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Lee Scott

Ring Tum Ditty: Ah, the food of our youth

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By Lee Scott

One rainy and chilly Sunday evening recently, I was enjoying a hot chicken and broccoli casserole dinner with my spouse.  

After he was finished, he announced that my casserole was much better than “Ring Tum Ditty.” 

“What in blazes is ‘Ring Tum Ditty?’ ” I asked, thinking he had just made it up.  

“Check the Internet.” he suggested.  

I did a search and sure enough, there were multiple recipes for Ring Tum Ditty. How had I never heard of it before? Let me educate those of you who have never heard of Ring Tum Ditty. 

The recipe follows:  Open a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and pour into sauce pan with a half can of milk (you never use a measuring cup when cooking with Campbell’s soup). Heat it up. Then chop up some of your favorite cheese (my mother-in-law would add Velveeta cheese) and melt it in the hot soup. Once the cheese melts, pour the soup over toast and serve.  

Talk about an easy meal to prepare.

We then started to reveal other “favorites” our mothers would put together. My mother’s easy family dinner was called “Glop.”

This was made by browning a pound of ground beef in a frying pan and then adding a can of Campbell’s Onion Soup. It was then served over white bread.  “Mmmmm, mmmm, good!”  

Another dish his mother made was called “Momma’s Muck.” This delicious (sic) sounding dish consisted of pouring a can of Tomato Soup over browned meat and cooked noodles, topping it with cheese, and heating it for 15 minutes. I’m thinking 25 minutes from walking in the door to sitting down to dinner. 

My personal “easy mom” dinners were different. I would come home from work and announce it was time for breakfast. Nobody ever complained about pancakes and sausages at the dinner table. Oh, there was the occasional can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli too.  

Let’s face it, we all need a break sometimes.  

It seems like young families today do not have dinners like Ring Tum Ditty, Momma’s Muck or Glop anymore. 

It is just as easy for them to stop at a fast food restaurant or order a pizza for dinner.  

However, as it turns out I still find myself pulling out that old familiar red and white can. You see, the sauce in my chicken and broccoli casserole that night had been made using Campbell’s soups.  

Our moms would have loved it.

March trifecta makes month fly by

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By Lee Scott

There are three annual events in March that make the month fly by for me.  

First is the “spring forward” time change where we all lose an hour. This day is filled with unhappy people frustrated because some of their electronic clocks refuse to recognize the adjustment.  

Second is the tax return preparation time where we gather all the pertinent information like income statements, copies of tax bills and other important documents and begin the grueling process.   

The third event is the annual spring cleaning. This archaic ritual was practiced by my mother and had been passed down to her by her own mother. 

Mom would designate a weekend in March and assign chores for all of us kids.  The boys generally had the garage and basement to clean and the girls would clean out cabinets, dressers and closets.    

For me, spring cleaning is one of those practices that I both hate and love at the same time. It gives me the opportunity to go through clothes and shoes and follow the “if you haven’t touched it in two years then give it away” rule.  

The piles of magazines we have accumulated are donated and the miscellaneous junk is sorted and discarded.  

My spouse believes that I am morbid because I always say things like “Get rid of it now, so the kids won’t have to do it later.”  

The kitchen cabinets are always an interesting challenge in this process. Normally, there is an item like an open box of raisins sitting on a back shelf all dried up or a box of brown sugar that is hard as a rock. These discoveries remind me to put on some latex gloves. I worry about little critters having a feast in my cabinet.  

One year I found an empty can of soda in the pantry. The can had been punctured and the contents had seeped out all over the back of a shelf.  Everything had to get scrubbed down, including the shelves and the floor. 

But soon, March will be ending and the March trifecta will be behind me. The clocks will all have the correct time, the tax returns will have been filed and once again, my house will be cleaned and organized.  

It is then that I will find out how I did in my March Madness bracket, hoping to see if my favorite team has made the Final Four.  

After all, March should include a little bit of fun.

Life is all about the art of ‘doing nothing’

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By Lee Scott

My daughter called to say her husband had finally completed the renovation to their kitchen: new cabinets, new tiles; the whole HGTV redo.  

She said that after he was done, he spread out on the couch and announced he was going to relax and “do nothing.”

She left to go shopping and when she returned home, she found him in the kitchen marinating a roast and preparing fresh vegetables. 

“What happened to your relaxing?” she asked.  

“I just could not keep still.” he replied.

It was after she told me about this occurrence that I shared my recent “do nothing” experience. 

It had been a very hectic week and it was my time to relax. The hammock hanging between the two large pine trees in our backyard was calling me. I stretched out in it and started to get comfortable when I realized I was missing a stick to help me swing. 

Knowing there were some sticks in the garage that would fit the bill, I went in and found a rake instead. 

As I was heading back to the hammock, I noticed all the pine cones under it, and decided since I had a rake in my hand, I should just gather them up. That’s when I noticed the garden next to the pine trees was also full of pine cones.  

I went back to the garage, grabbed a large garbage pail and proceeded to rake up the pine cones and scoop them into the garbage can.  

The garden looked so good, but did need a bit of weeding. Back to the garage for my gardening gloves and some garden tools. 

I plucked the weeds and then picked up the camellia blossoms that had fallen from the nearby bush.

The garden looked so good, but needed some watering. Back to the garage for the hose.  

As I stood there watering the garden, I realized the hammock was getting watered also. That is when it hit me!  What happened to my “do nothing” time? How was I suddenly up again doing something and ruining my down time? 

As I continued to water the flowers, I realized how relaxing it was to stand there and enjoy the sight of the garden. 

So I told my daughter, “As it turns out, sometimes ‘doing nothing’ means doing something you enjoy. Enjoy your dinner, Faith.”

The pickle: Picking up after litterbug Hurricane Matthew

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By Lee Scott

As I was hanging off my dock the other day a wild man came running towards me screaming, “STOP! Do not pick up that wood!” 

I proceeded to lasso the end of the broken pole and secured it to the side of the dock.  

The man yelling was my spouse. 

I thought he had already gone to the hardware store, but he must have forgotten something because there he was flailing his arms at me to stop. 

We have gotten this routine down pretty well. He leaves the house and I go out to the dock and see what piece of floating dock debris I can fish out of the water. 

He has estimated that since Hurricane Matthew, I have pulled out enough wood to build an entire dock. “I cannot help it!” I say to him. “It is an obsession.” 

I hate to see this junk floating in the water. His argument back to me is that he is the one who has to haul it to the dump all the time. Which is not true, because a lot of times, I just do it myself so we do not have to have this same conversation. 

I am on a personal crusade.  

The debris is floating down from islands all over the Lowcountry. The tides snatch it from the shores and send it out to the surrounding waterways. It makes me nervous to see boats flying up and down the creek dodging the wreckage. 

When a neighbor pointed out to me that it was the boat owner’s responsibility if he hit something. I responded, “That is not the point. If there are volunteers picking up litter along our highways, why can’t boaters and waterfront property owners help to pick up the debris in our waterways?”   

On this particular day, the piece I was pulling up was too big for me.  

“What would you have done if I had not been here?” my spouse asked.  

“I would have had to wait for you,” I said, knowing, in the back of my mind, that he always helps me when I need him. 

He shook his head as we both dragged the broken piling out of the water. 

In the meantime, I just wait for another opportunity when he is leaving the house and remember to say to him casually, “Honey, just leave the truck for me today.”

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 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.

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

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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.

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.”

Wolf Moon makes us howl in delight

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By Lee Scott

On the morning of Jan. 12, as we were leaving Beaufort to attend an out of town event, my spouse and I spotted one of the most beautiful moon settings we had ever seen since moving here.

This occurred about a half an hour before sunrise. It was so bright it looked like a setting sun with its orange-yellow color. It lit up the entire pre-dawn sky.  We marveled at the sight; once again appreciating the area we chose to live.

As we were driving, I opened the Farmer’s Almanac online site and learned that this incredible moon is called the “Wolf Moon.”

Evidently, the wolf packs would howl hungrily outside Indian villages during cold snowy nights and so the Native Americans called it the Wolf Moon.

The next evening, after we checked into our hotel and went back outside, I looked up and realized I could not see the night sky. I should have been able to see the moon along with stars because it was a clear night, but the high-rise buildings and the lights made it impossible.

Well, I decided, I might not be able to see anything, but I could figure out where the moon and stars should be located.

I opened a free app that I had downloaded on my phone, SkyView (one of the many free apps for people interested in celestial bodies). It allows me to point my phone up to the sky and tells me what is up there; even if it is not visible.

It was comforting to know that behind all that light pollution was the full moon.

A few days later, when we returned home, I stood on my back porch with the Sky View app.

I pointed the phone at a bright star and discovered it was Sirius, the Dog Star, as it is known. I then scrolled over to other stars and constellations and realized another bright light I was seeing was the
planet Jupiter.

I could eyeball the waning Gibbous moon that night and it reminded me of the Wolf Moon we had seen the previous week.

So, if by chance you were up early that morning, driving along Sea Island Parkway, and saw the Wolf Moon, there is a chance you might have heard some strange noises coming from a black and red RV.

That was us, howling at the moon.

Like the wolves, we could not help ourselves.

Meeting passionate people is part of the Beaufort experience

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By Lee Scott

Throughout the year, I have met so many passionate people in our community, wonderful people who belong to nonprofit organizations helping our community; teachers who shine at educating children; and business people who love to talk about their products.

It is very inspiring to listen to any of these people talk. Recently I heard a couple speak about their nursery farm business.

George and Sandy Cannon own Cannon Farms and are just one of the many vendors at the Port Royal Farmer’s Market on Saturdays mornings.

George was the primary speaker, but Sandy was right there to help.

The thrust of the talk was camellias, although they sell other plants. This is a plant I had never come across until I moved to Beaufort. George said it was not surprising that I was not familiar with them, because they are mostly grown in the Southeast.

Before the presentation, I had a chance to talk to George and knew right away that I would like him. He had a confident attitude that was not pretentious.

His wife Sandy sat fairly close to me during the lecture, leaning forward in her chair and nodding her head as he spoke. And occasionally she would get his attention to remind him of a topic he wanted to cover. He would gesture a look of appreciation to her. “Oh, that’s right.” he would say and expand on whatever she had mentioned. A good team.

The talk was very informative. George taught us all about camellias and how to take care of them. He talked about how many variations of camellia plants he raises (about 25-30), and then talked about raising his three sons on the farm.

Afterwards, he allowed time for questions and willingly answered the host of questions thrown at him.

But the best part of the talk was his enthusiasm and obvious love of his camellias. He touched the plants he had brought like they were friends. I know this feeling because I touch and talk to my indoor plants all the time, begging them not to die

It was a good start of the new year to hear this information. My yard is full of camellias and I needed to understand how to care for them.

I thanked George and Sandy for coming and said they would be seeing me more often at the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

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