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It’s fun to watch the snowbird migration

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By Lee Scott

This is the perfect time of year in Beaufort to go bird watching. I’m not talking about normal birds. I’m referring to snowbirds, the travelers in boats coming south down the Intracoastal Waterway.

My husband and I like to drive our boat out to Mile Marker 520 on the Coosaw River and watch the boats coming out of the Ashapoo-Coosaw Cut. The best time for snowbird watching is around 2 in the afternoon because all the boats want to dock in Beaufort before the sun sets. And now, with Daylight Savings Time ending on Nov. 5, it is even more important.

There is another issue for boats this time of year. It’s the timing of the Lady’s Island Bridge openings. If they don’t get to Beaufort by 4, then they have to wait until 6. 

It is interesting to watch the boats come out of the cut in formation. There’s not much water in there, especially at low tide, and the power boats have to line up behind the sailboats, which are powering around 5-6 knots. This is pretty slow compared to the 15-25 knot speed that most of the power boats are normally running.  

As they slowly pop out of the cut, the power boats start to throttle up and pass the sailboats one by one.  

We like to determine the make and model of the boats; how big they are in length, but also where they originated. Many boats have their country flag and a lot of them also have their yacht club flag.  

It’s fun to look at all the toys attached to these boats too. Most of them have their dingy, which they can use if they are anchoring out in the river, but want to get to shore for provisions. You also might see kayaks, canoes and bicycles; however, these items are not visible on the very large boats because they are all stored inside.

There are many sailboats with solar panels and large power boats with satellite TV antennas. Both kinds of boats doing any distance traveling will have their marine radar equipment. And the sailboats tend to have jerry cans on the bow filled with fuel.

We have seen some snowbirds make their way south in flocks, or Cruising Clubs as they are called. They stick together in order to make their way down along the Florida coast and always in formation.

You don’t have to have a boat to go see the annual snowbird migration. 

Just go down to the Beaufort waterfront and swing on the swings. 

It is a beautiful site to watch “birds” this time of year. 

Laser or traditional cataract surgery?

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

By Dr. Mark Siegel

Are you planning to have cataract surgery? If so, you may be offered a choice of two surgical options: traditional manual cataract surgery or laser-assisted cataract surgery.

Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the world. It is recognized as being safe and effective. 

Laser cataract surgery, which is not covered by insurance plans, costs more than traditional cataract surgery but provides some advantages in terms of precision and accuracy — in the proper situation. 

So how do you decide which type of cataract surgery to have?

Here are some things you should understand about both kinds of cataract surgery. Talk with your ophthalmologist to determine the best type of surgery for you.

Traditional cataract surgery

With traditional cataract surgery, called phacoemulsification, the eye surgeon creates a small incision in the side of the cornea by hand with a scalpel blade. 

An instrument is inserted through this incision into the area behind the pupil where the eye’s lens sits in a capsule or bag. The surgeon uses a cystatome (bent needle) instrument to create a circular opening in the lens capsule. Then a special pen-shaped probe is inserted through that opening to apply sound waves (ultrasound) to break up the cloudy center of the lens. 

Then the broken-up pieces of lens are suctioned out of the eye. An artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted to replace the cloudy natural lens. 

The side walls of the corneal incision will be filled with a special liquid and self-seal after surgery, so most commonly stitches are not needed.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery

With laser-assisted cataract surgery, a camera/ultrasound imaging device (OCT) is placed over your eye to map its surface and gather information about the lens. 

The device sends detailed information to a computer that programs the laser for the exact location, size and depth of the incisions. 

The surgeon uses the laser to make the corneal incisions, especially astigmatic incisions, and the opening in the lens capsule. 

Energy from the laser is also used to soften the cataract into fragments. Then the ultrasound probe used in traditional cataract surgery is used to gently suction them out of the eye. The IOL is implanted. 

As with traditional cataract surgery, the corneal incision usually does not require stitches.

What’s best for you

Under today’s Medicare guidelines, only certain patients may be offered laser-assisted cataract surgery.

Specifically, your ophthalmologist can offer it if you have astigmatism diagnosed during your cataract consultation and would like to have that refractive error corrected during cataract surgery. 

In this situation, the laser is used to create specific incisions, called limbal relaxing incisions in the cornea to reshape it, treating the astigmatism.

You may also be offered laser cataract surgery if you choose to have a premium lens implanted, such as an astigmatism-correcting toric IOL or a multifocal IOL.

Ophthalmologists who use laser cataract removal technology recognize that it allows them to see and map the lens capsule better and place the opening in the capsule more precisely, allowing for better centering and placement of the IOL.

Can you choose to have laser-assisted cataract surgery if you don’t have either of the conditions above?

Current Medicare guidelines say that a surgeon may not offer and charge for the laser-assisted cataract surgery unless one of the two conditions above is met.

Recovery from surgery

The recovery period for both laser-assisted cataract surgery and traditional cataract surgery is the same. 

Some people can see clearly almost immediately, while others may find their vision clears within about a week or two. 

Studies have shown that laser cataract surgery reduces the amount of ultrasonic energy required to break up the cataract which may reduce post-operative swelling. 

Remember that it takes about three months to fully recover from cataract surgery.

Benefits of surgery

What benefits does laser cataract surgery offer that traditional cataract surgery does not?

Using a laser to do cataract surgery allows the surgeon to make very precise incisions in less time. It can improve accuracy and precision in the surgical steps. And laser-assisted cataract surgery can provide a higher degree of correction for a refractive error, such asastigmatism, than traditional cataract surgery.

However, it is important to be aware that studies have not shown that laser-assisted cataract surgery results in fewer complications or better visual outcomes than traditional cataract surgery. 

With any type of cataract surgery, your outcome depends in large part on the skill and experience of your eye surgeon.

For some people, simply replacing a cloudy lens with a clear implant and wearing glasses for some activities is perfect. For others, achieving the best possible vision without glasses after cataract surgery is the goal. 

Your vision needs and expectations can help you and your ophthalmologist decide the best surgical option for you.

Dr. Mark Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology at 111 High Tide Drive (off Midtown Drive near Low Country Medical Group). Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com.

This annual sale is a book lover’s dream

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By Lee Scott

On Sept. 22, I was one of the many volunteers assigned to work the annual Friends of the Beaufort Library Book Sale.  

When I got the call from Danielle Gillespie, the volunteer coordinator, I happily agreed as I have in the past. 

This year I was a bagger. At first, I was not thrilled with my new assignment. In the past, I was one of the sorters. We would separate the books genre — mystery books here, biographies there, children’s books over in the corner. 

It was so much fun because as I was going through the books, I could grab one and put it aside to purchase later. Oh, what joy to find those old classic children’s books to give to my grandchildren.

But I quickly discovered how much fun it was to be a bagger. It seemed every book I touched, I wanted. My partner, Alexa, who was the cashier, became an instant friend over our shared love of books. We would croon over mutual favorites as the customer would hand over their cash.

The other enjoyable part for me as a bagger, besides salivating over all the books, was meeting the people. 

One couple, who have lived on Tybee Island for 20 years, had never been to Beaufort; visiting Savannah and Charleston instead. They said they had read about the book sale and decided to come up. They loved Beaufort and were interested in learning more about the town. 

There was another couple who came with their cloth bags and filled them with books. After they were all squared away, they asked if there was a good place to eat. What could I tell them? I love them all and yes, there are a couple of restaurants I frequent more than others, but my taste might be different from theirs. 

I started rambling off names of restaurants and they both laughed. It might be a good idea for our local restaurants to order some monogrammed bookbags as giveaways for next year. 

It is hard to fathom all the work that goes into this project, but a shout out to Marilyn Harcharik, Kinsey Baker and Kelly Baker and Danielle Gillespie for their work. Like any project, it takes good leadership to get the volunteers. Of course, the U.S. Marines and the Boy Scouts came out to help again, which is wonderful. 

That Friday was a great day, but surprisingly I left without buying any books. You see, I knew my husband and I would be back on Sunday with our canvas bags, ready to fill them up with travel, history and biographies, followed up, of course, by a great lunch downtown.

There’s good reason to ‘winter’ in Florida this year

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by
The guys with the big black trucks and trailers and claw arms are independent contractors who are known by the insiders as “storm chasers.” Because of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey there are fewer of them to go around to gather up the debris left behind by Irma and Nate. Accordingly, the clean-ups for those hurricanes will be slower than usual. Photo provided.
The guys with the big black trucks and trailers and claw arms are independent contractors who are known by the insiders as “storm chasers.” Because of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey there are fewer of them to go around to gather up the debris left behind by Irma and Nate. Accordingly, the clean-ups for those hurricanes will be slower than usual. Photo provided.

By Bill Rauch

The freedom to go where you please when it pleases you to go there is one of the many benefits of post-mayoral life.

Those who know me well will not be surprised by this story.

Last week when the opportunity arose I packed up and headed down to Collier County, Fla., the place on the Florida mainland that was hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. 

At 2,305 square miles, Collier County is by acreage the largest county in the lower 48. It runs from Everglades National Park in its southeast corner to the town of Bonita Springs in the north along the Gulf coast. The towns of Everglades City, Marco Island, Naples and Ft. Myers are all here. 

When Hurricane Irma came ashore in Collier County a month ago she was a Cat 4, just like Hurricane Hugo in Charleston in 1989. The Naples Airport recorded sustained winds of 142 mph last month. The recorded sustained winds attributed to Hugo were 140 mph.

Collier County faces many challenges, not the least of which is working well and closely with a stretched-thin FEMA. 

In this year of astonishing back-to-back natural disasters, the story is still the same. It is the big cities, Houston, San Juan and New Orleans that get the attention. But it’s in the smaller cities and towns and out in the countryside where the agonizing and sustained hurt is. Just ask Hilton Head Island if the vestiges of Matthew still haunt.

But that’s the way FEMA’s executives think and the network executives are right there with them. I guess you can’t blame them.  The big cities are where the votes are … and the ratings.

But even if there hasn’t been much about it on cable news, Collier County is a major disaster area.

I may be here a while, and this column may not appear as regularly as it has in the past.

But I promise to keep you posted.

Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at TheRauchReport@gmail.com.

It’s a sad day when the old Hoover dies

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By Lee Scott

There was a moment in my house, a few weeks ago, when my old vacuum cleaner was humming along and then suddenly began to make some very nasty sounds; then nothing. That was it. The day my Hoover died. 

The old girl had been a faithful machine doing her job for years, but had ultimately been relegated to an upstairs guest bedroom closet, used only occasionally for a quick sprucing up. Otherwise, I use the new “Hoover- Handy Dandy Dog Dandruff Super Easy Tunnel” vacuum cleaner.

It was inevitable that the old girl would go. There had been hints for a while she was nearing the end of her useful life. 

First, it was getting very difficult to find the old “A” bags required, those long white paper bags that would hold all the dirt and dust and then get thrown out. Or if you did not have any spare bags, you could shake out half the bag and start vacuuming again. Of course, the bag lost a lot of its integrity so you had to be very careful or you would find the contents of the bag spewed all over the room.   

Fortunately, I discovered the thrift shops in town still had packets of 10 for me to purchase. The price was around $2, which was a real bargain considering how much they cost in previous years.  

Then, ultimately, even the thrift stores didn’t have them. I pictured some other woman, my age, scouring through shelves searching for her own Hoover bags. 

After that, I knew it was getting closer to the end and I fought buying the new vacuum cleaner. But in the end, I had to succumb. My Hoover had been so reliable through the years. Oh, I still had to replace some of those rubber belts which slowly disappeared from the shelves too. And it had been a while since I had any of the original attachments. 

I remember having to learn how to attach and use all the accessories. First, I had to turn the machine off, flip it over, slide in the “easy slip on” handle and then insert whichever attachment I needed. My living room would become a staging area for my Hoover. Inevitably, the attachments broke and were not replaced.  

After the Hoover coughed and shut off, I called my appliance repair man. He asked what model it was and when I told him, he said, “There’s an antique store in town that might want it, or give it to me for parts.”

Everyone is a comedian these days.

So, the old girl is in some vacuum cleaner graveyard. Now I picture my “white bag”seeking counterpart dredging through old machines, searching for that one last white “A” bag.

Early detection key to treating cataracts in kids

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

By Dr. Mark Siegel

Many people think cataracts only happen to older people, but children can get cataracts too. Both pediatric cataracts and cataracts from aging are a clouding in the lens of the eye that can cause blurry vision or blindness.

In adults, cataracts occur after the eyes and vision are developed and stable. Most adults can have good vision again after the cataracts are removed. Because children’s eyes are still developing until they’re 8 or 10 years old, untreated cataracts can have serious long-term effects on their vision. But early detection and prompt treatment can prevent permanent vision loss in children with cataracts.

Types, causes vary

Pediatric cataracts can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop after birth).

They can occur in one eye (unilateral) or both eyes (bi-lateral). Bi-lateral cataracts can be asymmetric (one cataract is more severe than the other).

Cataracts may appear in different parts of the lens and range in size from tiny dots to dense clouds.

They can be caused by genetic predisposition, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or trauma to the eye that damages the lens. Sometimes they occur spontaneously.

A traumatic cataract in a child's eye. The injury also damaged the iris.
A traumatic cataract in a child’s eye. The injury also damaged the iris.

Early detection

An eye’s lens must be clear to focus the images it sees onto the retina, which then transmits the images to the brain. A cataract can prevent light from reaching the retina or cause light rays to scatter as they pass through the cloudiness. This distorts the retinal image.

For children, whose eyes and brain are still learning to see, distortion can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). Without proper treatment, pediatric cataracts can cause abnormal connections between the brain and the eye. Once made, these connections are irreversible.

Most pediatric cataracts are detected when the child is examined at birth, before they even leave the hospital. Many more are detected by pediatricians at well-baby exams and some are noticed by parents. They are often noticed as a missing or irregular red reflex test on pediatric screening exams.

Acquired cataracts are most often diagnosed at vision screenings by the pediatrician or after an eye injury.

Pediatric cataract in a child born with aniridia (missing iris).
Pediatric cataract in a child born with aniridia (missing iris).

Long-term strategy

Treatment for pediatric cataracts can vary depending on the type and severity. But the vast majority of children need surgery to remove the cataracts. 

Unlike adults with full-sized eyes, children require specialized surgical instrumentation and techniques. When performed by an experienced pediatric cataract surgeon, cataract removal is generally safe. The most common risks include glaucoma, retinal detachment, infection and the need for more surgeries.

For most children, surgery is just the first step to rehabilitate the eyes. Ongoing treatment must repair eye-brain connections. This involves teaching the eyes how to focus properly.

After surgery, children often need some combination of contact lenses, intraocular lenses implanted in the eye or glasses. If amblyopia has developed, the child may need patching. This treatment involves covering the stronger eye to stimulate vision in the weaker eye.

Children who receive timely treatment and follow-up have a good prognosis. Successful outcomes may require years of individualized visual rehabilitation.

Dr. Mark Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology at 111 High Tide Drive (off Midtown Drive near Low Country Medical Group). Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com.

The Great Pizza Debate is anything but cheesy

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By Lee Scott

You never know when people are going to get ugly during a conversation. 

Sometimes it is politics or maybe religion. But recently I heard a group get passionate about where to buy the best pizza. Who knew there could be so many differences of opinion?

Although, my spouse and I have eaten at many of our local pizza parlors, I must confess we are not experts on the topic, especially since neither of us grew up in towns known for great pizza. 

It was totally different for those individuals actively participating in the recent Great Pizza Debate. According to each of them, the best pizza is made in their hometown. 

Listening to them tell their stories about pizza, it seemed like most tales included mom, dad and other family members.  

There were the pizzas eaten at the local drive-in theatre while waiting for the scary movie to start. There were also the stories of beachfront pizza joints.  How can pizza not taste fantastic as you sit on the boardwalk with your slight sunburn, salt and sand in the air, and looking out over the ocean?  

Then it dawned on me that I did have some great pizza in Rhode Island where the toppings included both Italian and Portuguese seasonings. But, I was with my grandparents on vacation. So, was it really the pizza or the setting?   

Now, I do have to be fair to my friends from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, even though they insist I am a baby taking her first steps when it comes to pizza.  

They began to describe the essentials of a good pizza. They compared red sauce versus white sauce. Then there was a debate regarding the “all meat” pizza with Italian sausage, pepperoni and ham versus the all vegetarian pizza.

I must admit the sound of a pizza with pineapple did not thrill me, but give me a pizza with a good marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and sliced onions and I am a happy camper.

“No,” the specialists insisted. “It is not just the toppings. It is also the crust.” Some were passionate about the thick crust and some argued for the thin crust.  

This was followed by discussion regarding the shape of the pizza: round or square. Evidently, you need the correct vehicle to carry all the sauces, spices and other toppings.

 I learned a lot from the debate. It seems like we all have our own unique tastes when it comes to most food and pizza is no different.  

But I can tell you after listening to all their comments, I think there is another adventure in my future. Time to head out to seek The World’s Greatest Pizza.

The Digital Corridor: swimming against the tide

in Bill Rauch/Contributors/Voices by
This photo was taken last week at the Commerce Park. The city proudly says it has set aside the money to mow the Commerce Park four times in FY’18. A mowing schedule like that would get a POA member brought up on charges. Photo by Bill Rauch.
This photo was taken last week at the Commerce Park. The city proudly says it has set aside the money to mow the Commerce Park four times in FY’18. A mowing schedule like that would get a POA member brought up on charges. Photo by Bill Rauch.

By Bill Rauch

One of the Charleston-based consultants that the city of Beaufort has retained to market its Digital Corridor contacted me last week asking to have breakfast and talk about the city’s economic development efforts. 

Kindly, he said he was doing so because I am a former mayor and “a guy who loves Beaufort.” All true.

We haven’t had our breakfast together yet, but here’s what I’ll say to him.

The Beaufort City Council made his job. But they didn’t make it easy.

They have got the trend lines in five key areas — safety, costs, the smell of success, community excitement and hope — all moving in the wrong direction.

Last week’s ARMED ROBBERIES at Smoker’s Express and of a man who was pistol-whipped as he got his mail from his Mossy Oaks mailbox speak clearly to safety. 

In recent years City Council has routinely so underfunded the city’s police department that, local law enforcement professionals say, Beaufort is now once again the drug-dealing capitol of Northern Beaufort County.

From 1994-2008 the city’s then award-winning community policing efforts — initiated by Mayor David Taub in 1993 and implemented by Police Chiefs Bill Neill and Jeff Dowling— ran the drug dealers out  of town. No, there were not BACK-TO-BACK ARMED ROBBERIES in Beaufort in those years.

But Mayor Keyserling’s Councils have deemphasized support for the police department, and the drug dealers, who are the ultimate opportunists, saw their chance, returned, and brought with them the violent property crimes that always follow them.

Not convinced? Take a look at the numbers. In the last eight years in-city police calls for service have tripled, but the number of officers assigned to handle them has remained unchanged.  That means Beaufort’s police officers no longer have the time to get out of their cruisers and talk to people. They are racing from call to call. Policing in Beaufort is thus now reactive. Yet law enforcement professionals say in unison that it is proactive policing — often called “community policing” — that prevents crime. We don’t have that anymore.

That is clearly not good for — among other things — the city’s economic development efforts. Everyone, except a bail bondsman who is considering starting a new business, looks for a safe area in which to do so.

Council members wonder why the city’s population is decreasing. They think it’s because there are no good jobs and that they’ll work to get jobs for the city’s young people. Here’s a tip. Don’t try to make the jobs, try to make the climate one that is conductive to job-creation. Smart gardeners don’t spend a lot of money buying exotic plants and then bring them home and plant them in the wrong soil. The part that needs the work is the soil.

Work on cutting taxes. Shed the programs that haven’t worked. Start-ups look for jurisdictions where costs are stable. That’s not Beaufort. In the Keyserling years the City Council has raised one tax or another in just about every budget season. To my knowledge none has ever been reduced. Ironically these City Councils have raised costs mostly in the name of economic development, although few, if any, jobs that are attributable to the city’s costly efforts have been created.

Take for example the city’s economic development flagship, the Commerce Park. Purchased by the city for $1.85 million in 2012, jobs at the desolate 168-acre park have been lost since the city has owned it. And no wonder. The city’s maintenance and promotion of the park fall way short of what a privately-owned park would do. They get an F.

Success breeds success, and wary entrepreneurs avoid associating their new enterprises with anything that suggests mediocrity, much less failure.

Next, where’s the excitement? What happened to Main Street Beaufort, the primarily city-funded downtown development program that was charged with creating excitement in the Bay Street area? Excitement brings people in, and once they are there they may spend a few dollars. But even if they don’t, it gives 30-something mom and dad something fun to do — a place to go — with the children. It provides a pulse. Start-ups are drawn to that.

But the city recently discontinued the funding of its Main Street program.

There’s a street concert or mini-festival in next door Port Royal just about every weekend. The Farmer’s Market that the Beaufort City Council let slip away from the Waterfront Park is a big hit in Port Royal on Saturdays. Moreover, it is hoped the long-awaited opening of the port to development will give the town a big boost.

But in Beaufort the lights are off more often than they are on. And what’s ahead? The mayor’s live/eat/sleep blog celebrates what other people are doing to try to make things go. But where’s the city’s leadership leading us? What are we hoping for? A return to yesterday? 

These underlying fundamentals make very challenging the job of making the Digital Corridor go. And judging from the results delivered there so far, the consultants are feeling it.

But I’ll know more about that after our breakfast.

Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at TheRauchReport@gmail.com.

All signs point to being old (but that’s OK)

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By Lee Scott

I am old and there are many reasons why I know that I am old. 

First and foremost, I am old because I qualify for all those senior discounts and the sales clerks do not even ask me if I qualify. 

Of course, age is relative, so some older people might consider me young. However, I am over three score and I even know what “score” means.  

It appears that there are other obvious signs of my age. I own a telephone book. Not only do I own one, I use it. I mark the pages of my doctor and dentist and the dog’s groomer. I also own a non-electronic rolodex. When service people come to the house, like a plumber or an electrician, I file their business cards so I can have them for future use. 

Oh, there are so many other things I do that reveal my age.  

I have the habit of closing my iPad when company comes to my house so we can visit together. I do not have a cell phone sitting at my dinner table; humans only. I do not feel obligated to answer my phone when it rings.  I enjoy conversation. I want to know what people are reading, what movies they have seen, and where they have traveled. 

Another sign of my age is that I do not discuss politics with friends and family. At this point in my life, why bother? I am not going to change my mind. 

I used to read the Dick Tracy comics, but I do not own a device like he wore on his wrist; the watch, computer and phone all in one. I do not track how many steps I walk, but instead, I just walk every day. I have an address book. This helps especially at Christmas when I send out Christmas cards. The book contains a spot for me to track who I sent a card to and who sent one to me. I also write thank you cards in cursive and mail them.

Now, I have been informed by younger people, there is another age identifier: my email account. It ends in aol.com. I have had it since the mid-1990s. There are many jokes on the Internet about “old” people with their AOL accounts.  They are about me.  

There are many advantages of being old. I have no problem walking into a library and finding a book using the Dewey Decimal System. I can drive a stick shift car and navigate using a map. I know how to spell words without auto-correct and I use a dictionary.  

Yes, I am old, but best of all, I am here and I can entertain myself.

Hate is the reflection of hell

in Cherimie Crane/Contributors/Voices by
candlelight

Photo above: Jane Caffrey, left, holds her candle during a candlelight vigil on Aug. 14 at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park to show her support against racism and violence. The event was coordinated by Indivisible Beaufort, a self described non-partisan group supporting truth, justice and inclusion. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

In times of turmoil I find myself drifting back to sweltering heat, gravel dust and the roots of my meager beginning. 

Experience is as individual as thought and equally impactful. Current circumstance offers comfort until memory is sparked by an awakening like a silence shattering thunder in the dead of night. 

We all relate according to the genetics of our past measuring our personal injury by public parameters. Fundamentally our sight of current events is viewed through a kaleidoscope of personal encounter, not necessarily a clear lens. 

Often unfairly portrayed, Mississippi finds itself disproportionately gathered in a category of unforgiving bias. Cinema has offered no reprieve for misconception of my home state. Poorly represented amongst the masses as a place of forward bigotry and backward behavior, is all too often a source of great frustration as a daughter of the deep South. 

Growing up on the muddy side of the river, the working side of the plantation and the right side of faith, discrimination was an unavailable luxury. 

Differences were measured more by ability than affluence. Money gave no advantage to navigating the woods and color meant nothing other than the ripeness of the garden and readiness of corn. Not particularly affected by the undercurrent of unrest, it was nothing more than another expected threat like a briar in the blueberry patch or moccasin in the river. 

It wasn’t until an unfortunate display that my experience was molded towards future beliefs. A visit to the feed and seed brought about a turning point for a little girl whose view of color revolved around Popsicles. 

A sudden scuttle, sounds of discontent and my Daddy scooping me up with unusual urgency spurred me to look in humanity’s darkened closet. Over his shoulder I saw the absence of love and the cowardice of hate that would forever remain a stationary reel in the film of my childhood. 

As if it’s a recording of his voice I can hear my Daddy say, “Don’t look baby girl, this ain’t no place for hate.” 

Curiosity caused a dent in my childhood. I looked. A handful of people confused Halloween with a hot summer’s day as they marched through a small Mississippi town. Daddy’s grip firm, his tone staunchly defiant, his demeanor unfamiliar and his words cemented. This ain’t no place for hate. 

It is an unfortunate wrinkle, an uncomfortable etch in an otherwise pleasant day. A memory that is as colorful, as clear and as impactful as I have ever had. 

The shake in my daddy’s voice told me danger was near, the sturdy in his stance introduced me to caution and his grip around my body explained the hurried whispers of those around me. The reaction of those familiar to me communicated loudly without any sound. 

Strangers nodding to each other in agreement as men of all color attempted to block the sights and sounds of evil. 

Recollection of the purpose of this march fails me. I assume it was over some perceived injustice or reaction of the unjust. Reminiscent of the ‘50s but sadly mid 1980s. Abomination has no historical prejudice, aversion has no era. 

From that moment on, I was able to recognize hostility. Feel its unsettling twist and witness its contagion. I learned hate is something to be feared. 

I also saw its cure. 

Its frailty against the protective shield of a parent was as evident as it’s unwelcome. Those cloaked in cowardice paled in comparison to those who gave no courtesy. The clear signal of non-acceptance by onlookers gave unity to strangers and power to peace. Hate has no pigment, no dialect, it is the absence of soul and the reflection of hell. It needs oxygen to survive and consideration to grow. 

Groups fueled by hate based on false injustice purchase chaos by using ignorance as currency and silence as investment. The good must stand. Enough of us must believe that there is no place for hate. 

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.

Beaufort has experienced both love and hate recently. Here, Love House Ministries on Parris Island Gateway was the victim of racist graffiti last week. Photo provided by Randy Roberts.
Beaufort has experienced both love and hate recently. Here, Love House Ministries on Parris Island Gateway was the victim of racist graffiti last week. Photo provided by Randy Roberts.
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