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Matthew puts J&L Landscaping Company to work

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

When we moved here to our pine forest home, we had not planned on hiring the J&L Landscaping Company.

However, after a couple of windy days when the pine needles showered down on our lawn, we started to consider it.

Then we lived through a few strong thunderstorms and that sealed the deal.  We found an exclusive company willing to take care of one property: ours.  This company is extremely reliable. Normally, they show up early on Monday mornings and proceed to blow the pine needles into piles, mow the lawn, trim the bushes and weed the garden. They even clear all the leaves off the porch and walkways.

The company has been known to take several truckloads of old dead tree limbs to the convenience center after a particularly bad storm. There have been those times when they have not shown up on a rainy Monday morning, but ultimately they return on the next nice day.  And occasionally, if a heavy storm has come through mid-week, they show up.  They always seem to get the job done and work for little money.

After finding J&L Landscaping, we discovered that we needed the LSS home cleaning service, the JDS boat maintenance company, the JL laundry service and of course the Scott construction company, which has completed numerous jobs including room painting and varnishing floors around the house.

If you have not guessed yet, all of these phantom companies are run by one or two people: me and my spouse.

We do hire other contractors.

We have had electricians, plumbers and HVAC companies do work around our home. But when we know we can do the job, we just do it.  Of course, it is also one of the problems living with someone who just cannot relax.

There must be something in our DNA that makes us both somewhat hyper-active. Or it could be just the way we were brought up to rely on ourselves to get things done.

We joke about feeling guilty sitting on the couch.

“Shouldn’t we be doing something?” we ask ourselves.

Even a fortune cookie that said “Take the day off” was ignored as we got out our rakes.

Ultimately, we will shut down all the companies and start hiring others. But in the meantime, thanks to Matthew, J&L Landscaping is up and running and working full time.

My coal mine canary returns

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

Photo above: At 4 a.m. the storm wobbled to the northwest and for 45 scary minutes Matthew’s eye headed straight for us.

By Bill Rauch

When the rain really started to come down at 3 p.m. Friday (Oct. 7) I watched my family — my wife, two boys, mother-in-law, three dogs — drive out the driveway.

After looking at the National Hurricane Center’s tracks, and hearing the governor, the president and the Weather Channel, I had decided to do what I have always done: ride it out.

It felt a little lonely watching them drive off.  But parting always does.

Frankly, there was less good reason to stay this time to visit firsthand with Matthew. In 1989, with Hugo bearing down on Beaufort, I had a newspaper, The Lowcountry Ledger, to look after. And as we all know, news and her deadlines come first.

In 1999, when Beaufort evacuated for Hurricane Floyd, I had a town — a great and delicate town — to look after. Only in extremis do mayors leave their towns.

Both times I never considered going.

But why stay now? It’s crazy. My grown children now living in New York, my sister, and several friends told me so … in no uncertain terms.

But not Beaufort people. They mostly said, “Sure, stay. That’s what I’m doing.”

What is it about New Yorkers who are so tough that they are so careful too? Everyone with whom I communicated Friday night who lives on Manhattan Island begged me to leave immediately for high ground. Maybe it’s that New Yorkers are a pretty smart bunch.

The evening started calmly enough. In fact, I called the family to say goodnight and turned in early. But then at 2:30 a.m. an odd thing happened … like a canary in a coal mine. The gas detector — the thing that hangs on the wall and sounds like a smoke detector — went off: “Beep” … “Beep” … “Beep.” First I thought I was dreaming it.  Then it woke me up.

May I say without my readers thinking me crazy that things like this used to happen when I lived in The Castle on Craven Street. It was always at night. A door would slam. A window would creak. I’d wake up, “What was that?” Then I’d hear my daughter in her crib who had the chicken pox crying … or a son sleepwalking. It was weird.

I don’t know why the gas alarm went off.  I had shut the gas to the whole house off. But I fumbled around with resetting it, and while I was up I thought I’d take a look outside.

I took the flashlight and went against the wind out to the porch and looked around. There was water everywhere! The house, up on 2-foot brick piers, was surrounded by water! I shined the light under the porch. There was water everywhere.

Amazingly, the lights were still on, so I fired up the laptop and looked up the tides: high tide would be at 2:49 a.m. So the water was definitely still rising.

When I was mayor I took a group of 115 intrepid volunteers down to Long Beach, Miss., to help that devastated town chainsaw out from under Katrina. Then after I was mayor I worked a couple of years for FEMA, helping mayors negotiate the byzantine FEMA post-disaster reimbursement process. So, as New Yorkers would say, “I know from floods.”

Now I was in for one. Between about 3 and 4 a.m., while the house still had lights, I moved things up onto beds onto tables onto shelves, wherever I could find a spot. It’s interesting what you choose. Here’s the priorities list: (1) favorite guns (2) anything to do with the children (3) family stuff, photo albums, etc. (4) everybody’s tennis rackets, sports equipment, shoes and boots (5) anything else of value.

Then, at 4 a.m. I found WSAV’s live stream — WSAV did an award-winning job and public service covering the storm — and their weather people said, “Matthew is still tracking due north and will make landfall between Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island.”

Whoa, I thought, that’s us!

Then the lights went out.

There’s lonely, and then there’s LONELY!

With my flashlight I checked the water level under the house. It was unchanged. The tide might be supposed to be going out, but it was clearly no match for the wind.

Back inside, in my mind I ran over my alternatives. That didn’t take long. There was only one: whether to put on my son’s old t-ball batting helmet that I had just dug out of the back of a closet. I thought, nah, and — having done what I could do —  settled into my favorite reading chair to listen to the majesty of the wind, and for the gurgle of the sea rising up through the floor boards.

It was so dark that there was absolutely no difference between having your eyes open or shut.

When I woke up, the water was running out of the yard.

Matthew had moved on.

Some people are sand philosophers

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

If you have ever gone to Hunting Island State Park and walked the beach during low tide, you might have seen some of our local philosophers at work.

These are the people who walk along the shore with their sticks and are inspired to write just when the ocean tide is at its lowest.

Whether it’s the breeze off the ocean or the endless horizon that inspires them, it’s not long before they are writing in the sand. But unlike Aristotle and Plato, whose works have been around for thousands of years, the sand philosopher’s words are only here for a limited amount of time.

On a recent morning I noticed that someone had written “Always.” I stopped and just looked at it. Always what? Always in love? Always hear the ocean? Always, as in God? Or maybe someone just expected the reader to be inspired by the meaning of the word and come to one’s own conclusion.

A good friend told me that she knows people who go to the beach over New Year’s and write the old year over the new year and take pictures as the old year gets washed away. How symbolic; especially for those people who have had a bad year. The water appears to wash away the past.

You might see footprints near some writing, too. Couples will stand together and squish their feet deep into the sand as they face one another. Written next to the footprints is something like “soulmates.” It takes much longer for the incoming tide to erase the deep footprints.

Parents are also known to do this with their children with the date written next to the footprints, as if forever imprinting the moment in time.

But some of the sand writing is actually not philosophical, but more like Comedy Central.

You might see “Life is a beach” or a long arrow pointed to the water with the words “Beach this way.” I also saw “Wilson was here” as a reference to the movie “Cast Away,” where the Wilson volleyball floated away. And of course, there are the endless games of tic-tac-toe.

So if you are having a particularly unpleasant week and need to be inspired, go down to the beach and check out the sand philosophers’ work.

And don’t forget to bring your own writing stick.

Hypersensitive sense of smell holds memories

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By Lee Scott

The other morning when I walked out into the yard, I thought I could feel autumn. After months of hot weather, the 73- degree air was a big change.

However, the real difference for me was the smell. The fresh north breeze blowing across the marsh had replaced the smell of the southern-ocean breeze. I inhaled it deeply.

But it was not only the outside morning air that was different. The air inside my home had changed.

Our old friend and constant companion, Bailey, is gone.

And although his dog hair and scent is still scattered throughout the house, I have noticed that it is slowly disappearing and the air we breathe is changing.

My spouse says I have a hypersensitive sense of smell. If we ever had a gas leak, he is confident that I could pick it up early.

For me, the sense of smell is extremely important. When I have not seen my children for a while, I make sure to hug them close and breathe in their scent. Even as adults, they are used to me pressing my face into them.

Now my grandchildren have become accustomed to their grandmother leaning into their necks and inhaling.

There are times when my spouse wishes I did not have such a good nose.  Occasionally I walk in our house and find myself seeking out an unfamiliar odor. “What is that smell?” I will ask him as he shakes his head. “Only the nose knows!” he will respond back, knowing that I will continue sniffing until I find the source.

And I confess that when he is gone on a trip, I sleep on his side of the bed and place my head on his pillow so that I can still inhale Eau de Jacques.

It is only now that I notice Brandy, our younger cocker spaniel, going around the house seeking out Bailey’s presence in the form of the smells he left behind. She licks his stuffed animals and sleeps in the bed he used to occupy.

Soon, I will no longer have Bailey’s scent around. Brandy and I will stop seeking him and learn to live in this house without him.

But for now I appreciate my hypersensitive sense of smell more as his blanket goes unwashed until it loses the memory of him.

On its sesquicentennial, Beaufort let Reconstruction slide

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

Top photo: The legendary birthplace of Robert Smalls in the “slave cottage” at 508 Duke St. is not registered with the Secretary of the Interior, nor is there any plaque or sign at or near the house that might help visitors find it. Photo by Bill Rauch.

By Bill Rauch

When it comes to understanding the difference between talking about Beaufort’s Reconstruction past and actually doing something to emphasize it, I don’t think my friend David Lauderdale at The Island Packet has got it yet.

To educate themselves, here’s what I suggest he, and the others who think they’ve done a lot, consider doing.

First, they should go to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce’s website and check out the “50 Things to do in Beaufort” section. There’s nothing there that might tip visitors to Beaufort’s  Reconstruction history.

Then, just to be sure, break out “Tours.” When you do that, here’s the clickable list that comes up in this order: “Historical Church self-guided tour,” “Captain Dick’s River Tour,” “Self-guided tree walk,” “Kazoo factory tour,” “Beaufort walking tour,” “Carriage tour,” and finally “Sunset harbor tour.”

If, as Lauderdale wrote on Sept. 25, Beaufort is the “cradle of African-American freedom,” and it is, a reasonable person might conclude the city’s designated marketing organization (for which it is paid $317,252.76 last year, according to the city manager) might emphasize that fact more than, say, a kazoo factory tour.

Or, Lauderdale could try this. Call the Visitor’s Center where they will probably tell him, as they told me, that there is a picture of Robert Smalls’ house in the chamber’s history museum (in the Beaufort Arsenal which the chamber of commerce rents from the city for $1 a year) upstairs from the Visitor’s Center.

The Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce, which the city of Beaufort also supports, isn’t much more helpful.

Its website does include a chronology that emphasizes Beaufort’s Reconstruction past, but for a visitor who wanted to actually find the few sites that are described there, there is little or no help provided.

Or, Lauderdale could try this. Congressman James Clyburn says Beaufort’s Robert Smalls is “the most consequential figure in Reconstruction history,” and indeed Lauderdale has got the story about Smalls being born a slave in the cottage behind the big house who later ended up buying the big house.

But here’s the thing: Go find the houses at 511 Prince St. and 508 Duke St.. The houses are there, but there’s no self-guided tour to show a visitor where to go to find them, and there are no plaques or other indications at the houses that might tell a visitor who Robert Smalls was and why his life was of significance.

By the way, Lauderdale’s dead wrong about this. In the story I wrote that appeared in The Atlantic recently, I didn’t write Beaufort’s “still pushing the story of the Lost Cause.” I didn’t write that because I don’t believe Beaufort’s “pushing” that story either. On the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, when it comes to Civil War and Reconstruction era history, Beaufort’s just not marketing.

Here’s why: Van Willis in Port Royal said it best. Speaking of what Mayor Billy Keyserling told him, Willis told me: “Billy and his brother have a building they want the feds to buy to be the ‘Reconstruction Era Interpretive Center.’ What he told me was ‘I’m not doing Reconstruction as mayor, I’m doing it personally.’”

It shows.

Peers, younger generation both have things to share

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By Lee Scott

My grandfather was born in 1893, and when he ultimately retired, he moved into one of those “over 55 years of age” communities in Florida. When I asked my mother why, she explained, “He wants to be around his contemporaries.”

Now, years later, I understand a little better what she meant by that statement. Grandpa wanted to be around people that shared the same history.

The year John Kelly was born, the Duryea Brothers set up the first successful gas-powered automobile manufacturing plant. He was 10 years old when the Wright Brothers’ famous flight took place in December of 1903.

He lived through World War I, the Great Depression and then World War II.

In the 1920s, when radio stations started to broadcast, his young family would sit around the radio listening to bands and mystery shows.

Moving to that adult community meant he could be around individuals who could recall songs from those old broadcasts and sing barbershop melodies with him.

I personally do not live in an age-restricted community, (although I qualify) but I do live in a neighborhood filled with people in my own age group. These are the people who recognize references to events that happened in our shared past and the tunes we played on the radio.

My generation remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis and the day John F. Kennedy was shot. We lived through the 1960s civil unrest and the British music invasion. And we watched as men walked on the moon.

There exists with contemporaries a unique language and an understanding of the world.

But even though I am comfortable with my age group, I still want to be around younger generations. I want to understand the fascination with reality shows and be exposed to social media. With their encouragement, I want to open myself up to other radio stations and not just listen to my classic radio station. I want to expose myself to artists like Adele, Taylor Swift and even Justin Timberlake.

Yes, I understand my grandfather’s decision to move to Florida. There is something so comfortable about your own peers. But ultimately I think he missed out on many new experiences he would have enjoyed.

So for the time being, I will continue to seek out the younger generation and be inspired by their new ideas and experiences.

Business succession: Questions you need to ask

in Business/Contributors/Wells Fargo by

Do you have a business succession plan? Life-changing events or retirement can bring on some tough choices.

It’s not unusual for business owners to find a majority of their wealth tied up in their company. This is often a major provider for them and their families. But when the time comes to sell their businesses, many owners often have not thought about how they would replace that important chunk of income.

Business succession can be an emotional, financial and timing issue for business owners.

If you own your own business and are considering a business succession plan, there are five questions you should address with your financial advisor. Together you will want to ensure you have a plan in place to help reduce the risks associated with one of your most important assets.

What other assets have you set aside to help fund your retirement?

Should you rely on your business alone to fund retirement? Just as your investments should be diversified, so should your assets.

Though it may be difficult to do in a business climate, as a business owner you should save and build your retirement savings plan away from the business to work toward your retirement goals.

Have you considered whether your business is an asset you can sell?

Whether or not you can find a buyer for your business depends on a variety of factors. Are there employees or partners who could continue to run the business after you retire? Will your business attract outside buyers?

For example, companies that produce tangible goods and have positive cash flows can often be sold. On the other hand, specialty firms that rely on you and your skills alone, such as boutique consulting firms, are generally not salable. The truth is most businesses fall somewhere in between.

If you were to sell your business and pay the taxes on your gains, would the proceeds be enough to last for the rest of your life?

It’s important to determine if you expect a similar level of income in retirement that you now enjoy from your business.

As a business owner, you likely work very hard and your dedicated efforts are an important ingredient to your business success. The investment returns from your growing business may well exceed the investment returns from a prudent investment portfolio.

In the long run, however, the income derived from your valuable work ethic simply may not be replaceable.

Business owners are often optimists by nature, and they take risks to grow their business. The risk of putting all your eggs in one basket may not work as well, however, when it comes time to build an investment portfolio.

What happens if you cannot be involved in running your business?

Stories abound about business owners who are struck down by illness, death or disability, leaving business partners and spouses to figure out what comes next.

If more than one partner or shareholder is involved in your business, it is important to have a buy-sell agreement in place. A buy-sell is a written agreement between two or more owners of a business.

If a triggering event occurs, one or more owners will have the right or obligation to buy the business interest from the owner who is obligated to sell.

Triggering events often include the death, divorce or disability of a partner or shareholder. The agreement may establish a funding mechanism to facilitate the purchase of an owner’s interest in such cases.

Do you have a plan in place that will allow you to retire regardless of a sale?

You may not be able to sell your business at the precise time you wish to sell. Planning for succession in a small business should be a top priority.

Begin with the objectives you want to achieve, and talk through these concerns with your financial advisor. Together you can build a plan, then work on getting the capital and the agreements in place to transition your business when the time is right or when life events require succession in your business.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of James Garner, Associate Vice President-Investments in Beaufort at 843-524-1114. Any third-party post, reviews or comments associated with this listing are not endorsed by Wells Fargo Advisors and do not necessarily represent the views of James Garner or Wells Fargo Advisors and have not been reviewed by the Firm for completeness or accuracy.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

Artwork of Lowcountry reminds us of local beauty

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

When we first got married in the 1970s, our home was decorated with posters from that era. No, not Farrah Fawcett – more like The America’s Cup.

The limited collection was very popular with our contemporaries as we all had one thing in common: a lack of money.

Through the years, as our income level increased, the artwork improved.

Living in Annapolis, Md., had a big impact on the art we purchased. The fact that we both sailed was also a driving force.

We had our favorites. I leaned towards Nancy Hammond with her silkscreen prints and lithograph posters of sailboats. My husband went for Willard Bond and the oil and watercolor paintings of sailboat racing.

Regardless, the house started filling up as we found ourselves buying local art whereever we traveled.

But now living here and getting invited into other people’s homes, we started to see a totally different assortment of paintings.

We have some close friends whose collection includes both oil paintings and watercolors of blue herons in the marsh. It is incredible to look at these paintings and comprehend the work that went into capturing the blue heron’s details.

We have also admired the artists who have conveyed the beauty of shrimp boats out on the horizon with their “arms” spread out, especially at sunrise. So, we have started to collect our own Lowcountry art now.

The first painting purchased was a watercolor by a local Gullah artist. The vibrant colors, depicting a woman with her straw baskets, are incredible.

Then our neighbor Beth, a local artist, sold us a painting of Jenkins Creek and the marshes beyond. The way she painted the colors of the reeds, from lime green to forest green, is amazing.

And recently, one of the Nancy Hammond pieces had to be moved to make way for another piece of local artwork.

There are still many wonderful local sailboat paintings, but we are finding ourselves drawn to the artwork that is unique to the Lowcountry.

It might include rows of oak trees lining old dirt roads; or maybe white egrets standing in the high grass; it might be the sun setting behind one of our bridges; or a lonely cottage standing on stilts on the beach.

Regardless, these are the Lowcountry paintings that will slowly fill my home.

SCE&G surcharge short-circuits Beaufort’s jobs initiative

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

Top photo: To make complex (and boring) electrical base rates more understandable (and interesting) they are often shown in per thousand kilowatthour increments, as they are here, because a thousand kWhs is close to what a small household uses in an average month. 

Sources: The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff website, The Palmetto Electric Cooperative Marketing Dept., and the minutes of the June 3, 2014 Beaufort City Council meeting.

By Bill Rauch

After my previous column about the city of Beaufort’s recent economic development spending spree I received an email from a reader that went like this: “Look at chart 5.6A for correct info then make a correction in the paper. S.C is actually lower than most Eastern states.”

A couple of things came to my mind. First, after reading that Beaufort’s general fund has increased by nearly a million dollars each year for the past seven years (from $13,913,341 to $19,387,961), and that the tax rate for city taxpayers – including businesses – has been raised virtually annually to pay for the new spending, and that to support the spending the city has imposed new fees too, and that the mayor who is leading the spending charge is also spending an additional quarter of a million dollars every four years to keep his $5,000-a-year job, what concerns this reader is that our electrical rates are lower than “most Eastern states?”

To me, that’s akin to saying, “Okay, so Kim Jong-un now has workable nuclear warheads, but my information on his ballistic missiles aren’t as accurate as you say they are.”

My next thought was … “most Eastern states?” What about Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and maybe Ohio? That’s who we’re competing against. The Northeast has been losing population and businesses for the past generation, and the high costs of living and doing business there are the leading reasons why.

And finally, my bet was the reader was confusing South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) rates with the blended base rates of all the utilities serving South Carolina. In fact that’s exactly what the referenced “chart 5.6A”

The website reflects the statewide average; and although South Carolina is high among the South Atlantic states at 12.68 cents per kilowatthour (kWh), it is, in fact, still lower than all the New England states.

The reader’s point is hereby acknowledged.

But here’s the thing: SCE&G’s current residential base rate is 14.37 cents per kWh, which makes it higher than the blended base rate of any state in the Southeast and in fact, Chart 5.6A shows, the closest states that have higher blended base rates are Maryland to the north, Michigan to the northwest, and California to the west.

That’s bad.

Then add to SCE&G’s sky-high rate the city of Beaufort’s 2-percent surcharge on top of the standard 5-percent franchise fee and you have an actual residential rate in Beaufort of 15.72 cents per kWh.

Between SCE&G’s efforts and those of the Beaufort City Council, at 15.72 cents per kWh the city of Beaufort is a tiny island in all the Southeast that has the highest investor-owned electricity rates this side of New York, Michigan and California.

It’s no secret that businesses seeking to relocate, or start-up, look at utility costs. It’s a line on every pro forma. The importance of the line to decision-making depends upon how much electricity the business is expecting to use. Law offices don’t use much electricity. Digital businesses use more. And manufacturing companies like those Beaufort would like to attract to its Commerce Park typically use even more.

Yet in the 10 pages of adopted minutes that reflect the discussion of the 2-percent franchise fee surcharge at the Beaufort City Council’s June 3, 2014, special meeting, there is no reference to any discussion at that meeting of how the surcharge might affect the city’s economic development efforts.

This city administration (Mayor Keyserling who is most often joined in these votes by Councilmembers McFee and Murray) says it is committed to creating jobs so that Beaufort’s young people don’t have to move away to get good work. Sounds good. But the results haven’t matched up to the big talk (and big spending), and making the same mistakes New England has made probably won’t make things better.

Blakely Williams, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce’s savvy president and CEO, didn’t return repeated phone calls last week. Why would she? The city of Beaufort is one of the chamber’s chief funders. The question I left on her voicemail was: “Hi Blakely. Just need a quick comment on the success or lack thereof of the city of Beaufort’s economic development efforts, the Commerce Park, the Digital Corridor, etc. …”

Our mothers’ wisely taught us, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

The savvy Ms. Williams, it seems, learned her lesson better than this writer.

Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at

We are Vortec, rulers of the red team

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

When I was a child we would get a cake and a couple of presents for our birthday. The only question my mother would ask was whether we would like a chocolate cake or a yellow cake.

The world has changed, and now parents ask, “What venue would you like for your birthday party?”

“Really?” I have exclaimed.

But rather than bucking change, I have embraced it. In the past year I have attended four different venues. The first was a swimming pool party where I was able to fly down the water slide with a 6-year-old and then leap off a high dive with a 7-year-old.

Then there was the Museum for Children with a multitude of learning centers, including an apple-packing shed and a science kitchen.

But my favorite was the ambulance where I played the role of the “accident victim.”

Then I attended an old Western-style party where everyone dressed up in cowboy and cowgirl outfits. There were games to play like ring toss and similar “cowboy themed” activities. In the corner stood an old jail where you could get your picture taken. I had to crawl into the jail for my “behind the bars” photo.

Finally, and the most recent, was the laser tag party. My 3-year-old partner was the youngest attendee and I was the oldest. We were assigned to the red team and given the name Vortec.

Most of the kids were around 7 years old so she and I sat in a dark corner developing our strategy. We discovered that if a blue vest was not blinking, then it took 6 seconds for their laser guns and vests to light up again. Once they started blinking we could fire our laser guns and earn points. We used that knowledge to our advantage as unsuspecting blue team players would walk by us in darkened vests.

My partner Annie would start to count; “Six, five, four, three, two, one! Got you! We are Vortec! Rulers of the Red team!”

After the game was over, we left the player’s zone exhausted (me more so than her) and found that a Pokémon cake was being served.

It was when my daughter asked, “Would you like chocolate cake or yellow cake?” that I realized some things do not change after all.

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