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Girls will be girls

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

Growing up miles from what most consider civilization, time was often measured by the oddity of games played. Fortunately free of the restraints of purchased toys or threats of nefarious human interaction, games were created out of necessity governed only by imagination and hours of daylight.

Having no knowledge of our misfortune or lack of primary-colored plastic fun-makers, our surroundings became our game board and siblings our tribe. Blissfully ignorant of our simple upbringing, our days were full of magnificent, untainted adventure.

Facing the grandest of threats emerging in the Mississippi sun without lathering our freckled skin in sun-blocking salve, somehow we mustered the courage to brave Mother Natures matrix of mayhem. The fields were our summer school and the trees our playground.

Even at the young age of 7, I knew to prepare a first-aid kit before venturing into the wild blue yonder. The necessities were carefully considered and organized methodically in our trusted hand-painted coffee cans. Life-saving tools were needed, such as rusted fishing hooks, soon-to-sour mayonnaise slathered atop a tomato sandwich, blood-stopping, limb-saving duct tape and lastly, life-saving firecrackers, especially the kind that were clearly labeled dangerous.

Occasionally we would take extra precaution and grab one of Daddy’s pocket knives.

Girls will be girls, I suppose.

Each day began just after the sun made her appearance and ended with porch lights signaling the threat of missing dinner. No scheduled play dates, no lessons in Mandarin or cultivating discussion on art. Our deficiency became our greatest blessing.

Our dirty feet, briar-chastised hands and thorn-laden hair wandered throughout the woods fighting dragons, slaying demons and building fortresses amongst the pines. There wasn’t much talk of princess gowns or being rescued. There was epic battles waged as we learned to win, to lose and to get along.

Creatures were captured, healed and brought home; some went willingly while others taught us the complexity of cause and effect. Jeans were ripped, shirts were stained and character was sewn into each of us carefully covering all scrapes and bruises. As storms rolled in, cues were given and respected. When Momma honked the old truck horn, somebody’s bottom was about to meet a certain displeasure.

Girls will be girls, I suppose.

We had no idea we were supposed to behave. We had no idea how we were supposed to behave. We were too busy living, learning and learning to let live. We became capable by being country and confident by not being confined.

Not all little girls crave the adventures of the great outdoors, but not all crave the sweetly decorated indoors either. Now, raising a dragon slayer of my very own, I hope I am able to let her seek out adventure, run through a few briars and wage battles atop river banks.

The world has changed, but childhood remains. My porch light will shine and my dirt-familiar feet will run after her if needed.

One thing I know for sure is girls will be girls, when they are given the opportunity.

Women Marines simply don’t measure up to men

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

This battle will probably not be fit in beside “the halls of Montezuma” and “the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps Hymn, but it is another legend in the remarkable history of the United States Marine Corps.

From the onset of his presidency, President Obama has called for all units in the U.S. military — including training, the infantry and special forces — to be gender-neutral, which in the contemporary lexicon means not just men and women, but transsexuals too. The White House has passed that word down in no uncertain terms through its secretaries of defense.

In 2013, Secretary Leon Panetta ended the restriction that prevented women from filling nearly 200,000 combat military jobs, and called for a quota of women in the military. But that was nothing compared to the present secretary, Ash Carter, who is clearing the way for transgender troops.

But seven-and-a-half years into his eight-year presidency, in spite of the commander in chief’s ideologically-based commitment, the training of Marines is not yet integrated, nor are the Marine Corps’ combat forces.

Legendarily successful fighters on the plains of war to be sure, the Marines are an equally tough and legendary adversary in the halls of Congress and, as several presidents have learned at the White House.

Seeking to grapple with how to implement the women-in-the-infantry order, the Marine Corps ordered a “Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force” study that was conducted from July 2014 to July 2015. The study tracked all-male units and co-ed units doing what a Marine Corps infantry battalion reinforced by a battalion landing team might be expected to do in combat situations.

To the great disappointment of the White House, the study found that carrying the heavy packs that Marines in combat situations must carry caused the women in the study to suffer more occupational injuries than the men; that the co-ed units accomplished their tasks more slowly as a result of “moving under load”; and in what is most central to their mission, the co-ed units were less able to “achieve timely effects on target” than their all-male counterparts.

An example of a task that women Marines accomplished more slowly than their male counterparts was the dragging to safety of a wounded and incapacitated 200-pound Marine.

Nonetheless, the results of the study were attacked by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus — on orders from a relentless White House no doubt — and the results of the study have been ordered reviewed. That review is due in by the end of this month.

On the co-ed boot camp front, on Jan. 1 Malbus ordered the Marine Corps to develop a plan for making the Marine Corps’ boot camp co-educational. No women are trained at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. All are trained at Parris Island. The order would have made both facilities co-ed.

In the immediate aftermath of his having received Malbus’ order, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller invited the secretary to Parris Island so that he could see firsthand how men and women were being trained there.

The meeting occurred in mid-January, and people familiar with how it went say that the secretary had his mind changed when he saw the contrast between how the men handled the pugil sticks and how their female counterparts did so. It is easy to imagine, those familiar with the exercise say, male recruits in the exercise injuring female recruits, and that while helmets are worn in the training, it would take a lot more than helmets to prevent such injuries. Pugil stick training is the equivalent of bayonet training, where instead of bayonets a padded stick is used.

After visiting Parris Island, the secretary rescinded his order saying, “The way it’s done now sets both men and women up for greater success.”

But those who believe integrated training at the Marine Corps has been put to rest would be mistaken. They should be reminded that the secretary also said, “It made sense to me to do it in a more deliberate way.”

Time will tell what exactly that means. But time is running out for the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, on requiring that combat units become integrated, the commandant has developed a merit-based approach that is based on the premise that the Marines will — blind to sexual identity — produce the most “combat-effective force by capitalizing on the knowledge, skills, abilities, demonstrated performance and full potential of every Marine.”

Hats off to mermaids

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Somewhere in the deep sea is a mermaid with a beautiful hat collection. I know because her hats are the ones that I have lost through the years while riding on boats.

Most of them are baseball caps, but there are others too. There have been straw hats, woolen hats, floppy beach hats and also some visors.

These hats were not given to the mermaid on purpose. They just seem to take off when I am out on the water. I have used straps and catches and all kinds of clasps to try to keep the hats connected to me. I even tried using those little mitten clips that mothers use to connect their child’s winter mittens to the coat. But any mother who has greeted a gloveless child at the door will tell you that even those are not fool-proof.

My spouse has turned our little center console boat around numerous times as I scream, “Hat overboard!” It’s then that I have to leap for my boat hook in an attempt to sweep up my sinking hat. But I swear, there are dolphins swimming around just waiting to scoop up my latest contribution and deliver it to the new owner. Nine times out of 10, the hat is just gone.

There was one yellow Pier One hat that I had for years. I tried not to wear it on the boat so I would not lose it. But even that one took off one day just as I was reaching into the cooler to grab a bottle of water. A puff of wind snatched it off my head and it was gone.

There was also a beautiful straw sunhat I wore one day when my spouse said we were just going on a leisurely ride and would not be going fast. It wasn’t his fault that a couple of jet-skiers went flying by, pushing up some waves and me. You guessed it. Bye-bye cute sunhat!

But I think I have discovered a solution for my hat problem. It came to me when I retrieved my two dogs from the groomer. They had cute little scarves tied around their necks that looked like babushkas (short headscarves). So if my spouse will stop laughing at me, I think I might be wearing one the next time we go out boating. Sorry Little Mermaid.

Olga the Owl and her outstanding efforts

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Several years ago, I walked into my kitchen after a long day at work only to find an 18-inch owl perched on the kitchen counter. Fortunately, it was not real.

The owl sitting there was a solar-powered replica made to scare away birds. My spouse sat there with a flashlight shining on the owl’s head as I watched it spin around.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked amazed. I could not believe that he had been hoodwinked into buying something this bizarre.

“You just wait,” he assured me. “This is going to work!” He was tired of the mess the birds were making on our dock and wanted to do something different. This was different.

Well, as it turned out, the owl was no ordinary owl. It was made out of recycled materials and had been sculpted and hand painted to look like a Great Horned Owl — a fearsome looking creature. And there, on the top of its head, was a small solar panel set to rotate the head around every two minutes. And if for some reason there was no sunlight, a gentle breeze could still rotate the owl’s head.

My husband ignored my pessimistic comments and prepared the owl for our dock. First, he attached the owl to a piece of plywood. Then, he tied the board to a piling on our dock. The next day when I got home, he beckoned me down to the water’s edge. We sat there on our chairs watching as the owl’s head spun around every few minutes. And, lo and behold, there across the creek, sitting in the trees, were the birds watching the owl; as if waiting for it to leave. But, she stayed on that dock until we moved here two years ago.

It has been more than five years since Olga the Owl (my name for her) has been with us. The dock stayed clean all those years at our home in Maryland and we now have her perched on our back porch in the Lowcountry. When company comes to visit, they always take a second look at her and I tell the story about how she came to us, and how I had to eat my disbelieving words spoken at our first encounter. Olga is still spinning her head and doing her job.

Olga the Owl
Olga the Owl

Penny tax measures find meager support

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/The Bluffton News/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

Before 2016’s penny sales tax questions are even on the ballot both look DOA with the voters.

The school district’s ask looks preliminarily like it will be for $282 million over ten years while the county will be seeking about $120 million over four years. Neither list will be final for another month or so.

But the problem is neither group seems to care much whether their measure passes. County Council members say things like “Our approach is to let the voters decide.” Or, “Well this is the list the committee came up with.” Or, “Some of this list is pure pork.” While some School Board members say things like, “Nobody’s going to vote for it because nobody trusts the Superintendent.”

Why bother? Why encourage the voters to get into the habit of voting these measures down? If it’s a dud, it’s not too late to jettison the whole program.

A major – but certainly not the only – culprit is Hilton Head Island. Once Beaufort County’s financial powerhouse, its position as such is weakening. But its leadership speaks more stridently than ever.

For the county’s penny sales tax measure Hilton Head proposed – among other improvements – an “Arts, Entertainment & Cultural Campus” for $6.2 million. But there’s been no study made nor plan developed for where this campus would go, what would be there, or how it would operate. (The Town’s initial proposed penny sales tax number was $30 million for this mysterious facility which some say could cost more than twice that.) Citing unknown annual operating costs and whether the events at the campus could cover them, and concerns about more traffic, the Hilton Head Island-based opponents of the proposal have seemed to outnumber its supporters. But the Town’s leadership has pressed on.

Sources: Beaufort County and the Town of Hilton Head Island Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports
Sources: Beaufort County and the Town of Hilton Head Island Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports

Maybe we should be grateful Hilton Head didn’t want $6 million for the “Iron Man” triathlon that would shut down U.S. 278 and paralyze the town. That was the proposal that started the dust-up between the Mayor and the Sheriff that was the subject of last week’s column here.

Then after the column ran, the Sheriff said after this budget season he won’t negotiate with Hilton Head over their law enforcement-related reimbursement to the county any more. Next year, he says, he’ll leave that chore to the County Council.

The Sheriff’s right to do so. As the county is publicly giving him his budget with one hand, they quietly get him by the throat with their other and make him give Hilton Head more … and more … and more. It’s been that maneuver, as I wrote last week, that has enabled Hilton Head to get the sweetheart deal of the century from the Sheriff’s Office such that the Town can devote just 9 percent of their general fund to law enforcement while the other municipalities spend between 56 and 66 percent of their general fund dollars on law enforcement.

Now, with the decline of Hilton Head’s financial preeminence the days of that charade appear finally to be coming to an end.

If Hilton Head’s gone rogue, Beaufort’s approach is just cynical. Once again in an effort to appear to give Mossy Oaks something when in fact they are giving nothing, the City Council is dangling “Southside Park improvements” before the Mossy Oaks voters. But, tellingly, they coupled that ask with “Waterfront Park and Marina improvements” and put all that down on the list for $4 million which is approximately the cost of the day dock expanded to the park promenade and some needed marina and mooring field improvements.

Southside’s still exactly where it’s been for eight years: way down the list. First the mayor tried to sell Mossy Oaks’ 18+ acre park to a real estate developer. When that idea flopped he decided someone should plow it up and farm it. No kidding. Finally the city put in some fences for dog runs, and one lonesome bench. If you go, take a chair … and your snake-boots. The most beautiful and unheralded oak grove in northern Beaufort County that dominates the park on its Waddell Road side, hasn’t been either burned or bush hogged in recent memory.

Then there’s the false premise that underlies the school district’s proposed list. With excess capacity north of the Broad River why are we proposing to build new schools south of the Broad? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to readjust the districts? That’s what school districts everywhere else do … except when there is a sacrosanct line, which there is apparently here. Where is it written that children who live south of the Broad may not attend schools that are located north of the Broad? But that is the apparent policy upon which the district’s preliminary proposed projects list is predicated.

Or is it, as School Board Member Michael Rivers likes to say, “They draw that line because Bluffton wants us to help pay to build their schools just so in a decade they can break the county school system in half at the Broad River, and then with Hilton Head they go their own way.”

There are of course always detractors for any ballot measure. The odd thing about this year is, at least so far there are no cheerleaders.

Well there’s one, sort of. The book’s author likes the book. Asking for their support for his committee’s list, County Sales Tax Commission Chairman Mike Sutton told the county council, “I think it’s a very good package to offer the public for their support.”

A reporter, publisher, ghostwriter and author, Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at

What do we do with doubt?

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Brittney Hiller

It’s time to punch doubt right in the kisser…

But, then again…What good would that do?

Punching doubt in the face sounds like a fun idea, especially when you can head to a local store and purchase a blow up clown or doll (your choice) and name it doubt and punch away…

But, I digress.

Doubt is not an evildoer nor is it something we should be ashamed of. Typically, doubt shows up as something that we have within us that we think we need to “get rid of.” However, what if we created a simple relationship to doubt that will help us have a better understanding and allow us to bust through it, coming out on the other end clean and content?

Here are my 2 Doubt Busting Moves for you:

When in Doubt, Let it out.

Seriously, let it out – get out your pen and paper and write down, what are your doubts surrounding? New job? Leaving old job? Relationship woes? Health concerns?

Write it all down – this is the first step to letting doubt, OUT.

Once you have it all written…

FACE IT Head On.

Now it is all out there – your doubt is smiling up at you from your glittery (or recycled paper) themed notebook and it is telling you everything you are missing out on because of doubt.

The work begins with facing doubt head on.

Here’s one more trick for you from my tool box that includes more writing. YES, more writing – but this time it’s FUN. Look at each one of your doubts and write down next to each one, the outcome you would LOVE to see occur; instead of what doubt already shows you.

How fun is that? It’s like you are writing a script of your very own play! {Hint, ’cause you are!}

Relationship woes? How would you LOVE to see that relationship actually look or pan out? Write it.

Job seems lacking? How would you LOVE to experience your job on a day-to-day basis? Write it down, viola’!

Each time you write it down you are giving a shiny NEW perspective to what doubt had seemed to fog up.

Isn’t that so fun?!

Here’s the juicy part – email me ONE doubt you busted (once it’s done) and share with me how you now feel after this exercise. I am so excited for your doubt busting journey and look forward to hearing from you.

The spring chickens and the 16-point buck

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

Like many Baby Boomers, my spouse and I still think of ourselves as spring chickens. Our brains say one thing, unfortunately, our bodies say something else. This became evident to us on a recent trip returning home to Beaufort. We left around 1:00 in the afternoon and knew that it would be about an eleven- hour drive. Of course, the journey would have to include frequent rest stops for our two dogs. Since we had not done a drive quite that long for a while, we agreed early on that we would alternate driving every two hours in order for the driver to rest between shifts. But as the day went on and the sun started to go down, we recognized that we were going to have to alter that plan and make it one hour shifts. The spring chickens were starting to slow down. Finally, we got to the exit for Beaufort off I-95. And if you are familiar with the highway from I-95 to Lady’s Island, then you know it is mostly a long stretch of emptiness except for downtown. Even the Marine Corp Air Station is dark.

Well, I sat there drinking my coffee and my husband reached for his coke when it happened. There in the middle of our lane stood a 16- point buck looking like the proverbial deer in headlights. (My spouse argues this point saying it was just a big deer.)

“GLUB, glub, glub” I yelled choking on my coffee as my spouse jerked the wheel into the suicide lane completely missing the animal. Afterwards with the adrenaline still soaring through our veins and trying to catch our breaths, my husband asked.

“Why didn’t you say deer?” I responded, “I never call you dear.” We both laughed letting the tension ease out of our bodies. I personally thought that my “Glub, glub, glub” was appropriate for that moment considering my startled condition. We agreed that the encounter had woken us up sufficiently to finish our journey home. But the spring chickens were definitely dragging the following day and we both acknowledged that we had been lucky the night before. Despite what our brains tell us, we are not spring chickens anymore. Eleven hour journeys are too long for us and that 16-point Buck just lucked out that night. Lesson Learned.

On the water

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

Loading my most precious cargo into our boat heading out for a day of all that Beaufort has to offer the irony wasn’t lost, even on me. What was once a simple decision has now become an art form in essential packing, snack creating and strategic sunscreen application. As her chubby little feet hurriedly scamper down the dock and her eyes widen with anticipation of even a glimpse of a dolphin, I can’t help but think back.

I would be hard pressed to find one salty soul that was without an ‘on the water’ story. Impossible it seems for life to escape moments lent and memories created by our fascination with being where the wild things are. The pull is unmistakable as we gaze out into the remarkable canvas that is Beaufort, South Carolina. Perhaps human nature is to go where we aren’t naturally suited, to tame and to claim anything that fails to require our power, our attention or our control. Regardless, every single one of us has a story that began, enhanced or ended on the water.

Somewhere around ten years ago my story began. Weary from all work and no play, suffering from being new in a tightly knit town, I received an invitation to celebrate Memorial Day on the water. Having no plans and no tan, I failed to see benefit in declining. It was as if I was seeing my new town for the very first time. How did I not know that the sun danced in silver shoes across the meandering river? How had I been blind to the vast shades of green climbing up and down the sea grass? How had I lived in this treasure by the sea, never seeing her crown jewel?

Worries lessened as land distanced itself along with the hustle of life created for the hustle itself. My senses delighted in the most stunning displays of art. It was that day I went from moving to Beaufort to actually living in Beaufort. My feet sank in the sand, my hair whipped in the wind and my address was cemented in the place that water meets land. Beaufort became home.

While being in awe of Mother Nature boasting her most intricate quilt of sand and sea, another salty soul appeared. With careless hair and curious glare, a barefoot, sun drenched fisherman made his introduction. Little did I know my “on the water story” would lead to chubby feet scampering down a dock. There is no escaping our fascination and fondness of all that lies beyond and below. Beaufort is the perfect place for story beginnings as the water flows through them like chapters towards an end. It is impossible to ignore the effect of such a phenomenon. We are surrounded by it, intrigued by it and often submerged in its effect, one way or the other.

As the days lengthen and the hems shorten, may you too, find yourself on the water. Whether at the beach, a weather worn dock or from the bow of a boat, let the silver shoes dance and the seagrass bend. Fly your flags high as we remember those that sacrificed so that our toes can dangle, our skin can warm and our stories can continue on the water. Happy Memorial Day Beaufort, South Carolina.

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, Real Estate Broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.

Cherimie with her daughter, Mary Eleanor.
Cherimie with her daughter, Mary Eleanor

The obscure study that may finally bring peace

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/The Bluffton News/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

Elected officials acting on our behalves, and indeed all of us, should be careful what we wish for.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s recent decision to hire a consultant to look into whether the town is getting what it is paying for from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department will, my sources say, show that the town is getting a great deal. Why? Because the town reimburses the county for the time deputies who work Hilton Head, including a couple of detectives, spend on the job. But almost all their back-up from headquarters comes for free.

“Free,” is an odd word here. Nothing in law enforcement is free, of course. “Free” in this context just means the dollars Hilton Head does not pay for command, human resources, law enforcement dispatch, administration, training and re-training, records management, and the 35 other services described in the Town’s “’Exhibit C’ updated 4/5/16” that appears on the Town’s website.

These are the services that keep deputies on the road and that don’t come out of the Town’s budget. These are the services that come from the Sheriff’s budget that is provided him by Beaufort County. These are law enforcement services that help make Hilton Head Island a safer place that are paid for by all of us.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 5.53.29 PM

That these “hidden” costs are paid for by all the county’s residents is why, as the graphic shows, the Town of Hilton Head Island can allocate only 9 percent of its general fund budget to law enforcement when the other Beaufort County municipalities are spending a quarter to a third of their general funds on trying to keep their areas of jurisdiction safe.

How can that be? It is because the police departments in the other towns – Beaufort, Bluffton, Port Royal – pay many of these costs themselves. That is the irritating inequity.

A close and fair-minded look at this relationship by Hilton Head’s consultant, instead of providing fodder for the Town in their upcoming negotiation with the county, may very well provide instead a road map for what the other Beaufort County municipalities should be asking for from the county in order for them to get the same bennies Hilton Head is getting.

Let’s not forget – whatever it shows – the consultant’s report will have been paid for with public monies and will therefore be available to the public when it is in its final form under the Freedom of Information laws. The report will surely make very interesting reading for the city manager in Beaufort and the town managers and their finance chiefs in Bluffton and in Port Royal.

This is not to say the other municipalities aren’t getting other bennies. About half the calls in the Beaufort city limits on Lady’s Island, I am told, are answered by Sheriff’s deputies. Once a trickle, with new annexations – and a new Walmart coming! – the numbers of these calls for service are sure to increase.

Beaufort’s Hwy. 170 Walmart, for example, accounted for 8 percent of the non-traffic crimes reported in Beaufort in 2014, the most recent period for which statistics are available. Hilton Head’s Walmart accounted for 4 percent of the 2014 non-traffic crimes in that jurisdiction.

Here’s an example of where the Hilton Head study could help Beaufort. Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy who has just finally staffed his office back up to its 2008 levels is dealing with a lot more calls for service than he did in 2008, many of them on Lady’s Island. Citing the favorable terms under which Hilton Head receives county law enforcement support, Chief Clancy could effectively argue that Sheriff’s deputies should be picking up the other half of the calls for service on Lady’s Island. Being free of Lady’s Island would free up city police officers to get back to what they were doing in 2008 and which it is badly needed that they be able to do now: get out of their cruisers and walk beats in the Northwest Quadrant … and on Bay Street.

Bluffton could make the same argument for the New River area, and Port Royal could say the same about the areas in Shell Point and the Paris Island Gateway area that are now within the Town of Port Royal.

Some Town of Hilton Head Island-watchers say that what the study’s all about is Hilton Head’s legitimate wish finally to run their own law enforcement show. And that may be exactly what the result of the study is, although if the study is done fairly that end will likely not be achieved in the way Hilton Head’s leadership anticipated.

The other municipalities have been saying for 25 years that Hilton Head gets a sweetheart deal on law enforcement. If it is fairly done, the fine print in the consultant’s report, when it is analyzed by the other managers and their finance people, will show the sweetheart deal. Then the other managers – pressured by their elected officials – will want the Sheriff to match for them what Hilton Head’s getting. This will put pressure on Beaufort County – and the Sheriff – to make Hilton Head pay their fair share.

And those tough negotiations will very likely provide the impetus for prompting the Town Council to do what many – and now the new mayor too – have wanted to do for the past 20 years: set up their own police department.

When that step is finally achieved the inequities – perceived, real, alleged and denied – and the irritation they cause will finally end. The playing field will finally be level. Then, as with the end of the bygone annexation wars, the governments will all get along a little better.

And that will be good for all of us.

A reporter, publisher, ghostwriter and author, Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at


in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

The Island News recently featured a story about the Beaufort History Museum’s tea party celebrating strong Lowcountry women – G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised in the South) who changed history. After reading the article, I realized that I am not a member of the G.R.I.T.S. Instead I am a member of the G.R.I.N.S. – Girls Raised in the Northern States; and there are distinct differences in the two groups.

First, G.R.I.T.S. tend to be much softer than we G.R.I.N.S. Maybe the difference is the rural nature of the south versus the populated cities of the north. When you are here in the Lowcountry, with the sounds of birds and frogs around you and it just not necessary to be loud and boisterous. However, when you are in the north, surrounded by the noise of trains, planes and automobiles, well you just have to talk louder.

There is also the difference in the weather which impacts our cosmetics and clothing. G.R.I.N.S. tend to wear more make up because it helps to protect our skin from the cold. G.R.I.T.S. prefer less makeup because of the heat and humidity. (Although lipstick is a staple in any self- respecting G.R.I.T.S. handbag.) As for the clothes, northern girls tend to have large collections of coats and boots. Southern girls own numerous sweaters and multiple pairs of sandals. We G.R.I.N.S. have lots of wool hats whereas the G.R.I.T.S. collect sunhats.

But there are similarities in the two groups. We are all like mother lions protecting our cubs when someone is attacking our family or friends. G.R.I.N.S. will go out in the snow and shovel a walk or slosh through the rain to help a neighbor. While G.R.I.T.S. have been known to pull on a pair of waders and trudge through the marsh to pull out the family dog from the mud. G.R.I.T.S. can get down and dirty as the well as any of the G.R.I.N.S.

Whether born in the north or the south, we are all daughters of the Revolution, of the Union and of the Confederacy; we are descended from indentured servants from Europe and slaves from Africa; we are immigrants and new American citizens. And whether we are Iron Maidens or Steel Magnolias, the G.R.I.N.S. and G.R.I.T.S. are still sisters, connected through our love of our God, our family and our country. Now, all I need to do is explain “waders” to my northern friends.

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