Learn from the last show. If there is someone there trying to steal your thunder or just talking to their buddy next to them while you’re playing one of the few serious songs you have written, stay focused. Enjoy the fact that anyone is there at all. It might not seem like it to some, but having 75 of your friends support you and your art is a big deal.
• Maybe you should limit your stories to three at a time between songs. Three stories going on at once after “Heinie in the Moonlight” is probably O.K. My friends who come out and watch me play music have admitted something to me: They wish I would tell more jokes and play less music. I know what I am, finally. The class clown has grown up, has three kids, makes funny hats and likes to make wisecracks that no one really expects (or sometimes don’t even make sense.) I’ll be doing all of that.
Thank you, Bluffton, for allowing me to wake up every day, get the kids to school, kiss my wife and try to write another song before going out to play for you. It makes me happy. And being happy is really good for you. And then, your heart is healthy, so you can eat Parmesan cheese on your eggs.
See you all November 10!
On the Old Calibogue due west of the Sound,
There’s an island where all kinds of peeps can be found.
Under the influence most of the day,
Cool ambiance, as the local bands play.
The trip is addictive, a boat ride from home
I look for the Lighthouse and smell the seafoam.
Island music. What the heck does that mean? Music played on an island? Toes in the sand? Reggae music? Jimmy Buffett? Yacht Rock? I think all these things qualify. When people come to Hilton Head or go over to Daufuskie (hopefully this will help people spell the name of that island more betterer) what do they wanna hear? I’m here to tell you, I KNOW WHAT THEY WANT. Do we give it to them?
Well…yes and no.
Fact: People on vacation love steel drum music…they love reggae tunes. They wanna hear Bob Marley and they wanna hear Buffett. Who started this phenomenon, I do not know, but it’s pretty simple when you break it down.Everyone has a job. (Well, most people over 15.) We work and we get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. We wanna go on vacation and drink and relax, but for some of us relaxing is hard. Watching a singer or a group play songs usually takes your mind somewhere else, especially a song about relaxing on a beach. It’s like being told you’re gonna get hit over the head and then getting hit over the head, which makes it so much better when it happens. “I’M GONNA REALLY GIVE IT TO YOU! Then, WHAMM-O!”
You get it, I hope.
So, we know that Jimmy Buffett has created this beach bum guitar player persona, and he crushed, killed, slayed it. He sings about cooking shrimp. He sings about getting drunk. He sings about flip-flops and sailors. The reggae dudes don’t really do that.
Reggae is more about the SOUND of the music being relaxing and hypnotic. The lyrics are usually about love or spiritual stuff. It’s just one of those things that fits the beach vibe. Of course, the dreadlocks don’t hurt.
Nothing like a swingin’ dreadlock to hypnotize you into submission.
Standout Island music tracks for me:
• “Rastaman Chant” by Bob Marley
• “Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett
• Anything by Sublime (I didn’t mention these guys but they are really beachy sounding…surfy and beachy.)
• “Drunk on Daufuskie” by Lowcountry Boil (duh)
Spent all my money, can’t find my keys.
I’m drunk on Daufuskie.
D-R-U-N-K on Daufuskie.
Eight square miles of heaven, that’s not a misquote.
Ain’t no going home, cause I missed the last boat.
Visit soundcloud.com/rasjvon/drunk-on-daufuski to Get Drunk on Daufuskie with Jevon Daly and Lowcountry Boil. Song written by Gary Pratt and Jevon Daly featuring Mick Ayres on clawhammer banjo.
Article written by Jevon Daly
For thousands of years, indigenous Muskogean Indians called Daufuskie Island home. The word “Daufuskie” comes from the Muscogee language and means “sharp feather,” due to the Island’s distinctive shape. In the mid-1500s, Spanish explorers had begun colonization of the Southeastern Coast of the United States, followed by the French and English. It was during this period that the Spanish settlers introduced their Iberian horses, and descendants of these horses, known as Carolina Marsh Tackies, are found on the Island to this day.
In the late 1600s, the Spanish enlisted native warriors to challenge a growing number of European settlements. These clashes culminated in the Yamassee Uprising, three brutal battles between 1715-1717 on the southwestern shore of Daufuskie. The Yamassee Uprising is credited with the area’s present-day name: Bloody Point.
The quest for religious freedom brought the great grandson of French Huguenot, David Mongin, and the daughter of Italian Prince Filippo de Martinangelo to the Island, where they became powerful plantation owners.
During the American Revolution, Daufuskie received the nickname “Little Bermuda” due to the residents’ loyalist sentiments. Following the Revolution, the introduction of Sea Island Cotton, prized by European mills for its high quality and strength, ushered in a period of economic growth, large plantations and the building of majestic homes.
Daufuskie’s vast quantities of live oak trees were prized by shipbuilders for their strength, resistance to rot and naturally curved limbs, which also contributed to economic growth. The USS Constitution “Old Ironsides” was reconstructed from oak harvested on the Island.
Prior to the Civil War, Daufuskie boasted 11 plantations with several large tabby mansions, and a large slave population. During the Civil War, the Union forces’ superior naval fleet took command of all Beaufort-area islands early, causing plantation owners to flee their properties and leave their slaves behind. After the war, Daufuskie’s remoteness allowed the Gullah language and culture to survive and flourish for generations.
In 1873, the Haig Point Rear Range Light, and in 1883, the Bloody Point Front Range Lights were built to assist ships approaching the Savannah River entrance. During this time, the oyster industry flourished and by the turn of the century the Island had a population of approximately 3,000, mostly working in the shellfish trade.
The pollution from the Savannah River eventually forced the closing of the oyster industry in the 1950s. Electricity arrived in 1953 and telephones in 1972.
The population shrank to less than 100 until developers planned Haig Point, Melrose, Bloody Point and Oak Ridge in the 1980s. A census in 2007 indicated that there were 429 residents on the Island.
Daufuskie Island has a rich legacy of Gullah history. Thanks to the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation’s restoration efforts and the influx of tourism and artisans, the Island’s identity and culture should continue.
Thanks go out to the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation for allowing us to use information from their website: Nancy Ludtke, President; Bert Herndon and Michael Hrizuk for help with images, and Chase Allen and Renee Harding of Tour Daufuskie for their assistance.
Every Wednesday, interns from the University of South Carolina Beaufort board research vessel Spartina for a dolphin survey. A telephoto lens and a quick trigger finger aim to capture the dorsal fin of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins (not porpoises) in the May River. Each dorsal fin is unique to the individual like a fingerprint. Interns in Dr. Eric Montie’s Bioaccoustics Lab have a catalog of permanent resident dolphins in Beaufort County. Fifteen passengers also join in the search to observe the interns collecting data and get an overview of the purpose of the research being conducted in the May River.
Listening to the Fish
Did you know three data recorders in the May River record fish vocalizations every 20 minutes for two-minute sound bites over a three-month interval…and have for the past three years? These data recorders also record your boat as it passes by.
One intern is studying the effect of boat noise on fish vocalizations. When passengers hear the fish sounds recorded by the lab, they are surprised that fish make so much noise. These fish are red drum, black drum, silver perch, oyster toadfish and spotted sea trout. All of these fish have a swim bladder and specialized muscles that make sound as they strike this air-filled sac—just like a drum! Each species picks different months to communicate, although some overlap. They usually use the sound to attract mates to spawn…generally at dusk.
When the vocalizations are heard, students can determine abundance and spawning intervals. This air-filled swim bladder is also the reason your fish finder can detect fish. The air conserved in the swim bladder changes the sound path emitted and reflects energy back. The fish finder detects this reflected energy and converts it into fish images on the screen.
What Does This Have to Do with Dolphins?
As much as I would like to think that the dolphins are here in Beaufort County to be close to us, this is not the case. They are here for their food which is thriving in the salt marsh estuary.
It is interesting to note that when dolphin whistles are recorded in the background, the fish become very quiet. Hmmmm, why would a fish not want a dolphin to hear it? You got it! Dolphins eat fish, of course. Dolphins hunt with sight and see very well, focusing their vision in air and in water—but they can’t see through murky water, so they hear their food, too! One fish that is vocal throughout the year is the oyster toadfish. Nothing really wants to eat him, so he can be as loud as he wants. Dolphins in the May also use echolocation to find food in the dark. They use a method similar to your fish finder, using sound waves to detect the air-filled bladders of fish.
How Is This Beneficial?
The interns are usually in the lab, going through sound files that produce an image on the screen. It is easier to determine the species of fish by observing the sound frequency image that corresponds to the sound produced rather than listening to each recording.
It is important to support this research, relating fish populations to the health of the May River. Bluffton is the fastest growing city in South Carolina, and this rapid development will have an effect on the salt marsh estuary. With the empirical data the interns are collecting, we will have a solid prediction for what is to come and time to consider what action may be taken to conserve our natural resources. Without the fish, the dolphins will not stick around.
I support this research by donating 25% of the tour ticket price to Dr. Montie’s lab. Interns are usually unpaid, but their work is incredibly important. The data recorders are heavy and tedious and the pluff mud is treacherous. The lab is not exhilarating, but the work is essential. They are gaining knowledge, but they have to eat too!
Research vs Sightseeing Tour
It is always fun to see dolphins. I never tire of seeing them. These are all Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, scientific name: Tursiops, truncatus. A porpoise would be a very rare site in this area.
But do you know why feeding dolphins was outlawed in 1992? Do you know where dolphins get fresh water to hydrate? Do you know how long they gestate and how long before they wean their calves? Where is the hair on a dolphin? How do you tell the difference between male and female dolphins? Did you know that sound does not come out of a dolphin’s mouth?
Learn Flipper’s secrets by joining us for some scientific enlightenment! To reserve your seat, contact Spartina Charters at (843) 338-2716 or book online at SpartinaCharters.com.
Meet The Crew
Aga is a graduate of the University of Gdánsk in Poland, with a master’s degree in Marine Biology. She studied dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. Same species we have here, just a different population.
Somers is a graduate student at the University of Miami completing an internship in Montie’s Lab. Prior to graduate school, she trained dolphins at a Navy base in Georgia. She has a lot to add when speaking about behavior.
They all report to Dr. Montie, who earned his doctorate in Marine Biology from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MIT (Massachusetts Institution of Technology) and is a tenured professor at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Campus.
And Captain Amber Kuehn—that’s me. My master’s degree is in Marine Biology from NOVA Southeastern University Oceanographic Center. I manage the HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project, but I know a thing or two about dolphins, as well.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn with photos courtesy of Amber Hester Kuehn.
Seedless watermelon, cubed
Red onions, sliced
Ricotta salata, grated (available at The Fresh Market)
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
*Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Freshly minced chives
*Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 7 oz. jar fig jam (available at World Market)
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, finely diced
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup salad oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Blend fig jam, honey, mustard, shallot and sugar until smooth. Add vinegars and continue to blend. Drizzle oils very slowly over salad to emulsify.
Lowcountry beaches on barrier islands are forever changing their shape. Longshore currents move south along the coast, which usually results in a point to the south. Hilton Head Island looks like a running shoe with the “toe” pointing south and Daufuskie, technically a sea island, has Bloody Point on the south end of the island. Look at a map—Edisto, Capers, Tybee, Wassaw and so on are all pointing south. Natural erosion of the beach carries sand south to make the point. The northeasterly winds that are strong in winter months push crashing waves onto the beach which also contribute to natural erosion. And then there are passing storms such as Erika and Joaquin that left their mark on Hilton Head beach at the end of last summer. Most of the dunes were taken away when extreme high tides, combined with storm surge, pounded the shore. So much of the dune was swept away that 14 sea turtle nests were lost along with it! The beach lost its slope and many homes were in danger of flooding at high tide. Something had to be done.
This year, Hilton Head will be re-nourishing the beach. We can’t call it a beach nourishment, because it has been done before. The last major renourishment on Hilton Head beach was performed in 2006-2007. Preservation efforts, such as the construction of rock jetties, have not produced expected results. There have been smaller renourishments in between such as the Port Royal Sound Shoreline Restoration and Stabilization Project in 2011-2012. However, it has been nine years since a project this large has been contracted. The construction will start March 1 on the South End (the “toe”) and move north to Port Royal (the “heel”) and then to Mitchellville Beach. You should expect to see large pipes used to transport a slurry of sand and water from shoals (submerged sand bars) to fill the beach. A dredge will be positioned off shore to act as the pump. No, it’s not an oil rig—thank goodness! I’m sure that question will surface when it appears on the scene. Bulldozers will spread and shape the sand that has been deposited. Inconvenient? Yes, but the contractor will be working 24 hours a day to get it done as quickly as possible. The active construction zone will span approximately 1,500 feet at a time. These areas should be avoided for safety reasons.
In case you haven’t considered it—or noticed the traffic on 278—Hilton Head relies on its 14 miles of beach to attract thousands of visitors to the island, supporting a significant percentage of the economy. So how is Hilton Head beach regarded? Invaluable, for the love of money, but also for the love of nature. Something so valuable would not be tampered with haphazardly. There was forethought here; I was privileged to see some of the engineering work that is involved in this effort—from determining which areas need the most attention, to which borrow areas have the best sand and least impact on the path of long shore currents. Land surveys, core samples, bathymetric surveys, and data collected from previous renourishments were compiled. U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were consulted. These agencies granted permits for the construction with consideration for endangered birds such as piping plovers and red knots feeding and nesting on the beach, and endangered nesting sea turtles. During the project, the HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project staff will be required to watch out for nesting sea turtles all night long beginning May 1 as the construction extends into the nesting season (May and June). The sea turtle staff will temporarily shut down renourishment operations if a sea turtle approaches the active construction zone to nest, and will then move her nest away from the activity. However, completely avoiding impact on wildlife in the Lowcountry would be impossible. Although there will be monitoring, the staging areas, active construction zones, and the noise associated may discourage the normal routine of migratory birds and some nesting sea turtles.
Because of my time spent on the beach for sea turtle patrol, I am constantly asked, “How do you feel about the beach renourishment?” From a conservationist standpoint, there are pros and cons to this type of endeavor. The beach will be larger in the end to support more wildlife, however, other benthic (bottom dwelling) sea life will be devastated in the areas that were dredged. These organisms, such as mollusks, sea stars, sand dollars, and small crabs are also a food source for larger marine inhabitants. Will they recover? Yes, eventually. Ultimately, we take the good with the bad in most all situations. From an environmental preservationist standpoint? I think you know, but in that regard, advocating no development on the island at all is unrealistic at this point.
The other question I’m asked is “How will the sea turtles feel about the beach renourishment?”
First of all, sea turtles don’t have an opinion. They have instinctually been nesting on these beaches for thousands of years. Historically, sea turtles have not been deterred from nesting on renourished beach sand. One downside is that the fresh sand is not as compact as the pre-existing, natural sand and many of the nest chambers are subject to collapse as the nesting sea turtle digs the hole. The typical cylindrical nest chamber is a road map left by the nesting female sea turtle for her hatchlings. The rigid walls of compacted sand guide the hatchling upward. In renourished sand, some of them burrow sideways initially, but they are amazingly strong and determined for something the size of the palm of your hand. But there is another challenge: since it takes a while for dunes to re-establish, the wide open space confuses hatchlings emerging from the sand, attracted to the brightest open horizon in contrast to a dark dune backdrop. Disorientation is common in these areas, but the hatchlings will eventually be able to find the ocean. One hatchling walked 1,000 feet to the dune and turned around to walk 1,300 feet back to the surf!
The summer of 2016 will be remembered as chaotic in my journal, but it only happens every seven to 10 years. In time, nature will reject our suggestion and shape her beach the way she prefers. Twenty-million dollars worth of sand and effort will be distributed into various shoals and we will continue to resist change. If we didn’t, half of us would not have jobs and we would not have the opportunity to educate visitors from all over the country on the unique wonders of the Lowcountry ecosystem.
Bluffton and My Artistic Journey
The human hand could hardly paint a finer scene than what appears around every bend in the Lowcountry. Natural beauty is certainly the first quality here to recommend itself to the artist—professional or hobbyist, native or newcomer, visitor or resident—and second is the thriving arts scene wherein they find support and a market for their work.
But there is another, less obvious factor, one that might only be experienced by the individual who has made art more than a trade or a hobby, but an entire way of life. And that is the love shown in the Lowcountry for free spirits, coupled with a willingness to help them fly.
I came to Bluffton from the West Coast at age 21 with a one-way ticket and a duffel bag. I knew nothing about the area and very little about myself. Although I had drawn and painted my whole life, and later began writing, it wasn’t until I came here that I really blossomed in these fields.
Back then, Bluffton was still sleepy; new growth sprouted along the Highway 278 corridor, but Old Town was a languid dream. On Calhoun Street, snakes lurked in overgrown lots, and owls hooted in the daytime; buzzing insects drowned out the sound of cars; grizzled loafers on bicycles outnumbered the tourists. I used to just stand on the yellow line as long as I felt like it. It was the ideal climate for folk art.
The first time I ever set foot in Old Town, I wandered into what was then Amos Hummell’s studio gallery on Calhoun Street. Amos had been painting bright, iconic Lowcountry art for years, and his workspace looked like the scene of an all-out paintball gun war with teams for every color of the rainbow—everything was splattered, including Amos. His personality was equally colorful. I felt instantly at home. We struck up a conversation and he kindly offered the use of supplies, saying I could just “throw $10 in the pot,” so I created my first piece of artwork on the spot (a gift for my mom).
Later, he would tell a newspaper reporter that it was like giving food to a stray. I spent the next several years working out of his studio on off-days from my other lines of work, and I am indebted to him for the start of my local art career. It was Amos who taught me the ways of latex house paint on particle board (very affordable materials), generously training me to cut, sand, prime, paint and fit the boards for hanging. I doubt he would remember it that way; our friendship was the basis for informal instruction and so much more.
I sold my first piece for $30 when two ladies from California bought the papaya I painted on a wood scrap out of Amos’ dumpster; several years later, I did a mural on Hilton Head for $3,000. That was, perhaps, the peak of my career.
For the most part, I have been the quintessential “starving artist,” surviving by my wits, work ethic and the kindness of friends and strangers. Whether tramping the marsh in search of driftwood boards on which to paint “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” hustling pet portrait commissions or hauling thrift store furniture to decorate and sell at Mayfest, I have really scrapped.
My survival has hinged on the fact that people here support not only art, but the artists themselves; not only the enjoyment of art, but the pursuit of artful living. For those of us who dedicate our lives to art, we often—though not always—find ourselves obliged to forsake certain comforts and securities that more stable, lucrative professions provide. We choose to take a different path, or perhaps it’s simply fated. People are fascinated by the exotic details of our existences, but if they don’t give tangible support, we can’t survive for long! So, we require a community that appreciates the different drumbeat we march to.
Bluffton has been such a place for me. I have clients who have bought or commissioned dozens of paintings; friends who have donated supplies or hired me to give art lessons to their children; benefactors who have fed and sheltered me for years during rough patches. I feel so grateful toward all those who encourage, inspire, sustain, nurture and cast their vote of confidence in me, which is essential to the artist’s spirit—if nobody cares what we’re doing, there’s little reason to persevere.
People in Bluffton care. They applaud living imaginatively. The South in general reveres its primitive, outsider, visionary, self-taught and folk artists, those mad-hatters who follow inner muses with no training or regard for convention, who paint with mud in their swamp-shacks or transpose urgent visions from God or cover everything they own with polka dots.
It’s as much about their story as it is about the tangible objects they create. Through them, one’s mind is expanded to encompass other, freer modes of living. So, with Bluffton’s long and proud identity as a town of eccentrics, quite naturally art and artists thrive here.
Nancy Golson, owner of the shop Eggs ‘N’ Tricities on Calhoun Street, has long been a purveyor and benefactress of local art, and her shop features the work of her daughter, Margaret Golson Pearman, a talented artist in her own right.
“People love to hear my story,” said Margaret, who paints lively expressions of local fixtures like blue crabs, sea turtles and shrimp boats. “I’m from Bluffton, I grew up on the river and my mom always supported me to do whatever I wanted creatively. Plus, I have a stake in what happens here, so the money they give me goes back into the community.”
Louanne LaRoche, a key figure in the fine arts scene, is known for her evocative renderings of Lowcountry flora, fauna and culture, but also for bringing out the work of others—in particular, the celebrated outsider artist Sam Doyle. Though now deceased, Doyle once filled his St. Helena Island yard with exuberant depictions of Gullah life painted on wood and tin scraps. Today, his work is some of the most valuable, recognizable and highly collectible of any American folk artist.
“Bluffton has a history of being a sanctuary,” said Louanne, who works from her home studio on the May River and shows at Four Corners Gallery. “I think it attracts those people who want to bring out their inner eccentric, but haven’t given themselves permission to do so. So, to be around those who are freer—not in a showoff way, but that’s just who they are—it helps people become brave.”
Two brave personalities in the local art scene are Pierce and Pressly Giltner, who exude the creative spirit. She’s a photographer, and he’s a painter and builder of rustic art installations. Originally from Chester, South Carolina, they spent time living in a primitive forest cabin before coming to Bluffton and integrating themselves into the community with enthusiasm.
“It’s easier to be yourself here,” said Pressly, who has brought incredible zest and energy to her documentation of local life in photos. “If you’re a little offbeat, people embrace that. If you’re doing something awesome, they love it! They want to hear all about it.”
In addition to her own projects, Pressly has worked with her husband Pierce in a unique collaboration to portray the world of a local oysterman fondly known as “Drack,” resulting in a body of paintings and photographs that capture a classic slice of Bluffton. Pierce’s ultimate vision for the project is to produce a major show featuring both his paintings and Pressly’s photographs, then take Drack on the road with him to Charlotte, Charleston and New York.
“I think we’re surrounded by extremely talented, but underrated artists,” said Pierce. “People need to wake up and smell the roses as far as the incredible work that is being done in Bluffton.”
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
Old Town Bluffton, Highway 46 takes you straight into Downtown Bluffton:
This delightful area along the beautiful May River is compact but loaded with Lowcountry charm. Boutiques, art galleries, upscale and casual eats, coffee spots, restored antebellum and post-Civil War homes and churches make this a place you’ll want to spend some quality time. A lively Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday and has something for everyone to enjoy. Sunday Brunch is another a big happening in Old Town Bluffton. But note that many shops are only open Monday through Saturday, so plan ahead to get the most out of your time there!
The May River:
The May River drives the character of Bluffton, named for its location on the river’s north bluff. Its lazy sandbars, docks, shrimp boats, sunsets, wildlife, islands, seafood, and breezes all combine to make Bluffton what some residents consider the “last true coastal village of the South.” There are a number of access points around town, including the Bluffton Calhoun Street Public Dock (113 Calhoun Street) and the Alljoy Boat Landing (265 Alljoy Road).
Bluffton Farmers’ Market, 40 Calhoun Street:
Buy local! Find fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods, flowers and more in a family-friendly, community-oriented environment that showcases local farmers and vendors. See what’s happening around town, get information about local events, enjoy live entertainment and bring your pets! Thursdays from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Bluffton Oyster Company, 63 Wharf Street:
Dive into the best of the Lowcountry’s culinary tradition at the only remaining hand-shucked oyster joint in the state. Established in 1899, this restaurant relies on the local crabs, shrimp, mussels and oysters to feed its patrons. When you’ve had your fill, burn off some of the seafood with a stroll up to the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, and take in the serene waterfront from the wharf.
Church of the Cross, 110 Calhoun Street:
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, this gorgeous Carpenter Gothic-style church features fanned arches, latticed shutters, rose-colored light and exposed pine. Situated atop a bluff of the May River, the Church of the Cross was designed by architect E.B. White and built in 1857. Currently an Episcopal congregation, the church sometimes holds outdoor services at sunrise, and has used the May River itself for baptisms.
Garvin-Garvey Freedman’s Cottage, Wharf Street, Oyster Factory Park:
Sometime around 1878, newly freed Cyrus Garvin built this home on the 54 acres he had purchased in 1870. Sitting atop a high bluff overlooking the May River, it is one of very few Reconstruction-era houses belonging to a freedman in this area. The home passed out of family hands in 1961, but was restored in 2016 and is now open to the public. Tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and by appointment on Fridays.
Big. Bearish. Benevolent. These are the words that describe Mike Covert. His personality is big—a genteel way of saying that he is quite a character. Yes, Mike is bearish, perhaps even intimidating in physical stature, but that isn’t all that defines him. He is a husband, father, grandfather, church member, board member, President of Covert Aire and other companies. But Mike is also a longtime volunteer, who seems to have unlimited energy for doing good deeds, both as an individual and through his company. His selflessness has helped people of all ages, many of whom have never even met him. Mike is a big, benevolent man with a passion for giving.
This bear-of-a-man has quietly cared for Beaufort County families in need for many years. For example, at Christmas, he teamed up with the Bluffton Police Department to provide toys and clothes to local children. He organized relief help immediately after the recent flooding throughout parts of South Carolina, quickly sending emergency supplies. His company is also one of the sponsors of the Tiny Home project, that built an entire house on wheels to help those displaced during the flooding in Columbia.
The Drive to End Hunger is an annual program Mike’s company started five years ago to deliver food to a local organization. Last year, on New Year’s Eve, they delivered over 2,500 pounds of food to Senior Services of Beaufort County. Additionally, Covert Aire was a sponsor for TV’s Extreme Makeover” and contributed to building a new home for a deployed Marine and his family.
Mike and his employees also launched a new program, Operation Warm-Up. His company donated $10,000 of services and equipment to fix, replace or repair the heating equipment in as many homes as possible. As Mike himself puts it, “No one should be cold, especially the elderly and children.”
Quietly benevolent to his community, Mike has donated over $150,000 to local charities just in the last five years. His handiwork is not only financial. Mike also donates his time, working countless volunteer hours with groups like the Backpack Buddies program of the Lowcountry Foodbank, Children’s Center of HHI, HELP of Beaufort, Bluffton Self Help and Volunteers in Medicine Clinic Hilton Head.
His dedication doesn’t stop with charity work. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and various ministries at Lowcountry Community Church. Currently President of the Rotary Club of Bluffton, Mike leads by example—pitching in to help with projects, such as the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, Bluffton Village Festival, Happy Feet, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign and many others.
Mike’s friend, former South Carolina State Senator Scott Richardson, says, “I met Mike three years ago while serving on the County Tax Commission Committee, and I knew within five minutes he was sincere and determined—that he was a ‘doer,’ not a ‘talker.’”
Just ask any Bluffton businessperson and you’ll hear that opinion echoed. “I’ve never met anyone who is so quick to jump in and help others,” says Lisa Carroll, a Bluffton business owner who has served with Mike in the Bluffton Rotary Club for many years. “When Mike hears about a problem, he’s one of the first to step up and do whatever it takes to help.”
As the current president of Rotary, Mike will return to this year’s Mayfest / Bluffton Village Festival as the Master of Ceremonies for the Pie Eating Contest, a much-loved part of the event.
The mammoth responsibilities of being a husband and father, running a thriving business and all his volunteer work, are formidable—good thing Mike has the brawny stature to bear the tasks (pun intended). If all that wasn’t enough, Mike is also running for a seat on the Beaufort County Council, District 7. According to Mike, “I have developed longstanding professional relationships with members of county councils, town councils and educational administrators. I will use my experience and leadership to work with community leaders to solve ongoing problems to benefit the citizens of Beaufort County.”
No matter what words are used to describe him, Mike Covert works hard to make a better tomorrow for his family and his neighbors. He has strong beliefs and acts upon those beliefs—true in his efforts to see the right thing done in the community. Mike is a leader with a good heart and the strength to do the things in which he believes.
Written by Steve Nichols, Portrait Photos by Mike Ritterbeck
The phone call came in around 11 Thursday morning. “Amber, I’m calling to make sure that you have prepared for the storm.”
I recognized the Charleston area code—it was SCDNR (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)—and I knew that I had to come up with some sort of informed report. I had been in denial…maybe the storm will fizzle out or maybe it will move west. This can’t be happening after all that we have been through this season with the beach renourishment project on Hilton Head.
I panicked a bit as I thought to myself, “I still have 89 nests incubating on the second largest barrier island on the Eastern Seaboard! How am I supposed to attend to all of them in the next eight hours?”
Our discussion closed with special permissions granted to relocate nests in danger of washing away, but I was doubtful that an effort that large could be accomplished in such a short amount of time. I hung up the phone and looked up at my curious colleague as she asked, “What was that all about?” We have known each other for 20 years and although our professional lives have taken us down an identical career path, we couldn’t be more different. She is the eternal optimist and I am the cautious pessimist.
“Get in the car,” she said. “We are going to the beach—NOW.”
We gathered our rain gear and cranked the Turtle Gator (the John Deere Gator used for HHI Sea Turtle Patrol). We stopped at the first nest in South Forest Beach and found evidence of hatchlings six inches below the surface, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge. Little did they know that Tropical Storm Hermine was approaching.
The hatchlings had left their shells at the bottom of the nest and we both knew from past experience that the storm surge would drown them if we didn’t release them quickly. Storms Joaquin and Erika came late in the 2015 nesting season and the beach was sparse with sea turtle nests. This storm was much larger and far too early!
The wind was picking up and the tide was coming in fast. We wore our Buffs©, but the sand was stacking up in our hair and ears anyway. One down, 80-something to go. Even the eternal optimist was a bit overwhelmed after the third hour. Our progress was inadequate. We just couldn’t move fast enough, so I decided to text an APB to my staff: “Storm coming. Need assistance on the beach. Call if you can help.”
Four texts came in immediately and their assignments were given. A sense of pride soothed my angst and hope was renewed. However, nests had to be prioritized. Even with five people on the beach, we would not get to all of them. All nests that had shown some sign of emergence were dug up and inventoried and any hatchings alive in the nest were released at the water’s edge.
Nests that had passed 70 days of incubation (overdue, 60-day incubation is average) were also inventoried so that we could collect the data that we needed. Poles marking these nests would not stand up to the crashing waves and the information would be lost.
Gathering data and hatchlings from soon to be emergent nests progressed. Fourteen nests revealed live hatchlings ready for release and five nests were painstakingly moved to even higher ground.
It is risky to move an incubating sea turtle egg. Any harsh handling and the embryo will not survive. They need to be warm, dry and still. It was dark and the rain started to be consistent at 10. This was the rallying hour when all hands were to be off the beach, regardless of accomplishments.
Just in time for the heavy rain and lightning bolts, we made it back to the car. Sandy, wet and exhausted, we felt that it was our best effort. The next morning, we rested as the storm continued to wreak havoc. A total of 39 nests had been evaluated and nests selected to remain in place survived the storm.
There were no losses to storm surge—just near misses. I can honestly say that I will never beat Mother Nature, she will just let me win from time to time.
Hilton Head Island had a record breaking 2016 nesting season with a grand total of 411 nests on 15 miles of beach. The previous record was in 2013 with 339 nests. Despite extreme heat, tropical storms and heavy equipment on the beach for the renourishment project, the HHI Sea Turtle Patrol documented a successful hatching season. Congratulations and thank you to the 10 members of the HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project Staff and to all who have supported the project. For the latest nesting news on Hilton Head Island and in South Carolina, visit seaturtle.org.
Story and photos provided by Amber Hester Kuehn, HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project Manager.
Prepare for a culinary treat at Sigler’s Rotisserie and Seafood, as that’s exactly what Chef Michael Sigler and his wife, Shirley, are serving. Armed with a world-class rotisserie, Sigler’s produces some of the most mouthwatering prime rib, beef tenderloin, chicken and braised pork found anywhere. Along with these delectable dishes, guests will also find an array of fresh seafood on the menu, including the Soft Shell Crab, Seafood Pasta Special with mussels, shrimp and/or scallops and Pan Seared Hog Fish and Shrimp.
Their reputation for offering flavorful fare for the past 21 years—a feat in and of itself—has grown a fervent following of customers. A family-run establishment, the restaurant is used to seeing familiar faces return. The state-of-the-art open kitchen, where customers may watch culinary artists prepare enticing entrees and cook an array of meats to perfection, may have something to do with it.
The Siglers say there are two key ingredients in their recipe for success: consistency and proper training. It’s not about hiring a polished and perfect chef, Shirley explains, “but teaching them techniques in the kitchen that have proven successful. Consistency is more important than change.” She notes that just because something doesn’t seem to work at first doesn’t mean it should be abandoned and completely reinvented.
Sigler’s Rotisserie and Seafood is located at 12 Sheridan Park Circle, open Monday-Saturday from 4:30-9:30 p.m. For more information, call the restaurant at (843) 815-5030.
With art galleries nestled in quaint cottages and sheltered by a thick canopy of live oaks, Bluffton is the perfect place to discover an original masterpiece. Many Bluffton artists find inspiration in the remarkable beauty of the Lowcountry, from emerald-green marshes and exquisite sunsets to quaint slices of everyday life along the May River.
Whether you’re looking for a painting, sculpture, drawing, photograph or mixed media work, you’ll discover a wide range of creative treasures in Bluffton. In fact, the South Carolina Arts Commission recently recognized Old Town Bluffton as a Cultural District in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the arts.
Original art will be featured at the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, which takes place October 14-22, but you can stop by these galleries to enjoy the heART of the Lowcountry any time of the year. Happy hunting!
La Petite Gallerie
Art in the Garden: Placing the Right Work in the Right Spot
A recent article in the Island Packet and Washington Post suggested choosing garden art that really “speaks” to you, and then allowing it to help define the landscape. If you can, place art against quiet backdrops like evergreens, hedges or lawns. Choose art you really love, go for a large focal point, don’t crowd too much art together and place where you can enjoy often.
We had fun taking pics of just a few of the fun pieces in our garden. Highlights include metalworks by Gary Alexander and colorful glass twists and spirals by Oberini Glass.
Be sure to visit La Petite Gallerie’s Art Garden! Perhaps you will find the perfect treasure for your own garden.
Located adjacent to “The Store” at 56 Calhoun Street. For more information, go to lapetitegallerie.com.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Four Corners Fine Art & Framing
Framing Tips to Enhance and Protect Works of Art
By Charlene Gardner, Four Corners Fine Art & Framing
Whether you’d like to hang a piece of fine art, a work of folk art or a personal treasure created by your child or family member, it’s important to think about framing.
Framing enhances the art and takes it to a whole other level, bringing out colors and textures that make your piece unique. At that same time, framing also protects your art, making sure it will bring enjoyment for many years to come.
The frame choice should highlight and preserve your works of art in the “wow” mode. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when framing your next masterpiece:
Select conservation glass. The Lowcountry environment has plenty of natural light, which can cause works on paper or other materials to fade. Conservation glass offers UV protection to ensure that your art will stay bright and vibrant.
Choose acid-free materials. Check to see that corrugated material is not behind your art, as it will decompose over time. Mats and backing should be made from acid-free materials to prevent burning and foxing of papers.
Consider nontraditional frames. Conventional wood and gold gilt frames are always popular choices, but a wide range of alternative, unexpected options are available, from plexiglass to reclaimed wood from old docks, homes and barns. The type of frame you choose depends upon the art and on your personal taste.
Think outside the frame. Fabrics, texture and unique presentations can showcase your work of art at its finest. Textiles, collection pieces and oversized works get special attention, requiring unique engineering skills.
Four Corners Fine Art & Framing, which has been in operation since 1998, offers the largest selection of frames in Bluffton. Located at 1263-B May River Road. For more information, contact (843) 757-8185 or visit fourcornersgallerybluffton.com.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“Where Old is New Again”
Located at the Promenade in Old Town Bluffton is a little shop that brings back memories of “days gone by.”
Reminisce prides itself on personalized service, just as it was long ago. The selection of photographic artwork and canvas, as well as fine-crafted goods, will pique your interest as “there is something for everyone” on your gift list, especially that gift for yourself.
Retailers in the Lowcountry for close to 30 years, the Glenns have now brought their expertise in collector’s pieces into this little shop in Old Town Bluffton.
Passion for sports, dogs, artisanal gourmet foods and unique and creative pieces is the key factor for this shop, alongside personalized and knowledgable service.
Pets have always been an interest to the Glenns, as they have had five Scottish Terriers since 1968. Their love for dogs is obvious when walking in, as the artwork of Stephen Fowler, featuring dogs, cats, sports and typography, is prominent. Custom pieces by Fowler are also available upon request.
Noted baseball Hall of Fame artist Dick Perez is also featured with 1,400 images available as giclee prints, signed by the artist.
Reminisce is now offering appraisal services of any pre-1970 sports collectibles. Jerry Glenn will advise you with his expertise.
Located at 30 Promenade Street. For more information, call (843) 757-2500.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Coastal Discovery Museum is a great place to discover everything about the Lowcountry.
The Tom Peeples Discovery Lab: This will take place at the Coastal Discovery Museum and be open every Monday and Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. starting in June through August. Your visit to the lab is a fun educational experience for all ages. You will get a closer look at some live Lowcountry animals like fish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, frogs, lizards, snakes, and a friendly alligator. Discover unique and fascinating stories about the Lowcountry’s history and the environment through hands-on, interactive displays and games. Suggested $2 per person donation. Children must be accompanied by an adult. You will check in at the Discovery House before you visit the Lab.
Explore Honey Horn Program: The Coastal Discovery will introduce a new program in June to “Explore Honey Horn” every Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. Your experience on this guided tour around the museum’s picturesque and historic grounds. You will visit the salt marsh, see historic buildings, and learn about the gardens, plants, and trees on site. Your museum guide will share stories about Honey Horn’s past and its natural history. Cost is $10 adult, $5 child and reservations are required.
Sea Turtle Life: The Coastal Discovery Museum will introduce a new program in June through August every Thursday at 1 pm. Sea turtles live an extraordinary life. Explore the amazing journey of Loggerhead Sea Turtles from eggs to adulthood. Discover just how easy it is to help protect these fascinating sea creatures. You will not see live sea turtles, but this is a hands-on, eye-opening, experience filled with unique educational materials to see, touch, and interact with. This family-friendly indoor experience is also a nice escape from the afternoon heat or rain. Cost is $10 adult, $5 child (ages 4-12) and reservations are required.
Hands-On History this summer at Coastal Discovery Museum: The Coastal Discovery Museum will introduce a new series of programs every Tuesday from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. June through August. See history come alive through these hands-on, family-friendly programs led by experienced first-person interpreters. Planned activities include “Games of the Past,” “Camp Dig It,” “Living History with Captain William Hilton” and “Indigo Discovery with Eliza Lucas Pinckney.” These family friendly educational experiences are fun for all ages. Cost is $12 adults, $10 child (ages 5-12) and reservations are required by calling 843-689-6767 ext. 223 or online at coastaldiscovery.org.
- Games of the Past will take place 6/26, 7/3 and 8/7 and you will have a chance to play a variety of games including Nine Men’s Morris, Put and Take, Buck and Mancala just to name a few.
- Living History with William Hilton will take place 6/12, 7/31 and 8/28 and you will hear from “Captain William Hilton” about his life and harrowing adventures along the Carolina coast. Camp Dig It will take place on 6/19, 7/10 and 8/14 and will introduce you to the field of archaeology. Participants will “excavate” a simulated site, identify artifacts, and use real archaeological methods.
- Indigo Discovery with Eliza will take place 6/5, 7/24 and 8/21 and you will journey to the past and “meet” Eliza Luca Pinckney. Hear her unique story, learn how indigo dye was made, and make your own indigo tie-die t-shirt to take home.
Lowcountry Critters with Joe Maffo at the Museum: The Coastal Discovery Museum will host “Lowcountry Critters with Joe Maffo” every Wednesday and Friday in June, July and August from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This casual “Meet and Greet” will help participants to learn more about the alligators, snakes, turtles and other critters that share Hilton Head Island with us. Joe Maffo with Critter Management will bring along some of his “friends” to share with everyone. Participants will have a chance to get an up-close view of the various animals, learn more about them and take lots of photos. There will be no formal presentation; visitors can stop by various stations to meet the different types of animals on site. Cost is adult $10 and child $5 (12 and under) under 5 are free. No reservations for this program just drop in and see!
Coastal Discovery Museum is located at 70 Honey Horn Drive on Hilton Head Island. For more information on or to make reservations for any of these events, call 843-689-6767 ext. 223 or go online at coastaldiscovery.org.
An unassuming little white church surrounded by a cemetery sitting alongside SC 170, four miles north of Pritchardville, St. Luke’s was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. One of the oldest surviving frame churches in South Carolina, it is architecturally significant as it represents the transition from the early Georgian style of Episcopalian (Anglican) churches to Greek Revival, and has one of the few intact slave galleries in the state.
Although the Civil War garners the lion’s share of attention locally, Beaufort County’s history extends back much further—long before the American Revolution.
“The first English land grants in Beaufort County were granted in 1698,” explains Dr. Lawrence S. Rowland in an introduction to “Historic Beaufort County: An Illustrated History” by Michael C. Taylor.
“Queen Ann’s War (1702-1713) made the Port Royal area a military frontier,” he adds. “In 1703, a lookout post was placed on Port Royal Island to guard the inland passage between Charleston and St. Augustine. By 1706, this post had become a log blockhouse and palisade with a regular garrison of Red Coats. It was around this fort that the town of Beaufort was laid out.”
“At some time between 1704 and 1707, the whole region between the Combahee and Savannah rivers was designated ‘Granville County.’ The Church Act of 1706 divided all the Lowcountry counties into separate parishes of the Anglican Church. Representation in the colonial, and later state assemblies, was based on these parishes until 1865. Granville County was eventually divided into four parishes: St. Helena Parish (1712), Prince William Parish (1745), St. Peter’s Parish (1747) and St. Luke’s Parish (1747).”
According to the St. Luke’s of Hilton Head Island website, “In pre-Revolutionary South Carolina the colony was divided into parishes by the colonial government. St. Luke’s Parish was established by an act of the Colonial Assembly on May 23, 1767. Even though a church was authorized, none was built until 1786. In that year Wm. Hort, Esq. moved to ‘Maye’ River and was ‘desirous of promoting the building of a church in his neighborhood.’ Joined by John Bull, James Garvey, George Hipp, Jacob Guerard and Daniel Stevens, he erected a church on what is now Route 170 on land donated by John Bull. ‘A respectable congregation soon collected,’ including many planters from Hilton Head Island.”
“The initial St. Luke’s Church (circa 1786) burned, and was promptly rebuilt in 1824 [a half-mile away], and that structure (eventually sold to the Methodists) still stands today along Highway 170 near the back gate of Sun City,” continues St. Luke’s online church history. “It had a prime location near a roadway called The Charleston-Savannah Trail—an extension of the King’s Highway—an historic wagon trail, covering more than 1,300 miles from Boston to the Savannah River.”
“Because it was such a long trip by boat and carriage for the Islanders on Sundays, they built a small wooden chapel in 1788 known as the Zion Chapel of Ease [so named since it provided ease and comfort to parishioners who lived far away from the main parish church] at what is now the intersection of Route 278 and Mathews Drive [on Hilton Head Island]. The first permanent rector was the Rev. Phillip Mathews. Mathews Drive is named for him. He was rector from 1811-1828 serving St. Helena’s, Beaufort and Zion Chapel.”
Today, the Heritage Library leads weekly tours of Zion Cemetery, home to four Revolutionary War Patriots: Captain John Stoney, Charles Davant, James Davant and Isaac Baldwin. A capital campaign is underway to restore the Baynard Mausoleum which is also on-site, as well as beautify the adjacent grounds and cemetery.
The National Register Nomination Form cites Samuel Sitgreaves serving as St. Luke’s parish minister by 1821. In 1822, “Sitgreaves noted that St. Luke’s parish was suffering a decrease in population ‘with many of the principal inhabitants preparing to leave it.’ Sitgreaves counted among his parishioners Mr. William Heyward and General Charles C. Pinckney (one of the signers of the Constitution).” In 1824, a replacement second parish church was constructed in Bluffton, half a mile to the east on part of the Bull Hill Plantation on land donated by John Guerard.
It is noted the parish continued to grow until the Civil War with the Church of the Holy Trinity established in Grahamville in 1830 and Bluffton’s Church of the Cross consecrated in 1857 (the same year St. Luke’s was sold to the Methodists). Currently, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Bluffton offers Traditional Sunday Worship Services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit stlukesumc-okatie.org.
Article and Photography by Allyson Jones
Even though we may have the opportunity to enjoy our fireplaces just a few months out of the year, the smoke billowing from our Lowcountry chimneys evokes fond memories of families gathering after dinner to play games or watch movies together on a chilly February evening.
Fireplaces not only provide a warm focal point for the family, but often set the style and ambiance for the room. The mantle and surround can exude a cozy, rustic charm, amp up the interior with an ultra-contemporary vibe or radiate an elegant sophistication echoed throughout the house. Today, fireplaces are wood-burning, gas, electric or ethanol, and vary in style from the traditional, tall and classically elegant Rumford version developed in the late 1790s, to a contemporary see-through design that makes a statement. Fireplaces are common in living rooms and bedrooms, but in many neighborhoods, it is just as common to find them outdoors, complete with a kitchen, pizza oven and view of the marsh.
A decision to add a fireplace to a home is not simple (or cheap). The first decision to be made is whether or not a masonry fireplace is warranted, or if a pre-fabricated, factory-built one is the right option. When masons, architects and designers tackle this project, they are crafting a cornerstone of the home, integrating an architectural feature—or “megastructure” as our friend Ryan Skrak calls it—not just installing the less expensive “metal box” that may be more efficient, but certainly not as long lasting.
“A lot of people put in a metal box, but they don’t last because the Lowcountry has such a high density of salt air,” says Skrak, Masonry Master and Fireplace Expert, who has been building fireplaces all over the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire, including St. Simons Island, Savannah, Bluffton, Spring Island, Charleston and Kiawah Island. “A lot of people are told that it’s stainless steel, but that’s stainless, not rust-proof. It’s going to rust and then fall apart.”
Masonry fireplaces will more than likely experience several owners over their 100-year lifespan, whereas choosing a “metal box” shortens this period by 40 years. Whether homeowners decide to design their own fireplace with an expert or pick a prefab to match their home, find a purpose and personality that play well together.
Whether classic or contemporary, see-through fireplaces can be of real value, as they provide a two-for-one bonus. Dress up two rooms with a unique and stylish architectural structure, instead of just one. Consider designing them differently and rein in each room according to personal preference, or let the fireplace flow through both rooms cohesively.
In coastal Carolina, parties are planned around oyster roasts, Lowcountry boils and backyard barbeques, which is why an outdoor escape isn’t complete without a fire ring, sturdy square brick fire pit or patio with an outdoor fireplace.
“Fire pits and fireplaces are a great extension of your home. It promotes the beautiful idea of what we call ‘outdoor living,’ ” senior landscaper at Sunshine Hardscape, Landscape & Nursery explains. “Adding a fire pit or a fireplace to your yard also adds functionality and a focal point to your landscape, especially in the fall and winter months.”
Bluffton’s burgeoning bourbon and craft beer scene will soon have another happenin’ hangout with the addition of The Original 46 Gastropub in the space formerly known as Napoli Bistro Pizzeria and Wine Bar.
Specializing in high-end cocktails, pub food and craft brews, the completely overhauled restaurant features a newly installed tap system with 20 beer lines and a new bar (and tabletops) built by Jonathan Lancaster of Bluffton Millworks, complete with a 14-foot library ladder showcasing owner John Kelm’s bourbon collection. The Original 46 Gastropub also boasts an all-season patio featuring live music and a menu highlighting quality, locally-sourced ingredients.
“We’re really going to try to focus on the appetizers being smaller plates, so people will be more enticed to order different starters than giant portions of one item,” says Chef Dustin Ricker.
Menu highlights include Pork Belly Confit on a wasabi donut with daikon cabbage slaw, and the Chicken & Waffle—buttermilk fried chicken on a scallion-and-cheddar waffle with real maple syrup. They also offer smoked wings, prepared on-site; and recommend pairing them with their barreled in-house, signature Makers 46 Manhattan.
“The goal and hope for the restaurant is to offer a comfortable space and an uplifting menu,” Ricker asserts. “We want Bluffton to enjoy great food and libations in a comfortable environment.”
The Original 46 Gastropub is located at 68 Bluffton Road and will be open Monday-Saturday starting at 4 p.m. For more information, call the restaurant at (843) 757-4646.
After days spent in his dream studio in Costa Rica crafting beautiful paintings on his easel, plein-air painter West Fraser will once again return to the Southern Coast he calls home—the coast that beckons him back after trips to Tuscany, Scandinavia, the Caribbean and Europe. The place where seagulls squawk overhead in the salty air, crabs scurry along the seashell-speckled sand and through muddy Lowcountry marshes, where the deer dart back into the forest upon meeting someone new—the sweet Southern Coast where West grew up.
“This region is where I am from, the place I learned to fish and camp, ride horses and drive boats. The place I first kissed a girl and played sports, it is my place of heritage,” West explains. “As with most artists, my home turf is what I am passionate about. I do not paint this place exclusively, yet a major part of my career, reflected in this new book, is grounded in paintings of this southern coast.”
Released in July 2016, his most recent book, “Painting the Southern Coast,” comes after “Charleston In My Time,” which chronicled and celebrated his love of Charleston, where West currently resides and where Helena Fox Fine Art, the exclusive art dealer and representative of Fraser’s work, is located. As with his last, this new book reveals West’s approach to painting, but it does much more than that, unveiling his “Country of Birth,” his experiences with the land, showcasing a sort of history of the region. It captures the coastline from St. Augustine, Florida, to Winyah Bay, South Carolina, with a collection of 260 works—magnificent scenes painted by West, along with maps, sketches and studies, a short autobiography coupled with introductory essays and poetry peppered throughout the pages.
“I tell the story of how the study of ecology and history has shaped my life’s pursuit in art,” West says, revealing the focal point of his “Artist Talk” on September 15 in Bluffton, which will be paired with a book signing from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
West works largely with oil paints, carefully crafting striking scenes with steady strokes. What started with painting watercolors from photographs evolved into watercolor on location and then to oil exclusively on location for 25 years. Today, he spends more time in his studio, where he is able to generate larger, more finished exhibition paintings, using on-location studies and picture references.
“His style is bold, elegant, and filled with light and color. A true master of design, West looks, observes, and takes in what the city reveals and, with a deft sense of movement and verve, qualifies the scene and distills the visual essence,” Jean Stern, executive director of The Irvine Museum in California writes in West’s book. “West’s colors are gentle and soft, bred in the sultry atmosphere of the South. He does not abuse color for shock value; he coaxes it to do his bidding and spreads its brilliance throughout the painting.”
His paintings fall somewhere between realism and impressionism, with a clear scene depicted, yet a focus not on capturing all the minute details of the scene, but instead the essence of the land and spirit of the place. So it comes as no surprise that individuals within the art colonies at New Hope School in Pennsylvania and Old Lyme in Connecticut—both places where groups of artists gathered and began to establish artwork that focused largely on the landscapes on which they lived—inspired West. This included men such as New Hope School’s Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield and Old Lyme’s Child Hassam, Willard Metcalf and Guy Wiggins.
The 20th century’s California Impressionists—Edgar Payne, William Wendt, Alson Skinner Clark, Hanson Puthuff and Guy Rose—were also a group that inspired West, as they too focused on the natural land around them, unlike many French Impressionists, who preferred to paint city scenes, industrial sights and modern life with attention on human activity.
“Many artists that I admire from this era were capturing vanishing cultures, lifestyles and places, as in my work, I have naturally been interested in a specificity of place or documentation angle,” explains West, who was born in 1955 in Savannah and moved to Hilton Head Island with his father, Joseph B. Fraser (Charles E. Fraser’s older brother), and witnessed the transformation of Hilton Head with the development of Sea Pines Plantation.
This huge transformation—from a wild, yet serene, sea island to gated communities and golf courses—is, perhaps, why West seeks to capture the coasts and cultures that seem to be disappearing. That’s what led him to Toomer’s in Bluffton, where he painted the Bluffton Oyster Factory Shuckers, which got such a great response West established The Joseph Bacon and Carolyn Bexley Fraser Sustainable Seafood Harvest Fund at The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry to help protect local waterways. “Money raised from the sale of reproductions of the painting go directly to the fund to be used for conservation programs and efforts which are focused on maintaining the Port Royal Sound Basin and the Calibogue Sound Basin and the surrounding areas as a healthy ecosystem and viable estuaries for sustainable seafood harvest, today and into the future,” he says.
That’s the heart of West’s work—preservation. That’s what he’s doing by painting the scenes surrounding his home: preserving memories and saving scenes from a once-present day.
“I paint to give people a window to a world that is both reminiscent and truthful of a place I love and respect,” West reveals. “I also hope my work builds appreciation of this coastal region and beyond.”
West Fraser Lecture and Book Signings
Sept. 15: Book Signing and Lecture in Bluffton, 5:30-8 p.m. Reservations Required.
Sept. 16: Discovery Show at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance in Savannah
Sept. 26: Book Signing and Talk at the Beaufort Historic Foundation
Oct. 5: Book Signing and Talk at USCB
Oct. 6: Book Signing and Talk at Palmetto Bluff Conservancy
Oct. 14: Book Signing at Port Royal Sound Foundation
Oct. 15 & 16: Artist Workshop at Palmetto Bluff
Oct. 23: Book Signing at The Store in Bluffton
For more information about these events, call Helena Fox Fine Art at (843) 723-0073.
The Church of the Cross, an Episcopal church located on a bluff overlooking the scenic May River, has served as the heart and soul of Bluffton for many area residents.
Constructed of virgin heart pine (not cypress, as many believe), the church has a unique rustic exterior that complements its distinctive Gothic architecture. The church originally wore a coat of white paint but, today, it stands unpainted, as a testament to its early years as a center of Bluffton’s spiritual community.
“The church exemplifies the Bluffton that was, prior to 1863,” said Thomas Heyward of Bluffton, whose great-grandfather Rev. Dr. James Stoney served as the congregation’s first priest. “After the burning of Bluffton in June of 1863, there wasn’t much left but the church. It has withstood not only the weathering of the years, but also the extreme poverty of the area, brought on by the Civil War.”
In recent years, the Church of the Cross has seen a rebirth, as Bluffton has become increasingly attractive to area residents. “The church has come alive,” Heyward reported. “It’s an exciting place to be.” In fact, attendance at the church has quadrupled in the past five years, as many Lowcountry residents discover the quaint charm of this historic church.
The congregation at The Church of the Cross traces its roots to St. Luke’s Parish, which built a church near Pritchardville in 1767. Episcopal services first took place along the banks of the May River in the late 1830s, when Bluffton served as a popular summer resort for people who lived in nearby cities and on local rice plantations. They came to Bluffton in the summer to avoid the dangers of yellow fever and malaria, seeking shelter in the charming community of Bluffton.
In 1857, the present cruciform, (cross-shaped) Gothic building was constructed according to an original design by architect E. B. White. Fanned arches, rose-colored windows and lattice shutters give the church a unique Lowcountry look.
The interior, which features exposed pine timbers, also has a rustic feel and was originally designed to hold 500 people.General Sherman’s army spared The Church of the Cross during its legendary March to the Sea in 1863, but it burned much of the surrounding Bluffton community. A major hurricane nearly destroyed the church in 1898, damaging the roof and much of the building.
In recent years, devoted parishioners have meticulously restored the original rose-colored windows, renovated the stairs that lead to the balcony and installed a central heating and air conditioning system. They have also remodeled the parish house, built a new rectory and expanded community outreach programs.
Walking through the pine doors at The Church of the Cross and into the church’s hallowed halls is like stepping into another era. Many of the parishioners recall the years when bees and squirrels nested in the walls of the building. When a beekeeper finally evicted the bees, industrious women of the church sold “Holy Honey” from the sacred hives, contributing the proceeds to the restoration and renovation of the church.
The Church of the Cross has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, and continues to be one of the most architecturally unique places of worship in the United States. The Church of the Cross offers Saturday and Sunday worship services, as well as special programs throughout the year.
As Bluffton has experienced prosperity in recent years, so too has The Church of the Cross. “It has suffered major hurricanes and come through still standing,” said Heyward. “Now it is enjoying the prosperity of the area as Bluffton becomes attractive for so many people.
The Church of the Cross, 110 Calhoun Street, Bluffton, SC | 843-757-2661| thechurchofthecross.net
Imagine living in darkness and silence as a child. The inability to communicate, the utter isolation, the complete lack of language. The anger and violent outbursts due to not understanding that every object has a word to identify it. That is the only world Helen Keller knew as a child in the 1880s. “The Miracle Worker” is the story of Keller’s life, adapted from her book, “The Story of My Life,” published in 1903.
According to the Perkins School for the Blind website, Helen was born into an affluent Southern family in Alabama. Her father, Arthur Keller, was a Captain in the Confederate Army, a newspaper editor and plantation owner. His mother’s father was a Confederate General and a second cousin to Robert E. Lee. Helen was pitied and badly spoiled by her parents, taught no discipline and, by the age of six, grew into a wild, angry, tantrum-throwing child in control of the household.
Keller’s mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ 1842 travelogue “American Notes for General Circulation” of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, contacted physician J. Julian Chisolm, who referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, who would become Helen’s lifelong friend. Bell advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Once there, Captain Keller selected 20-year-old Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and a graduate of the Institute, to become Helen’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller’s savior and eventually her companion.
Once home, Anne immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, almost having feral wildness, as her mind could not understand the relationship between the signs and objects. Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of one hand, while running cool water over the other, symbolized “water.” This is one of the most powerful and compelling moments in the play. Helen learned over 60 words that first day, including Mother, Papa and Teacher.
Later Helen wrote of the experience, “Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! … Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life.”
“The Miracle Worker” premiered on Broadway in 1959 and closed after 719 performances. The play was written by William Gibson and directed by Arthur Penn. The original cast starred Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller. Patty Duke remained with the play for its entire run. Suzanne Pleshette eventually replaced Anne Bancroft. The play received five Tony Awards.
In 1962, again with the same writer and director, plus Bancroft and Duke, “The Miracle Worker” was presented on the big screen. That year, Bancroft won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Duke won the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Another interesting fact is that Bancroft was married to Mel Brooks, and he asserts that she encouraged and influenced his musical film productions of “The Producers,” and “Young Frankenstein,” both plays previously presented by May River Theater.
Keller, with Sullivan’s help, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, the first blind-deaf person to receive a degree in America. She became a prolific writer and later a social activist and lecturer, known worldwide. She was thankful for the faculties and abilities that she did possess and stated that the most productive pleasures she had were curiosity and imagination. Keller also spoke of the joy of service and the happiness that came from doing things for others: “Helping your fellow men were one’s only excuse for being in this world and in the doing of things to help one’s fellows lay the secret of lasting happiness.”
She was a suffragette, a pacifist, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter. In 1915, she founded the Helen Keller International organization, devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920, she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union. Keller traveled to over 40 countries with Sullivan, and met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson, who in 1964 presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.
The May River Theater production of “The Miracle Worker,” directed by Ron Ruckle, is a must see, even if one has seen the movie and knows the story. Ruckle and his strong cast, including Elliot Lentz who plays Helen, Rebecca Donaldson as Anne, J.T. Chin as Captain Keller and Christine Grefe as her mother Kate Adams Keller, bring the energy, depth of feeling and understanding of this iconic and powerful play. It appeals to all ages, and the message it portrays brings hope and courage to all. There will not be a dry eye in the audience.
May River Theatre presents “The Miracle Worker” at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sundays at the Ulmer Auditorium at Bluffton Town Hall, August 12-28. Tickets for the show are $25 and are available at mayrivertheatre.com or by calling the box office at (843) 815-5581. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Written by Randolph Stewart.
By Anneliza Itkor, Outside Hilton Head
A Lowcountry spring is an olfactory celebration. Stroll along one of Hilton Head’s many waterfront boardwalks, and your nose might be entertained by a whiff of Carolina Jessamine, the tang of smoke from a BBQ smoker or a hint of salt air. However, there is one scent that trumps them all, especially at low tide. It’s the smell that makes visitors wrinkle their noses in confusion and even emit the occasional “Ewwww…what IS that?” It’s the distinctive smell of our pluff mud.A unique substance, ranging in texture from a clay-like density to a fluffy chocolate mousse-like consistency, pluff mud is quite literally what the Lowcountry marsh ecosystem is built upon. Made up predominantly from decomposed Spartina grass, pluff mud is the product of decay. This slimy, viscous sediment is also where the majority of the small critters in the marsh begin and end their life, making it a nutritiously rich substance.
As anaerobic bacteria busily go to work devouring all this yummy stuff, hydrogen sulfides are released and TAH-DAH! That one-of-a-kind scent is released into the air when the mud is disturbed by our quick-moving tides or various watercraft.
It is, in fact, the rich, organic element of this mud that leads to the story of how it earned its name. It’s an old story, stretching back to when our vacationer’s paradise was a hard- working plantation Island, producing sea island cotton and indigo. As the plantation soil became depleted, pluff mud was dried, ground and used as a fertilizer. Hence it is said to originally be called “plough mud.”
When the Sea Island slaves were freed and our Gullah community was born, the Lowcountry’s indigenous people took that term “plough mud” and, in the way of their beautifully onomatopoetic language, transitioned it into the sound it makes when you step into it…Pluff.
Pluff mud is considered to be a foundational element of our marsh environment. Aside from the fact that it is what our Island is built on, pluff mud is one of the ingredients that makes Hilton Head a barrier Island. It can absorb the energy of storms and helps control coastal flooding. That, coupled with the fact that shrimp, crabs, fish, snails and other creatures are born from this mud, makes it a precious part of our coastal landscape.
Embracing the eau de pluff mud is a challenge for some. Visitors will often refer to it as the smell of rotten eggs or a burnt match. But if you live here, that smell becomes a comforting, familiar fragrance that is intertwined with all that is beautiful on Hilton Head. After returning from an extended time away from the area, you might find yourself, as you near the Island, rolling down your windows and greedily inhaling what has become the smell of home.
To get outside and learn even more about pluff mud and all the amazing elements of our Lowcountry marsh, log onto outsidehiltonhead.com and book a kayak, paddleboard or boating adventure!
To book an outing with Outside Hilton Head, call (843) 686-6996 or visit
Each spring, I drag my husband with me to buy boatloads and buckets-full of flowering shrubs, impatiens, topsoil, pine straw bales, assorted beachy palm varieties, ferns, decorative trees—you name it, I buy it. Even though experience has proven that roughly half of what I buy withers and dies in spite of my valiant efforts, I do it anyway. Call it primal instinct. When my fingers start flexing and grasping for gardening gloves, and my nose twitches at the smell of freshly turned earth, it’s time to head to Home Depot.
Perhaps my urge to dig in the dirt when spring rolls around is inherited. Just a couple of generations ago, most of us planted crops and depended on them to feed our families. My own grandfather farmed about five acres and raised a few cattle, and my husband’s grandparents did the same.
However, the genetic predisposition to plant actual food skipped me, resulting in an obsession with all things frond-y and floral. This obsession is completely disproportionate to my possible lack of, or extremely pale, green thumb.
Once March arrives, I cannot pass a Lowe’s or a Home Depot without buying something. What choice do I have? They make it so hard to resist—all the flowering, seasonal, full-sun and impossible to maintain stuff is on display outside the garden center, which lures feverish, Spring-lusting women like me at the peak of our vulnerability. Pulled by a force beyond my control, my car ends up in the parking lot before I can do anything about it, and there I sit, staring at rows of magenta, violet, yellow or pink. Helpless, I join the lusting throngs, even though the lines are so long they wind around the back of the gardening department; even though there is no cart in sight, and even though impatiens (one of the floral varieties I have not killed with regularity) have not even arrived yet. I must buy something to put in the ground, or I don’t feel quite whole.
My keen observation skills have revealed, over the years, that most men are not as overcome with the whole planting flowers thing as women are. A male accompanying his wife on one of her frenzied bouts of Spring-lust may experience a definite shift of mood as her bout ramps up. Entering the garden center of choice, his face bears a pleasant smile, and he willingly pushes the cart while his wife roams the aisles, searching for the perfect colors, sizes and sun requirements. She selects two, maybe three, before Spring-lust kicks in. She then charges the aisles, pushing other women out of the way; clinging to the shrubs or flowers she has chosen until she crams them triumphantly into the cart like she’s just made a touchdown. Score!
At this point, the husband exhibits his best scowlie-face, and either stands resolutely beside their cart like a bodyguard, or dutifully trots behind. The trot-behinds are nearly always at odds with the wife. For instance, this happened last Saturday:
Man: Mouth clamped shut, lugging a flat cart loaded with tall plants, several bushes and two young children who are crying because they want to go home.
Woman: (Sarcastically) “Thanks, Bob. Thanks a lot.”
Man (Bob, several paces behind): “What? What did I do now?”
Woman: “You could keep up with me. I need help loading this stuff, y’know!” Stalks away in a huff.
Bob: (Muttering) “Why do I agree to this every single year?” He bends to pull an errant 2-year-old back onto the cart and trudges after her.
This is why smart men park themselves placidly along the sidelines, out of the way, waiting for their women to summon them as needed. This behavior could prevent a domestic meltdown right in the middle of the begonias.
Man: Panting as he wrestles heavy cart to half-mile-long checkout line.
Woman: (Alternately smiling and humming) “It’ll only take a few minutes. The line will go fast. You’ll see.” She turns to the gardening gloves, rose food, fertilizer pellets, shovels and bags of potting soil that adorn the checkout line to spend another quick 50 bucks.
Man: Stares at the overburdened cart and calculates the tab in his mind. Cautious, he asks, “Um, do you think we need to spend any more money on this stuff?” Anticipating backlash, his chin pulls involuntarily into his neck.
Woman: Spins toward man and squints. “When do you ever buy me anything?! And you are gonna deny me a little rose food? And what, you want my hands to suffer? No, of course not. I need new gloves!” She sniffs indignantly and turns her back on him. After selecting five more items and piling them on the cart, she tells him she’ll be in the car and walks out.
Man: Red-faced, shoulders hunched in defeat, he frowns at the cart and blows out a sigh. The checkout line moves a scant two inches. The people around him ignore the little spat because they are involved in their own. When his turn finally comes, the chirpy gardening associate says, “That’ll be $1,341.15.” His face turns white. He clutches his chest.
I’ve decided I will no longer drag my husband along on spring plant-shopping missions. He is much more comfortable doing man-stuff like heaving plants out of my trunk when I get home, digging holes or toting things in a wheelbarrow.
A woman, though, is more comfortable—gifted, even—at running up a bill. Men don’t necessarily need to witness the annual spring planting tab rolling along on a cart. I think it puts them in a bad mood, and in extreme cases, could cause a sudden stroke, or at the very least, a panic attack.
Ladies, next time we feel a sudden onslaught of Spring-lust, it might be a good idea to take along a blood pressure cuff for hubby—or just leave him at home.
Written by Kerry Peresta, a suspense novelist and humor columnist who lives on Hilton Head Island. Her publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, “The Lighter Side,” and her debut novel, “The Hunting,” domestic suspense, released December 2013, Pen-L Publishing. She has completed her second novel, and is working on her third.
My first exposure to the concept of Farm-to-Table came before the term was officially coined or the concept was in vogue amongst the health-conscious crowd.
In my teens, I spent time living with my Aunt Bette and Uncle John on their farm in Lumber City, Georgia. I clearly recall that, after a full day of chores, my Aunt Bette would go out to the garden and bring in fresh peas, corn and watermelon. Those meals meant something. They were tasty, sure, but they were also an accomplishment; there was a “look at what we did” factor to them.
Now, as Uncle John would say—as would most of the people I have met who earn a living working the land or the river—Farm-to-Table has been around since the Garden of Eden; after all there is nothing new under the sun. While this is certainly true, our food and how we obtain it began to change after World War II. Most of us have lost connection to the land and how our food is grown, gathered or harvested. In our modern lives, driven by convenience and how much we can pack in, an appreciation for how we are fed has gotten lost in the translation of 21st-century culture. Many of us never have had that “look at what we did” moment.
Several years after I was married and many years after time spent down on the farm had drifted from memory, this concept resurfaced.
As a young couple, we spent many a Saturday morning roaming the booths at the local farmer’s market. As our culinary tastes matured, we began to seek out more variety than was easily found in the chain grocery stores at the time. Heirloom tomatoes, honeycrisp apples, figs, plums, and hot peppers were all new flavors to us. We marveled at the size of the chickens we‘d buy compared to the jumbos precooked in the chain stores.
Truth told, we were jealous of what we perceived to be the idyllic lifestyles of the vendors selling their goods each week. We romanticized the whole process. I believe we imagined farm life where it always rained just what was needed, animals like rabbits and squirrels had witty personalities (instead of insatiable appetites) and, once planted, dear ole Mother Earth and Father Time would do the rest of the work. Sound familiar?
The veil of romance was torn before the first spade met the under-fertilized, nutrient-starved soil of our back lawn.
We’d traveled up to the farm of my wife’s uncle—for those who are counting that would be the second uncle we have in the family who farms—and got a few pointers before we started our project. The first lesson was an unintentional one regarding poultry production. “Uncle Jim,” I said as I reached out to shake his hand, “what is that awful smell?”
Jim is a man who takes great pleasure in educating city folk, so his response was Socratic in nature: “What do you think it is, city slicker?”
Obviously, I had no idea, so after a few moments of awkward silence he relented. “That’s your dinner you smell,” he said. “It comes from the chicken farm up the road. What you smell are the dead ones that get trampled and rot and the poop from the ones that are still alive.”
Needless to say, the next several hours’ worth of farm life education from Uncle Jim put to rest a great deal of romanticism. I recalled my time with Bette and John in my teens and realized I had partaken of the bounty, but had never really put in the time and effort to grow it. I’d never had my own “look at what we did” moment. I was determined to have one.
The funny thing about rushing out to “farm” a garden is that we assumed the wonderful liberal arts education we had received was sufficient to overcome any obstacle. We could reason, think and adapt our way through whatever challenge we encountered. We rationalized that the introduction to organic gardening class we took from legendary Auburn University professor Dr. James Brown, the “Godfather of Soil” as he was known, would be sufficient. It was flawed logic.
As we would quickly learn, converting a flower bed into a produce-producing garden isn’t wholly achievable by a trip to Home Depot and two credit hours of a gardening class in college.
We also learned it’s an investment in more than just money, but time. All that said, there was a moment in the twilight of that Saturday afternoon, when the new mulch was watered and the tomatoes stakes were lined up straight, that I truly believed I’d done something great. I mean, it looked great. It had all the visual signs of success. What I didn’t know was that lurking in the twilight, in the still of the branches above me and bushes beside, in the atmosphere and beyond, the perfect storm was brewing, ready and eager to crush my pride. That night, however, I was king.
Not to discourage participation, but similar to grief, there are eight steps in the casual gardening cycle.
First, there is excitement, which is quickly followed by impatience, then forgetfulness and neglect, then comes shame, followed by sudden surprise, which leads to reinvigoration, a sudden defeat and finally a paltry meal. At least this has been my experience.
You see, the first few weeks of a garden are an exercise in patience. Very little happens; which is somewhat unfortunate because, to the causal gardener, these first few weeks are the peak of one’s interest.
You water, you weed and you truly look after the little green buds and vines extending outward. Then life intervenes. The growth seems to stall, then a client comes in from out of town and another crisis at work T-bones you in the intersection of life and your week is shot.
You begin to think, “Did I water today? Did it rain so I don’t have to?”
All of a sudden you forget about weeding and shepherding your little flock. You rationalize that perhaps it is just better to pick up vegetables from the grocery store. In my experience, this kills about half your garden. I have heard it argued this is just natural selection, but then again that advice came from a man who had crashed his motorcycle three times.
There is, however, genuine excitement when you happen to wander over and find that the squash, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes have somehow survived your neglect. Alas, then come the vermin. Rabbits are cute in Disney films, but they are brutal to gardens. Raccoons and squirrels are of equal merit. All are nefarious and full of malice.
When I walked out that first morning after being reinvigorated about the project, only to find the tomato stakes pushed over and the ground turned up, a rage overcame me.
“Honey,” my wife said calmly. “We can try again in the fall. We’ve learned some good lessons.”
I angrily sprayed the bushes and trees with the hose. I could only imagine the furry thieves, all animated like in a Pixar film, little bandanas over their faces, scurrying about the garden taking the plump tomatoes and cucumbers and then cruelly gathering to discuss what to leave behind.
“Let them eat dirt,” the rabbit would say. “No, no,” the raccoon would interrupt, “Something worse. I say just leave them the undersized squash.” The eldest squirrel would stroke his chin and say, “Brilliant, that way they will have hope they can do this again. It will feed us all each time they try.”
And, so, I looked down upon a meager helping of undersized squash. “Well,” my wife added optimistically. “We have a side dish for tonight!”
On a Saturday night many years ago now, we sat down to a very small portion of steamed squash. It wasn’t quite the “look at what we did” moment I was hoping for when we started, but it did give us time to reflect on the process. We had learned a great deal from the garden, lessons beyond vermin and nutrient balance in the soil.
In the years since that failed gardening experience, we have become much more educated and aware of the things we eat, and for that I am glad we engaged in the exercise. We shop the edges of the grocery store and avoid processed foods; we try to buy local fruits and vegetables that are in season. We are teaching our children that a world of taste and flavor exists beyond fast food. I believe it is sinking in, too.
My daughters would like to plant a garden this fall and would like to understand how to grow things they like to eat, because they enjoy cooking with herbs and vegetables. My son, on a recent fishing trip, said out of the blue, “We only take out what we can eat in a meal, and we throw the rest back—right, Dad?”
I am greatly encouraged by their sense of wonder and curiosity of the natural world, but also their sense of understanding. My hope is that their foray into gardening—when we get around to it—actually produces more vegetables than mine did. But even more than that, I hope they learn to appreciate that what we eat and where it comes from is something to respect, appreciate and never take for granted.
Article by Gene Cashman III
“Fitting in with the environment. It fits the contours of the long lot and is choreographed to flow like the events in a river: one area rapids, at the next waterfalls, with surprising coves along the way. Linear pearls strung together, long and sleek, bending like the turns of a river.”
These words were used by Gerry Cowart, a Savannah architect, in describing The Millennium Home he designed in 2000 on a secluded site on Spring Island, South Carolina. Gerry is an exceptional designer, and it must be noted that I worked with him on my first job in Bluffton almost 20 years ago. One could not have known a better steward of the land and mentor.
I just had to experience his words firsthand. Is The Millennium really like that?
John Strother with Spring Island Realty was kind enough to arrange a personal tour and knew all the nuances and uniqueness that make it a special place. The home is carefully sited on a heavily oak-laden 5.73 acres with over 550 feet of tidal marsh front and long wide views to the Colleton River. The owners wanted a place to invite many friends and local artists and have their personalities permanently part of the home. Cowart did just that.
You notice the low tabby walls outlining the near surrounds. The drive, planters, retaining walls, the support columns for the carport and the lower terrace edging embrace the vast views of the eco-system; almost as if they were the string holding the pearls together. “The Tabby Man,” artist Herbert L. Taylor, built them, as well as the interior fireplaces, with his own recipe of broken oyster shells, sand cement and other secret ingredients. The tabby instantly adds a connection with the past history of the Island.
The molded brick motor court brings you to the first pearl—the front of the house, with its deep porch and substantial Doric Order concrete columns.
Doric is the earliest form of Greek column order and their presence announces the entrance by providing a sense of permanency. As you walk through the home, you experience the spaces—all only one room deep—with angled connectors and elements that allow the home to be woven among the trees. Each room, while addressing a function, never loses contact with nature.
Stepping onto the four-bay porch with its 3×8 exposed rafters, and tall four lite windows with stately gabled pediments, a keen eye will observe the oversized beaded shiplap siding. The rest of the house has a smaller-scale clapboard cypress siding. The builder, Bill Mischler of Genesis Construction in Bluffton, confided that the rafters and cypress siding around the front porch set the hierarchy for the interiors. The ingenuity, talent, magnificent attention to detail and quality craftsmanship, such as hand-cut eaves to allow ventilation under the home’s expansive copper roof, are seen in the many fine details found throughout the home.
The iron railing and balustrade was forged by John Boyd Smith, a notable ornamental blacksmith from Savannah, who created the railing and crafted newels in the palm motif. Entering the home through the off-center hardwood door with its beveled glass, sidelites and half round transom—also with the continued leaf motif—you are introduced to one large room with cypress gothic cathedral beams and ceiling. Pairs of French doors invite access to the rear marsh portico beyond.
The sheer scale of the space requires a few seconds to get your bearings and notice the 30-foot tall stone fireplace with raised hearth. The fire screen and andirons throughout were also made by the Master Blacksmith. Finials on the beams and arch braces create a humbling sense. As you look up, the dappled light filters in subtly through eight dormers. The floors are cherry, and in the center is a multi-species, inlaid wood, artistic palmetto medallion. Art and sculpture throughout the home are conscientiously placed to offer multiple viewing positions.
Just as Cowart said, we flow from the living room, trickling past the wet bar and then arrive at the waterfall—the great room with high cathedral ceilings with the same beams as the living room, stone floors and the gourmet open kitchen with two islands. The focal piece is the stylized monumental tabby fireplace that is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Family dining and an intimate sitting area to enjoy conversations with the cook and enjoying the fire make this truly a special room, whether or not you have company.
The sophisticated simple hall to the master wing carries forward the design aesthetic of a continuous view of the dynamic coastal marsh from one end of the home to the other. Every room has a private porch with access to the lower terrace and a long, winding, raised boardwalk naturally orchestrated around select trees to the marsh edge. The main rear porch and outdoor kitchen can handle a crowd of any size, yet has intimate areas for privacy and enjoying the sounds of nature.
As you meander down the hallways, a quiet curiosity builds in anticipation for what may lie around the next bend.
One treasure tucked like a tiny tributary just off the kitchen is the guest powder room. Bluffton Master Craftsman Jerry Taylor created a one-of-a-kind burl redwood slab countertop with a mounted glacier glass sink to appear as if floating. It is a true work of art and conversation piece with a museum-like quality. Bathrooms throughout the house have handmade tile and the uniqueness of each tile is autographed by the artist.
A great example of a pearl is the cherry study just off the living room. The multi-angled, 10-foot tall shelves and cupboards anchor one end of the room. The stained trim and floors being the stained cherry automatically bring your eye to the wall of windows looking out to a flood tide.
The two-story guest house and screened porch has its own kitchen, living space and two bedrooms with large baths, perfect for a grown family of friends or visiting golf buddies to enjoy in privacy.
Let’s not fail to mention the four-car garage and covered carport with timber decking. This was designed to provide an easy way to hop out of the car and into the house. The garage is sited separate from the home, but provides covered access.
When you walk the boardwalk at marsh edge just before dusk and turn around, you see all the aforementioned pearls. The Millennium Home is an excellent example of gently placing a house on the earth and leaving the surroundings untouched. It truly is a special house and it was a privilege to visit. Cowart’s idyllic description could not be more accurate.
Written by Randolph Stewart and Rachael Disbrow; photography courtesy of Tom Jenkins Films.
If you have any connection to environmental issues in the Lowcountry, you have likely heard that Hilton Head and Beaufort County have banned single-use plastic bags for most goods. Retailers had to quit using plastic bags on November 1.
Plastic bags cause cause many problems in our communities and in our ecosystems. Hopefully, with the ban there will be less bags floating on the waterways, less bags removed from the intestinal tracts of sea turtles, less bags snagged by oyster reefs and those that are just litter.
Beaufort County’s ban is on single-use plastic bags—the kind you get at the checkout counter. The County has not suggested banning all plastics.
Single-use, plastic bags catch wind and travel great distances. When they end up over the marine environment, settle on the surface of the ocean and submerge, they resemble jellyfish, a major food source for leatherback sea turtles.
During 2017 & 2018 Planning Commission meetings and County Council meetings—with and without public comment—a ban on plastic bags was received overwhelming support from the community. A survey conducted by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce also conveyed the majority opinion that we could live without the single-use plastic bag.
In coastal South Carolina, where the salt marsh estuary pervades our Lowcountry for miles inland, the majority of residents believed it was necessary to implement policies. With the change, Beaufort County hopes that only Spanish moss is hanging from our trees—not plastic bags.
Isle of Palms and, later, Folly Beach have already initiated a ban on plastic bags and look like rock stars. They are trailblazers and have been successful with the backing of communities that value the unique Lowcountry ecosystem. Folly Beach took an extra leap and banned Styrofoam and balloons on their beaches, as well. This is an example of proactive citizens working to solve a problem in their community with real results.
Original Article by Amber Kuehn. Updated 11/1/18.
A fourth-generation Blufftonian, Amber Kuehn is a marine biologist and owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters. The manager of Hilton Head Island’s Sea Turtle Protection Project, she is also an active volunteer for the SC Marine Mammal Stranding Network and performs dolphin necropsies in the field for the National Oceanic Services (NOS). In October, Amber was a featured speaker at TEDxHiltonHead. To schedule a Voyage of Discovery with Captain Amber, call (843) 338-2716 or visit spartinacharters.com.
Mayfest is an amazing annual celebration of regional artists and artisans, but local painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, jewelry makers and craftsmen make Bluffton the “HeART of the Lowcountry” every day.
In addition to the colorful galleries, eclectic shops and tasteful eateries lining Calhoun Street and adjacent avenues, new public art occasionally pops up in Old Town. Recently, a painting of a mother and baby dolphin leaping out the water replaced D. Pierce Giltner’s weatherworn shrimp boat image on the corner of Bridge and Boundary Streets.
Giltner, an esteemed local artist who operated Gallery Without Walls next to The Store on Calhoun Street for several years, asked Michele Roldán-Shaw to create a new installment on the former Town bulletin board; prepping the wood, providing the paints and studio space and even installing the finished piece.
“It was his kind way of lending a hand to a fellow outsider artist—meaning we don’t have formal training or a lot of slick marketing behind us, so we have to be innovative and make our own way,” she explains. “I’m very grateful to Pierce for giving me this opportunity!”
Perhaps best known as a freelance journalist (and longtime Bluffton Breeze contributor), as well as the author of two true adventure tales called “Rambler’s Life,” Roldán-Shaw’s first love was art.
“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember,” explains the avid outdoorswoman. “However, I have no formal schooling—I just follow my own muse! When I moved to Bluffton 13 years ago, I started painting the local flora and fauna I saw in my explorations.”
For instance, her Lowcountry mural at the Coastal Discovery Museum includes a black snake slithering up a palmetto tree (a memory from a visit to Hunting Island), as well as a pod of dolphins with one tiny, black newborn fin in the center (as seen on Bull Creek). She also spent several years showing her art at various Calhoun Street galleries while painting more murals for businesses and private residences.
Today, Roldán-Shaw’s primary focus is on her writing, although she still does commissioned pieces and original artwork for family and friends. A table she had painted long ago with a mother and baby dolphin provided iconic inspiration for her most recent project.
“[Dolphins] are one thing NOBODY ever gets tired of seeing,” she says. “I am very pleased with how the painting has been received in the spirit of town beautification that everyone can enjoy.”
To view Roldán-Shaw’s gallery of artwork, inquire about painting commissions or learn more about her books, call (843) 304-3460 or visit ramblerslife.com.
May is National Preservation Month, and the Town of Bluffton is presenting “Bluffton — Past, Present and Future,” the Second Annual Preservation Symposium on May 25, 2017 at Town Hall. We felt it only appropriate to contribute a feature on the eight antebellum homes that survived “The Burning of Bluffton” in 1863. The photos and history are from the The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society’s archives and reprinted with permission.
The Huger-Gordon House, 9 Water Street, c. early 1800s
This is the only antebellum house on the bluff overlooking the May River that survived the Federal burning of Bluffton on June 4, 1863 and the house still has Federal forces’ musket balls lodged in the front door studs.
The frame one-and-a-half story building, built around 1795 and later enlarged, is placed on a low brick foundation of piers with a gabled roof and interior chimneys. A one-story veranda with a shed roof and chamfered posts runs the width of the house on the river side and the central dormer has glass doors cut into the eaves of the roof and veranda.
The owner, Colonel Ephraim Mikell Seabrook, sold the home in 1863 to Dr. Joseph Alson Huger II and it remained in the family for over 100 years. Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Gordon made alterations to the interior and exterior of the home in the mid-1970s. The house is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kent Collins.
The Cole-Heyward House, 70 Boundary Street, c. 1840
The Cole-Heyward house is an example of early Carolina Farmhouse style brought by planters from the West Indies. The earliest part of this home was built by John J. Cole and his slaves in the 1840s as a summer home for his wife, Caroline Corley, and their children. The original house started as a north parlor with a bedroom above, and was expanded in 1860 to more than twice its original size by doubling the front and side windows in the front rooms and expansion of the dining room and back bedroom.
The Cole family left the Bluffton area in 1874 and sold the house to the DuBois family, who then sold it to Mrs. George Cuthbert Heyward in 1882. The home stayed in the Heyward family until it was sold to the Bluffton Historical Society where it now serves as a museum and the Official Welcome Center for the Town of Bluffton.
Seven Oaks, 82 Calhoun Street, c. 1860
The first owner of record was Colonel Middleton Stuart who resided here prior to the Civil War. Col.
Stuart’s wife was Emma Barnwell Stoney who inherited Otterburn Plantation from her father, Dr, George Mosse Stoney. The Stuarts did not return to Bluffton following the war and the property was sold to Francis Marion Edwards. The house was subsequently owned by Ephraim Mikell Baynard and E.J. Harrison.
During the heyday of Bluffton’s prosperity as the commercial center of Beaufort County in the 1920s, Mrs. Elizabeth Sanders operated Seven Oaks as a popular boarding house for salesmen and summer visitors.
A horrible brawl occurred one night in the boarding house, resulting in a gunshot death. It is said that you can still see the blood stains on the floor in room number 13.
Examining the foundation, one sees hand-hewn beams, and a fireplace foundation that is arched for strength, typical of Italian masons. Seven Oaks is now the administrative offices for Church of the Cross.
The Allen-Lockwood House, 94 Calhoun Street, c. 1850
This cottage was built by William Gaston Allen on the northwest corner of Calhoun and Water Streets in the early 1850s for his wife, Susan Virginia Bolan, and their six children. It is a classic example of a Lowcountry summer cottage with its gabled roof, commodious high-ceiling rooms and windows used for cross-ventilation. The home is raised, and sits on brick piers. It features a wide porch spanning the south facade.
By 1866, Colonel Allen was bankrupt and a forced sale of the home resulted in his daughter, Susan Virginia, (Mrs. Thomas Postell Lockwood), buying the home for $10. It remained in the family until 1953. Currently the home is owned by Outreach Ministries, Inc. of the Church of the Cross.
Squire Pope’s Summer Home, 111 Calhoun Street, c. 1850
This lot was the summer residence of Squire William Pope of Coggins Point Plantation on Hilton Head Island. There is no record left to tell us what he home looked like, but it was undoubtedly large and handsome, as the Squire was wealthy with a big family. It went up in flames on June 4, 1863 with the wholesale burning of Bluffton’s waterfront.
Following the war, Mrs. Pope and her daughter returned to Bluffton. Virtually destitute, they found the only structures that had not been destroyed were the carriage house and a smaller building nearby (c. 1850). They had them joined together to form the present structure where they lived out their days. The Town of Bluffton has recently purchased the property.
The Card House, 34 Bridge Street, c. 1825
The origin of this antebellum house is difficult to document; however, it is believed to be one of the oldest homes in Bluffton still standing. The first owner of record is William J. Graham, who owned it until 1847. Another deed shows the property was owned by Sarah G. Norton. One William Norton, of St. Helena Island, moved to the Bluffton area around 1800 and resided here until his death in 1817.
Why is it called The Card House? One story says that in the late 1840s, during a high-stakes poker game, William Eddings Baynard won the deed to the 1,000-acre Braddock’s Point Plantation on Hilton Head Island from the unfortunate owner, a Mr. John Stoney. From that point on, it has been known as The Card House. The home is currently the owned by Albert Scardino.
The Fripp House, 48 Bridge Street, c. 1830
This three-story frame building on eight-foot piers is believed to have been built by James L. Pope. The earliest records show the property was owned by him prior to 1847. James L. Pope died in 1863 and his son, James Jr., inherited it.
The property remained in the family until 1883 when Mrs. James L. Pope, Jr. sold the house to Rebecca Sims. In 1885, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Fripp acquired the property. The Fripp family owned the house for 34 years; hence the name, “The Fripp House.” Up until 1999, it was used as a bed and breakfast.
The Seabrook House, 47 Lawrence Street, c. 1850
John Archibald Seabrook is believed to be the original owner of this home, built in the 1840s-50s. The home is a typical Lowcountry style—two-story frame weatherboard on six-foot piers. There are two dormer windows on the north and south sides of the steeply pitched gabled roof. On the north side are two tall brick chimneys, and the old summer kitchen (previously detached) was raised on piers and attached during the 20th century.
In 1876, the property was sold to Egbert and Kate H. DuBois. In 2000, the house was purchased and carefully restored by Mr. and Mrs Van DuBose who won the BPHS Caldwell Award for Historic Preservation. The home is presently owned by Cynthia Minard.
Head in from the golf course and celebrate another kind of heritage with the tight-knit staff at HogsHead Kitchen • Wine Bar. A rustic, yet refined, mom-and-pop restaurant just before the Hilton Head Island Bridge in Moss Creek Village celebrates its fourth anniversary this year.
Opened in 2013 by four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef John Pashak and his wife, Alexis, HogsHead awaits with a scratch kitchen offering everything from sandwiches and entrée salads to larger dishes like shrimp and grits, filet mignon and daily fresh catch.
“Our ingredients are as fresh and local as we can get them,” Alexis explains, “and everything is prepared from scratch on site, from the rosemary and sea salt focaccia bread to the lobster stock that goes into the gravy for the shrimp and grits or the demi-glace for the filet. Even the ice cream that’s served on top of the homemade peach cobbler or bourbon pecan pie is made here.”
This expansive and innovative menu comes from John, who—after graduating with a focus in classical European technique (and adoration for Old World wines) from Johnson & Wales—gained an appreciation for Lowcountry cuisine in Charleston and decided to marry the two with HogsHead Kitchen • Wine Bar. This and their friendly service is why they consistently receive stellar reviews from locals and visitors alike. Don’t just take our word for it—let them prove it to you and stop by for lunch or dinner any weekday!
HogsHead Kitchen • Wine Bar is located at 1555 Fording Island Road an open for lunch and dinner, Monday-Friday, and dinner only on Saturday. For more information, call the restaurant at (843) 837-4647 or go to hogsheadkitchen.com.
Learn how to make the most of your garden this season.
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
Another delicious springtime in the Lowcountry!
Heady scents of honeysuckle, wisteria, Carolina jessamine and fresh winds off the water combine to perfume the air. Azaleas and dogwoods are blooming, and showers of brown leaves filter down from the live oaks. Faint wafts of a smoky yard waste fire drift by to remind you that it’s time to work in the yard.
There are many reasons to get your hands in the earth this year, from the health benefits of fresh herbs and vegetables to the ecological impact of native plants and butterfly habitats.
Whether out of need, love or tradition, Bluffton residents tend vegetable plots. Passersby admire their tidy collard rows, tall okra stalks, pea and bean patches and loaded lemon and fig trees; friends get bags of out-of-control cucumbers or yellow squash. People who don’t grown their own buy from local vendors.
“People in Bluffton appreciate good vegetables straight from the garden,” said Farmer Joe King, a regular fixture at the Bluffton Farmer’s Market. “It does something to their spirits. Fresh peas and butterbeans are the most popular crop. If people could have them year-round, they would.”
Bluffton’s long growing season makes it possible to cultivate a wide array of vegetables, but it’s important to know what to plant and when. To learn what’s going in the ground this spring, we consulted Farmer Joe. Here are his best suggestions:
- Garden peas/English peas: one of the most popular crops in spring.
- String beans, pole beans, roma beans: plant in March
- Red potatoes, Irish potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks: plant in early March (or sooner)
- Collards, mustards, kale, cabbage, turnips, rutabagas, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce: all these greens grow throughout winter; the cold doesn’t bother them. Some, such as lettuce and mustards, can’t tolerate any heat, but collards and kale often run right through May
- Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, carrots, beets: plant in March
- Sweet corn, sweet potatoes: plant between hot and cold seasons, in early or late April
- Peas (black eye, crowder, zipper, etc.), butterbeans, okra, tomatoes, eggplants, melons, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peanuts, all types of peppers: wait until the weather gets warm in May
As the holistic health movement sweeps the nation, more and more people are turning to natural remedies to avoid pharmaceuticals. Why not grow a few of your own? Even if you just want mint leaves to throw in your sweet tea, the health benefits of fresh herbs are considerable.
“Gardening is a way to connect to our soul’s purpose, which is to live, be happy, be healthy and help each other,” said local iridologist and herbalist Amy Spadafora-Thompson. “When we grow herbs and bring them into our bodies, it’s a way to take personal responsibility for our health, then that radiates out into the universe. We are each other’s healing.”
Amy explains that it’s important to use organic gardening methods. “Herbs don’t like synthetic fertilizers or acidic soil,” she said. “They like sweet (alkaline) well-drained soil, and they thrive when fertilized with liquid seaweed, kelp or fish emulsion. Healthy soil equals healthy plants, which equals more health benefits for us.”
Amy facilitates a gardening program at May River Montessori, where the students have built raised beds and a medicine wheel garden. They’ve planted, tended, harvested, prepped and consumed veggies and have created a certified Wildlife Habitat Garden.
Amy also has her own herbal tea and health consulting business, Harmonic Infusions. She shared essential herbs to have on hand in the garden for cooking and health. Here are a few of her favorites:
- Rosemary: Perennial, full sun, deer resistant, use fresh or dry. Great to add to potatoes and to meat because it helps break down the proteins for digestion. Rosemary tea increases mental clarity, and a strong brew also makes a great hair rinse.
- Oregano: Perennial, full sun, deer resistant, use fresh or dry. Immune booster, helps prevent colds, warming, aids digestion. Great in any dish!
- Basil: Annual, full sun, deer resistant. Wait until you’ve filed taxes before planting!
- Basil needs warm nights. Make pesto, add fresh leaves to salad, sprinkle generously over every meal. Aids digestion, nourishes and restores the nervous system, calms anxiety and reduces mental chatter.
- Parsley: Biennial (lasts 2 years), full sun, deer will nibble. Use fresh, not very beneficial when dried. Juice leaves or sprinkle in salad. Cleansing, detoxifying, extremely high in Vitamin C.
- Mint: Perennial, full sun, deer resistant, use fresh or dry. Great in salads. Tea prevents colds (or soothes if you already have one) and is great for upper respiratory infections. Chewing fresh leaves relieves nausea and upset stomach.
- Flowers and Ornamentals
Bluffton’s subtropical climate lends itself to creating lush, attractive environments full of greenery and punctuated by pops of color.
“Generally, you want to please yourself,” said expert gardener and native Blufftonian Ben Turner. “You also want to see something blooming every time you look in an area and plan so that when one thing goes down, the next blooms.”
Start with your evergreens to provide the background, Ben says, such as the classic azalea, which comes in a range of colors and sizes. He calls Camellia “queen of the garden,” thanks to its beautiful waxy leaves and winter blooms. Mix in annuals like pansies, geraniums and impatiens and look for plants with extended blooms times, such as lantana that peaks in late summer and is very attractive to butterflies.
Go to a good locally based nursery where someone is on hand who knows about plants and choose from what they have available. It’s important to get things in the ground before the weather starts cranking up to 90-degree temperatures.
“Our heat is more than what they think it is,” advised Ben. “Read the tags, and don’t get something that can’t handle the sun.”
Tulips, for example, never do well here, but there are lots of sages and salvias that can stand up to the heat and will bloom in late summer or early fall.
Try variegated plants for color and texture and consider cannas and elephant ears. Decorative grass is another great way to add interest and break up a pattern.
“Look in magazines and see how the pros arrange flowers,” Ben advised. “Your garden is just a giant flower arrangement!”
For fragrance, you can plant roses this month or aromatic climbers such as Confederate jasmine, honeysuckle and wisteria, especially if you have a structure, like a tree, in your yard.
“If there is a patch of lawn that never grows right, it probably doesn’t get enough sun,” Ben said. “Turn it into a flower bed! Ground covers are a great solution. St. John’s wort, which has pretty little flowers, does well here, is easy to control and goes great under live oaks. Another idea is blueberry shrubs.”
Finally, Ben recommends testing your soil to see what it needs before you just start throwing stuff in. However, adding nutrients with manure or mushroom compost is usually a safe bet. He also recommends watching the South Carolina ETV program “Making It Grow.”
The Annual Lowcountry Home and Garden Show this month may be just what you need to get inspired for your yard. At 33 years and running, it’s the largest home and garden trade show in the Lowcountry, with more than 100 exhibitors, from pavers and pest control experts to tree-trimmers and pool companies. It runs in conjunction with the popular Parade of Homes Tour so that you can get inspired by what others are doing in Beaufort County.
“It’s a nice way for people to get out and get ready for spring, to start brightening up the front porch,” said Meg James, executive officer of the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association. “We invite master gardeners from Clemson Extension to put on daily seminars, and we have workshops by Taylor’s Landscape Supply and Nursery. Somebody will talk about what spring flowers to plant, somebody else will talk about how to get rid of moles—the topics are always relevant, and it’s free. Whether you’re a prospective homebuyer or a homeowner in search of ideas and inspiration, the Lowcountry Home and Garden Show is the place to start.”
If You Go
- What: Lowcountry Home and Garden Show
- When: March 16-18, 2018
- Where: Buckwalter Recreation Complex
- 905 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton
- Admission: Free
- More info: lowcountryhomeandgardenshow.com
My pants felt tight.
I re-tucked my shirt, but to no avail. I noticed that the collar on my shirt felt a little snug, too. Surely the jacket would cover the problem, but once I had finagled both arms into the sleeve, the button on the front looked like it was hanging on for dear life.
“Honey?” I called out with a sense of desperation. I was standing before the full-length mirror in the bedroom. “Does this suit make me look fat, or do I make this suit look small?”
There was no reply.
“This isn’t a trick question,” I added. “You can be honest.”
I could hear my wife Betsy coming down the hall. She poked her curly-haired head partially into the room.
“What do you think, sweetie?”
It was the sort of answer a counselor would give. She was using the Socratic Method. In other words, she was making me answer my own question. I hated the method. I wanted her to assure me that I was fit and trim, even if it was a lie.
“Well…” her words hung in the air, but then she countered and stated quite perspicuously, “I have noticed you eating more than usual. Perhaps you’re stressed out with the new job.”
I sucked in my gut. “Maybe,” she continued, “we could join the gym.”
I hate gyms. Perhaps it’s an unwarranted prejudice, but to me gyms are filled with two kinds of people: gym rats and saps like me. Saps like me rarely turn into gym rats and rarely work out much past January 31, yet we get locked into long-term, expensive contracts. I was less than thrilled.
“Oh, a gym membership, huh? What’s that—$100 bucks a month?” My tone dripped with sarcasm and disdain.
“You asked,” she shot back. “I don’t care how you look. I just want you to be healthy.”
That was the dagger, but she was right. I need to lose some weight. I need to be healthy. This time, it couldn’t be about money; it had to be about action.
“O.K.,” I relented. “I will promise to lose weight, just no gyms.”
I sat back on the bed. Just as my rear end hit the comforter, my poor little blue-blazer button shot across the room like a slug from a rifle.
“Dadgummit!” I shouted, but before I could start to feel sorry for myself, my wife chimed in, “Perhaps we can start something when you get home from work?”
I was nearly out of breath just bending over to tie my shoes. My wife just smiled. We began walking down the long, crushed oyster shell drive. It was a pleasant afternoon for early January. It seemed unseasonably warm, or perhaps I was just overheated from the brisk walk down the drive.
It was easy to sprint past the pie slices and eggnog. Although the eggnog’s kick to the gut had made me a little nauseated. The rolls, well, I just had to take the beating as I navigated their angry little gauntlet. Their blows winded me and made my legs, arms and lungs ache. These pains made eluding the turkey leg difficult. It seemed the harder I ran, the closer it got. I couldn’t shake it. I pushed harder, almost to the point of sheer exhaustion. It was getting closer, and it was yelling at me.
I forged ahead, not willing to be captured and killed by a five-foot tall turkey leg. I kicked it into gears I hadn’t used in a decade. If I survived this, I thought, I was going to pay dearly in the morning. When I finally gave the turkey leg the shake, almost a half mile later, I collapsed into a pile of leaves and tried to catch my breath.
I awoke to a sharp pain in my chest and side. Someone was standing over me.
“Honey, are you alright?”
I quickly sat up. Instantly, I recognized Betsy and the fact that I was lying in someone’s front yard. Everything else, well, that was hazy.
“What happened?” I coyly remarked.
“Good question,” she said. “We were walking along, when all of a sudden you sprinted past me screaming and hollering.” She began to laugh.
“It was as if you were being chased. You were flailing your arms and it appeared you were trying to dodge things that were not there.”
She was now doubling over in laughter. “I tried to keep up,” she hooted, but every time I got close, you would take off. I eventually found you sprawled out, face down in this yard.”
By now, the homeowners had come out into the drive. “Everything O.K. out here?“ a man asked.
Betsy waved him off, saying, “Yes, yes, everything is fine. We are just easing back into a healthy lifestyle out here. Thanks though.”
I was embarrassed. Betsy helped me to my feet. “I think that’s enough for today, Tiger,” she said pointing me in the direction of home.
The walk back was much slower. I limped a bit, as my ankles and knees weren’t used to what equated to an 800-meter sprint.
“I don’t know what came over me,” I confessed. “All of a sudden I was just totally overwhelmed by my unhealthy habits.”
Betsy laughed. “I noticed.”
As we hit the driveway, I stopped. “I need to make a promise,” I said. “Not a resolution, but a promise.”
Betsy sensed the seriousness of my tone and stopped giggling.
“I promise I will exercise every day,” I pledged. Betsy coughed and hacked. “Okay, okay,” I said, “at least three times a week.” She took my hand as I went on. “Also, I will eat healthier.”
She waited a moment, then quietly spoke.
“All I care about is that you are healthy,” she said. “God willing, I want you around in 30 years.” She then hugged me tight. I took her advice to heart.
“Me too,” I whispered in her ear. Before I left the embrace, she asked, “Wanna race?” I quickly pushed away and took off before she could start.
“See you later, turkey leg!” she laughed aloud. “Here we go again!”
By Gene Cashman
That was me—no cable television, no iPad, no computer and no video games (does ATARI Pac-Man/Space Invaders count?). Instead, we had motor boats, four wheelers and three-wheel golf carts. I’m so thankful that I can say this. But still…a bad parenting choice on my mother’s part! However, she was right. There were less people on the river and less trash. There were plenty of mullet and saltwater catfish (see sidebar on opposite page), and blue crabs on every chicken neck. Kids threw cast nets and floated to the Sand Bar with the outgoing tide. The May River seemed enormous, and the summer never-ending.
Bluffton—then a diamond in the rough—could not be kept unpolished forever. Others discovered the temperate climate, the quaint feel, the pristine river, and the explosion of job opportunities. Bluffton is the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. Unfortunately, as the population increases, so does the trash making its way to the May River. Blowers clear the streets and lawns in town, pushing plastic bags, cans, and debris to their lawn’s edges, and wind and rain carry the items to the coves and river. Plus, anything that isn’t nailed down flies out of the boats. My great-grandmother pushed her icebox and porcelain toilet over the bluff to help “stabilize” it when she upgraded to a refrigerator. The older generation is not without fault.
Do you remember when bottled water first showed up? I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to pay for water I could get for free. At this point, I’ll have to concede that it is very portable and convenient, and I provide it on 100-degree summer days to keep my customers from melting into the seats. I collect the bottles at the end for recycle. Honestly, no one should leave the house without their reusable water bottles!
Plastics are found in the guts of many shore birds and sea turtles, causing an intestinal blockage that results in death, and fish ingest microplastics (oil droplets resulting from the breakdown of plastics that have been degrading in the environment for many years). Plastics do break down, but never fully disappear. The scientific community has yet to determine the direct repercussions of this, although it could explain many things such as malformation, or reproductive abnormalities.
When the community comes together to clean up the May River for Earth Day on April 22, we should all make an attempt to participate. I understand some people work on Saturdays, and there will never be a day that suits everyone, but there is always trash in the river. I pick it up on a daily basis during my ecology tours with my crab net serving as my “Trash Recovery Device.” I have even worked it into my tour monologue, and patrons cheer when we successfully retrieve a trash item. Locals and visitors are obviously concerned with trash in the natural environment, or they would not have booked my tour! (However, some objects we will probably never see again. There is a VW Bug at the drop-off beyond Calhoun Street Dock, as well as a shopping cart. I don’t want to know…)
Get out there and collect your share of trash! The health of the May River depends upon stewards of the environment. This applies to everyone.
Things you can do:
• Bring cloth bags for grocery shopping and leave theplastic ones in the store.
• Keep the lids on trash cans.
• Secure all trash items in your boat and on the dock, so they don’t blow off.
• Avoid using Styrofoam.
• Spend time with your kids outside and teach them that litter is harmful to the environment.
The 17th Annual May River Cleanup and Earth Day Celebration takes place at Bluffton Oyster Factory Park on April 22 from 9-11:30 a.m. Coffee will be provided by Starbucks in the morning; lunch courtesy of Walmart in the afternoon; with an Earth Day Celebration hosted by Experience Green. For details, call Beth Lewis at the Town of Bluffton at (843) 706-4559 or email [email protected].
A handful of local fishermen have been fly fishing in Lowcountry waters since the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, but the sport has been growing in popularity in the past five years. More than just a “yuppie sport,” saltwater fly fishing offers a unique challenge and an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area.
A year-round sport in the Lowcountry, saltwater fly fishing is especially popular in the winter months, when Redfish and speckled trout are abundant. In the summer, Spanish mackerel, Jack Crevelle, Lady fish and Bluefish can be caught in the Lowcountry’s nutrient-rich inshore waters. Offshore fish like dolphin (mahi mahi) cobia (in the Spring only), amberjack and barracuda can also be hooked on a fly rod. The average fish caught on a fly rod ranges between 18 and 40 inches.
Fly fishing, as a rule, requires generous doses of patience and skill. A sporting method of catching fish, fly fishing tends to be more active than conventional bait and tackle fishing because it requires frequent casting and constant involvement with the fish. Enticing fish to eat the fly is more challenging than using a lure or live bait.
With live bait, the fisherman usually throws the baited hook in the water and waits for the fish to take the bait. With fly tackle, the opposite principle applies: you literally take the fly to the fish.
As a result, sight is of primary importance when fly fishing. First, you literally have to see the fish in the shallow water. Then, you have to try not to spook the fish when you cast the fly. Redfish in particular can be easily spooked. If you slap the water too hard with the fly, the fish will swim away.
Presentation of the fly itself is crucial. Unlike flies, bait has a scent which naturally attracts fish. Accordingly, flies must simulate food in their appearance and motion. Flies with names like the Weber Rattleshrimp, the Clouser Minnow and Lefty’s Deceiver simulate the movement patterns of fish’s natural food sources. Shrimp, crab, mullet and minnows are among the most popular prey. With Redfish, where you put the fly in relation to the fish matters.
If you put the fly too close to the fish, it will likely flee the scene; if you put the fly too far away from a Redfish, it may not respond. Usually you’ll have two or three shots at a school of fish before you either hook up or spook them.
Redfish fly fishing is most successful in shallow water, on flats at, or near, low tide, with a water depth ranging from six inches to two feet. Because the water is so shallow, you can actually see the fish you’re trying to catch.
In the summertime, Redfish travel further inland into the flooded marsh grass. When the tide is 7 ½ feet or greater, the redfish swim up on fiddler flats to dig fiddler crabs out of the marsh mud. The fish’s tails stick out of the water as they burrow, making them easy to spot.
Saltwater fly fishing is not quite as popular in the summertime however, mainly because it competes with tarpon season. Saltwater fly fishing differs from freshwater fly fishing in that the equipment tends to be larger and heavier. The flies themselves are bigger as well. Also, a boat is usually required for saltwater fishing to access the places where schools of Redfish and other species congregate.
Best of all, fly fishing offers an opportunity to observe spectacular wildlife and to witness breathtaking sunsets. After taking a fly rod out on the water, many people discover that sight casting the flats is so much fun that fishing itself can sometimes feel secondary.
By Jevon Daly
Discover plenty of great opportunities to enjoy live music this St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of those holidays in our area that people really enjoy being a part of.
Kids on bikes, scooters and hoverboards. Green beer! Parents acting like kids at the parade.
The parade that takes place on Hilton Head Island is one of the biggest things we have as far as a street event. As soon as the parade ends, Pope Avenue becomes a tiny Nashville, with music bellowing out of every restaurant on the strip.
Wild Wings will have bands all afternoon and into the night, with big local names like Cranford Holler and GTA. Aunt Chilada’s usually gets in the mix, bringing Hannah Wick back from the road. Big Bee buzzes in from NYC. Silicone Sister does their signature performance art/beauty extravaganza at Rockfish, formerly Bomboras. NYC Pizza usually has some rock n’ roll cats jammin’. The Pope rocks that.
The weather tends to break that particular day, so a trip to the Tiki Hut beachfront to hear some tunes is always a great way to start the day. Cliff or Tommy—maybe even Jim or Mike— will be behind the bar. They are always up to smack their gums witcha’ as early as you wanna. I heard Tommy Sims once played 6 billion notes on a guitar before the parade even started!
The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade is a different thing altogether. Venues are poppin’ up all over the place these days. I did wanna take a sec here and preach safety and care in the transporting of your bodies that day. St. Patty’s is also when the freaks come out, and we all need to be careful out there. Uber is (mostly) the way to go these days, or a designated driver. Where you end up doesn’t really matter as long as you get back to your bed to sleep safely that night.
Sleeping in a bush can be nice, don’t get me wrong. Catching some zzz’s underneath a willow or wax myrtle will most certainly protect you from the rain if the heavens do decide to open that night or the next morn.
Sleeping under a bench or planking on benches is, I believe, frowned upon these days by most citizens of the Americas. Remember to eat something before going out and imbibing with your fellow leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day.
A lot of fun can be had with all the music and friends you haven’t seen in a while. I know it’s been ages since you got to talkin’ with Elizabeth O’Malley since the wedding. Fortunately, she and Sean Conner are doing fine.
Be safe, and we’ll see you out there. Be sure to catch the bagpipe dudes over at Reilley’s at some point.
Erin Go Bragh!
South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, on May 23, 1788. South Carolina became the first state to vote in favor of secession from the Union on December 20, 1860. After the American Civil War, it was readmitted into the United States on June 25, 1868. South Carolina is named in honor of King Charles I of England, who first formed the English colony, with Carolus being Latin for “Charles”.
Here’s a list of fun facts about the state of South Carolina:
State Capital: Columbia
State Nickname: The Palmetto State
Population: 5 Million
Governor: Henry McMaster
Largest City: Charleston
Land Area: 32,000 Square Miles
Coastline: 187 Miles
Largest Barrier Island: Hilton Head
State Animal: White-tail Deer
State Tree: Palmetto
State Gemstone: Amethyst
State Flower: Yellow Jasmine
State Bird: Carolina Wren
State Fruit: Peach
State Reptile: Loggerhead Turtle
State Motto: “While I Breathe, I Hope”
State Song: “Carolina”
State Dance: The Shag
From traditional Southern meals to sugary sippin’s and late night nibbles, the Lowcountry’s culinary scene is vast and growing immensely nationwide. But you don’t have to spend a fortune at restaurants to sample some of the South’s specialties.
Fried Green Tomatoes:
This simple golden side dish peaked in popularity when the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” came out in 1991. Though considered Southern fare for years, this dish has its own secret backstory, emerging from Jewish immigrants in the Northeast and Midwest before becoming a star of the South. Some of the first recipes found published on this traditional American tomato dish were in Jewish cookbooks, before showing up in cookbooks in the Midwest and newspapers. No matter where they’re from, we’re just glad they’re here and you can find them on menus all over the Lowcountry from Charleston to Bluffton.
Shrimp & Grits:
A staple on any Southern table, Shrimp & Grits is another hot dish you won’t want to miss. This regional specialty hails from the Lowcountry, with origins in the Native American Muskogee tribe who ground corn in a stone mill, giving it a gritty texture. It wasn’t until 1985 when Craig Claiborne of the New York Times visited North Carolina and published a recipe about them, that the Shrimp & Grits we know today gained widespread popularity. From hole-in-the-wall diners to upscale eateries all across the South, this plate is made many different ways, each pleasing palates of many different people.
When strolling by the candy kitchens and confectioners in the Lowcountry, you can’t help but smell the sweet aromas sifting through the air of fresh pralines. Though they’re known for their caramel color and crunchy pecans in the United States, these delights actually hail from France, where they’re much firmer, made with almonds and caramelized sugar. When they were brought over by French settlers to Louisiana, local chefs substituted the ingredients for the ample pecans and sugar cane. They’re in abundance here in the Hostess City of the South, so be sure to grab some sugar when you’re in Savannah!
Georgia may be called the “Peach State,” but did you know that South Carolina actually grows more of this sweet, succulent fruit? As of 2017, the state of South Carolina produced 11,000 tons of peaches. Whether you’re in the mood for peach ice cream, peach cobbler or just some fresh peaches from a roadside stand, be sure to get some of this fuzzy fruit while you’re here!
Every December, the Hilton Head Audubon Society coordinates the local Christmas Bird Count. This year, on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, team leaders will organize several small groups to count and identify species of birds seen and heard within a 15-mile radius around Spanish Wells. From Palmetto Bluff to Colleton River Plantation, Daufuskie to Hilton Head Islands and the waterways in between, experienced birding teams that include photographers and scribes will scour their designated areas by land and sea to document avian wildlife. The Sun City (Okatie) Bird Count takes place the following day on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.
Information collected during these annual events is submitted for the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count, an international effort and the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. This survey provides critical data on bird population trends.
Hurricane Matthew brought down trees that had served as roosts and nesting habitat but, according to experts, it also stirred things up a bit—in a good way! The birds’ food supply is now more abundant and the birds can’t eat those mosquitos fast enough!
Additionally, Matthew’s devastation opened up previously dark areas to sunlight. New plants will grow in these places, adding more variety. Flooding from the storm provided new foraging grounds for wading birds, which promotes food source diversity. It appears the birds will recover much faster than we will.
The Christmas Bird Count takes place two months after the hurricane. It will be interesting to see if there is a shift in bird species in count areas compared to previous years. The 100-mph winds rearranged their habitat, so a chance for a unique sighting may arise!
The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is one of the fastest birds on earth with a top speed of 200 mph in a “power dive.” I’m sure this is what George Lucas had in mind when naming the Millennium Falcon. The Peregrine Falcon can knock prey out of the sky in a vertical descent, fly very close to the ground for a sneak attack, and pursue its prey in level flight. Its name comes from the Latin word peregrinus meaning foreigner or traveler. Its maneuvering ability makes it the perfect namesake for a spaceship that travels at warp speed!
In 1970, American and Arctic Peregrine Falcon populations were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 (the law preceding the Endangered Species Act of 1973). By the mid-1970s, 90 percent of the North American population was gone. The cause was DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), an insecticide which had bioaccumulated in prey causing their egg shells to be thin and break. DDT was banned in 1972 and gradually phased out. Cornell University instituted a captive breeding program to help save the population. The Peregrine Falcon was delisted in August of 1999, after 26 years on the Endangered Species List.
The American Oystercatcher is hard to miss with its bright red/orange beak, pitch-black head, yellow eyes, white belly and brown back. However, it is a shy bird and will usually hide behind the oyster reef where it nests on the ground near the high marsh. It lays two to four eggs at a time, very close to the high tide line, and a full moon tide may wash over the nests. Hatchlings are mobile within 24 hours.
This bird is rarely seen inland, even in the winter. It feeds almost exclusively on bivalves like oysters, mussels and clams. How fast do you think the American Oystercatcher has to run to catch that oyster? Not so much…it “sneaks up” on the oyster before it shuts tight, just as the tide is ebbing, and wedges its red bill between the shells, clips the adductor muscle holding them together, then eats the soft-bodied bivalve right out of the shell. It should be called the “American Oystershucker.”
I’m sure it doesn’t happen often, but it has been documented that the oyster may “fight back” by clamping down on the Oystercatcher’s bill before the muscle is severed, and it can hold the bird hostage until the tide comes in…ouch!
The Piping Plover nests on the beach and is the same color as the sand. It has a white belly, a black band between the eyes and a black band on its chest that is broken in the middle. Yellow legs carry a six-inch, two-ounce body swiftly across the sand to defend a nest that is situated, of course, on a sandy beach inundated with people, dogs, and beach equipment.
The Piping Plover faces a losing battle—nesting habitat is becoming scarce and, sadly, dangerous for this shore bird. The Atlantic Coast population is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The Piping Plover almost disappeared in the 1800s due to the popular, feather-adorned millinery style of that era, but this bird has made a comeback. There are approximately 2,000 nesting pairs on Atlantic shores. The Town of Hilton Head monitors Piping Plovers on the North end of the Island and you may notice signs indicating areas to avoid for their protection.
American White Pelican
The American White Pelican is pure white with black flight feathers on the trailing edge of the wings. Larger than the Brown Pelican, they do not plunge into the water for food, but simply float and dive periodically. Flocks of these pelicans cooperate to corral fish and are effective thieves—they have been known to steal fish from Cormorants. If they get overheated, they cool off by facing away from the sun and fluttering their bill pouches, which contain many blood vessels allowing body heat to escape.
White Pelicans are shy and very sensitive to human disturbance. They overwinter (migrate) to coastal areas, but spend most of their time inland on freshwater lakes. Their populations are increasing, but sighting one of these birds is a rare event in the Lowcountry, as they generally visit only during winter and keep their distance. I have seen a flock in the May River just one time.
The Roseate Spoonbill is a pink bird with a bald, featherless head and a flat, spoon-shaped bill. I had a customer on the boat who swore they had seen a flamingo in the May River!
So, who wanted a PINK feather in their hat in the 1800s? Everyone, of course. This bird was almost completely wiped out in the United States by plume hunters before bouncing back a century later in Florida and Texas.
In the Lowcountry, it is rare to see a flock of these birds feeding amongst the Ibis and Wood Storks. Related to the Ibis, it similarly uses an odd-shaped bill to sift around in the mud for food. Sensors on the bill alert the bird to prey by sensing vibrations in the mud. Their pink plumage is a result of eating certain marine invertebrates and the color will fade over time if plucked. (I wonder if those ladies wanted their money back when the pink feathers on their hat turned white.)
The Roseate Spoonbill may visit South Carolina during the breeding season before heading back to tropical areas for winter. This northern migration has scientists wondering if warming global climates are encouraging them to move up the coast…or maybe they just like it here. As we all know, everyone who visits moves here eventually!
Again with the hats! The Reddish Egret was almost completely wiped out in plume trade for hat decoration in the late 1800s. Today, there are approximately 2,000 mating pairs in the United States, primarily on the coasts of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
I can honestly say I have never seen one, but they can be found in the South Carolina salt marsh after breeding season. The Reddish Egret has a pink bill with a black tip, a reddish-brown neck and a dark grey body, which is referred to as the “dark morph version.” However, it may also be completely white and is aptly named…the white morph version! (I wonder how many white morphs I have seen and thought they were Great Egrets.) Another way to distinguish the species is by feeding habits—instead of the slow movements of the Great Egret, this bird charges, splashes and spins as it chases its prey. The Reddish Egret is on the ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) watch list as Near Threatened.
The Christmas Bird Count
For those who want to participate in the 2016 Christmas Bird Count, the Hilton Head Audubon Society is hosting an informational meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall and is free and open to the public. Robert Rommel, chapter president, will present “Christmas Birds of Hilton Head,” discussing the birds likely to be seen on count day.
To join a bird count circle, visit hiltonheadaudubon.org, call Christmas Bird Count Liaison, Susan Murphy, at (843) 686-3733, or email [email protected]. In Sun City-Okatie, contact Jim Cubie at (843) 991-1059 or email [email protected].
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist / Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters, with photography by Eric Horan.
Poet laureate of Bluffton, author of two poetry books and a children’s book illustrated by local school children, a respected community leader, Bluffton Town Councilman and Mayor Pro tem, Oscar Frazier served on the Board of Directors for the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, co-founded and served as Deacon at Bible Missionary Baptist Church, as well as serving on numerous governmental and community committees. In addition, he founded The Bluffton Poets Society and worked closely with Beaufort County’s Parks and Leisure Services department to design Shults Park, a multi-sport community park and event center, which is now named Oscar Frazier Park in his honor.
Oscar was married to Marcia Renea and had four children: Jacqueline, Oscar James Frazier, Jr., Bridgette and Joshua. Ten days after being diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, Oscar passed away in 2005 at the age of 49.
We spend most of our lives
Trying to find our identity
I often wonder why
How in the world can you not know
Who or what you are
Or what purpose for which you exist
I’m appalled when I hear people say
One day I will find myself
How do you go about doing that
You’re with yourself each and every day
One would have to lose oneself
In order to look for oneself
If one does what God wants them to
Then one would never be lost
When reading Oscar’s poetry, you see the man, his questions, the strength of his faith, an insight into his fears, the importance of family and optimism for the future.
Imagine growing up in rural Bluffton in a poor family of 12. The seven boys shared one bed with a mattress stuffed with pine straw or Spanish moss. One brother shared, “You most always have some feet in your face.”
The heritage of his parents—Oscar B., a shrimper, and Daisy Pinkney—was rooted deeply in Gullah tradition and culture where respect for each other, strict discipline and love of family was so important. The older sister raised the younger children; the older brothers picked up spare jobs for a little extra money. Everyone had chores to do—cooking, tending the vegetable patch, washing clothes or dishes—and, for Oscar, it was taking care of the chickens.
Everyone also had nicknames. Oscar’s endearing name, a cause for good-natured ribbing, was “Buckus.” We cannot divulge the reason here, but if you ask one of his close friends or family to tell you why, it will bring a grin to your face.
Buckus loved music. He was constantly teased by his brothers because he liked Elvis over Marvin Gaye. Buckus had to pay hush money to keep it quiet.
Family dinner was always special, even when there was nothing to eat. The May River gave the boys a diversion for play and seafood for that large pot of Gullah Gumbo and rice. Their clothes were always hand-me-downs. Their mother taught them morals and always told each one, “No one is better than you!”
The brothers had to look after each other at school and in town. Until they reached high school at M.C. Riley, the schools were segregated. Often it was necessary to stand up against local bullies. However, Oscar was rumored to have been good in a ruckus and it didn’t take many incidents before the Frazier family gained the respect of the local boys.
It is said his children’s book, “What Color is Friendship?” was inspired by his experience in the ninth grade at the newly integrated high school. There he made his first white friend, Bailey Bolen, a fellow member of the track team and, later, godfather to Oscar’s first child.
Faith was at the forefront of everything the Frazier family did. Do unto others, help those who are in need of help, give more than you will receive…this is the light that burned within Oscar throughout this life. His parents taught their children that you don’t find religion in church, you find it within yourself and then go to church.
All seven brothers served in the military after graduating from high school. They knew that the GI Bill was the only way they could afford to go to college. Oscar served for three years ending up in the infantry at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He returned home to Bluffton to continue his life and become the local legend that we now know.
He worked in the construction, roofing and landscaping businesses and is fondly remembered for his great food at Oscar’s BBQ, cooked and served out of the Little Red Caboose in Old Town (now moved to Burnt Church Road and used by Choo Choo BBQ Express).
During his term on Bluffton Town Council, Oscar pushed for annexation of the poorer areas so that they might enjoy the benefits of the Town’s growth and expansion. It is said Oscar was the bridge that helped close the gap of the old segregated ways and the new integrated way.
In governing, Emmett McCracken who served with him on Town Council, recounts that Oscar was a mild-mannered man; thoughtful, respectful and straightforward. Oscar stood his ground for what he believed in and gave more than he received. He loved reading his poetry to children, and was beloved by many.
On July 12, the former Mayor Pro Tempore was posthumously inducted in the Town of Bluffton’s Wall of Honor. “His legacy is still alive with his numerous projects to improve the life of Bluffton residents,” stated a post on the Town’s Facebook page. Bluffton will also honor his memory with the First Annual Oscar Frazier Day BBQ Festival at his namesake park on August 27. Money raised at the event will benefit local youth education and sports.
Oscar began writing in high school and some days would write a dozen poems. His favorite, that he learned by heart and would act out on the school bus coming home from games, was Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee.” I asked Art Cornell, a regionally known and respected artist, poet and photographer, what emotions he felt when reading Oscar’s poetry.
“Oscar’s work is genuine and heartfelt. He had a way of interpreting real life, a unique way of looking at the world,” said Cornell. “He had no pretenses and, simply put, wrote about his life with the depth of emotions that we all have, from happiness to anger, from sorrow to love.”
Here are some more of Oscar’s words—let them speak to you!
Anyone and Everyone
Anyone can tear down
But not everyone can build up
Anyone can start a war
But everyone can’t make peace
Anyone can tell a lie
But everyone won’t tell the truth
Anyone can say they love you
But not everyone actually means it
Anyone can see others’ faults
But everyone can’t see theirs’
Anyone can start something
But not everyone can finish
Anyone can make one sad
But everyone can’t make others laugh
Anyone can be a winner
But everyone can’t be a loser
Anyone can learn to hate
But everyone must learn to love
Anyone can pretend to be someone else
But everyone has to give an account for themselves
The River Runs
Can someone tell me why
The river runs to the sea
I guess it is the same reason
That blood runs through our veins
The same river that runs to the sea
Are tears some say that God has cried
Over these many, many years
I have heard many different versions
Man thinks that he knows everything
That’s why we can only estimate
As to why the rivers have undertows
They never owned more than
Twenty-two acres between the both of them
My two grandfathers of whom I’m speaking
Worked most of their natural lives
Two finer men you’ll never meet again
On this side of heaven
All they ever wanted was to be treated
With dignity and respect given to others
And to be able to provide for their families
There were both pillars of their communities
Promises were made to both of them
Which were never kept
I often wondered why
Society was so unfair then
And, by the way, they never got their
Forty acres and that blame mule.
Written by Kelly Dillon
As a seven-year-old, the world is at your fingertips. You’ve conquered the art of shoe tying and know how to ride a bike, swim and are on your first (or second) sports team. First grade means you’re finally a big kid. You’re losing your baby teeth, reading, adding and subtracting, overcoming a fear of the dark, playing with friends in the neighborhood and learning to be independent and responsible. Cuts and scrapes are just that and growing pains come and go. But for one hometown boy, they didn’t go. At just seven years old, Stephen Golis found out that these growing pains weren’t just that. It was osteosarcoma, a cancer that grows in the bone and is most prevalent in children and young adults.
Stephen was stripped of the freedom that many children revel in—freedom to run outside with friends, to have friends over and play sports, the freedom that childhood gives us.
Those afflicted with osteosarcoma usually don’t feel physically sick; instead, complaints about a longtime pain in the cancerous area that is initially thought to be simple muscle sores or growing pains are most common. The Sarcoma Institute explains that patients are often only diagnosed when the stricken bone is broken or there is some other injury to the area. In Stephen’s case, the cancer developed in his left femur then eventually began to spread up into his lungs.
“My parents said I would be okay so that was what I knew,” Stephen explained. “There was never any bad talk when I was around.” When asked if religion came into play, Stephen says that “he was young and really didn’t think about that kind of stuff,” but nowadays, despite not being very religious, he believes in God and prayer.
But Stephen’s parents were right. After a 10-month stay in Sloan Kettering, the cancer was gone, and he was released—making him one of the 70 percent to survive the illness.
During his stay, Stephen had little school work, but “it was never a priority”—and thankfully, returning to school, kids didn’t treat him any differently. Despite all the attention he received, he continued to stay the same person.
But the struggle wasn’t over. Stephen had to deal with the loss of his left leg and adjusting to his new prosthetic.
Learning to use a prosthesis takes a lot of time, strength, patience and determination. Patients must take therapy with a prosthetist—someone who fits, designs, and services those with prosthetics. These lessons include how to take care of a prosthesis, how to place it on and take it off, and how to walk or step on different types of surfaces. They also help in learning how to generally walk better, teach them what to do after a fall, and how to adjust to normal routines, such as getting in a car.
“Adjusting to the leg wasn’t easy at all,” Stephen recalled. “It was like literally learning to walk again … I’d fall and the limp was just horrible.”
But after a couple of weeks, he began to get the hang of his prosthetic. “I went back to playing soccer but the running was hard.” Even today, as a 21-year-old man, he has some trouble with walking and running, but now he is so used to it, he hardly notices it anymore.
Recently, Stephen was asked to volunteer for the Sun City softball team, as a bat boy for the Wounded Warriors. They are an organization that is focused on helping wounded veterans assist and aid each other, which also raises public awareness and provides “unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.”
“They’re awesome,” Stephen said. “We really didn’t talk too much about ourselves and the situation we all had because of the games going on, but those guys are truly amazing with the way they run and still play ball.”
Nowadays, Stephen is learning about the family business, Golis Family Jewelers, and hopes to one day run it. “I am a really quiet person so being with people all day can be hard sometimes,” he said.
He tried going to college, but it wasn’t for him.
“Once in college, I had to write about myself. I decided to bring one of my legs to class. When I put it on the table before I started to talk the faces in the room were white. The fear on the faces was funny. When asked why I had a prosthetic, I told them my father ran it over with the lawn mower. They were horrified. I did let them down easy and said it was nothing so cool; I had cancer. It was funny watching them.”
With a positive attitude and great sense of humor, it is obvious that Stephen has adjusted well to the struggles of his childhood and has overcome the obstacle of his lost leg. “To be honest,” he explained, “I don’t think I’m all that inspiring… even though people tell me I am. The people that inspire me are the doctors and nurses that cared for me when I was ill. The nurses always cared for me and were always by me, which just shows me how I need to be a better person in life, being I was just a seven-year-old child going through chemotherapy. The people that saved my life inspired me to not take much for granted cause I got a second chance at life.”
Bells are ringing, the lights are up and the holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means the sales are too. Black Friday is an American tradition with loved ones sitting around after Thanksgiving dinner clipping coupons or coming up with a plan of attack for the next morning. Waiting outside in long lines, hoping to snatch the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for family member may work for large chain stores and major cities, but in the Lowcountry things just don’t work that way.
Instead of insane dashes towards doors opening at midnight, many of the boutiques in Bluffton, including the new stores The Roost and Cocoon, open their doors a few hours early on Friday, inviting guests in a much more welcoming fashion. These shops, which offer unique, locally-found items for the home and hearth, have everything from candles, antiques, small gifts and clothing lines and more. Local favorite Eggs N’ Tricities is full of unique clothing and accessories for women. Shopping for that picky family member might not be so hard this year with such a wide range of stores in Bluffton. Not to mention, you won’t have to stand out in the early morning cold.
The Calhoun Street Gallery is another of many of the stores in the area participating in Black Friday sales and the Holiday Art Walk on November 27 and Small Business Saturday on November 28. The special thing, though, about many of the stores in Bluffton is that it isn’t your typical Black Friday madness, but a laid back, unique shopping experience.
“We are open during our usual hours,” said William Mitchell, owner and manager of the Calhoun Street Gallery in Bluffton. “We have lots of fun Christmas treats that are handmade locally by Bluffton artists.”
Almost all the galleries on Calhoun Street will be opening at the usual time on Black Friday and participate in a special Holiday Art Walk from 3 to 7 p.m., including SOBA, La Petite, Maye River Gallery, Calhoun Street Gallery, The Filling Station, Pluff Mudd Art. These galleries and shops will be decked to their finiest in holiday decor and stay open late, offering wine and goodies to those strolling by.
“There are three art walks a year, this is the first one of the season and it is usually a good one for every gallery,” said Artist and Owner Peggy Duncan of La Petite Gallery. “Last year we had about 150 people come through and sales were made. It also draws lots of visitors who may not have been over here before, and folks bring their holiday visiting guests to town for the stroll, so it is all good.”
It isn’t just the extended hours that make shopping in Bluffton on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday a great choice, but the fact that there will be some great deals. Gigi’s Clothing Boutique will be offering a great deal of buy one get one 50% off on the entire store as well as gift bags, which include some local gift cards, to the first 30 customers on both Friday and Saturday.
Mameem and Maudie will be offering 10-40% storewide on children’s clothing, as well as on their Christmas displays in the back of the store, while Spartina has storewide savings from 10-80% off on select merchandise, with special holiday hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Bluffton is a unique experience on a normal day, but during the holiday season it becomes that much more magical. It’s the perfect holiday tradition to start this year!
“People are always surprised,” said Mitchell. “Our sign says ‘unique, beautiful and unexpected’ and we really live up to that.”
Every married couple remembers their first home, but these particular couples also remember yours. And your neighbor’s, and probably another one down the block. Taking a cue from local real estate professionals Frances and Charles Sampson and Allan and Gloria LaCoe, these powerhouse pairs are venturing out into the risky, yet rewarding, realm of selling real estate together.
When most people think “real estate,” they might think big, expensive homes, stress over transactions and the dollars the agents rake in when a property sells.
Not so for real estate powerhouse pairs Allison Cobb and David Husssey, Debbie and Daniel Cort or Eric and Hillary Dollenberg. Their focus was flexibility and making more time for their kids. These couples chose real estate so family could come first.
“We were finding with a young daughter and trying to start a family that our existing demands and job requirements were preventing us from committing the kind of time that we felt was necessary to give her the attention she needed,” Daniel Cort, who works alongside his wife, Debbie, with Charles Sampson Real Estate Group of Charter One Realty, explains.
Before adopting Lilyanna in 2012, Daniel was involved in real estate, but not on the home sales side. He worked for a media firm that helped developers and builders reach their marketing goals, while Debbie worked with WHHI-TV. In 2015, when Debbie was considering getting a real estate license, she and Daniel concluded that the real estate industry would allow them to tag team and create their own schedules—with Lilyanna as the cornerstone—instead of trying to work family time around schedules determined by two different companies.
Hillary, who joined husband, Eric Dollenberg at Weichert Coastal Properties two years ago, echoes this sentiment. “The benefits are that we’re not in two worlds all day and trying to create another world at home. It’s all one universe that we’re moving in, so it makes our relationship and interactions more seamless,”
Before becoming a team, this dynamic duo often went in opposite directions. Eric specialized in extravagant estates, including gated communities, beachfront properties and second homes, and Hillary traveled almost every other week as a national trainer for Obagi Skin Care. When their first son, August Thomas, came along, followed by Frederick Charles “Fritzy” two years later, they knew something had to change.
“We anticipated me staying home a little bit more but the baby dictated that I stay home a lot, so I had to leave my corporate job,” Hillary says, mentioning how this naturally led to working with Eric on real estate marketing projects, which transitioned into becoming part of the team. “If you’re not going to beat them, then join them,” she says with a laugh.
Allison Cobb’s real estate roots date back to her father’s real estate career circa 1996. However, it wasn’t until she and her husband, David Hussey, moved from the Windy City to the Lowcountry that she dove into the family business.
Allison’s husband David worked in the hospitality industry, and late nights were just part of the deal. But when their kids, George and Charlotte, were born, he hated missing time with them.
“It was a family-driven decision to bring David into business, 100 percent,” Allison says. “I needed more help, the kids missed him, he worked nights and wasn’t seeing them as much.” This decision led to the birth of The Cobb Group, Charter One Realty.
From the first moments they met—Hillary and Eric’s blind date, Allison and David’s first taste working for the same Chicago company and Debbie and Daniel’s faux romance in “The Pajama Game” on May River Theatre’s stage—these Lowcountry lovers were on the cusp of discovering what “partners” really meant.
“There are particular nuances about real estate that are challenging enough. When you throw in the fact that you’re husband and wife, you live together, and add all of the personal and intimate elements into the mix, you’ve got a lot to juggle there,” Daniel Cort admits. “It’s a tremendous balancing act.”
For the Corts, home isn’t just where the heart is, it’s their workplace, too. They soon learned real estate careers can easily became all consuming, and it was vital to step away and get a breath of fresh air every now and then. Although the flexibility of schedules—the ability for them to, in a sense, be their own bosses and make their own schedules—was a huge highlight, it also meant that one of them would have to miss some family functions if they got an important call from a client.
“Sometimes we have a family thing planned and one of us has to bow out because we have a client that needs us—that’s just the nature of the business,” Debbie says, also pointing out that two is better than one, because, as Daniel says, “When one zigs, the other zags.”
By working as a team, they are not only able to play off each other’s strengths, but fill in the spots where one might not be as robust as the other. Or as Hillary puts it, “I handle everything he doesn’t want to do, and vice versa.”
When meeting new clients, real estate teams are able to paint a picture that individual agents can’t by giving buyers more than one perspective. “Selling as a family gives buyers and agents a two-for-one. They get two people working for them instead of one,” Allison explains. “There is always someone available for questions and showings. Being a family and working for families means we understand especially what buyers are looking for. We understand that schools are important, as well as certain features in a home.”
Real estate couples can’t help but open up to their clients as they guide them through their journey to the perfect home, which often results in lasting friendships.
“You spend so much time with people through these processes that almost all of them become our friends,” Hillary reveals, adding that their family even went on a trip with some friends and clients in January.
“The way we look at this is we’re helping folks prosper,” Daniel explains. “We’re the sort of intermediary between what they want and what their dreams are and sometimes those two don’t match up. We like to think of ourselves more as counselors than salespeople.”
It Takes a Village
While Daniel and Debbie Cort, Eric and Hillary Dollenberg, and David Hussey and Allison Cobb may be the locomotives pulling in the business, the team behind them keeps the train on the tracks.
“There’s definitely an army behind us,” Hillary states, adding their success would not be possible without the support of friends, co-workers and even grandparents. “It’s tremendously important and I can’t underscore enough our office support.”
Allison attributes learning the tricks of the trade early to her father’s real estate career, which they both passed on to David when he joined them. Not only did she have incredible business partners—her dad and husband—but also supportive family members who helped with the kids when they had to meet with clients at all hours.
“It’s changed our whole family dynamic and we’re thankful for Charter One Realty and our own team, that we’re able to do that, and for the company for taking us all on,” Allison says.
As a “work-linked” couple, it’s the internal support from each other that solidifies and strengthens, according to Merideth Ferguson, lead author of the study, “The supportive spouse at work: Does being work-linked help?” published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
Though a significant amount of challenges accompany working together, this study found couples who share a workplace or occupation had a closeness that benefited their marriage, as they may be able to support each other in unique ways. About one-fifth of the 639 men and women recruited for the study had the same job as their spouse. Results from the questionnaires about work-family balance and their satisfaction in relation to their job and family, showed that “work-linked” couples had twice as much satisfaction.
“I think that contact throughout the day helps a good deal. If you go 10 or 12 hours without knowing what your spouse has done all day, it can be difficult to come together in the evening,” Hillary shares. “I’m much more understanding now that I’m a part of it.”
“To be able to meet incredible people from all walks of life, from all over the country, of all ages, all ethnicities and make wonderful friends—it’s the most gratifying thing I can think of,” Daniel says. “But to do it with your wife, that’s just icing on the cake.”
Apparently, though, all this working-couple togetherness can get a little sticky. Our dynamic duos agreed emphatically about one of the most important secrets to their success.
What was it?
Our rich, languid mode of life in the Lowcountry has inspired authors for generations.
Rustling breezes, rattling fronds, popping creeks, heavy purple thunderheads lined with gold, the round red sun-ball of a summer morning that bodes a dog-day’s heat—there is much here to nurture the poetic imagination. Pat Conroy is perhaps the most recognizable name, but scores of other writers have put pen to paper in hopes of capturing the delight bordering on intoxication that is felt in the Lowcountry.
This tradition will be celebrated at the 2017 Bluffton Book Festival in Old Town, November 16-18, raising funds and awareness for the Beaufort County Literacy Center. Readers will have the chance to meet local and regional authors such as New York Times best-selling novelists Mary Kay Andrews, Patti Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Monroe.
Mary Kay Andrews, best known for her popular beach novels, has written “The Beach House Cookbook” as a culinary companion volume.
“This is carefree, barefoot living at its best,” said the Florida native, who now lives in Atlanta but cherishes time spent with her family at their vacation home on Tybee Island, Georgia. “It’s about being outdoors with family and friends, and taking a much slower pace. In Atlanta, we go 90 mph in a 70 mph zone. But when I come to the coast, we take time to smell the sea breeze. It puts you back in touch with the rhythms of nature.”
“The Beach House Cookbook” reflects those tastes with simple, easy-to-prepare dishes that showcase the freshness of coastal bounties. The idea is that you don’t have to have a beach house to eat like you do. There are old family recipes, such as her grandmother’s deviled eggs and her mother’s carrot cake; fish tacos and shrimp ‘n’ grits that improve on the efforts of her husband and son, both of whom are fishermen; and recipes inspired by her travels, such as frozen key lime pops and Hawaiian ceviche. Mary Kay’s casual, local dining approach with a Southern twist will be much appreciated in Bluffton, a town she loves for its quaintness and its farmers market.
Patti Callahan Henry, author of 12 novels including “Between the Tides” and “Driftwood Summer,” divides her time between Birmingham and Palmetto Bluff.
“We have been coming to Bluffton for 30 years,” she says, “so I have watched the town grow up right alongside my children. My boys know the waterways better than they know the roads. They are Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer out here. It’s just a beautiful, natural lifestyle.”
In Patti’s latest release, “The Bookshop at Water’s End,” two struggling women return to the tidal river home where they spent summers together in their youth. Now with children of their own, they are drawn into the tangled web of the past, abetted by a local bookshop owner who remembers them as children and may hold secrets that have haunted them since. The idea of revisiting history by returning to its physical location is, according to Patti, an “emotional truth” inspired by a recent visit to her family’s vacation home on Cape Cod that unlocked a flood of memories. But ultimately, Patti says, “This book is about finding your way as a woman—outside expectations, the past and what others want you to be.”
As a keynote speaker at this year’s Bluffton Book Festival, Patti will be joined by her close friend and colleague Mary Alice Monroe. A New York Times best-selling novelist, Mary Alice has just released “Beach House for Rent,” culminating the popular Beach House series that has allowed readers to follow the lives of her characters for a decade.
Mary Alice is known for educating and inspiring readers to protect species such as sea turtles and monarch butterflies, and her latest effort takes up the cause of migrating shorebirds. This is particularly relevant here in Bluffton, as our estuaries provide habitat for resident populations, as well as feeding grounds and way stations for migrant birds journeying from as far away as the Arctic. According to Mary Alice, a 70 percent drop in shorebird populations since the 1970s—due to factors like climate change and habitat loss—is a serious concern.
“I think you have a lot to protect here in Bluffton,” she said, emphasizing the need for smart growth, habitat conservation and keeping plastics, such as fishing line and grocery sacks, out of the water. But perhaps the most important message conveyed in her new book is the most basic: don’t let dogs chase shorebirds or run through the dunes, as this wastes migrating birds’ energy and scares resident birds off hidden nests, leaving the eggs dangerously exposed. Empowering readers to make such simple changes, which nevertheless have far-reaching impact, is the mission Mary Alice undertakes with each new novel.
“My books are calls-to-action,” she explains. “I have complete faith that when readers understand, they care. If I can catch them through the power of story, they will feel the same passion as my characters do; they will want to learn more and make a difference. That’s what I love about my readers!”
Mary Alice has found a niche weaving together the psychological realms of her characters with the plights of threatened species, ultimately reconciling them to portray the healing power of nature in a world where we are increasingly alienated as “shut-ins” by our modern lifestyle. In “Beach House for Rent,” the self-confinement of protagonists suffering from anxiety and grief is juxtaposed with the powerful metaphor for freedom expressed by the shorebirds.
Underlying the plot, however, is the strength of Mary Alice’s own true knowledge and experience. Once she has the concept for a new book, she does thorough academic research and hands-on volunteer work, most recently with the Avian Conservation Center in Awendaw, South Carolina. “When I write about a character rescuing a pelican on the beach, and how she feels, I’ve done it!” said Mary Alice. “I’ve lived what my characters live.”
This highly successful and passionate author looks forward to returning to Bluffton for the 2017 Bluffton Book Festival. She will speak about her work, as well as the particular environmental issues facing Bluffton and what we can all do to help.
“My mission is to get people excited about making a difference, even in their own backyards,” she explained. “Pick one thing, and do what you can for it, just by taking care of your own personal choices. If I can encourage readers to do just that much, that is enough.”
To learn more about the 2017 Bluffton Book Festival schedule, please visit blufftonbookfestival.com.
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
By Gene Cashman
One partly cloudy afternoon an inquisitive young boy looked up into the sky. His father watched as his son stood silhouetted in the late afternoon sun, index finger outstretched to determine if the wind had changed directions. “I thought so Mr. Fiddler-Crab,” he said as he walked over a colony of tiny crabs scurrying about. “I felt it in my ears.” He watched a gull, wings outstretched pitch up and down in the wind. The young boy shouted, “what’s brewing out there, Mr. Gull?” The gull, so high up, either did not hear or was unable to understand the boys question for he simply continued in the current until he was all but a small speck in the sky. The young boy, undeterred, walked along the edge of the moon-shaped sandbar for another clue. He stepped into the current and waded until the water reached his knees. This was as deep as he was allowed to go alone. The tide was now coming in at a brisk pace. Instinctively he twisted his left knee and ankle, his dominant leg, back and forth burying it in the sand to brace himself. The young man stretched his neck out and peered around the pinnacle of the bar, the view guarded by a thick patch of spartina grass. “Whoa,” he remarked to a lone egret watching him curiously from the safety of the spartina patch, “that sky looks angry.” The egret looked up at the sky and with a dry squawk spread its wings and flew deeper into the marsh.
The boy felt the firm hand of his father on the crown on his head. The father directed the boy’s line of sight to a particularly quarrelsome-looking cloud hovering over the tree line between the sandbar and home. “Cumulonimbus,” the strong voice of his father bellowed. The boy rolled the word over his tongue thinking of how his mother taught him to break words down. Her face filled his mind as he thought about the sounds he recognized in such a big word. The first crack of thunder broke his concentration. He quickly realized he was securely in his father’s big arms and not standing in the water anymore. “We’ve got to move,” his father said calmly as he placed the boy on their boats faded wooden bench, “sit tight.” Watching his father pull up the anchor was a sight he’d witnessed hundreds of times, but in this instance he noticed that his dad did not take time to carefully stow the anchor. He also failed to secure the buoys hanging over the side. “Daddy,” the boy said aloud. But before he could finish, he was overwhelmed by what sounded like the crack of a cowboy’s whip. His father pulled him in close. “Be brave,” his father said, “I will get you home safe.”
The boy, wrapped in a bright blue towel, lay between his father’s legs. The fiberglass floor of the boat was slick and filling with rainwater. The afternoon was warm, but the rain was cold, making him shiver. He nervously bit at the plastic liner on his life-vest and watched his father’s face intensely for reassurance. “That, my son,” his father shouted, “is the sound of God’s angels bowling a strike.” Every so often he would pat the boy’s head. The boy observed how the corners of his father’s mouth resembled a slight grin. It was the same look he made when the boy’s mother would playfully dance in the kitchen after dinner. This made him wonder if his father was quietly enjoying the moment. It confused the increasingly terrified boy. Each crack of thunder stressed the boy’s confidence. The boat pitched up and down in the chop of wind and tide. The young boy began to cry as the fear of the unknown overtook the last of his brave curiosity. Tugging on his father’s shorts he begged, “please daddy, please make them stop bowling.” The father pulled the boy up off the floor and held him close. He whispered wisdom in the boy’s ear. The storm raged around them.
All but giving up hope the storm would ever abate, the boy began to think about whether he would ever see his mother again. He loved her calm, sweet voice that was so kind even when he had been terrible and mischievous. He loved how she twirled his hair when they read books and how she always made sure he knew that he was loved. The boy loved the strength and adventure he so often experienced with his father, but would greatly miss the tenderness of his mother. She, after all, was the first love of his young heart. “Settle down, son,” his father’s voice reassured, “it’s all going to be okay.” Forlorn and expecting the worst, the boy held firm to his life vest and towel, face buried in his father’s chest. Then, unexpectedly the high-pitched whine of the engine let up. The boy was not expecting this. “Bow line up,” his father shouted, “let’s look alive sports fans.” The boy looked up to see home on the horizon and his heart leapt with joy. He caught his father’s eye. His father grinned and responded with a wink “make a run for it.” The boy’s feet met the wooden dock shoeless, catching several splinters as he bolted from the boat and up the ramp. At the top off the dock and fast on his way to the house he turned to watch his father secure the boat in the wind and rain. He was amazed at his father’s bravery.
Lost among the bubbles of a hot bath and the soft high of hot cocoa and marshmallows, the young boy hardly noticed his father enter the bathroom. He heard his parents’ muffled voices and watched them embrace, but mainly focused on the bubbles that surrounded him. The noise of the afternoon’s storm began to file itself away inside of him when he suddenly felt the firm hands of his father under his arms, pulling him from the soapy hot water. “Let’s take a look at those splinter’s young man,” he said with a softness usually associated with his mother. “Why weren’t you afraid dad?” The boy said, “I was so scared.” His father looked him square in the eyes, “I was too.” The young boy looked away in disbelief “but you smiled, I saw you.” His father laughed, “sometimes dads and moms have to be extra brave to protect their babies, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t scared.” The young boy nodded as if he understood and then asked, “but why the smile?” The father laughed saying, “because it reminded me of a time with my dad, when I was scared and he protected me.” The boy reached out and touched the whiskers on his father’s face. “When do I get some of these,” the young boy asked, laughing the father replied, “soon enough.”
Later in the evening a sliver of moon peaked out from the wispy clouds. The young boy gazed up into the sky. His father watched as the boy listened to the tree frogs, his teddy bear tight under one arm. “Have I ever told you,” the boy said to the bear, “the time my father bowled with the angels; and won?” The bear was either too sleepy or too lost in his own thoughts to reply, but the boy told him anyway.
No doubt, it is easy to think we own the world and all of its hidden places, and that we may walk through the wilderness like kings and make it ours. There are the plains and the hills, the mountains and the marsh.
But not the swamp.
No, the swamp remains separated from us, but its presence, looming at the sides of schools, of stores, of houses and homes, is something that makes the Lowcountry the Lowcountry. There is the marsh one easily remembers, with its open air and tidal channels, but its darker cousin the swamp is another world hidden behind leafless branches and gnarled underbrush: the primordial heart of the land.
A silence coils there, unlike the marsh where seagulls caw and the sudden roar of a boat zooms. The swamp is not pierced by these or by car horn or by cellphone chime. It is pierced by nothing at all. Standing among its brackish water, its high trees, its span of green reeds, gives the affect of hovering in time, as if the whole world has come to a sudden stop in this wild place.
But there is a sound – the slap of water as a turtle returns to the filmy lakes, and then another, a flap of an unseen bird’s wings high above in the linked canopy. Not much light leaks through there, and the light that does is like a spotlight, shining in sudden, disorganized places upon the swamp. It is something like twilight here, and the depths of the green palate, of all the different shades of color, are easily lost in the dark.
Here, it smells of the marsh without the brine: that smell of mud and of gentle decay. The humidity makes the smell linger, and is something like a blanket in summer. It brings a sense of claustrophobia, for even the trees hug close and the roots reach out to hold on to you.
Firm land gives way suddenly to water – water that could be shallow or deep. The thick green film hovering atop the surface hides that and more. Driftwood is mistaken for an alligator, and the back of a rising turtle is mistaken for driftwood.
And finally, there along the banks of one of the false-lakes is movement. A white egret stalks through the reeds. He makes for poor camouflage; the brilliance of his feathers remain something like an eyesore against the swamp backdrop.
But he makes up for it with his movements. Like the swamp, he has taken to moving slowly. Each footstep is careful and precise. The reeds do not sway as he passes through them, and his watching eyes remain transfixed on the water beside him. No fish will be lucky today.
He passes his cousin, the Great Blue Heron, standing near the brush. And surely, she is great. Unlike the egret, her plumage is duller but no less beautiful: a streak of black is painted across the side of her head, and her body gives her the name blue for its storm coloration. She does not move like the egret; she does not move at all. Her size is surprising, and studying her, it is easy to see how the dinosaurs became the birds.
But another link to the dinosaur lurks here. Her presence is signaled by the ripple along the water, which makes the stalking egret freeze mid-step.
And the gator rises.
Her head and back become immediately present as they break the surface: false-logs. If it were not for her eyes it would be difficult to tell her from the driftwood floating alongside her. But her eyes are like amber and filled with an animal cunning, and with them she takes note of the birds standing there among the reeds.
And she moves. The slowness of her swim, her nose cutting a wake through the still water, is like that of the egret’s. There is no rush here – only when food is taken, when a heron strikes or the gator drags the unsuspecting animal below the surface, is this primordial stillness broken, and only then, so briefly, only with a sudden splash.
But even at this quiet movement the egret flees, and his slow grace is lost in the clumsy whirl of his wings.
But the Heron does not flee, even when the alligator pulls herself onto the muddy bank and crushes reeds underneath her squat legs and dragging belly. The Heron only turns her head to watch, and the gator pays her little mind, as if there is some understanding among them – at least for today.
This article was written by Kelly Dillon and appeared in the September 2015 issue of The Breeze.
For generations, the May River in Bluffton has united Lowcountry residents who live along the shores of this shimmering estuary.
During the antebellum period, Savannah-area plantation owners brought their families to spend the summer under the shade of the live oak trees lining the May River. The breezes off the river prevented the intrusion of mosquitoes lurking on sweltering rice plantations and spreading diseases like malaria and yellow fever.
When Union soldiers drove Hilton Head residents out of their homes during the Civil War, they sought asylum in Bluffton, which earned its name from the signature high banks along the May River. That natural bluff made it easy for Confederate soldiers to spot an invasion attempt during the tumultuous Civil War.
South Carolina’s economic saving grace during the post-war Reconstruction Era, the May River was used to transport goods and summer vacationers between Savannah and other port cities.
By any measure, the most coveted resource sold along the water trade route were the oysters that inhabited the pristine river. South Carolina’s oysters, or Eastern oysters as they are called, continue to be in high demand for the authentic taste of the Lowcountry the bivalves provide. As the oysters clean and filter the water of the May River, they absorb some of the salty Southern flavoring that can only be found in South Carolina’s waters.
Home to some of the nation’s tastiest oysters, the May River also serves as an unofficial community gathering spot when the tides roll out. On any given summer day, the May River Sand Bar is lined with boats blasting music, mariners playing cornhole, the sweet smell of fresh food on the grill and kids chasing after newfound friends. The sunset version of this come-as-you-are party may be the highlight of any South Carolina summer.
A short walk from the shops in Old Town Bluffton, the May River can be accessed at the end of Calhoun Street or the sandy Brighton Beach. Tours of the Church of the Cross are available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tours of the Garvin-Garvey Freedman’s Cottage are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5 per person; free admission for children.
Bluffton is the epitome of a dog-friendly town. Restaurants, hotels and boutique stores cater to the needs of canines and their owners. Many of the business owners in Old Town accommodate dogs because they have their own—often in the shop with them during the day. Meet some of Bluffton’s Shop Dogs and don’t forget to stop by and say hi while you’re out and about.
Cindy and Cathy Ulmer, Rookie, Guinness & Harp
Did you know there’s a pharmacy in Bluffton where you can get medicine for both you and your pets? Cindy and Cathy Ulmer of Ulmer’s Family Pharmacy compound treats and topicals for your furry friends to keep all of your loved ones in good health. The Ulmer sisters decided to add pet medicine to their services when their own pets took ill. Cathy has a shar pei-mixed breed dog with skin issues. Cindy has three dogs—Rookie, Guinness and Harp—adopted from the Hilton Head Humane Society; two of them have health issues. In spite of their health concerns, the dogs are fun-loving and enjoy fetching a good ball or catching a Frisbee. Every once in a while, they can also be found visiting Cindy at the pharmacy.
Molly MacDonald & Zooey
At May River Excursions, you can book a dolphin tour and you can find Zooey lounging around while her owner, Molly MacDonald, is hard at work managing the shop. Molly adopted Zooey from Rogue Rescue here in Bluffton and showered her with love. Though Zooey was the smallest pup in her litter and sick with Parvo, MacDonald made sure to get her the care she needed to be happy and healthy. When Zooey isn’t busy being adored by the store’s customers, she can be found swimming by The Sandbar or riding around in a golf cart with MacDonald. In her spare time, Zooey loves to help MacDonald gig for flounder. With Zooey on lookout, her owner is likely to take home plenty of fish.
Diana Radcliffe, Charlotte & Teddy
Diana Radcliffe doesn’t own a business in Bluffton, but she is on the board of the Friends of Bluffton Dog Parks, a non-profit dedicated to building a local dog park. The Town of Bluffton recently approved land for its first public dog park—a 10-year process that is finally coming to fruition. The dog park, located at Oscar Frazier Park, should be open by October. Radcliffe works so hard because she knows her dogs need a good place to run off-leash. Charlotte loves to lead the pack, even though she weighs less than 15 pounds. Teddy recently passed away, but he gladly followed Charlotte’s lead.
Todd Rackliff & Butterbean
Walking into The Sugaree on the corner of Bruin and Burnt Church Roads, you probably won’t notice Butterbean. She’s usually in her spot in the back of the kitchen but, every so often, she has to get up to remind her owner, Todd Rackliff, to eat. The bloodhound is not only a pet, but also Rackliff’s service dog. Butterbean is trained to let Rackliff know when his blood sugar gets too low, so when Todd heads into work, so does she.
Phillip Robinowich & Archie
If you’re a Bluffton local, you’ve probably heard of or visited Morris Garage. Most days, you’ll see Archie laid out on his favorite chair next to his owner Phillip Robinowich. Archie is the bashful bulldog who spends his days rummaging around tires or sitting in his comfy corner next to Robinowich’s desk. After rescuing Archie from a kill shelter just two hours before he was to be euthanized, the two have never looked back. Archie rides alongside Phillip to work every day, spends all day in the shop and loves every moment of it.
Roddy Medders, Lucy & Cyrus / Megan Mack, Kirby, Cooper & Chelsea
There are few people who know more about water dogs than Roddy Medders and Megan Mack of Stand and Paddle. These stand-up paddleboard tour guides take their dogs out on the water, and their pups can’t get enough. Medders and Mack designed their own brand of boards, Hammer Paddleboards, to keep the pups safely onboard. Cyrus has been joining Medders out on the water for years and his newest dog, Lucy, has been easing her way onto the paddleboard, as well. Of Mack’s three dogs, Kirby and Cooper enjoy being out on the water with the beach being their favorite place to go.
Article by Crystal Bridges
Photography by Jessica Sparks
I began exploring the daily life of the athletes who play polo, in preparation for the Annual Rotary Club of Okatie Polo for Charity event on Sunday, October 28. I assumed that the riders were going to be athlete divas, simply because of the game’s moniker, “the sport of kings.” I quickly learned that the horses, not the riders, are the athletes who get the “diva treatment”—but deservedly so.
First off, they are called ponies, although they are typically huge, hulking creatures of pure muscle and singular intent. When the game began centuries ago, no horse higher than 54 inches was allowed, so the horses were technically “pony” sized. Keep in mind that people were much smaller then, too. Today, there is no size limit. Polo ponies can typically weigh well over 1,000 pounds.
These full-sized equines get the royal treatment but, frankly, they earn it. Polo is fast, rough and one of the most dangerous sports in the world. They start “playing” the game, or training to play, by age three. Polo horses run the equivalent of two or more miles at full throttle during a seven-and-a-half-minute period of play, and any polo enthusiast will acknowledge that a good pony contributes up to 80% of the team’s abilities.
Sheila Sulak is a former polo rider who has been a fixture at the annual Okatie Rotary Club polo event every fall. She tells me that these horses “are amazing” and go through exceedingly rigorous training. They must learn complex commands from the riders that are given primarily with subtle cues, mostly from the rider’s legs or weight shifts, not the reins. They have to be accustomed to bumping into other thousand-pound horses running at full speed. Sulak says, “You have to have a horse you can trust. You get to know them and they know you.”
Sulak says they can be compared to human gymnasts—versatile and fit, with the ability to turn or stop on a dime. “They have to run really fast, then suddenly stop, which you don’t find in any other horse sports. It puts a lot of strain on their joints and back, so the horses get intense care.”
It’s a full-time job for several humans to care for each horse/athlete. So, what does a polo pony day look like?
Breakfast could be as early as 5:30 a.m. Depending on each horse’s dietary requirements, they get a mixture of oats and other feed that is usually measured and mixed individually. Horses are left to eat their breakfast and digest it for around an hour while their stalls are cleaned. The horses are each groomed, and then one horse is tacked up; the rider will ride that horse and lead two horses on each side. After they are exercised for about an hour, they typically rest for a few hours midday while barn chores are being carried out. Between Z’s, they munch on hay and relax while their every need is attended to.
Grooming is of the utmost importance to these ponies. They are washed down daily and receive a manicure, where their hooves and shoes are picked and cleaned. Polo ponies even get a new set of shoes about every 21 days from a blacksmith. Horse’s manes are shaved or braided to prevent entanglement. A free flowing mane and tail would increase the likelihood of becoming entangled with players’ mallets or the reins.
Proper healthcare is also essential. All medical needs are met by veterinarians. The vet may even recommend chiropractic adjustments and vitamin supplements. Remember, these are expensive athletes, and proper health care is a must to keep them in top physical condition. Polo ponies purchased in the high-goal world are typically very expensive, often well over $30,000 per horse.
At every professional polo match, it is mandatory to have an equine ambulance with a team waiting on the side of the field, ready to rush in if needed. According to the The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, not one intentional case of neglect has ever been reported in the professional polo world. It is quite clear it is a game played with honor and pride with the utmost respect for the ponies. These horses are intensely cared for, like a professional athlete. They may be pampered, but they are NOT divas.
During a polo match, riders are allowed to change horses as many times as they feel necessary, ensuring their horses are not overworked and are safe from injury. The mental and emotional state of a horse is just as important to the polo players as the physical state. If a polo pony is not a calm and happy horse, having formed a trusting bond with the polo rider, they will simply not do well on or off the field.
Article by Steve Nichols
“Shoot, shoot bang!” a young boy hollered as he dashed through the brush and sandy dirt of his backyard. The boy, James, came to a halt behind a low brick wall. He peered over ever so carefully as to not be seen as he spied his target, an old dog in the neighbor’s yard. He army-crawled his way from the wall to a neatly manicured row of azaleas.
“Base, come in. Do you read? Over,” he spoke into an empty Coke bottle. “This is Lieutenant James, base. Do you read?” Muttering under his breath at the lack of response, he stood up and lobbed several pinecones in the general direction of the old dog. “Incoming!” he yelled and then cried out, “boom, boom, boom!” His mother’s voice called out from the house. “Yes,” he exclaimed excitedly, “chow time.”
He placed his helmet on the table and looked at his meal. “Ah really? Not another bologna sandwich, I hate bologna.” His mother smiled, “Yes sir sergeant, bologna again. Life sure is tough in the army.” James grimaced, “I’m a lieutenant ma, look at the helmet and I’m a Maaarine.” He emphasized the word to make sure she understood. Appeasing his interest she picked up the helmet and studied it. “Your great grandpa was a lieutenant, in the army. You are a kindergartener.”
James took a big bite of the sandwich and rolled his eyes. “Not for long,” he said, mouth full of food. She ran her fingers through his hair as he crammed the remainder of the sandwich in his mouth. “This afternoon,” she said in a motherly voice, “I want you to clean up all the tools you pulled from the shed. I want the yard spotless when your father comes home.” He swatted at his mother’s hand, “stop ma,” as he slurped down his milk. He backed out of the kitchen acknowledging her order, “okay okay, I will, I will,” as he swiped another half sandwich from the platter she’d prepared. His mother watched him run out the door and disappear into the yard. “In like a lion out like a lamb,” she said under her breath.
“Captain, we need more thrusters,” James yelled impatiently. He pulled hard on the wheel and gear shaft. The elderly neighbor’s large orange cat looked up curiously from the hood of the old, rusted Buick. “Faster, faster,” he pleaded, “we will soon be in range, they’ll blast us out of the sky for sure!” James gripped the wheel and lurched in the seat, avoiding imaginary lasers and rockets hurling towards his intergalactic cruiser. A large crash sent the large orange cat scurrying off and made James believe his ship had been hit with a laser beam. In reality, it was his mother opening the lid of the tin trash can next to the old car. “Young man,” she said, but before she could finish he interrupted, “galactic battle captain.” She cleared her throat. “Ok captain, but you still have a lot of cleaning up to do before your dad gets home.” He saluted and said in the deepest voice he could muster, “aye, aye ma.” Leaping from the car, he disappeared from her sight into the wild unknown yet to be explored.
“The shark hunter needs only the slightest opportunity to capture his prey,” James whispered in a faux British accent as he threaded heavy monofilament line through a large hook. When the knot was secured he reached into his jacket and pulled from his pocket a quarter of the extra bologna sandwich and carefully balled it up around the hook. He stuffed the remainder of the sandwich in his mouth. “There,” he said proudly “bologna sandwich is the best shark bait.” He proceeded to walk to the end of the yard and down a path to the river’s edge; from the bank he surveyed his prospects. “Aha,” he said when he confirmed the most logical position of a potential shark hole. He gave the rod—his older brother’s expensive fishing pole—a few practice heaves before letting it go for real. The heavy rod shot from his hands and raced, quivering like an Olympic javelin, across the top of the water before splashing down. The fishing pole immediately disappeared in the brackish waters. He stood marveling, eyes wide as saucers, at the water. “Well,” he concluded after a few silent moments, “that was a terrible cast.”
The sun hung low in the sky. Soon his father would be home. James sat on a stump and looked at the tools and toys strewn about the yard. He looked at the house and could see his mama in the kitchen, cooking dinner. “Well,” he said aloud, “that twister really left a mess of things didn’t it?” He stood up and hitched his britches up, putting his hands into the back pockets of his jeans. “Yeah, I’d say we’re going to need the fire department, police department and FEMA to clean up this mess, don’t cha think Mr. President?” The old dog from the neighbor’s yard, apparently unscathed from the morning’s pinecone attack, and now in the role of Mr. President, looked up at James sardonically. “Huh,” said James realizing he would have no help cleaning up, “I didn’t vote for you anyhow.”
His father’s car pulled into the gravel driveway just as James put the last of the tools back in the shed. He could tell his father was surveying the state of the lawn. “Hey son,” his father joyfully called out as James emerged from the dusty, tool-filled shed, arms on both hips. “Great job on the yard son, what else did you do today?” James soaked up the compliment and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Aw, dad,” he said, “nothing really, I just sort of bummed around.”
His father knew better, but put his arm around his son’s shoulder accepting his answer. “Let’s go see what your mama has in store for us.” James broke free from their embrace and raced excitedly ahead into the house screaming, “Mom, mom look out! A giant sea monster is headed for the house and boy oh boy is he huuuuungry.” His father smiled deeply, enjoying the innocence and imagination of his youngest son. He met his wife in the kitchen and they watched James singing at the top of his lungs as he joined his brother and they both washed up for dinner. He kissed her cheek. “What in the world happened around here today anyway?” he asked. She smiled, “hours and hours outside in the spring air dreaming up life under the sun.”
Last February, Chase Wilkinson discussed the perils of online dating from a young, male perspective. This year, Kerry Peresta explores the pitfalls and pleasures of meeting your perfect match online with handy tips for that first offline meeting.
When I was trying to maximize that brief window of time between fleeting youth and encroaching senility, I stumbled across online dating. A few online winks and flirtatious messages later, I was hooked. Considered a kind of secret obsession behind closed doors 15 years ago, online dating today has exploded.
A quick glance at statisticbrain.com, reveals there are approximately 54,000,000 singles in the U.S., and 49,000,000 of them have tried dating online. From 2015-2016, 17 percent of them married someone whom they met online.
I think it is safe to say the stigma is gone, but the learning curve remains. It took me a painful seven years to weed out the seriously flawed from the non-emotionally crippled. Online dating is a learned skill, and the path to success is often riddled with failure, but every no gets us closer to the big yes. I’ve been married to my Big Yes for nine years.
The first few months of plunking around and shopping for men online was similar to that first bitter swig of coffee—distasteful at first, but eventually life seemed dull and listless without it. Several of my friends were so hopelessly entrenched in multiple dating sites, they were exhausted from late nights and romantic escapades. Our exploits were hilarious and, once in a while, horrifying. For instance, when a few of us discovered one of the men trolling online was a friend’s husband, we decided to take a sabbatical and reassess our various states of online dating addiction. The struggle was real.
Perhaps the biggest learning curves were figuring out how to separate fact from fiction in the “tell us a little about yourself” profile box or trusting the photos posted on the profile were actually, um, actual.
Imagine my shock, as my eyes adjusted to yet another first meeting in a dimly-lit restaurant, when I beheld across the table a face so etched with age it put me more in mind of a Shar-Pei than the photo I’d seen online. If only I’d had FaceTime or Skype or, even better, YouTube! In Beaufort County, the misleading photo problem could be especially heinous, since the over-50 population has steadily grown since 2010 and, of those, a large percentage of over-age-50 single men and women are looking for Lowcountry love. If you are in this age group, you might want to FaceTime before scheduling a meeting. Studies show both women and men lie about their age on dating sites.
A brief scan of the area’s most popular websites revealed thatactive dating sites in the Lowcountry are as plentiful as oysters in the May River. One in particular got right to the point with a huge, featured photo of a hopeful romantic prospect topped by two prominent boxes. One box had a green checkmark and a big YES, the other a red X and a big NO. In a nanosecond, one was able to bypass a profile based solely on appearance. Seriously? Isn’t there enough instant rejection in the world already?
In an effort to sidestep too much emphasis on outward beauty and embrace inner depth, intelligence and personality, I offer a few suggestions for the all-important First Meeting.
1) Tuck a good pair of running shoes in your purse. Should the candidate be embarrassing, overly enthusiastic or bizarre in any way, discreetly escape to the ladies’ room, put them on, and run.
2) Be prepared for prolonged non-verbal assessment of your romantic prospect because, as all women know, men love to talk about themselves. You will probably not get to talk at all. Maybe later.
3) Wear something loose-fitting to hide your curves, and add nerd-glasses. This way, you’ll know if the man is really interested in you, the woman; or just that sexy photo you posted online, thus weeding out the more shallow and insensitive candidate.
1) Ask the woman a few questions about herself. Look straight at the woman’s face (and only her face) as she answers. Act like you are interested in what she has to say. This goes a long way, I promise.
2) Try not to sling back those Happy Hour drinks too quickly, unless you already know the situation is hopeless. In that case, go for it.
3) If you live with your mother, or your grown kids have moved back in, you might want to save this information for the third or fourth or 10th date. Ditto, if you don’t have a job or sufficient retirement income.
Single Lowcountry lovebirds, spread your wings and fly! Armed with these insightful suggestions, and the vast selection of Lowcountry dating sites, finding your soulmate should be a walk in the park.
Written by Kerry Peresta, a suspense novelist and humor columnist who lives on Hilton Head Island. Her publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, “The Lighter Side,” and her debut novel, “The Hunting,” domestic suspense, released December 2013, Pen-L Publishing. She spent 25 years in advertising as an account manager, creative director and copywriter. She is a past president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member of the Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network. She has completed her second novel, and is working on her third. Learn more at kerryperesta.com.
The purpose of schooling is to prepare our young people for the world they will one day face on their own, and a defining characteristic of adult life is choice. We are all masters of our destiny, and the decisions we make every day affect or even determine our experience—shouldn’t our educational system reflect this?
That is precisely the concept behind May River High School, opening this month with an estimated enrollment of 950 students and approximately 85 faculty and personnel. Not only will it be the first time there is a choice of high schools in Bluffton, but those who attend will have increased ability to start driving their future in the direction they want it to go.
The freshly constructed facility in the New Riverside area of Pritchardville contains a state-of-the-art grand auditorium and college-style lecture halls, making it conducive to some unusual teaching methods. For example, the entire student body will go to lunch at the same time, during an hour-long period when they will have access to faculty the way college students would. All these carefully considered details are intended to take students beyond traditional schooling into a style of education that is being called Acceleration Academy.
“In a nutshell, the idea is that students will be exposed to more than they normally would in a typical K-12,” said Todd Bornscheuer, principal of May River High. “Through partnerships with industry and the community, we can offer things like internships and mentoring. So these high school-aged students will have some pretty amazing opportunities that we may not have had, or that we would have had to travel to.”
Bornscheuer, formerly the principal of Bluffton’s H.E. McCracken Middle School, brings over two decades of education experience to his position at May River. But, perhaps more importantly, he has fresh enthusiasm and a passion for ingenuity that enliven his work. His hope is that from the first day students enter the doors of May River High School they will be engaged, excited and encouraged to take an active role in their experience.
“What we are learning is that when students are allowed to choose their own focus and set their own goals, they are more likely to succeed,” said Bornscheuer.
May River will not only offer the full complement of advanced placement courses and college dual-enrollment options, but also technical training, as part of Project Lead the Way. This means a four-year curriculum in areas like welding, engineering, automotive, nursing, law enforcement, cyber security and the new field of mechatronics, which combines electronics and mechanical engineering. May River staff members have even been “talking intensively” with Savannah College of Art & Design about potential partnerships. No matter what aptitudes and future dreams a student may have—whether they plan to enter college, the workforce or the military—May River will facilitate their choices.
“So often we, as adults, tell kids what programs they should do,” said Bornscheuer. “But one of the things that will make May River unique is our focus on giving students a voice so that they have some ownership of their school.”
“Opening a new school gives us a chance to establish a culture, and there are three things we talk about: Be Responsible, Be Supportive and Be Present. We want students to be responsible academically for their decisions and for creating a positive climate. Be Supportive means we want academic risk-takers who will raise their hands with innovative new ideas and not worry about teachers or other students shutting them down. And Be Present means be a part of this new culture and really find your niche.”
Bornscheuer says he was a good student in high school but had no idea what he wanted to do in life. In college, he changed his major three times and “wandered aimlessly” for two years before dropping out. Then he joined the military, and four years later returned to college with a much better sense of direction—but it doesn’t have to be like that, he insists.
The alternative is for students to discover what they like and don’t like while still in high school. “Let’s say you enroll in a nursing program,” he posits, “and find out, OK, this is not how I thought it would be, I don’t like this at all. You have gained just as valuable an experience as the one where you become entrenched in what you really like, because it’s equally important to know what you don’t want to do, as what you do.”
Families districtwide have the ability to apply for School Choice, or be automatically enrolled where they are zoned. But, according to Bornscheuer, there is another important aspect that now comes into play by having two high schools in Bluffton: “Ultimately the vision of the superintendent is not only school choice, but also shared programming,” he says. “For example, public safety: I have law enforcement at May River, but Bluffton High has firefighters. So let’s say one of my students is interested in firefighting, he or she can be bussed to Bluffton High for those classes, then bussed back. And same with someone from Bluffton High who wants to come to May River.”
Another forward-thinking approach is the Ambassador Program. Last month, 65 May River High students attended a two-day retreat where they participated in team-building and leadership exercises, so that over the coming year they can serve as ambassadors who will provide visitors to the school with a student perspective. Likewise, community ambassadors will be invited to experience the school from the inside, so that they gain a better understanding of how they can participate and extend the reach of Acceleration Academy through their involvement; for example, by mentoring.
“Our mantra is Tradition Starts Today,” said Bornscheuer. “My message to this community is that we have focused our attention on establishing this new culture, and now it’s time to become a part of it. We are opening a new school where our students, faculty, parents and the community at large can participate, and once you get involved it’s easy to see how having responsible students instead of drop-outs benefits us all.”
Written by Michele Rodán-Shaw
Clutter doesn’t just live in the back of our closets, under our beds, in kitchen cupboards or in kids’ rooms…it can incubate slowly and hatch elsewhere, if we don’t pay attention. We often justify our lack of control by telling ourselves little lies, i.e. spending a bit more money this month won’t matter, I’ll just save more next month or eating a few chips/fries/cookies isn’t a big deal, I’ll work on my diet tomorrow.
Ultimately, the little lies may turn into big, bad habits!
The good news is we are in a season of change, rejuvenation and renewal. Just as flowers blossom and start anew, so can we. Perhaps spring is the best time to make a change—the longer, warmer days are perfect opportunities to get outside, do a little recon and uncover the areas in our lives that need sprucing up! Here are a few tips to get started:
Declutter and Donate
Don’t let cleaning out be a day of distress, but a way to de-stress.
Sometimes the best place to start, literally, is in your home. Think of cleaning out the clutter as giving a gift to someone—in fact, do just that and take your stuff to one of our many consignment shops or thrift stores, such as God’s Goods. As an added bonus, your donations are tax deductible! Whether it’s an extra appliance or furniture in storage, clothes you no longer wear, a car or RV you no longer use or just extra things around your home, donate it to a local organization that’s investing in the community. Make sure the donations are something someone else would want and cherish.
Restore and Reclaim
The greatest wealth is health, so get moving today!
As the sunshine begins warming up the days and breezes are nice and cool, we should start incorporating fun outdoor exercises into our schedules, even if it’s just two or three days a week. Take it a step further and sneak some veggies into your lunch or grill them with chicken for dinner, instead of grabbing burgers and fries. If you’re not eating vegetables every day, then don’t skip out on a multi-vitamin.
“A lot of times people feel sluggish and experience loss of energy because they don’t have the proper vitamins and minerals in their system, especially if they’re not eating right,” Bobby Allen, owner of GNC Vitamins, explains, recommending everyone get some multi-vitamins, especially those who lack the right amount of nutrients in their diet.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? Allen puts it this way: “You’d never go on a 17-hour drive without eating any food, but that’s what you’re doing to your body when you don’t eat from 8 p.m. until noon the next day. Since your body is going such a long time without the nutrients it needs, it ends up converting the food you eat into fat instead of using it right away for energy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge meal; a simple protein shake, smoothie or a piece of fruit gives us plenty of energy, and is a good place to start.
Plan and Prepare
“Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.”
Estate planning—an elephant in the room no one likes to talk about—is important to address. This task might not be fun, but it can make a world of difference if the unthinkable happens. Instead of letting the state determine what is done with your property, take charge, and get your will together.
While there are reasonably priced online forms available, one local attorney warned these one-size-fits-all documents often do not conform to the state’s regulations. It may be wiser to get in touch with an estate planning attorney who is not only familiar with the state’s requirements, but a good fit personally. Be sure to review your will every few years, as a lot of things can change.
Straighten Up and Strategize
“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.”
–Charles A. Jaffe
We could all use a few extra dollars, but it won’t happen without a little organization. Just ask John Kirkland at Palmetto State Bank in Bluffton, who
emphasizes how important it is to make a plan and be realistic about it. “With debit cards, ATM machines, online banking and mobile banking, it’s very easy to get access to all your money. And it’s very difficult to control your spending when you have access to it,” Kirkland says. “So don’t make it easy to break your budget. Make it difficult. Set it up in such a way that it’s hard to spend all of your money.”
Kirkland advises opening a savings account, and automatically depositing money into it every payday. This way, you don’t have immediate access to that money when you go out on the weekend. He also recommends a separate checking account for spending and one for billing, with a debit card attached to the spending account only.
“Style can change your look, certainly, but it can also change your life.” –Stacy London
Spring cleaning is more than just “out with the old.” Make sure to bring in some new, too, especially for you. It doesn’t have to be a lot—a new haircut or accessory can be the perfect solution.
“A necklace is an easy way to update an outfit,” Anna Pepper, owner of Gigi’s, says, explaining how a statement necklace can turn a comfy-casual outfit into a stylish look.
Then, instead of a budget-busting buying binge, head over to the salon or barbershop and get a new ‘do.
“One of the big styles we’re seeing right now is a “rooty” look, where you actually color the base a shade darker than the ends and do some highlights for the spring, to give it a little extra pop,” Jamee Reed, hair stylist and owner of Tara’s at Moss Creek Village, reveals. “It’s kind of a foilyage, a softer look, but bringing in more root dimension.”
Struggle with humidity? Consider a Keratin Express, a smoothing hair treatment that defrizzes the hair and lasts about seven weeks. A cheaper alternative is using Moroccan oil or Moroccan shampoo and conditioner, which both smooth and add weight to hair to hold it down when humidity is high.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
Don’t tackle all of the spring cleaning or decluttering by yourself! We work better together, so get friends or family involved and make sure you have someone to hold you accountable, so you’re not setting yourself up for failure. It’s also important to realize that change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Sometimes a few small adjustments are all that is needed for a better outlook on life and inspiration to keep moving forward.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a firefighter? To run into blazing buildings, scale ladders and speed down roads in a huge red truck? Well now you can get a little insight being the man behind the fire mask, as we spent a little time chatting to local firefighter Tyler Marion, who’s been a firefighter in Bluffton for two years, and his caption, Scott Cochran, who has 26 years of experience under his belt. You’ll find both of them at Bluffton’s Downtown Station, Station 30 on Burnt Church Road – that is, if they’re not out on a call.
Do you consider this job dangerous?
Cochran: I consider it inherently dangerous. A typical person would think it’s insane to do some of the things we do, but we’re trained to make the danger as minimal as possible. Life safety is first our safety before anyone else.
When you get a call how long do you have to get ready?
Marion: As part of our training we have 60 seconds to be in full gear. At the beginning, it’s extremely difficult. You’re not used to getting dressed that fast, but you practice it enough and learn an easier way to do it and then you get it down really fast. … Last time I did the time drill, I was at about 36 seconds. So you really learn over time how to get it down. We’re on the road in less than a minute.
Have you had any close calls?
Cochran: I’ve done this for 26 years and I haven’t ever had a close call. It’s all according to training. You’re willing to risk a lot to save someone that you’re able to. You’re not going to endanger yourself for something that can’t be saved.
What does it feel like running into a burning building?
Cochran: To be honest, with the amount of training … when put into that stressful position the training almost takes over. We almost have a systematic approach to enter – let me do a right hand search – and we have a lot of tools to help us, whether it be thermal imaging or just physical contact to not get lost. The training we have is to eliminate that fear. It’s all training towards muscle memory, like riding a bicycle. It’s almost automatic.
What’s it like being on call during the holidays?
Marion: It can be kind of tough for the guys that have a family. I don’t have one so I usually volunteer to work for them. I’ll do a swap and I’ll take their holidays so they can spend it with their family. But the community takes care of us. Typically on the big holidays – like Thanksgiving or Christmas – we’ll get a donation of some sort. A dinner donated to us or something like that, people bring in pies and cake for us. The community takes care of us and they make it better for us.
What special things happen around the holidays in a fire station?
Marion: Well we do the Santa truck for about three weeks in December. We ride around different neighborhoods with Santa and we have the lights going, we throw the siren and horn a lot. All of the kids wave at him.
At the station a lot of times, we’ll have a family come in, hang out a little bit, eat dinner. So it’s not as lonely as it could be.
Do you work with the same guys every week?
Marion: We work with the same group of guys for a good length of time. I’ve been with the same group for my stay at 30. There are four firefighters here and we also have two people from Beaufort County EMS that are with us. And it’s really cool because we get to develop this really close relationship, almost like family. We end up hanging out outside of work too.
Cochran: My operator for the engine – my driver – we’ve been together five years. We spend 24 hours together. We eat together, work together and when we’re not working we spend time with each other’s families – hiking, fishing, hanging out. … That’s the way it’s always been, every department, every shift that I’ve been in.
Alongside Marion and Captain Scott Cochran is Senior Firefighter Dustin Brown and Cam Terio, the newest member to their Station 30 family. These are just a few of the men that serve Bluffton in relief and aid efforts, sacrificing safety to save those in need of help. This season we’d like to honor Marion and his fellow comrades and family for all that they’ve done for the community. We cannot say thank you enough.
By Randolph Stewart
The winds whipped at 40 knots per hour in the North Atlantic in winter temperatures as the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a three-masted steel Bark built in Germany in 1914, made its return transatlantic crossing from the U.S. to Bergen, Norway.
Captain Marcus Seidl and his brother, Chief Officer David Seidl, joined the tall ship’s crew of 20—as well as 150 Norwegian Naval Academy Cadets who were fresh off winning the Tall Ship Races. They were caught in a trough between a high pressure of warm air from the south and low pressure of cold air coming off the North Pole, which created “the perfect storm.”
The Seidls knew how to translate what was happening and registered their position by satellite. They decided not to drop sail in that heavy weather and, 124 hours later, did what no tall ship in written history had ever done: sailed further in that period, 1,516 nautical miles, setting a world record. Captain Seidl said it was a result of good sailing conditions, a talented crew and “some good luck.”
“This is, first and foremost, an incredible feat that we managed to sail so far, so fast,” said Marcus, who called the voyage “extraordinary.” “I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
As a training ship for the German Merchant Marines during most of World War I, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl was taken as a prize by England after the war. She was purchased from England in 1921 and put into service as a sail training vessel under the Norwegian flag in 1923. The name means “Minister Lehmkuhl,” after the man who made the purchase possible.
From 1939 to 1945, she was confiscated by the Germans. The ship is now back in Norway, funded by a foundation, used as a training vessel for the Norwegian Naval Academy and set out to sea for cruises and coastal trips for the public. She is the oldest large square rigger in the world, weighing 2,500 tons and measuring as long as a football field, with a main mast close to 15 stories high. It’s interesting to note that she now has a sewage treatment plant on board, as well as a desalination plant and trash recycling, making her a “green ship.”
But, I am getting ahead of myself. How did they get there in the first place? Let’s rewind almost 50 years, when the Seidl brothers began sailing out of Vancouver, Canada aboard a 63-foot ketch, the Illahee, which their father, artist Albert Seidl, built from the keel up.
Soon after, sailing the Pacific Coast, they made their way to the Colombian port of Santa Maria. The boys, now 5- and 6- years-old, were heralded at each port they stopped as their fame and reputation spread. At port, the evening was clear with a full moon and starry night, as the waves gently lapped against the hull like a lullaby.
Albert suddenly sensed that something was deadly wrong as he heard footsteps topside. When he arose, he was staring at a scar-faced man, with teeth missing, realizing he had a machete against his throat. Pirates! The boys screamed and were held against their will for the better part of an hour, not knowing their fate. As the pirates ransacked the vessel, Albert suddenly heard the sound of machine gun fire. Shouting increased on deck, and his captors ran to escape, some jumping over the side, others into the boats they had come in, two lying dead on the deck.
A Norwegian freight captain in the harbor happened to be watching the ship through his binoculars and alerted harbor police, who sprung into immediate action.
After months of sailing around South America, without any run-ins with pirates, Albert and his small crew made another life-changing decision—to sell the Illahee, fly to Europe, find a larger ship and continue their adventures. With Marcus and David in tow, and partner Gerhard Schwisow, they found their ship and worked for close to 2 1/2 years on a little island near the Arctic Circle, rebuilding their tall ship: an 1896 Barquentine, which they named Barba Negra.
For me, having sailed with them on the ship for years, the Seidls became like family. Last November, I journeyed to Norfolk, Virginia to greet the Statsraad Lehmkuhl coming into port after an Atlantic crossing. You could hear the cadets singing shanties an hour away. I had the opportunity to visit with them for a week, to be a guest onboard with a reception sponsored by the Norwegian embassy for naval officers from various NATO countries and to return with them to Savannah. We spent many an hour reliving stories. Let me share a few.
While rebuilding the ship, the boys loved to climb aboard a small dinghy and adventure out to go fishing. Their father was so amazed at how successful they were each time they went out, as they always returned with buckets of fish. After several successful fishing trips, they could not contain their secret any longer: they had found a place where the fish were so plentiful, they were able to scoop them up in the bucket. What a life!
After the Barba Negra was fit for sea, they sailed the Scandinavian and Baltic ports of Northern Europe as a public display and as a floating art gallery featuring their father’s original work. They eventually met Albert’s future wife, Alice, in a Danish port. She became the heart and soul of the crew.
The Seidls accepted an invitation to the Bicentennial Tall Ship Parade in New York Harbor and decided to make the Atlantic Crossing, with the Barba Negra being the oldest tall ship in the celebration. Following their stay in New York, they accepted an invitation from the City of Savannah to make the port their home. The Barba Negra became an icon on River Street for more 30 years. Albert and Alice continue to live in Savannah to this day.
Marcus and David would eventually sail and attend navigation school in Europe during the season and then return to Savannah to sail, work on the Barba Negra and help Gerhard build docks.
“Our job was to hold the creosote piling still while this big weight was released above our heads to drive it into the marsh bottom,” Marcus recalled. “It was amazing we were never hurt, but no way would we do that today.”
The Seidl brothers decided to move to Norway and sail on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. This is when Marcus met his future wife, a Norwegian volunteer on board named Brit Anita.
“I remember the first time I saw her come aboard in Germany,” he said. “She had finished school and her mother encouraged her to take the adventure. She came on board as a nice young girl with cowboy boots. I was sitting on deck sewing sails and had hurt my foot on a boom, so when I got up I was limping. At first, she was not interested, as she tells her friends about this real nice guy she met, but he had a wooden leg.”
However, it was true love, as the couple has been together for nearly 30 years. Later, Captain Marcus and Brit Anita were married, and she sailed with him on board for almost 17 years, fighting seasickness every voyage, until they had their daughter, Alexandra, who was 3-weeks-old on her first voyage and lived and sailed aboard the Statsraad Lehmkuhl for many years.
To say that Marcus and David have sailed more miles that Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Magellan is an understatement. They have crossed the Atlantic 13 times in the last 13 years. In his 25 years as Captain, with David as Chief Officer, the Seidl brothers have never lost a life at sea. Crossing the famed Bermuda Triangle, negotiating 50-foot waves, being recognized by kings, queens and mariners worldwide, these brothers didn’t just dream of what they wanted to do with their lives—they just did it!
Why? “Adventure and the end result,” Marcus explained. “Every voyage is full of events, from the light shows of sunsets and moonrises to the giants of the seas, the fin whales, including dolphin shows both day and night.”
People have sailed on the Statsraad Lehmkuhl from all over the world. Marcus and David love training young people and affecting their lives. Every person who walks onboard will come away with a memory of a lifetime.
As an old tall ship sailor once said, “We do not live from hour to hour, but second to second, while sailing.”
To learn more about the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, visit lehmkuhl.no/ebgkusg/sailing-program/.
Designer and Author: Randolph Stewart
Spanish Wells got its name from the fresh sweet water springs and wells discovered by the indigenous Indians hundreds of years ago. Spanish ships would anchor in the deep water river, protected from ocean winds, to restock their water supplies aided by the Indians. Later the French, and finally the English and Colonial Planters, made Hilton Head their home. Thousands of Federal troops made the island their base to control the region on during the Civil War.
Ray and Terry Travaglione, of Hilton Head and New York, knew what they were looking for when they first drove through the flanking brick piers and discovered this naturally landscaped site on a high bluff of the Cooper River. The unappealing house was constructed in 1992 and was your typical plywood siding island home. They thought about tearing it down and starting over, but after great discussion and a vision of what it could be, decided not to destroy but to transform the existing structure into an Italian River Villa. Now, there’s is nothing quite like it on Hilton Head, for it feels as if it has been there for well over a hundred years. Let’s take a look around!
Pulling in the motor court, the first thing you see is the small, ivy-covered carriage house, which was featured on a bottle of a Napa Valley vineyard wine. It has a private guest quarters, fitness room and three-car garage. This old world cottage becomes a piece of the garden, giving natural botanical views to anyone coming or leaving the home from the main raised terrace.
The Carriage House includes Guest Quarters, fitness room and three car garage. Take a few steps and live oak limbs lead you through a geometric, yet classical, U-shaped garden to the front door. While approaching, take in the stained batten, bi-fold shutters and recessed windows with coral stone sills, mottled old world stucco walls, and the low pitch, lightly multi-colored patinate terra-cotta roof, all creating a true Tuscan structure. Notice the oak double diamond pattern collection mold front doors with flanking copper gas lanterns. There is no knob to turn on the door, although inside is an iron rim lock and surface bolts. This is typical in Italy for security, but the Travalagiones want to open the doors from the inside to greet their friends personally.
Once inside you are in awe with the rear terrace and river views, taking your eye and thoughts. You then realize the scale of the great room and the height of the ceiling, with beaded heart of pine beams and large corbels. You look up and see a floating bridge overhead with iron rod balustrade and ogee railing upstairs. Large sitting and reading niches to your left and right open to the tall ceiling. You step under the bridge and beyond to behold a space that is unique to others. No clutter, great but sparse art, sophisticated, yet inviting – each element separate unto itself, yet part of the whole.
Opposite is the large dinning table with slipcovered tuxedo chairs and an Italian sideboard. Flanking arched openings to the kitchen and a pass-through that was kept from the original house. The pass-through now frames this end of the great room as if a painting on the wall above the sideboard. The antique heart of pine floors throughout anchor the space, along with the clean off-white fabrics, providing a contrast to the off-white plastered walls. Note the simplicity of the room. No heavy casing or base to distract the eye from the art and river views.
The kitchen is a connoisseur’s dream. Every convenience one would want, with a farm table for family dinning adjacent to a series of stained French doors, which open to expansive river views across the entire width of the room. During the transformation, the lower ceiling beams were actually the original floor joist for a guest room above, creating an intimate ambiance. There is a formal butler’s pantry behind the kitchen and a large mudroom beyond, which was actually the original garage for the house. The limestone floors throughout this wing, the off-white counters and cabinets evoke a light and cheerful cooking and family entertainment space.
The wine cellar is located off the kitchen in new a connector hall to the billiard room. It is properly insulated and conditioned to the proper temperature for the knowledgeable wine collector. The floors are recycled brick, the walls and arched ceiling stucco. The wine racks are made of white oak that is hand oiled and waxed to give it the fumed oak patina and designed to permit the wood to contract and expand by being entirely rabbeted together. The racks provide for the three basic case, bottle sizes and types. The heavy entry batten door with strap hinges and clavos is complete with a “speakeasy” iron and wood peephole.
The billiard room addition features recycled heart of pine beams in the cathedral ceiling, the beaded panel chestnut bar with a copper top and opposite an oversized fireplace with recycled firebrick in an alternating diagonal pattern, and large period andirons. This wing is angled to maximize the river view with tall casement windows. Additional light is cast from smaller windows up top around the north side, providing ample space for wall art. Notice again, the inset windows with round corners, plaster finish walls, heavy antique pine lintels and sills, as well as the French limestone floors. The space has two comfortable seating areas and a large television opposite the pool table. The bar door and access (out of view in the hall) is a handmade heart of pine Dutch door that allows for additional serving and stocking from the hall during large functions and easy access to the outdoor kitchen, rear terrace, dock and pool.
Step out of the master bedroom and take a dip. The major and minor antique pine beams define the ceiling and helps create an intimate, but luxurious space. The room has direct access to a private lounging library overlooking the river and a paneled second floor stair hall leading to opposing bedrooms and baths on each end of the bridge.
The master bathroom is private yet spacious, open to two sources of light. Fixtures are more like furniture with separate marble top table sinks and an armoire linen cabinet. The centerpiece is an oversized pine island with drawers and storage. The room is completed with a spacious walk-in, full-height limestone shower, a free standing Kohler claw foot lounging tub and a sauna. What more could you ask for?
Walking outside through the multiple French doors from the great room, you enter a trellis-covered lanai. Recycled brick columns support the beam and joist overhead. The climbing jasmine engulfs the columns and frames the views. Copper gas lanterns provide just the right ambience for outdoor dining or enjoying an evening after watching the sunset over the water. This riverfront garden and terrace is complete with a black marcite lap pool, fire pit made from a South Carolina iron sugarcane cooker, a beach below the bluff and boat dock with a covered “lounge.” The riverfront garden has multiple bricked terraces and sitting areas, arranged for large parties or intimate gatherings, all wonderfully shaded by large live oaks, pines and palms.
This home is truly a marvel in so many ways – the gardens, front and rear, the masterfully-transformed structure with attention to details at every turn, the comfortable and sophisticated interiors and, of course, the river. If you meet or know Ray and Terry, ask them if they are glad they did not tear the original house down. Visiting their home, you might just reflect on what the Indians would be thinking as they paddle by.
With appreciation to Wayne Moore, Back River Photography. www.waynecmoore.com
For additional information contact Janet Boyden, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty, at [email protected]
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is one for the history books. It’s been 38 years since the last total eclipse of the sun passed through the Continental United States. The last total solar eclipse to pass from one coast of the U.S. to the other occurred nearly a century ago in 1918. On August 21, the eclipse finishes its sweeping transcontinental tour through South Carolina before heading out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Locals and eclipse-chasers alike will gather in the Upstate and parts of the Lowcountry to experience this spectacle as the moon passes in front of the sun. Some areas of South Carolina will experience as much as 2 minutes and 38 seconds of totality. In Greenville, darkness will last 2 minutes and 8 seconds; Columbia will experience 2 minutes and 30 seconds of darkness; and, in Charleston, the moon will completely block the sun for 1 minute, 40 seconds. The temperature will suddenly drop, the wind will stop, and birds will stop singing.
From coast to coast—Oregon to South Carolina—the eclipse will cross the U.S. in just 94 minutes. Moving at an average speed of 1,472 mph, the moon’s shadow will enter South Carolina at 2:36 p.m. EDT and leave the Atlantic coast at 2:49 p.m. EDT. The path of totality is only 60-70 miles wide, but those outside the path can still see a partial eclipse with proper viewing glasses.
If you don’t see the eclipse this year, don’t worry; you won’t have to wait another century until the next one. A total solar eclipse will visit North America again on April 8, 2024.
Eclipse Viewings and Events
Those in Beaufort County, including Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, will experience a partial eclipse with the moon covering more than 90 percent of the sun.
As spectacular as this view will be, it’s only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive up to Charleston, where you can see the total solar eclipse. Leading up to this historical happening, Charleston will hold several events, including dramatic readings of Annie Dillard’s essay “Total Eclipse,” a baseball game, yoga and more. Also in Charleston, the eclipse can be viewed from Pier 101 on Folly Beach, the Citadel Mall, Isle of Palms, and aboard the USS Yorktown. View the Holy City’s eclipse event calendar at charlestoncvb.com.
Library branches throughout Beaufort County will be giving away special eclipse viewing glasses to people who attend eclipse programming either on the day of or prior to August 21. Local branches will screen NASA’s live coverage of the eclipse starting at 11:45 a.m. and other scheduled events include building pinhole projectors for eclipse viewing and building model solar systems. beaufortcountylibrary.org.
The path of totality will cross over mostly rural counties west and south of Asheville, North Carolina—including parts of Clay, Graham, Swain, Macon, Jackson and Transylvania—entering at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and exiting at Transylvania County, then passing directly over Greenville, South Carolina.
August 18-21, the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia will host a weekend-long celebration with activities, exhibitions and shows all leading up to solar eclipse totality which occurs at 2:41 p.m. on Monday, including a special appearance by South Carolina native and Apollo 16 astronaut, Gen. Charles Duke. Other special events scheduled in the “Famously Hot” city include an Eclipse Geocaching Cointrail, the South Carolina Philharomic’s Star Wars Musiclipse concert and an Eclipse Drive-In Movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway in nearby Cayce. Visit totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com for details on these and other happenings.
South Carolina cities experiencing a total eclipse include Anderson, Cayce, Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Easley, Georgetown, Goose Creek, Greenville, Greenwood, Greer, Hanahan, Irmo, Kingstree, Laurens, Lexington, Manning, Mauldin, McClellanville, Mount Pleasant, Newberry, North Charleston, Orangeburg, Santee, St. George, Seneca, Simpsonville, Summerville, Sumter and West Columbia.
A partial solar eclipse will be seen in Aiken, Bluffton, Beaufort, Florence, Gaffney, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, North Augusta, Rock Hill, Spartanburg. However, special viewing glasses must be worn to see it.
Know Before You Go
- Heavy traffic may be a concern, so plan accordingly.
- Designate a safe and legal place to park during the eclipse; do not stop on the roads and interstates to watch.
- If you’re driving during the eclipse, be extra aware of other drivers. Some people may be surprised and may become distracted or disoriented by the sudden darkness.
- In the event of an emergency, be prepared for cell phone systems and emergency services to be overwhelmed.
- Never look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device even while using eclipse glasses. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Limited quantities of eclipse glasses will be available at multiple viewing sites, so get yours early!
- A solar filter must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. To view totality, the filter must be quickly removed when the total phase begins.
By Michele Roldan-Shaw
Nobody could understand why I wanted a truck, much less a standard transmission. “Why don’t you get a Honda Civic?” they said. “Or a Ford Taurus. We have a nice Toyota Corolla on the lot.” But the little red Mazda pickup with the stick-shift in a squirrelly-lookin’ dealership of the Savannah hood was all I wanted.
Eleven years and 107,000 miles later I went to buy a new truck and faced the same thing all over again. “What does a girl like you need a pickup truck for?” asked the slicked-up old car salesman with the gold chains, black shirt and white pompadour on a country road outside Charleston, as he leaned in through the passenger’s side window of my friend’s new SUV. I stared back.
How could I tell him about the many forced moves, the furniture hauled, the friends transported, the paintings done and thrown back there with the paint cans? The expeditions with bike and kayak, the sleepouts under the shell. The blessed sight of red paint glinting cheerfully through the trees to let me know I’d made it out of the woods alive yet again! The jungles, swamps, islands and mountaintops where that faithful old truck had been. Even just the naps around town in the cab!
The fact that although it was regular cab not extended, still I managed to cram so much behind the seat: blankets, extra clothes, towel, straw sleep-mat, backpacks and tote bags, camp stove and packets of noodles, bottles of water and loose-leaf tea, hobo knife (fork, knife and spoon), paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, matches, saleable copies of my books, fold-out camp stool, cassette tapes and a power converter that you plugged into the cigarette lighter—not to mention ropes, jumper cables, channel-locks, first-aid kit, brake fluid, motor oil, emergency storm radio, can of Fix-a-Flat and the biggest Maglite they make.
What could cause him to understand the time I’d spent living out of that truck, the time my dog spent living out of that truck, the whole entire year leading up to this moment of talking to him during which I’d been riding around with my worldly possessions stacked in plastic tubs under the leaky shell? The way that little red truck with its busted-out window and accidental two-tone paint job, so beat-up and worn down by the elements, had come to be entwined with my very identity? Endearing as it was unfortunate, cute in a homely way, little but tough as nails, surprisingly roadworthy and efficient, still going against the odds.
“Sir,” I replied, looking him dead in the eyeball, “you have never met a little girl who needed a pickup truck worse than I do.”
I learned to drive on a blue 1986 Chevy Astro van, stick-shift with vinyl interior. When at age 21 I came to South Carolina from the West Coast with a one-way ticket and a duffel-bag, I’d never owned a car or even a cell-phone; times were simpler back then. My cousin got me work as a security officer on Hilton Head and I needed transportation, so he rode me around until I saw it: a red 1994 Mazda B2300 (identical to the Ford Ranger) with manual transmission and 117k miles. I wanted it. Other vehicles were offered, even other trucks, but I turned them all down and bought the Mazda for $4000.
It had a long crack in the windshield that stayed exactly the same for the entire decade I owned it. The E-brake didn’t work so I kept a wooden block on hand to shove behind one wheel. Shortly after I bought it the AC went out and I never bothered to have it fixed, not through 10 long hot Carolina summers. Yet none of these idiosyncrasies caused me to feel I’d gotten a bad deal, for I was too fresh-faced and innocent to overthink things. Moreover I’m aware I paid too much for it, but it’s a purchase I haven’t regretted for an instant because despite my utter blind ignorance at the time, now I know these old Mazda trucks have a reputation for being one vehicle you just can’t kill, which is a quality I greatly praise.
Another thing I have appreciated is that whenever something started to go bad on it, I was given months or even years of warning. In the very early days it developed a problem with the fuel intake hose, but a mechanic was able to patch it up by some sort of layering process; I recall chasing lizards and being bored for hours in thesweltry heat while he applied a coat and let it dry, applied a coat and let it dry…I don’t think he charged much. Years later his fix finally gave out and it started spurting gas every time I went to fill up, but I found that if I just stuck the nozzle in at a very precise angle and held it there the problem was avoided. I let it slide like that for months before gas started pouring out the bottom too, when at last I took it in for proper repair before I could get blown up.
Then there was the time the transmission nearly went out on me in Tennessee. Nearly. I was halfway through the longest solo road-trip I’d ever taken—one entire glorious month with my dog around the Deep South, camping and having adventures and trusting in the kindness of strangers—when suddenly the noise I’d been ignoring for months got crucial. The only gear I could drive properly in was fourth, but I managed to limp into Atoka, Tennessee where I stayed with Donna Huffman’s mom (Donna being the founder and then-editor of this magazine.) Miss Dot was kind enough to put me up for a week while they installed a rebuilt transmission, and the time we spent together made a lovely chapter in my book.
That was the thing about this truck: it never left me high and dry. I’ve been as far north in it as Charlottesville, VA, as far west as Lafayette, LA, as far south as Crystal River, FL. Everything I did was with cash, a road atlas and my wits about me. There was just nothing better than backing into a weedy pullout on a dirt forest road somewhere and setting up shop for the night, completely undetected (or at least assumed to be a man) as I settled down to rest under the shell. Next morning I’d wake up to the birdies chirping, make tea with my camp stove on the tailgate, soak up some sunlight while poring over maps of the day’s hike. When I felt good and ready I’d pull away and never look back.
The first time I slept in the cab was because they got me drunk at Pepper’s Porch, back when it was still a good-time down-home place where people threw horseshoes and treated you like an old friend. I got off my shift as a security officer feelin’ like bein’ bad, so I pulled into Pepper’s and spent the evening drinkin’ beer and takin’ shots on an empty stomach in their screen-porch bar. By the time they started grilling steak and offering strips of it for free, it was too little too late—I went out to my truck and threw up all over the inside of the door before passing out on the bench. Yet strange to say it was not an altogether unpleasant night! The balmy heat and moonlight in wisps of Spanish moss; the way no one cared how I slept it off under live oaks in the gravel parking lot; the simplicity of being just a few miles from home, and the independence of choosing to wait it out all curled up in dreamlike agony until the wee hours when I awoke ready to roll. I don’t drink at all anymore and I’m glad; but I actually have some neat memories from when I did.
That was the first time I slept in the cab but not the last. I did it again in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest when it was dumping rain and I couldn’t find anywhere to camp. And again in Florida’s Ocala National Forest after a long ordeal involving a flat tire, blistery hike, and subsequent misadventure with two knuckleheads from upstate New York who picked me up and ensnared me in a long evening of going around eating seafood at bars before finally giving me a lift back to the truck and doing a bad patch-job on the tire—after that I was too tired to pitch a tent, so I just slept on the bench seat with my coat for a pillow. This was never comfortable, but always made me feel adventurous.
There were many brushes with the law in that truck; but those have been written about and I won’t fall to rehashing here—suffice it to say profiling happens. There were also many flat tires but I want to put those days behind me as well. In 2010 when I left the last house I rented, the recession was on and my ever meager income as a starving-writer had become completely unworkable. Yet I wasn’t ready to quit my profession so I started living out of my truck—that is to say I kept everything I needed for daily life in there while crashing with different friends intermittently. Determined to keep my dog Coosaw, I made a home for her in the bed with a crate covered over by a blanket. We got away with this for a surprisingly long time, even where dogs weren’t allowed. And yeah some people gave me a hard time about it, especially when it rained; but Coosaw lived an awesome life and died of old age in my arms.
Some years ago my mom put together a scrapbook with little drawings and things from when I was a kid, including one of the very first stories I ever authored. I was too young to write so she just took it down as I dictated. It was very short and went something to the effect of, “I like red trucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a red truck!” I have absolutely no recollection of ever being infatuated with red trucks as a kid—I’m not really much of a car person—but somehow it was comforting to stumble across this old memento as confirmation that I am and always have been just me.
Towards the very last days my truck got a change of air when I went to live in Orlando as the summer 2015 writer-in-residence of the Kerouac House, a privilege for which I am deeply grateful. The house itself—briefly occupied by literary icon and great American road-tripper Jack Kerouac—was the sweetest little tin-roofed cottage with a perfect porch and baby blue door, Old Florida at its finest, nestled under a centenarian live oak that arched its loving arms over all the neighbors as well. Underneath this canopy my truck just fit in a niche between the house and a fence, where it peeped out slyly like a critter with headlights for eyes. I loved the way it looked there, its buff red paint and orange kayak on top a perfect complement to the cool tones of the house and palmy yard. It was just so perfectly Florida as though it had sat in the neighborhood for years. One day I found a creeping vine starting to grow under the hood. In fact I played the part of reclusive writer so well that I only used one tank of gas the entire summer, mostly to take the kayak to local springs on my days off. When the residency came to its inevitable end I threw everything in back again and headed home to Bluffton.
By this point I already had the little R-pod travel trailer that is now my full-time abode, so I knew I would be upgrading to a beefier truck that could pull it. I spent several months searching, zeroing in on what I wanted (basically the same thing as my old truck in terms of longevity and reliability, only one size up). I waited patiently for the right deal to come along, until one day last January the Mazda wouldn’t start. Turns out it was just cold weather and a bad battery, but that was enough to light a fire under my behind—one week later I had a new truck.
And what a truck it is! 2006 Toyota Tacoma V6 double-cab long-bed with the shell already on it, all spiffy and clean inside out and I intend to keep it that way, gleaming white with black tinted windows and big wheels that make it look worth three times the actual value. The new Adventure Truck, the new Rambler Mobile, so roomy and nice inside and fully half of my home! I love it. But honestly I never would have upgraded at all if not for the need to pull the R-pod—despite all the trash people talked about it, my old truck was A-okay with me.
What driver has not experienced this almost personal connection with a vehicle? When it gives many years of good service like a faithful steed, it’s hard not to see it in a romantic light; one feels a sense of loyalty as though to friend or kin, no matter how irrational this may be. Letting go is not without a certain bittersweet. After I bought the Tacoma a friend said enthusiastically, “Lot different than that little go-cart thing you were ridin’ in, isn’t it Shell!” But I felt validated when my mechanic, to whom I took the new truck for inspection before buying, offered $800 cash for my little red Mazda on the spot. He knew the worth of it and by God so did I! Who cared that the vinyl seat had a big tear in it; that insulation dust rained down where the ceiling fabric ripped off; that the wiring was jacked because my friend got all drunk up when he replaced the tape deck. The important thing is to know that truck still runs like a champ!
And so Jeffrey Robinowich of Morris Garage in Bluffton is now proud owner of one noble little machine, which as far as I know still sits unassumingly on his lot. But not for long—he plans to resell so if you act fast you might be able to own a piece of history.
And that, dear readers, is my Ode to a Little Red Truck.
Michele Roldán-Shaw has written two books about her Southern travels, available at Cahill’s Market or on her website ramblerslife.com.
Many have come to the Lowcountry and been enchanted by its golden marshes, spangled creeks, blowing dolphins, vine-draped forests and wild denizens of land, water and air—but few have made it their mission to protect and portray this beauty with such far-reaching impact as Mary Alice Monroe.
The bestselling novelist, long known for her sensitive and emotionally compelling portraits of women, found new underpinnings to her life’s work when she moved to Isle of Palms off the coast of Charleston.
“The first thing I did was join the island turtle team,” recalls Monroe, who had been visiting the area with her husband, child psychologist Dr. Markus Kruesi, for many years before relocating permanently in 1999 after he was offered a position at MUSC. “The turtles are what prompted my decision to write novels that would not only entertain, but also have an underlying message to raise awareness of environmental issues.”
Her first book in this vein was The Beach House, about a young woman returning to her roots on the small barrier island where she grew up, and its release in 2002 kicked off a successful trilogy that told the turtle’s plight interlaced with human drama. It was an effective juxtaposition, one that Monroe would continue to develop in books, highlighting such species as the monarch butterfly and, most recently, the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in her Lowcountry Summer series featuring Delphine as wild foil to three Southern sisters and their grandmother Mamaw.
This month, she releases the latest installment, A Lowcountry Wedding, to great fanfare and the buzz of several exciting local events. A Charleston wedding giveaway has engaged readers nationwide, and Monroe will speak at a book-signing and barbeque event on Nemours Plantation in Yemassee to raise funds for the Beaufort County Open Land Trust. As Monroe’s professional success grows, her commitment to championing nature only deepens.
Saving with Storytelling
“I’ve always been involved in conservation,” she says, “but living in Washington, D.C. during the boom years made me see how quickly a natural environment could be destroyed. So coming to this pristine gorgeous place that I loved, I didn’t feel there was enough awareness of that threat.”
Monroe never preaches, however, as she knows this would only go in one ear and out the other. Instead, she uses what she calls “the power of story.” By bringing creatures to life and allowing readers to emotionally connect through an engaging plot, she is able to reach a broad audience—including newcomers to the area who might otherwise never take an interest in learning about local flora and fauna—and to unobtrusively bring attention to issues like water quality.
“First I have a species, then I have a story,” explains Monroe. “People love Mamaw, but Delphine is the unique character in this series, the one who is teaching and educating my readers about the environment. I don’t point fingers or tell people what to do; it’s more that through my plots, settings, characterization and my own passion I can familiarize them, give them a painless education.”
According to Monroe, many people don’t know that 49 percent of resident dolphins in the Charleston estuarine waters are deemed unhealthy, a problem that may extend to other counties as well. She also exposes the dangers of feeding dolphins, which “creates a generation of beggars,” as mothers stop teaching their young to forage or hunt; the practice has resulted in a surge of emaciated juveniles washing ashore because they can’t take care of themselves.
“I knew when I began the series that I did not want to write Flipper,” she says. “My wish is that through this series readers will come to love and understand the dolphins, to admire them in the wild and as the magnificent creatures that they are, because that is enough!”
When Monroe writes of the natural world, it is not only from the head and heart, but also from the hands in a most meaningful way. “I do academic research, but I also roll up my sleeves and become a volunteer,” she says of countless hours spent with organizations like the Grassy Key Dolphin Research Center, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “I have worked intimately with each species so that when I describe looking a dolphin in the eye, it is at a very personal level. I have seen it, smelled it, done it. That’s a promise to my readers, that what I write will be accurate and authentic. So when they read it, not only will they learn, but they will care. Then I know they will act and be just as fierce about protecting the Lowcountry as I am.”
It is precisely because Monroe puts her message into practice that these efforts have been so well-received—the positive impact made by her books is tangible and extensive. For The Butterfly’s Daughter, she gave away 10,000 milkweed seeds to be planted as crucial habitat for the monarchs. Since writing the Lowcountry books, she has heard from readers who say they no longer feed the dolphins that come by their dock because now they understand the reason behind the restrictions.
“I’ve gotten countless letters,” affirms Monroe, “starting with The Beach House and continuing now. We have records of people volunteering and donating money all along the eastern seaboard because of that book. That transcends storytelling—that is the why of my writing. I began the process to try and make a difference, and when I get letters like that it encourages me to keep going.”
Celebrating Lowcountry Love
For her latest novel, Monroe has chosen to bring forth another timely topic, the phenomenon of Lowcountry weddings, which she experienced when her daughter got married at one of Charleston’s historic plantations.
Monroe examines the lure of this area for couples, the difference between a traditional plantation setting versus the more casual carefree beach wedding and the greater implications of each in terms of shifting attitudes through the generations. Weddings are all about protocol, tradition, commitment and family values, Monroe says, and her book raises relevant questions about these by depicting the perspectives of Mamaw and her evolving granddaughters.
Article written by Michele Roldán-Shaw.
Fall and winter mean Oyster Season in the South. With the humidity lowering and the cool breezes of fall blowing in, there is nothing better than sharing an oyster roast with friends and family. Oysters from Beaufort County are unique in flavor with a salty sweetness unrivaled by oysters from any other area.
South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement (SCORE) is a program started by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of South Carolina to increase our oyster population. Volunteers work together to plant clutch material in order to recruit more juvenile oysters. They have also established oyster recycling facilities, where both businesses and individuals can deposit used shells, to be placed back out into our waterways.
The next time you pack your bag for the beach, there are two items that are just as important as a bottle of sunblock: a hat and sunglasses.
Ultraviolet rays, classified as UVA and UVB, not only wrinkle the skin, but can damage the eye’s surface tissues, as well as the cornea and lens. The sun can accelerate the formation of cataracts, pterygium (a non-cancerous growth over the cornea), skin cancer of the eyelids, and even result in an early form of age-related macular degeneration. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis, which is responsible for snow blindness.
Wear Sunglasses and a Hat
Sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats can dramatically reduce sun-related eye damage. However, don’t choose just any pair of sunglasses.
According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. Look for sunglasses that are affiliated with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which creates uniform testing standards and guidelines for a variety of products. Choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
Don’t Forget the Kids
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80 percent of a person’s lifetime UVR exposure is received before the age of 18. Children are far more likely to spend time playing outside, particularly during the warmer months. Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to UV rays because the lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. This may put them at increased risk of developing debilitating eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration as adults. Try to keep kids out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Make sure they wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun.
Be Extra Cautious in UV-Intense Conditions
Sunlight is strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at higher altitudes and when reflected off water, ice or snow. Don’t be fooled by the clouds. The sun’s rays can pass through clouds and damage the eyes any time of the year, not just during summer. If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you still need to wear sunglasses.
Use Goggles at the Pool
The sun isn’t the only summertime culprit for eye damage. Chlorine, designed to protect you from exposure to germs, has the potential to hurt your eyes. In particular, chlorine can damage the integrity of the corneal epithelium, which protects your cornea from irritants and pathogens. This can lead to an increased likelihood of corneal abrasion or other eye injuries. The simplest solution for protection is to wear goggles. This also applies to swimming in the ocean or other natural bodies of water, as they contain other contaminants that may hurt your eyes.
Dr. Peter Liggett of Hilton Head Macula & Retina is a leader in the evaluation and treatment of macular and retinal diseases. Liggett has been a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Yale School of Medicine and Weill Cornell College of Medicine. He founded New England Retina Associates, which had six retina specialists and more than 10,000 patient visits per year. He has written more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited four major textbooks on diseases of the macula and retina. He is an examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, which certifies doctors to practice in ophthalmology. For more information, call (843) 422-9987 or visit hhmr.org.
This is the third article in our series showcasing Neo-Classical Architecture and its influence on Southern Plantations and homes throughout the South to this day. The essence of Neo-Classical Architecture is scale, proportion and balance. It began in the 1550s with Vignola’s “Canons of the Five Orders of Architecture” which is considered one of the most influential architectural textbooks ever written, even though it had very few words, only notes and instructions accompanying the many illustrations.
High Pond is a magnificent home on eight pristine acres embracing the Colleton River. The architect, Dean Winesett of Hilton Head, closely followed the “Order,” using the Tuscan and Ionic appropriately on the two-story, three-bay porticoes. Even though it varies in size and roof design, High Pond is reminiscent of Drayton Hall on the Ashley River, considered one of the finest examples of Palladian Architecture in America and one of the few homes that survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
This Colleton River Plantation home is a true masterpiece, not only from its form, and interior detailing craftsmanship, but also from its siting, use of nature and landscaping. This is due to the vision of Robert Marvin (1920-2001), father of Southern landscape architecture. Marvin received numerous accolades and international recognition for his work in and philosophy of modern design within landscape architecture and High Pond is certainly one of his legacies.
Marvin’s design philosophy was centered on the human-scale. He thought the site should be subordinate to human sensitivities and that every opportunity should be taken to put the individual in touch with the natural elements.
He is renowned for creating designs that celebrate the unique regionalism of the South Carolina Lowcountry and his work includes the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion in Columbia. Author and fellow South Carolina resident Pat Conroy wrote, “No landscape on earth is as beautiful to me as the South Carolina lowcountry. I would not let God alter a single detail of this master design unless He bid out the job to Robert Marvin.”
As one enters the High Pond property, Marvin’s genius is revealed. A winding driveway where new vistas open at each turn and the pond revealed, is awe-inspiring in its tranquility and magnificence of surrounding ancient oaks. Another turn in the path, and the carriage house is discovered, maintained in natural surroundings. As one approaches the house, the landscaping becomes more organized and, since expansive views of the river were intentionally obstructed during the approach with just small glimpses, there is a point where you become awed as the vastness of the river is unveiled.
My host was Johnny Ussery, whom I have known for close to 20 years. His enthusiasm and knowledge about this home was truly remarkable and it was a pleasure to listen to him and enjoy the many spaces. It is not often you find a Realtor with both 35 years of experience and insight and expertise of the design, detailing, interiors and landscaping of a home of this stature and significance.
The Master Builder, Dan Lawrence, executed the formal classical detail elements of Winesett’s design, inspired by Asher Benjamin’s (1773-1845) work, “American Builder’s Companion.” This work is seen in almost all Southern Plantation-era homes and is still followed to this day.
This home was built in 1997, and is in immaculate condition. This is a testament to the quality of the material and craftsmanship that went into its construction. There are many rooms with careful details, but not enough space in this article to examine them all. Let’s take a walk around to see a truly special home and enjoy some of the features.
For information or a personal tour of High Pond, contact Johnny Ussery at [email protected].
Article by Randolph Stewart
Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He says “The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now.”
He looks down the roadway, and what d’ya think he sees?The Georgia Militia cracking goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
“Goober Peas” by A. Linder excerpted from The Civil War Songbook (Dover Collection)
Named South Carolina’s Official State Snack in 2006, boiled peanuts, a.k.a. “goober peas,” have been a fundamental food in Southern states for hundreds of years. While the rest of the country may prefer their peanuts roasted, Southerners—both black and white—have been consuming this briny treat since colonial times.
According to seriouseats.com, “like okra, black-eyed peas, and so many other Southern staples, the peanut came to the region by way of the African diaspora, and for this reason piecing together its history can be challenging.” In fact, the website notes the word “goober” is African in origin; a term derived from the Angolan word nguba.
Most often praised as the preferred protein source for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, then later as a party food in small Southern towns and now as a valuable commodity at roadside stands and in gas stations, this seasonal delicacy is made by boiling raw or recently harvested green peanuts in salted water. Today, this humble legume is making headlines as haute cuisine and often served by celebrated chefs in the nation’s finest restaurants.
Like the history of boiled peanuts, the Bluffton salute to goober peas had a modest beginning as a cook-off orchestrated by local boiled peanut aficionados Jared Jester and Hannah Parrish at the Farmers Market of Bluffton.
In 2011, these Bluffton Boilers staged the town’s first formal Boiled Peanut Cook-Off “to bring better awareness to the ‘Official Snack Food’ of South Carolina and to try to generate some money for Bluffton Self Help,” says Jester.
“Heavily focused on the actual cook-off and seeing who had the ‘Best Nuts in Town,’” the first event attracted approximately 300 people, he adds.
“The World’s Largest Boiled Peanut,” which took about two months for Jester, Parrish and Clayton Colleran to build, was unveiled at the 2nd Annual Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival. Over 20 feet long and made primarily of plywood, chicken wire and spray foam, this gigantic goober pea had a starring role in an episode of A&E’s Shipping Wars and can usually be seen perched on its trailer in front of Cahill’s Market.
Over time, festival attendance grew from 3,500 to well over 7,000 in 2015, numerous activities were added to the schedule and the venue changed—first to The Promenade and then to Bluffton Village. Production of the annual event was turned over to the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce a few years ago, although Jester and Parrish are still heavily involved in the annual festivities.
“The popularity is certainly a fantastic thing and it is great to see so many people show appreciation for the next snack food on the planet!” declares Jester. “We only wish the focus was more heavily concentrated on the Cook-Off itself. To have the best peanuts in town should be quite a high accomplishment to hold.”
For his part, Jester usually makes at least one batch of boiled peanuts a week, trying out new recipes and flavor combinations; freezing a bushel after the season ends so he can continue to experiment throughout the winter months. Last year, he and Robbie Cahill (who happens to be the Festival’s Cook-Off Coordinator and creator of a custom rig able to cook over 1,000 pounds of peanuts at a time) got up at 3 a.m. to boil a ton—literally—of goober peas for the 2015 event.
Returning to its roots, this year the Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival kicks off on Thursday, September 8 with the Cracking of the Nut at the Farmers Market of Bluffton. After Jester or Cahill launch the event by breaking open a bottle of beer on the World’s Largest Boiled Peanut, Lil Miss Peanut and Lil Mr. Goober will be crowned. According to Erin Black of the Chamber, contestants range in age from 18 months to four-years-old and will be judged on cuteness and “peanutiness.”
Friday night, the party moves to the streets of Old Town for the 2nd Annual Peanut Pub Crawl from 6-9 p.m. Join your nuttiest (adult) buddies for a night of fun, music drinks and free goodies. A limited number of $25 tickets will be sold, so call the Chamber to reserve your spot.
On Saturday, the family-friendly festival takes place in Bluffton Village from 12-5 p.m. This year’s Boiled Peanut Cook-Off features four categories—Most Creative, Most Traditional, Best Overall and Crowd Favorite—with more chances to take home the coveted Golden Peanut Trophy. Those who prefer to feast, rather than cook, can enter the Peanut Eating Contest while listening to the sounds of Mixed Groove and 2016 Taste of Bluffton Battle of the Bands winner, Native. Meanwhile, little goobers can explore the expanded Kids Zone complete with carnival games, a zip line, bungee jumping, rock climbing wall, dunk tank and more.
For details on the 5th Annual Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival, Pub Crawl tickets and Cook-Off registration, contact the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce at (843) 757-1010 or visit boiledpeanutfestival.com.
Written by Allyson Jones.
There’s a rich, sometimes quirky history behind our holiday traditions. Most of the ones we still observe today originated in ‘Merry Olde England,’ with one great exception that originates here in the Lowcountry.
The English people had abandoned most holiday traditions by the industrial age, a time when society accentuated work and profit above all else. Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol” and infused the culture’s collective consciousness with images of snow, roast turkey and compulsory family cheer. His story resonated with the poorer members of society, who had left the warmth of country life and migrated to the work in overcrowded, gloomy cities. Dickens and his story of Scrooge and the three Christmas ghosts became so popular, that he is often referred to in England as “the man who invented Christmas.” The quirky twist is that “A Christmas Carol” is actually a re-write based loosely on a short story in Dickens’ first published novel. In the story, a gravedigger, named Grubb, not Scrooge, is determined not to ‘make merry’ at Christmas, and is kidnapped by goblins who terrorize him into changing his ways.
Another long-standing tradition, sending Christmas cards, was begun in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, a British civil servant who was trying to demonstrate how the country’s new Public Post Office could be used more by “commoners.” Members of polite society scoffed at the endeavor, insinuating that Cole mistakenly believed himself to be “too important” to write conventional Christmas letters.
When Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, he introduced the German tradition of indoor Christmas trees. In 1848, the drawing of “The Queen’s Christmas tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the London News, and suddenly every home had one. The same drawing was republished in Philadelphia two years later, but they removed the Queen’s crown and Prince Albert’s mustache to make it look ‘more American.’
There’s one great Christmas tradition, however, that is entirely Lowcountry in origin. It’s the Hilton Head Island Choral Society’s Annual Sounds of Christmas Concert on December 11. This year’s theme, “A Merrie Olde Christmas,” recalls the holiday imagery made pervasive by Charles Dickens, Prince Albert and more. Journey back in time to England with the Choral Society as we celebrate Christmas with the music of legendary British composer, John Rutter. Throughout the HHCS’s 40 years of performances, the centerpiece has always been the annual Christmas concert.
In this purely Lowcountry Christmas tradition, the chorus will perform portions of Handel’s Messiah, recalling the 1975 performance of a group of locals who got together to perform the piece as a Christmas gift to their community. The concert has become a highly anticipated and steadfast holiday tradition in the Lowcountry ever since, and has led to this, the Society’s 40th anniversary year.
The Sounds of Christmas performed by the full chorus accompanied by an orchestra, and features traditional holiday tunes and carols in new and interesting ways. If you want to know what Christmas tradition is all about, don’t miss this performance.
Don’t miss the concert, on Friday, December 11, at First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Pkwy. All seating is reserved and ticket prices range from $20-$35. Tickets may be ordered online or purchased at the door the night of the concert, if available. For more information, call (843) 341-3818, go to hiltonheadchoralsociety.org.
Standing on the outdoor patio of the little pizza restaurant where I work as a server, I watched the sun set on the hill, which overlooked the lazy river below. During the winter, right around 5:30 p.m., it lights up the trendy wood-framed building. The young woman I was talking to shielded her eyes from the sun as I rambled on about my side career as a freelance writer. Her young daughter ignored us as she colored. I told her that I wrote essays about being a socially awkward person and the silly anxieties of my life.
“Waiting tables is kind of a weird job to have if you’re so anxious,” she joked.
I laughed. “Yeah, I mean I like it but it is weird just walking around terrified all the time.”
As if finally summoned, the little girl dropped her crayon and turned around to look at me. Her eyes scrunched up behind her glasses as she looked me in the eyes and asked, “Why are you terrified all the time?”
If I could have punted that tiny girl into the river, I might have. How do you answer that? For a long moment I stood there like a short-circuiting robot trying to emulate human emotion. Laughter shot out from me in strange barks like a corgi having a stroke.
“You know,” I stammered. “Hmmm, well I—umm—wish I knew.”
The little girl quickly turned back around and continued coloring. Crayons are infinitely more appealing than watching a grown man have a breakdown in public. I waved my polite goodbyes and then fled to the comfort of the kitchen, far away from the tiny detective.
Really, I’m just scared that people are going to make fun of me. A pack of high schoolers walking into the restaurant are a pack of wolves to me most nights. The truth is: I don’t carry myself in a very professional manner at work. I’m a big bundle of anxiety and nerves that likes to dance, so things have a tendency to get chaotic really quickly.
I never know what tequilas we have for Margarita Monday or what any alcoholic drink is supposed to taste like. I charge to tables with a big head of steam, giant clap and a voice five decibels too loud for the building, jarring everyone out of their peaceful conversations to look at my buffoonery. My laugh is dorky and I stutter and stammer. Often I abandon coherent sentences for vague guttural noises.
Whenever a new trainee follows me at work, I give them a polite smile and say, “This is how not to interact with humans,” as I proceed to bulldoze my way through the night. But no matter how uncomfortable I get, whether I’m awkwardly abandoning incomplete punchlines to stupid jokes or suggesting that, “salad is gross, but that one has apples so it’s probably the best,” people smile and laugh and have a good time.
It seems very counterintuitive but most times the more uncomfortable I feel, the better job I’m doing. And it’s goofy stuff. I tell new servers who are shy or scared to start leaning into the awkward moments. To set the tone from the beginning that you’re going to be uncomfortable on your own terms, not theirs.
So these days if someone is laughing at me at work it’s because I was twerking in the middle of the restaurant or showing off my wicked plies that I learned in my “Intro to Ballet” class, even if it might rip my five-dollar Walmart jeans.
One time I disrupted a family’s entire meal because their five-year-old and I got into an intense “Down Low, Too Slow” high-five competition. I just couldn’t catch that tiny hand before she pulled it away. Every time I walked by the table, she’d stare deep into my soul and shout, “I’m going to beat you!” Which is eerily reminiscent of schoolyard threats from my middle school bullies. Only she was way more terrifying. Tiny children have a conviction that can’t be matched. Before she left, she drew a picture of me frowning because I kept losing and gave it to me. I hung it above my bed.
I’m not saying that I’m particularly good at my job, but I’ve been able to connect with people in a way that I’ve always felt was way beyond my capabilities. I don’t get a lot of orders wrong, but I have had tables that kept a running tally of the times I apologized for no reason. I believe they stopped at 23. There are weirdos out there who seem to gel with my special brand of chaos.
There are no canned courtesies with me. Everything is live and unscripted with a 95% chance of utter failure. Sometimes I get lucky and people are super stoked when I come roaring in like a linebacker hyping up the defense for a big game. Other times it’s all death stares and kindly asking me to shut up. Sometimes I do a little dance and I’m showered with ones. Other times restraining orders fill the air. It’s a delicate balance.
But ultimately, that one woman out on the patio was completely right. This is a weird job to have for someone so uncomfortable in their skin. I still feel that way a lot. Sure I’ve cried many nights in the walk-in freezer because a group of 22-year-olds laughed at me for fumbling over my words, but I think that little girl would like to know that I’m not “terrified all the time” anymore.
I’m just a little pug that frightens easily. But if you’re all smiles, I’m all smiles. I’ll fetch all your goodies and do a few tricks. This is not a blueprint for success. Please don’t bump and grind in front of a gaggle of grannies. Unless they’re into that. Then grind it up like black pepper! Just know your audience and don’t be afraid to look stupid.
Written by Chase Wilkinson
An inconspicuous monument outside Bluffton Town Hall honors fallen servicemen of World War II and Korea with an engraved plaque under the American flag. The site was once the Bluffton High School, and the memorial originally dedicated to the gymnasium. It lists the names of school alumni who died serving their country, and the date it bears is Nov. 11, 1953—the Segregation Era. Elderly residents of Bluffton could recall some names that were missing; young African-American servicemen who did not attend the all-white school, but nevertheless gave their lives alongside their compatriots. Over a half-century later, with the school gone and the Town Hall taking its place, the absence of those men began to seem an injustice to their memory and their descendants.
Across the street from this monument lives local architect and native Blufftonian Ansley Manuel. For a long time, she had been in the habit of placing flowers on the plaque each Memorial Day, wondering about the names engraved there. However, it wasn’t until Ansley’s curiosity led her to do a quick internet search that she not only discovered the missing names, but embarked on a quest that continues to this day.
“Researching each of the fallen young men has been a fascinating journey,” said Manuel, who spent two years combing census and military records, digging through local newspaper archives, tracing family trees, exploring cemeteries, consulting Bluffton residents who remembered the men, and tracking down living relatives now scattered across the country. “It became a mission to piece together every serviceman’s story and see that they all get recognized,” she said. “Bluffton needs an all-inclusive monument, somewhere people can go on Memorial Day to honor them.”
Manuel formed a task group that included Laura Bush and Jacob Martin, who helped her reach out to the black community, as well as Donna Huffman, president of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. In addition to researching the seven men listed on the original plaque at Town Hall, the group discovered three African-Americans—one from WWII and two from Korea. They also decided to include WWI, and found three Blufftonians whose lives it claimed; and Vietnam, from which they found two.
Jacob Martin, who Manuel consulted for his wealth of living memory, can name many servicemen he grew up with back when Bluffton was just one square mile with a few prominent families. He says the absence of certain individuals on the existing monument was always considered “no big deal,” but he’s glad the new one will feature a complete list.
“There was almost an avalanche of kids who went off to serve,” said Martin, whose three eldest brothers fought in World War II. “And there have been many black Blufftonians who have served. We know the names of every one of them and they have descendants. Now that the whole issue is being resurrected and the new monument is going up, we feel good about everyone being included.”
The proposed monument will be 3 feet wide by 5 feet tall, of steeled granite with black engraved letters, and will face May River Road near the Calhoun Street intersection. This prime location, prominently visible to everyone who passes through town, was offered by State Representative Bill Herbkersman. Further assistance has come from Shellie West of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, who is committed to making the new monument a reality.
“War can sometimes seem like it’s removed from us, and that makes it easier,” said Manuel. “It’s somebody else’s loved one who was lost. But when it’s your own community, that personalizes war. Bluffton lost seven men in World War II alone, and this was such a small town back then—what a sacrifice. Everybody would have felt it. So, to have a monument, even if all that’s listed are the names and wars, it speaks volumes without saying much.”
World War I
Nathaniel Godson (Gadsden, Gadsen or Gadson), Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1892
- Died: 1918 of disease. Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Grew up in the historic Cordray House on the corner of Calhoun Street and Highway 46. His granddaughter Ruth Brown still lives there today.
- Historical detail: The spelling discrepancies in names from this era came about because many people were illiterate, so record keepers had to guess the spellings of their names. Nathaniel was listed as Godson on his draft card, while his grave bears Gadsden, and local descendants presently use Gadson.
- Born: 1896
- Died: Of disease, date unknown. Burial unknown.
- Personal detail: Occupation on his draft card was listed as “boating,” which typically meant working as an oysterman. Green was employed by George Lowden, who had an oyster factory here.
Hardee Clemmons (Clemons), Private Pioneer Infantry US Army
- Born: 1888
- Died: 1918 of disease. Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Grew up with his brothers in an orphanage in Savannah.
- Local family: His descendants are the Cahills of Bluffton, who operate Cahill’s Market and Chicken Kitchen and continue to farm land originally purchased by Hardee’s elder sister with the money she received as his beneficiary
Ira Beach, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1918
- Died: 1945. Killed in Action, Germany.
- On map below:
- First burial overseas, remains later returned to St. Luke’s Methodist, Pritchardville, SC.
- Personal detail: When he left for the European front his young wife was pregnant—Ira never returned to meet his son Ira Beach Jr., now living in Varnville, SC.
James Beach, First Class Seaman US Navy
- Born: 1924
- Died: 1944. Missing in Action after the sinking of USS Robin Goodfellow in the South Atlantic.
- On map below:
- Memorial at St. Luke’s Methodist,
- Pritchardville, SC.
- Local family: Ray Beach (nephew), Bluffton, SC.
Westley Cohen, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1923
- Died: 1944. Non-battle death (cause unknown). Body returned on a ship and buried at Beaufort National Cemetery.
- Local family: Louise Miller Cohen (cousin), Hilton Head, SC.
John W. McCreary, Chief Quartermaster, US Navy
- Born: 1918
- Died: 1944. Missing in Action after the sinking of USS Herring Submarine in Northwest Pacific Ocean.
- Memorialized on Tablets of the Missing, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Historical detail: The wreck of the USS Herring was not discovered until last year by a Russian expedition, which confirmed it sank under Japanese fire after its eighth and most successful mission. The Herring destroyed several Japanese vessels before losing contact and going down with 83 sailors aboard.
- Personal detail: Not long after he was declared missing, his wife gave birth to twin girls.
- Local family: Emmett McCracken (nephew), Bluffton, SC. “Growing up here in Bluffton, it’s not surprising he was attracted to the water and the Navy,” said McCracken of his uncle, recalling that his mother thought very highly of her baby brother. “I didn’t know him that well, but if he was anything like his two sisters he was a very gentle, loving person.”
Earl Simmons, Sergeant US Marine Corp
- Born: 1913
- Died: 1943 of Typhus fever in the South Pacific.
- Buried Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.
- Personal detail: Enlisted after being acquitted for the murder of his stepmother. Returned home and enlisted again after the death of his father in a mysterious fire.
Donald Smith, US Navy Air Corps
- Born: 1920
- Died: 1944. Lost at Sea. Memorialized on Tablets of the Missing at East Coast Memorial, NYC, and at St. Luke’s Methodist in Pritchardville, SC.
Charles Ulmer, III, Private US Army
- Born: 1925
- Died: 1945. Killed in Action, Battle of Rheinberg, Germany.
- Buried in the Netherlands and memorialized at Bluffton Cemetery.
- Local family: Alan Ulmer, Jr. (nephew), Bluffton, SC.
Ferris Brown, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1932
- Died: 1952. Killed in Action during the Battle of Triangle Hill, North Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Local family: Barbara Brown Newton (niece), Bluffton, SC.
Frederick Graves, Corporal US Army
- Born: 1927
- Died: 1951. Killed in Action at Bloody Ridge, Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Historic detail: Posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal, which was sent to his family with a letter of condolence stating that “he went in honor and in the company of patriots.” The letter also expressed “the country’s gratitude and admiration for his valor and devotion.”
- Personal detail: His parents lived in the Graves House on Calhoun Street and operated a local oyster factory employing hundreds of Blufftonians, including young Fred before he went off to war.
Benjamin Wilson, Jr., Corporal US Army
- Born: 1927
- Died: 1951. Killed in Action at Bloody Ridge, Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Died in the same battle as his comrade Frederick Graves, meaning Bluffton lost two of its native sons in just 24 hours.
Alonza W. Phoenix, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1946
- Died: 1968. Non-battle death, Vietnam.
- Buried Beaufort National Cemetery.
- Local family: Ethel Phoenix Brown, Bluffton, SC
Nathaniel D. Mack, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1945
- Died: 1970. Succumbed to injuries from mine explosion in Vietnam.
- Buried in Illinois, USA.
- Personal detail: Because he died after returning home, Nathanial was never recognized at the Washington Memorial. The planned Bluffton Memorial has brought great closure and comfort to his widow, who hopes to come from Illinois to see it dedicated.
To become a reality, the monument needs funding. Anyone interested in donating can visit gofundme.com/bluffton-war-memorial-monument-fund/ or go to Palmetto State Bank in Bluffton and inquire about the account that has been set up. Although the task group did a thorough search, if there is any individual not listed who lived in Bluffton and died while serving in one of the mentioned four wars, please contact Ansley Manuel at (843) 726-3480.
Mark your calendars for noon on Saturday, December 10, and attend a hurricane-sized party at Shelter Cove Community Park! The aptly-named Welcome Home Celebration is from noon-5 p.m., and includes four local bands, food and beverages with Hilton Head Strong, Bluffton Strong, and Welcome Home T-shirts available for purchase. An ice skating rink, provided by the Island Recreation Center, will be available under the pavilion for children of all ages.
The celebration, at first a mere glimmer in Mary Lynn Finn’s eyes, took shape as she pondered the expediency of our community’s evacuation, the grace with which South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, responded; and the speed in which first responders reacted to catastrophic Hurricane Matthew damage, allowing residents to return as soon as possible. Mary Lynn’s partner at Foundation Realty, Carl Schroeder, hopped aboard the Welcome Home Celebration train the moment she mentioned it, and he suggested Shelter Cove as the venue. Soon, Monty Jett and local personality, Daniel Cort, agreed to MC the event and four bands—The Nice Guys, Whitley Deputy, The Chilly Willy Band and headliner, The All Star Recovery Band featuring Lavon Stevens and Friends, agreed to participate. Pastor Carr of Hilton Head’s Central Church has graciously agreed to open the event in prayer.
In heartfelt appreciation to all the brave men and women who made the rapid return to our beloved Lowcountry communities possible, Foundation Realty and participating sponsors invite the public to this FREE event! Bring lawn chairs to join in honoring Hilton Head Island and Bluffton Town Officials, Fire and Rescue Departments, Police and Sheriff’s Departments, State Highway Patrol, utility companies, Hilton Head Hospital and all first responders. After the Welcome Home Celebration, head over to see the Dove Street Festival of Lights. Any proceeds from sale of T-shirts will benefit the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Disaster Relief Fund for victims of Hurricane Matthew. Please contact Mary Lynn Finn at (843) 816-1838 or Carl Schroeder at (843) 683-7999 for information regarding sponsorship of the Welcome Home Celebration.
With the help of more than five local restaurants, the Bluffton Rotary and several volunteers, Kevin Quat, the president of Absolute Island Management, will provide hot turkey dinners (first come, first served) free of cost from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Rotary Building off the Oscar Frazier Park on Christmas Eve for those that aren’t able to enjoy a hot Christmas feast this holiday season.
There will be enough turkeys to feed 200 people that will all be smoked and sliced by Jim N Nicks served by volunteers from the Bluffton community.
“We are planning this out to feed 200 people with four to five ounce of Turkey and three ounces of all of the sides,” said Quat. “This puts over 1.5 pounds of food on each plate. That should be enough for the hungriest of guests.”
Along with the turkeys, there will also be gravy and cranberry sauce by Jim N Nicks, mac and cheese, potatoes and dressing prepared by Mulberry Street Trattoria, as well as fresh French rolls and desserts by The Midnight Bakers.
“These food providers in our community were happy to participate and I’m thrilled to see their eagerness to help make this hot meal vision come to life,” Quat said.
Even though Quat had never organized a meal this big, that didn’t stop him. With previous experience working in the kitchen and with a homeless shelter, and a little extra time on his hands this holiday season, he decided to make this dinner happen.
“I closed my eyes and thought to myself, what could I do of value to others,” Quat explained. “The idea came to me to provide a hot dinner. I didn’t know how it would all shake out but within three days, I had a plan and potential sponsors.”
Even with all of this help, he is still looking for volunteers to help with everything from traffic direction, food organization and distribution to decoration, set up, clean up and marketing.
“We are doing are best to provide joy for the community, but there will be many we are not able to help,” said Quat. “Anyone who wishes to be involved next year or to donate time, funds, experience or love is welcomed to contact me.”
This event would not be possible without the Bluffton Rotary as the key sponsor donating money, volunteers and use of their building, or without all of the restaurants providing food and the help of Ladyfish Productions and Absolute Island Management, Inc. for promotion and marketing.
“I knew it would be a large undertaking with a lot of moving parts, but I felt strongly about doing this and I knew we could noodle any problems or challenges that came up,” said Quat. “I’m excited to see the joy of people’s face as they grab their food. Whether they stay and eat or take it to go, knowing that people will have a full tummy of a truly gourmet tasty dinner and will experience the joy and magic of the holidays is what I am most excited about.”
For more information about volunteering or donations, contact Kevin Quat at (843) 290-6463.
By Gene Cashman
Handel’s Hallelujah and Watt’s Joy extinguished the glow of the Christmas Eve candlelight service three minutes before seven o’clock. I gave a nod to my wife, “let’s roll; we’re responsible for the hors d’oeuvres.”
As family protocol dictated, the first to maneuver the crush of the holiday crowd exiting the service was to beat a path home to light the fire and turn on the oven. Failure to move with the nimbleness of an Indycar crew could have ruinous effects on dinner preparation. So, as soon as the preacher uttered amen, the family would split in a dozen directions. The logistics of the exit were almost always complicated by the nature of the arrival. Usually, driving age members of the family arrived in the order they got ready, bringing in tow any aptly dressed niece or nephew they could grab. Not unlike a paratrooper standing in the doorway preparing to make a jump, as soon as that tie and coat were on you were expected to “Go! Go! Go!” Seats had to be saved. There was great unspoken pressure to ensure a whole row was staked out so the family could sit together. This meant that the family was parked, widely dispersed, in no fewer than five cars. It wasn’t uncommon to not know if one were first or last to leave or to realize as the crowd thinned that you’d been left altogether. Despite the appearance of chaos and drama, there was good reason to rush to worship together and then back to my parents place to eat; what awaited you when you arrived was a place to belong.
The assurance of the season filled the hallway from the garage to my mother’s kitchen. The aroma of warm bread, butter and garlic, mulling spices and rosemary drew me forward eliciting both fond memory and great expectation. An embrace from my mother, a hug from my father and the sheer state of activity clearly indicated that this year my car was the last to arrive from church. “How long until the meat is done,” I asked my father as he made a roux for the gravy. “It’s at rest. I turned the oven off,” he replied proudly. “Should be ready when we are. Let’s make a toast and stoke that fire.”
There are various traditions in my family spanning the whole of a calendar year, none more standard yet eloquently simple as Christmas Eve. As we entered the den, the rest of the family, still dressed to the nines, lounged about as if in pajamas. Warmly snuggled up by fire and the glow of twinkle lights on the tree, the cousins stuffed their faces with Hershey Kisses wrapped in green and red foil. The adult children held glasses of wine, and reminisced about funny stories from years past. I was overcome by how good a feeling it is to belong to something. “Have you been good boys and girls this year?” my father interrupted. Roaring to form with his best Santa voice he whipped the kids into a frenzy of expectation. “What do you have for us,” called out cousin Mac. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” cried young Ellie with excitement, “presents, presents!” As it was every year his wise reply came at the peak of excitement, “well then, we’ll just have to wait and see what the morning brings,” drawing, of course, boos and hisses from the children.
The clink of a glass indicated a transition. “It’s getting cold,” my mother reminded her brood from the dining room, “and children, remember the tide and Santa waits on no man, woman or child.” Each year my mother prepared a table, festive and shining with a generation’s worth of silver and linen, painted ceramics and crystal ornamentation. Even with the aged fragility of the arrangement it welcomed all to its bounty gladly and without pretension, even the youngest diner. “I love this meal,” exclaimed my sisters in unison. “I never eat this meal except at Christmas,” replied Cousin Robert. The meal always consisted of beef tenderloin, green beans, mashed potatoes and of course gobs of buttery bread. My family locked hands to give thanks allowing joyful fellowship to unfold from there. The meal’s grand finale, the event that signaled the coming long winter’s nap, was the ice cream ball contest. “Each year,” my mother reminisced, “my own mother and grandmother would roll ice cream into a ball and stick a candle in the middle.” The children watched closely as the ice cream treats were distributed to their plate. “And as tradition goes, the last diner to eat all the ice cream with their candle still lit wins the first stocking of the Christmas morn.”
This, of course set off competition and friendly argument over who won well into the after dinner coffee conversation, until the grandfather clock dutifully called the night to an end at a quarter of ten. “The most compliant night of the year,” I proclaimed aloud, “for the kids to make it into bed.” My wife smiled and whispered under her breath, “and good thing too because we still have a lot to do!” One by one strewn coats were found and children rustled into warmed cars to be whisked home for bed. As I walked through the den to find a lost shoe I took pause at the family pictures on the mantle to appreciate a place to belong, a family to love. The fire still glowed, the tree shone, the chairs were empty but the new memory fresh. “Thank you mom and dad,” I called out as I walked through the room, “and help me never forget to pay it forward. Merry Christmas!”
Manners matter whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting.
With its emerald greens, spectacular weather and world-class courses, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island are known far and wide as a mecca for golfers.
However, there are a number of written and unwritten rules of golf etiquette that every player should know.
Five Minutes – This is how much time a player has to search for a ball. If time is up and the ball hasn’t been located, the player must declare the ball lost and follow the standard rules governing lost balls.
Free Drop – A free drop offers relief from a condition which carries no penalty. For instance, a player may be allowed a free drop away from a young sapling to avoid damaging the tree. The player also is entitled to a free drop from areas that are under repair.
Honor – Having the “honor” entitles a player to tee off first in a group. It is usually determined by the golfer with the lowest score on the previous hole. On the first tee, where there is no previous score to go by, the honor is decided either by a handicap order (lower handicap usually tees off first) or by the flip of a coin.
Play Through – If any group fails to keep up with the general pace of play, loses ground on the group ahead or loses a ball, then the group behind should be invited to “play through.” Please note that this is not merely a common courtesy. A player can actually be penalized for repeated slow play.
Unplayable Lie – Any number of situations on the golf course, the important point being that the player is the sole judge of whether a ball is unplayable. There are several relief options available, under penalty, once the player has declared the ball unplayable.
Remember that common courtesy is a virtue on the green, whether you’re teeing off, driving or putting. Always be considerate of other golfers. After all, you’re all trying to accomplish the same goal—to master a game that is ever changing, elusive and, above all, fun.
Late in the evening about sundown / High on the hill and above the town / Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord how it would ring / You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing
—“Uncle Pen” by Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys
Fiddle music is something near and dear to my heart. I guess we all kind of think of fiddle music as an Irish thing. Like a little leprechaun dancing around with a fiddle and…stop! No! NOO! NOOO!
Where did fiddling originate? Did some type of fiddle music start in Ireland? Sure. Maybe. Records show us an Italian made the first “fiddle” a few hundred years ago. And, yes, it was a part of Irish Traditional music. But what we now call fiddle music, to me anyhow, is a combo of Celtic melody mixed with Appalachian harmony and African American rhythm and blues sensibilities. What that means is “fiddle music” is an American thing.
Now, all we have to do is crown the king of fiddle music and we’re done. Easy peasy, nice and squeezy, right? WRONG.
Let’s do some diggin’ around into its history (which has nothing to do with fiddlin’ around).
In the early 30s and 40s of the last century, we began to see rural/urban groups poppin’ up to play dances. No amplification, of course. What these bands did typically have was a fiddle, washtub bass (or real upright or doghouse bass, as they sometimes called ‘em) and other assorted instruments to flesh out a band—guitar, banjo, harmonica, Jew’s harp, jug…stuff you found before Buddy Holly and Elvis were around.
These groups played the music typically heard at dances. I have to mention Bob Wills [known as the King of Western Swing], of course, but even Bob’s big groups usually had steel guitar and drums. Check out Bob on YouTube—he was a wacky genius-type guy who fiddled, but typically hired better fiddlers than himself. He would then prance around the stage and kind of observe his band play his music.
Kinda like Beyonce.
Early fiddlers prior to Bob showed up for dances with maybe a banjo player or guitar player to back them up. These instruments could be carried where even a horse couldn’t go, and typically the band got fed, and possibly paid. This later led to square dance bands, but most of us only know of “Cotton Eyed Joe” as square dance/hip hop fare. I must give high praise to Bill Monroe who wrote a song called “Uncle Pen” about his uncle who played such dances. To me, this is true fiddle music, not John Denver (sorry). Just like Chuck Berry might be the originator of rock ‘n’ roll, the rough-hewn originators of a musical style rarely get the credit. No, I’m not callin’ Chuck a schmuck. But people call Elvis the King and this I will argue with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
So, where did fiddle music truly originate? We may never know, but I do know this much: in John Hartford, we lost our last true keeper of the flame, as far as compiling and playing fiddle tunes for audiences around the world is concerned. Sure, you can go up to the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Virginia, and hear fiddle tunes, or you may even run into local fiddle tune master, Mick Ayres, around the area, but John, to me, made the greatest fiddle albums in the last 50 years because they had little explanations of where he got the tunes, from whom and so forth. “The Speed of the Old Long Bow” and “Wild Hog in the Red Brush” are great and, yes, they’re on YouTube.
In closing, I just wanna say I think any fiddle music is great, whether it’s “Paper In Fire” by Mellencamp or tunes by Dropkick Murphys. But, if you really want to get down to the Nitty Gritty (pun intended), you must listen to Bill’s, John’s and The Watson Family’s recordings to hear the fiddle in its natural habitat. Just like a whippoorwill is hard to spot in the wild, so is the fiddle untouched by modern accroutrements and production.
Fiddle music is king! Long live the old long bow!
P.S. I wrote all of this from memory, so there.
P.P.S. Add rosin only when needed.
Written by Jevon Daly.
We all reach an age where we try so hard to remember and become desperate not to forget; details lost in a sea of memory washed out by distractions and life changes. Voices and minds that could have verified truth long gone, taking with them facts and light, leaving the remains slightly darkened and dampened with time. Years and faces blend together into hard clay that only softens, perhaps, when a familiar tune plays or a scrap of picture tumbles forth a memory like a sudden landslide.
My childhood is a kaleidoscope of such remembrances, some more real than others, and not a single one too certain to have happened as I recall. I have one loose collection of memories about Daufuskie and Gullah culture that swirls in my head, sweet smelling as fresh tobacco when up close, but the specifics as elusive as the smoke that dissipates so quickly.
The time of year is inconsequential, but I do recall it was green and cool, the air was fresh. Perhaps it was springtime. As a family, we used to go to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day; perhaps it was on one of these trips. There is pictorial proof to support my memory; photographs reminiscent of amateur photography in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Children smiling on command, squinting into the sun and lined up along a parade route, women in folding chairs smiling genuinely as they paused in conversation to look.
I recall what a boy would find remarkable and would describe it as a dump truck. In reality, it was my grandfather’s two-ton construction truck, filled with sand. He would park it along the parade route for me and my cousin Shelby to play in during civic parades. He owned a construction company that renovated many of the buildings in old Savannah. Perhaps he parked it along that route to mark his territory or to remind prominent folk he mattered. Maybe it was just for fun. Regardless, that truck is central to many recollections in my mind’s eye. I also remember it on Oyster Street full of debris from what I believe to have been an enormous fallen oak; perhaps the same one that fell on my room, as I am told, as I slept as an infant.
In other memories, I recall two older black men with kindness in their eyes, their denim work pants and khaki shirts, broad smiles and kind words to me, clamoring in and out of it working on some project. These are boyhood memories of things boys notice: trucks and men working.
In this mix of memories during that spring-like season, I am reminded of another old two-ton truck. I was in the bed of it, but not amongst sand and not along a parade route. I was on a wooden bench and so was my grandmother, my father, mother and sisters. I see their faces, the curly red hair of my twin sisters, my mother’s hair pulled back tight in a ponytail. We rolled along a dirt road from a dock. My grandmother’s wide framed glasses and dress, her cigarette case and the smell of her hairspray come to mind. I was in her lap, or my mother’s; either way a woman pointed out things of significance to me as we rode.
I recall passing the beach where in the early summer we would picnic and find horseshoe crabs. We looked out over tall grass; there were pine trees and palmettos. Horses were among the trees and the green grass; perhaps three or four. We bumped along as a man’s voice that I don’t recall talked to us, probably explaining what we were seeing. I remember chickens scurrying about as the truck slowed and we rolled into a little village. A large woman, with a wide and happy face came to the back of the truck and helped us out. We walked the village. The resounding memory being the ride in that two-ton truck and the happy and kind voices of people we met in that little place.
What this memory actually represents is a tour of Daufuskie Island and presumably a Gullah community, a recollection of Marsh Tacky horses and Bloody Point beach. It’s certainly an early memory, but one that has been consistent to me over the years. While I a