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Deer, squirrels of Lowcountry are messing with us

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By Lee Scott

A friend of mine named Cindy recently sent out an e-mail to a group of neighbors. It read “Met a deer last night and the deer won. Any recommendations for quick car surgery?” 

I had to laugh, although hitting a deer is not a laughing matter, because her e-mail struck a chord with me.  

How many deer have I almost hit, or have almost collided into me in the past three years?  

And it is not just the deer pursuing me. My true nemeses are the squirrels. I call them the Kamikaze Squirrels of the Lowcountry. 

These squirrels play “chicken” in the road with other squirrels. I slow down when they are crossing the road, only to see them turn around again in front of my car, leaping across to the opposite side of the road. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I screamed yesterday as I swerved to avoid a squirrel while trying not to hit a tree. 

They are just as bad when I am driving my golf cart. There I am, just enjoying a beautiful day, when one of them will run in front of me. This is followed by chortling as the squirrels do high fives on the curb watching me slam on my brakes.  

I told my spouse that I am going to start putting pictures of squirrels on the side of my golf cart with a large X through the picture, like the fighter pilots would do on their planes. Maybe the squirrels would get nervous if they thought I was running over their playmates.  

My true intent is not to hurt them. I try my best to avoid them regardless of their games. I have looked for gadgets that emit electronic signals from both my car and golf cart to alert the little guys a motorized vehicle is close.  

Would that help keep them out of my way? I do not think so. The gadgets would not work because the squirrels are having too much fun watching cars abruptly swerve to avoid hitting them.  

And after a recent bicycle ride where one of them almost took me down, I think they are going to keep it up. 

So, Cindy, sorry about the “deer meeting” you had the other day. But please watch out for the squirrels. They can be just as hazardous.

The Saga of Southside Park

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

This is a story of what happens when government changes its priorities. In the same breath let me hasten to add government should change its priorities. Priority-changing is the relentless reinventing that is the core strength of democracy.  

Sometimes, however, when governments change direction there are implications. This is a story about one such implication.

Previous Beaufort City Councils have consistently seen enhancing the city’s parks as a priority. Mayor Angus Fordham’s city council, for example in the 1960s, filled in what we know now as “The Marina Parking Lot,” fashioned a bandshell from a surplused quonset hut, called the new area “Freedom Mall,” and invited the public downtown for concerts. Here was where The Water Festival was begun.

Henry Chambers, in the 1970s, as we all know because the park is named for him, pushed through his signature accomplishment: the Waterfront Park that extended Freedom Mall to the Woods Bridge.

When David Taub was mayor in the 1990s, council began the long process of adding Southside Park to the city’s list of parks.

How was that done? I was there and I know firsthand.

David Taub and City Manager John McDonough had worked very hard negotiating a deal with The Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) to sell at a fair price the city’s water and sewer works to them. The deal required the voters’ approval which was to be sought on the May 1999 ballot.  Also on that ballot were expected to be four well-known Beaufortonians — Henry Chambers, Billy Keyserling, Donnie Beer and myself — running to replace Taub as mayor since he had announced he would not seek reelection.

I was mayor pro tem at the time, and watching the Beaufort-Jasper deal go down I wondered whether the voters would vote for it, as I believed they should. Thinking about that, I saw a win-win. It would be an added incentive for the voters — especially for the all-important Mossy Oaks voters — to vote “yes” if they knew the site of the city’s stinky old Southside Boulevard sewage treatment plant would one day be turned into a neighborhood park.

I asked my campaign lawyer, now-State Senator Tom Davis, how that might be done and he suggested council vote to place a springing covenant on the land’s deed that would say “if and when the land is no longer needed for a sewage treatment plant, its ownership will revert to the city where it can only be used by the city for a neighborhood park.” Davis drafted up the covenant and council passed it unanimously several months before the election.

I ran on — among other issues — the BJWSA deal, and it was passed by the voters. The same voters the same day also elected me their mayor in a three-way race with Chambers and Beer (Keyserling had dropped out). And there the matter sat for a decade while the Water Authority built its Shell Point Plant, put the pieces into place to pump all the city’s sewage out to that plant, and then finally in about 2009 BJWSA surplused the Southside plant.

That’s when things got interesting.

At the time of the reversion, Tom Davis was representing the city on the BJWSA board. Davis favored the park, and there was a rumor that the park should be named for him. Unfortunately however by then the park’s name was mud.

After another unsuccessful run in 2004 — Billy Keyserling was by 2009 mayor and he was determined nothing good would come of the Southside Park deal. First he proposed breaking the perimeter of the park into lots and selling them one-by-one with the interior area serving as a kind of private park for the new owners of the perimeter parcels. But that proposal ran afoul of the springing covenant which had by then “sprung” by virtue of the land having reverted to the city. Next, Mayor Keyserling proposed planting the park’s open spaces in soybeans. But he couldn’t make that proposal fly either. Finally, frustrated, the city disbanded the park’s advisory committee, presumably because council didn’t want to hear any more requests for funding from them. And there the hapless park has sat, lucky to get mowed.

Last year, quelling an uproar from dog-owners who said they had waited too long for their promised park, the city put up some fences and called it a dog park. It is very popular. But more than a decade after it was first proposed, the perimeter trail is yet to be built. The bandstand and the playground are still just glints in the eye as well.  Building a bandstand, building a playground and even building a perimeter path are neither complicated nor expensive projects, if there’s a will to do them.

But there clearly is no will.

This city council’s announced priority is instead jobs: jobs for the children of the city’s residents. First they purchased and supported the Commerce Park. Then they purchased and are supporting the office building at Carteret and North streets where they are building a business incubator for high-tech companies.

I — and Mossy Oaks’ residents — hope these ambitious programs begin to work soon and bring in some tax revenues, because soon the grass at Southside will need mowing again. 

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

The sailboat that sailed on warm winds now abandoned

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By Lee Scott

There is a sad little boat sitting on the shore along Sea Island Parkway. The name of the boat is Sirocco and she has been there since the morning of Oct. 8, 2016.

That is when Hurricane Matthew pushed the waters of the Beaufort River and with it Sirocco to the shore. She sits there along with five other sailboats and a power boat named Wave Dancer. Although two of the boats are hidden by trees, if you look closely you can see their masts sticking up in the reeds.

The name Sirocco fascinated me, and when I researched it I discovered it means “warm wind.” This was a name given to the wind blowing from the Libyan desert over to Italy.  

As a sailor, myself, I can appreciate the name Sirocco. It conjures up beautiful days on the water with the sails pulled in and a nice warm 10-15 knot breeze.

I think that is why it is so sad to see her aground. What happened to the owner? What happened to someone who so loved to go sailing that he would name her Sirocco and then abandon her? 

This is evidently a common problem along the coastal waters. People who can no longer afford their boats abandon them in creeks and rivers. Sometimes, an owner dies and the family does not know where the boat is located. 

So, what happened to the sailor who owned Sirocco?  Did his insurance lapse and he could not afford to remove her after the storm? Or had she already been abandoned? If so, why?  

Even sitting on the bank, it appears there may be some salvageable items on the boat. There are numerous companies in the sailboat salvage business. They make money by salvaging the parts of these sore sights, which potentially could become environmental hazards.  

Did any of the seven boat owners know there were other avenues to pursue rather than just anchor them off Lady’s Island?

Regardless of the reasons, when I pass Sirocco a part of me wants to get out of my car and climb aboard. I want to go below and pull out her sailing log to see where she has been. I am sorry that the warm winds of South Carolina have brought you to this place, Sirocco, but you need to find a new home now.

Abandoned boats have an orange sign posted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources asking for information regarding the owners of the vessels. The phone number is 800-922-5431.
Abandoned boats have an orange sign posted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources asking for information regarding the owners of the vessels. The phone number is 800-922-5431.

Church is refuge from hate, world’s troubles

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

The floors creaked in harmonious chorus, the sun filtered through stained glass, creating rainbows against the shellacked pews as the scent of vanilla and baby powder precluded each warm hug by women who had seen it all. 

We were never forced to attend, never as punishment, only the assurance of good music, pocket peppermint and every casserole imaginable during dinner on the grounds. 

The hymn “Consider the Lillies” was a customary opening, and to this day I remember every single word. 

There is only one thing that Mississippi has more of than freckled faces: churches. Big churches, small churches, country churches, open field churches and churches in the middle of a living room floor if necessary. There is no denying it is a part of who I am, the good, the bad and the vocal. 

Occasionally the preacher would get a little gloomy for my taste, but in such instances I occupied my time spotting the open-eyed nappers, shoe tappers and the mommas wielding concrete stares at spirited youth.

Religion is something that both fascinated and terrified my young mind. Several concepts simply twisted my logical bone into a pretzel while the genuine care so freely given compared only to the warmth of my grandmother’s lap. 

I believed there was a God from the start, there was simply no other explanation for velvety feeling rye grass or my grandmother’s grits. 

Church was community, family, social center and as familiar as my own home. 

Regardless of the chaos of the economy or the atmosphere of a world sick with hate, church was predictable as summer heat. 

Not once can I recall exclusion of any kind other than Mrs. Foster’s pew. We all knew better than to sit in her well-worn location. Church was for all and all was church. It seemed quite simple. 

I have no memory of being discouraged from love but being told consistently to love thy neighbor. Of course living in rural Mississippi,  that was fairly easy as your neighbor was either your grandmother or a dairy cow. 

Church was as much what you did as who you were. For me, it was comforting. The soothing hymns, the sweet wrinkled hands handing me candy and belief that praying would help seemed to ease my often anxious little mind and calm my often restless little body. 

Religion is personal. It was personal then and it is personal now. 

I carry that little church with me everywhere I go. It was the most kind, most accepting and most joyful place I can remember. 

The world is a much more confusing place now as I am often confused by the rules of engagement. 

Thankfully that little white church, with the shiny pews and creaking floors, gave me a foundation of which to build my own beliefs, my own thoughts and my ability to decipher casseroles with ease. 

Although I don’t recall every sermon or fully agree with every sentiment, I do consider the lilies and I do love thy neighbor. 

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.

The Grannies of I-95: A new type of driver hits the road

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by

By Lee Scott

There is an exclusive club I have joined recently. I call it the “Grannies of I-95.”

You might have seen one of us. We go up and down major highways with gifts and food loaded in the back of our cars, headed to our grandchildren’s ballet recitals, birthday parties and graduations.

The Grannies of I-95 are much different from grandmothers of the past. My two grandmothers both had blue white hair and never went anywhere without my grandfathers. However, many of the grandmothers today have their red or blonde hairdos and have no problem leaving grandpa at home.

The grandmothers are active in golf and tennis and are involved in community projects.

Many of the Grannies have unique names like Nonna, or Mimi, Gigi or Nina and, after hearing about an upcoming sports event or piano recital, pack up the car and take off.

Overall, we are a very organized group. We place healthy snacks in our insulated bags; foods like carrots, granola bars and chocolate. (Did I say healthy?) We carry water bottles and iced tea in our little coolers along with homemade cookies for
the grandchildren.

There are other necessities we load in our cars. The GPS, an EZ Pass, audio books, and of course, the cell phone with the car adapter charger. The Grannies like to be prepared.

We normally stop at our favorite barista’s for the first cup of coffee of the long drive. And because we have done the trip so many times we know all the rest stops. “How dare Virginia tear down their rest facilities and put in porta-potties!” we collectively complained to one another recently.

We have also had to learn the highway exits where we can pick up fast food, always keeping in mind the “not open on Sunday” rule of our favorite Chick-fil-A.

For us, the drive back home tends to be a bit less hectic. Many of us stay in hotels on the return drive just to relax.

The fast pace environment of the city along with the active lifestyles of young grandchildren are both exhilarating and exhausting.

It is there in the hotels where I have found myself smiling at other “Grannies of I-95” as we head up to our hotel rooms with our bottles of white wine ready for a long peaceful night sleep.

After all, we are grannies.

Developers propose new homes IN the fairways

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by

By Bill Rauch

Regular readers of this column may recall an analysis that appeared here in September 2016 showing that of the seven successful Beaufort County School District and countywide capital improvements referenda totaling about three-quarters of a billion dollars over the past 20 years, 60 percent of the money has gone to schools and roads in and around Bluffton.

Simply — and generously — stated, the Beaufort County Council didn’t adequately anticipate the public costs of the Sun City project when in 1991 they unanimously bought Del Webb’s argument that all the costs of the new city that would be built on the outskirts of Bluffton would be contained within the development.

We have been paying and paying ever since, and Bluffton has stayed pretty quiet. Why shouldn’t it?

The town of Bluffton had nothing formally to do with the 1991 Del Webb vote. However, let’s not forget most of the subsequent Del Webb spin-off development was permitted by Bluffton, which has further contributed to the public costs.

Interestingly, now things appear to be changing.

Bluffton is being driven by traffic jams and a new scarcity of parking to the tipping point. Oh yes, and by rising taxes too. The “rising tide,” it turned out, didn’t “float all boats.” It just floated the boats of the development community. And flashy speedboats they are.

As this column goes to press, Bluffton’s leaders are passing slow growth petitions.

The big paper companies’ timber tracts are all gone from Beaufort County now, so where will the new houses go?

No, not on the fairways. That was yesterday.

The new fashion is laying them up IN the fairways.

Golf courses along U.S. 278 are places into which millions of dollars have been invested within our recent memories for planning, clearing, filling out fairways and greens, sculpting out bunkers, building clubhouses and caddy shacks, making exotic grasses and shrubbery grow more beautifully and more.

But no matter. That was yesterday.

Take the case of the Hilton Head National Golf Club. Hilton Head National’s golf course was designed in 1988 by the great Gary Player and the new course was opened in 1990.

Now the property’s owner, Scratch Golf LLC, has asked Beaufort County to rezone the property from rural to a mix of commercial and residential neighborhood and hamlet designations under the county’s new CDC development code.

Where there are fairways, greens and bunkers, the owners seek now the government’s blessing to put 300 homes, 300 apartment units, 400,000 square feet of new retail space, a 500-room hotel, a 100,000-square-foot convention center, a 400-bed assisted living facility, a 1,500-seat performing arts center and a water park that would be visible from U.S. 278.

The new development will require two new schools be built, a flyover of U.S. 278 be constructed, and a new entrance fashioned that necessitates that at least one Heritage Lakes house be demolished, according to Tabor Vaux, who represents Bluffton on the Beaufort County Council.

Here’s the wrinkle. Hilton Head National isn’t contiguous to the town of Bluffton so it cannot be annexed into the town, and it is just outside Tabor Vaux’s councilmanic district. It is in Rick Caporale’s. But the traffic it will cause will be in Bluffton. So Vaux is asking who will pay.

Growth outside the town of Bluffton has been slow since 2008, and the county was caught a little flat-footed by Scratch Golf LLC’s proposal.

On Dec. 8, 2016, the county’s Planning Commission passed the rezoning 5-3 and sent the matter to the county council’s Nãtural Resources Committee, which rubber-stamped the rezoning and passed it along to the full Beaufort County Council.

That’s when reality began to set in.

On Jan. 9, the Beaufort County Council voted narrowly to table the rezoning until a development agreement can be negotiated.

Now a committee of county council members, chaired by Vaux, has been empanelled to formulate the agreement.

“This is a major, major project that is going to require tons of infrastructure. Who’s going to pay for that?” Vaux asks.

It’s a good question and one that could not be coming from a more appropriate corner.

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

A leaning tree raises concerns

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By Lee Scott

There are two trees in my front yard that appear to be leaning. I have been studying them since Hurricane Matthew.

Truthfully, I cannot verify they were leaning prior to that time, but they are leaning now.

My spouse suggested it was my imagination and not to worry about the trees. However, a recent “alert” from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office got me concerned.

The alert cautioned citizens about falling trees and limbs due to heavy rain and high winds. Many trees have been weakened by the hurricane.

Well, that was my call to action. I went out and looked at the two trees more carefully. They looked like they were leaning to me. It was time to research the subject.

The experts online suggest you answer two questions. Are there exposed roots? Can you see cracked soil?

“Mmmm, not really,” I answered. But I was determined to go a step further.

I set up my camera on my tripod at the end of the driveway and took a picture of the larger tree. Two weeks later I took another picture at the same distance and at the same time of the day. I then compared the two photos. It was my intention to ascertain if the angle of the tree to the ground had changed.

As it turned out, two weeks was not enough, there was no discernable difference in the pictures.

The following week, I took another picture and I took my findings into my spouse.

“Look”, I exclaimed, “there appears to be a difference in the angle of the tree. This is the time to do something!”

He shook his head and explained that he really was not concerned by the tree.

“First,” he said, “we never walk on that side of the yard, so if it falls, it is not going to hurt us or the house. Second, we have pictures of the house when we first bought it three years ago, and that tree looks the same today as it did then. Third, why should we pay for someone to take down a tree when Mother Nature might take it down for free?”

Good points.

I took my pictures, my camera and my tripod back to my office while mumbling, “You could have told me all that in the first place.”

“No,” he said, “it was too much fun watching you.”

New treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

Macular degeneration is currently the leading cause of visual impairment in the U.S.

Breakthrough treatment with anti-VEGF eye injections such as Avastin (bevacizumab, Genentech), Lucentis (ranibizumab, Genentech) and Eylea (aflibercept, Regeneron) has almost arrested the progression of the wet form of the disease.

However, almost 80 percent of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have the non-neovascular (dry) or atrophic subtypes.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that the most advanced form of non-neovascular AMD, known as geographic atrophy (GA), can occur as early as in intermediate AMD or (more typically) in advanced AMD.

Estimates predict advanced AMD will impact as many as 3 million people in at least one eye by 2020.

The growing number of aging Americans underscores the need for treatments that can prevent progression of and/or treat advanced AMD.

Trials underway 

Surprisingly, no treatments are currently available for the prevention of GA. Evidence from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) suggests antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation may help prevent the progression to neovascular AMD, but the study failed to show that vitamin supplementation decreased progression to geographic atrophy.

Even in AREDS2, when beta-carotene was replaced with lutein/zeaxanthin to decrease the risk of lung cancer, the new formulation also failed to show decreased progression to GA.

Clinical studies are underway to further elucidate and understand the mechanisms of dry AMD and to evaluate new therapeutics directed at slowing the progression.

There are currently two large phase 3 trials underway for the treatment of GA. The FILLY study assesses the safety, tolerability and evidence of activity of multiple intravitreal (IVT) injections of APL-2 (Apellis Pharmaceuticals) for patients with GA. The second is a multicenter, randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled study to investigate IVT injections of lampalizumab in patients with GA.

The discovery of complement byproducts in drusen led to associations between complement dysregulation and AMD.

Thus, several researchers are evaluating the complement cascade as a clinical therapeutic target for non-neovascular AMD.

Factor D is considered a critical early component of the alternative pathway that involves complement factor H. Factor D is an upstream of factor B and other AMD-associated proteins, making it a potential powerful target for treatment.

Anti-inflammatory agents under development include lampalizumab, fluocinolone, glatiramer acetate, sirolimus, eculizumab and ARC-1905.

These are but the tip of the iceberg of compounds under development for advanced AMD or GA.

Visual cycle inhibitors are among those in latter-stage development and include fenretinide, ACU-4429 and ALK-001.

These compounds down-regulate the visual cycle to decrease the accumulation of the toxic waste products of retinal metabolism. Amyloid-beta has been found in drusen, and RN6G and GSK933776 are in development to regulate amyloid-beta accumulation.

Neuroprotective drugs are also under development, including UF-021, ciliary neurotrophic factor and brimonidine tartrate intravitreal implant.

Topical agents such as MC-1101 are attempting to slow AMD by increasing choroidal perfusion.

Stem cell therapies including HuCNS-SC and MA09-hRPE are also under investigation as potential treatments for GA.

At this point, it is too early to tell which — if any — of these treatments will become a standard of care.

Dr. Mark S. Siegel is the Medical Director at Sea Island Ophthalmology on Ribaut Road in Beaufort. 

Visit for more information.

‘Affable encounters’ are welcome in these difficult times

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

The absence of subject matter from the throes of the past few weeks is not at all cause for writer’s block.

But tip-toeing around the socially dangerous political turmoil as if avoiding shards of skin-piercing glass has become a dance I struggle to master.

Bobbing and weaving through perceived black and white while resting amongst the gray has been my solace in a most embroiled environment.

Not being born with the talent of circumstantial silence, it behooves me to avoid most human contact; however, the needs of my husband and thriving 3-year-old provide impetus for venturing into the wild.

Completely without the ability to form sentences of which I do not believe, superfluous topics such as weather, traffic and bad hair have been my go-to small talk champions, fleeing the scene the moment talk turns towards the unkind. Creating novel, worthy excuses for exit is, after all, an art form.

Unless gifted with superior swimming skills, living in a small town surrounded by often treacherous waters leaves little room for anything other than congenial conversation.

With little chance of escape, having an affable encounter is self preservation in its most fundamental form. Having opinions is a southern woman’s specialty, but having friends is quintessential. In the current atmosphere having both is quite dubious.

I believe I am not alone. Women and men all over our precious town are avoiding the tightrope of political banter.

Not to be confused with indifference, our avoidance is often with respectful intent.

Emotions are high, frustrations abound and opinions often outweigh facts. In its simplicity it is quite beautiful: Passionate discourse encourages many people to soul search otherwise forgotten subjects. Irony and suspense keep many aware that otherwise may turn away.

What a glorious thing it is to be American. We can despise the belief, defend the action and live to argue another day.

Dismissing debate and social media melee is highly advised, although like a good bottle of Merlot, often impossible not to partake and certain to cause headache.

Surely peace will prevail, commonality will be sought and grocery stores, salons and restaurants will once again be safe from potential political pandemonium.

Until then, revel in the opportunity such conflict brings. Individuals are learning to stand for what they truly believe, but we must respect the differences of those with opposing views and live side by side in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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.

Which label did someone pin on you?

in Contributors/Health/Susan Stone by

By Susan Stone

Labels can be handy. Without them we would be guessing which cans contain the chicken soup, right?

Labels organize our lives. We love labels! We give everything around us a label of sorts.

Without pinning an actual sign on someone, we label people whether they deserve it or not.

With harmless labels such as creative, talented, gifted, generous … none can argue the benefit of being known as such a person. But what kind of life can we expect from someone who has been labeled a trouble-maker, lazy, difficult, stupid or crazy? What effect do these labels have on us when we are young and impressionable? What label do you struggle to keep? What label has been pinned on you that you would like to change?

Over the years, I have had the honor of counseling dozens of people who had outgrown their labels.

Some were near the end of their rope and ready to cash it all in because of a label they were burdened with.

One of my clients, we’ll call Laura, was diagnosed as a schizophrenic at the age of 5. I met her when she was 23. She was a cutter, self-destructive, very depressed, threatening suicide and had been hospitalized several times.

When her father brought her to meet me, I saw a beautiful and very gifted young woman. I had a feeling there was much more to her story.

Laura was so shy you could barely hear her speak. She looked down at the ground and never made eye contact.

After gaining her trust, we talked about what had landed her in the hospital so many times. The first time she was 5 and was diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia because she was hearing voices. When I asked her who was talking to her, she said, “The ghosts.”

Aha! I knew it! This was my first clue that something else was going on.

When I asked if she could see them too, she looked at me like I was crazy and said; “Of course!”

So I asked more questions, beginning with: “What else can you see?”

The rest of the afternoon was wonderful. As she told me one story after another, she became more and more animated. I don’t think she had never met anyone who believed she was telling the truth!

Today she is a certified massage therapist.

Her goal is to open a business where people can come to nurture their body, mind and spirit.

She also wants to become a life coach so she can help people like herself who have been misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mislabeled.

I myself was pinned with the label of “idiot.”

Being the middle child, I was sandwiched between two genius sisters.

In the early ‘60s, no one knew about dyslexia. How many kids did the system call “slow?”

I didn’t know I had it until my daughter was diagnosed in elementary school. By then I was in my 30s and had believed my whole life that I was just stupid because I inverted letters and numbers. Reading and math were terribly difficult for me; even with tutors I was barely able to eke out a passing grade.

My family used to pat me on the head and say, “Well, at least she’s pretty. Hopefully she’ll marry well.” No wonder I have felt less-than most of my life.

Overcoming these labels can take years of therapy, and some of us go to our graves never knowing it was never true. How tragic.

We just cannot seem to help ourselves. We do it unconsciously. We even label our own body parts. This is my good knee and this is my bad knee … who knows how that affects its ability to heal?

At the end of the day, no matter what the world has called you, know this: You are a wonder to behold!

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