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Lee Scott

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.

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.

Let’s help keep our roadsides clean

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By Lee Scott

Have you ever noticed those orange bags by the side of the road when you were driving? The first time I saw them, I thought someone had lost garbage from the back of their truck. 

Then one day, I spotted a man with an orange vest, then another man, and then another man. They were picking up trash and putting it into large orange bags.  

After I did a bit of research I discovered that these people were mostly volunteers and part of a state-wide program called Adopt a Highway. It was developed in 1988 “to eradicate litter and promote beatification in SC.”

Palmetto Pride, which is a legislative initiative, hosts the pickup program, partnering with the South Carolina Department of Transportation.   

No wonder our roads look so good. These volunteers are local citizens who care about Beaufort. 

Yet this all really got started back in 1953 when a consortium of businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and concerned citizens got together and started the “clean up” movement.  They formed “Keep America Beautiful.” This came about soon after President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system. 

Business leaders realized there was a growing problem with litter on the side of the road. There was also a concern because it was their product packaging that stood out in all the mess. The program began with an educational focus. 

It is strange to think people had to be told NOT to throw things out the window of their cars. 

Now we see lots of groups involved with Adopt a Highway clean-up efforts.  The Boy and Girl Scouts, private communities and others local community groups take on sections of a highway and clean them up.  

This program inspired another program called “Sponsor a Highway” which was started as the brainchild of a marketing executive who saw value in allowing companies to “market” through community cleanup activities. They get billed by municipalities for the clean-up work.  In return, they have the privilege of having their company names on roadside signs along busy roads.

Truthfully, I thought Lady Bird Johnson was behind all the clean-up programs, but her focus was on making it beautiful through flowers and getting rid of junkyards. 

However, the two campaigns seemed to have complemented each other over the years. The “Keep America Beautiful” campaign has been going on for over 60 years now and our “Keep South Carolina Beautiful” is the state affiliate of the national campaign. Currently, there are over 1,000 organizations participating in the various programs throughout the USA.  

Out of these campaigns have come volunteerism, education, and many other programs to keep our communities clean. So, please, make sure you do your part. Please do not litter!

Take care when watching solar eclipse

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By Lee Scott

In the summer of 1963, I was living in Ohio and experienced my first solar eclipse (although it was only a partial).

I remember it clearly because my father, the nuclear physicist, was in the backyard hours before the designated time. He was making a homemade Box Pinhole Projector.  

This contraption consisted of a cardboard box, a sheet of white paper, a pin to hold up the paper and a few other items that truthfully, I do not recall. 

My thought at the time was: Why should I look at a cardboard box when looking up in the sky would be so much fun? My father assured us that we would damage our eyes if we looked up during the eclipse and anyone not willing to follow his instructions would be sent, immediately, into the house. 

Now, over 50 years later, and I am awaiting another solar eclipse.  

According to the Weather.gov site, the place in our area to see this event is the Charleston area on Monday, Aug. 21. The total solar eclipse will take place around 2:48 pm.  

And social media is buzzing with people planning to visit those cities where they can witness the event. Some are even planning parties.  

For us in Beaufort, we will only experience 98.7 percent of the solar eclipse, which is close enough for me. I also think sitting in my backyard might be more fun too than driving somewhere. 

And, like my father, I am getting ready for this rare phenomenon.  

When I first started to see these special solar eclipse glasses advertised, I wondered why I could not just wear my own sunglasses. My Maui Jim’s have polarized lens. They were developed in Hawaii.  They cost me a bunch of money. 

But no, I heard my father’s voice ringing in my head.  I broke down and bought the approved solar eclipse glasses. They are on sale now all over and some libraries are even giving them out for free.  

Check the ISO rating. According to the NASA site, there are certain requirements. Mine are the approved ISO 12312-2. They look very cheap and weigh about a 10th of an ounce.

Beaufort County schools are going to be closed on Aug. 21. I am not sure if it was planned, but it is a good idea not to have over 21,000 students getting off school buses that afternoon. The temptation to look at the sun during the solar eclipse is natural.  

So, get ready, pick up some of those sunglasses or make a Box Pinhole Projector and pray for good weather.    

Agri Supply store holds many treasures

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By Lee Scott

According to Trip Advisor, there are numerous places in South Carolina and North Carolina to visit.  

Charleston, Hilton Head, Beaufort and Ashville all come to mind as great destination spots. 

However, on a recent road trip with my spouse I found myself in front of an Agri Supply Store. Turns out Trip Advisor did not even have it listed. The closest Agri Tour found on Trip Advisor was the one at Mont Plaisir, Mahe Island, in the Seychelles. It has a five-star rating. 

As we pulled up I said, “Some husbands take their wives to five-star locations.”

“You will love it.” he said. 

He was right. 

The reason he wanted to go to the Agri Supply store was he needed two new heavy-duty blades for his tractor. The smaller blades he had bought at our local hardware store worked, but he wanted serious cutting blades. 

The first thing I noticed at the Agri Supply Store was the enormous field next door. It was filled with all kinds of farming equipment. 

As we walked into the store (which, I might add, was extremely busy at 9 a.m.) I was overwhelmed. It was like stepping into a different world. I could have spent the whole day in there wandering around, and there was not even an entrance fee. Every farming and gardening equipment you can imagine! There were attachments for trucks too.

My husband went back to the salesclerk and described what he needed for his tractor. She asked questions like what kind of soil, what kinds of roots and what kind of tractor. Questions he had not even considered. Turns out they had access to over 250,000 mower blades and parts to fit over 70 various brands.

I wandered to the “girl section.” You know, housewares, where I spotted a cute umbrella. It was for a tractor or the back of a pickup truck. They also had canning equipment, like Ball jars and granite canners with jar racks. Not your average items.

When my spouse and I hooked up again, he asked what I thought of the place.  I told him it was like stepping back in time when I was growing up in Illinois surrounded by cornfields and farming equipment. It reminded me how lucky we are to have the farmers in our own area.   

There are numerous places like the Agri Supply Store not listed by Trip Advisor. Places that take us out of our own little world. As it turns out, it was also a lot cheaper and faster than flying to the Seychelles Island. We would not have liked that 37-hour flight, despite its five-star rating. 

Become a ‘service human’ for a dog in need

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By Lee Scott

There are dogs in our community that wear special vests. This “service dog” identificatin are lets people know that the dog is working.  

Normally, one does not go up to one of these dogs to pet them. Service dogs are trained to help individuals who have an assortment of issues, like blindness or PTSD. They provide a valuable service to many citizens in our community. 

I do not have a service dog. However, Brandy, our dog, has a “Service Human”: me.   

Brandy was a rescue dog. She had been picked up by Animal Control and spent three months in the hospital before we could adopt her. She was skinny and skittish. The SPCA would not allow her to go to a family with children, because they were not sure how should would behave.

The first time I saw her, I knew she was going to need a “service human,” someone who could love her. I prepared myself for a few months of training (on my part). 

She would “leak” if the television was noisy, the voices were too loud or a stranger came into the house. But like any good “service human” I was there to provide companionship and courage for her to venture out.

The first time she had a seizure, I held her for the 5 minutes as it went on. “You are OK. It’s OK. We are here.” 

We discovered that any lawn chemicals sprayed on our neighbor’s lawn would lead to a seizure. We asked them to just warn us beforehand so we could protect her. I also learned early not to smack flies with a folded newspaper, once I realized how it affected her. I would throw away the newspaper, sit on the floor, hold her and say, “I don’t know who hit you in the past, but I will never hit you.”  

Most people, who have opened their hearts and homes to dogs do not wear vests that identify them as Service Humans, but they are all around us. They are individuals who have taken on the responsibility of a dog that needs to be cared for and loved. 

Some of these dogs have been raised in happy, safe home environments, but they had to be turned into the SPCA. Sometimes it is because their owners could not care for them anymore or maybe because the owner has died. These are very lovable dogs that just need a home. They assimilate very easily. 

So, if you have ever considered becoming a “Service Human,” contact the local rescue shelter. There may be a rescue dog out there that really needs you.

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Good neighbors share emergency info

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By Lee Scott

A friend of mine had an accident recently, and because she lives alone, I decided to follow the ambulance to the hospital. 

Driving along it dawned on me that I had no idea how to get in touch with any of her relatives. I have met her daughters, but did not even know their last names, much less have their contact information. One would think that after three years of friendship, I would have at least one telephone number to call.  

As she and I sat there in the emergency room, we discovered that neither one of us could make a phone call. The hospital was a dead zone. Then when she left to get some X-rays, a song started playing in my head. I began to hum.

“There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza.” The response is: “Then fix it, dear Georgie, dear Georgie, dear Georgie.”

The message was clear: Fix it, Lee.  

I spotted the “free wi-fi” sign and grabbed both of our phone chargers and plugged them in. At least we could text people.  

Picking up her phone, I thought I could locate her contacts or recent calls, but her Android phone operates differently from mine. I did not even know how to turn it on.  

When she came back to the room, she gave me her daughter’s number and I left the hospital to make the call.

Afterwards, I said to her, “You know we should both have each other’s family names and phone numbers. If anything happened to my husband and me, how would you know who to contact?” 

Then I told her that even my best friend, Christine, who knows all about my kids, does not have my relative’s contact information and they do not have hers. The only person in possession of my emergency contact information is Bonnie, my dog sitter. Why it had never dawned on me to give it to other people is beyond me.  

When I got home that day my husband said, “It’s probably not a bad idea to put some emergency numbers on the refrigerator. There are times when we travel and if there was any kind of problem with the house, relatives could get notified.”

We tend to not think of these issues when everything is normal; when there are no emergencies around. But in that time, when reaching out to family members or friends is critical, it would not hurt to provide friends with relatives’ names and vice-versa. Because you see, Georgie and Liza, you might just want to fix that hole in the bucket before you really need it.

Who needs crosswords puzzles to stay sharp?

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By Lee Scott

There are numerous reports out today stating that seniors can stimulate their brains by completing crossword puzzles and playing games. These are called mental workouts and they push people to challenge themselves. 

However, it has come to my attention that I will never have to do another crossword puzzle again to keep my brain functioning.  All I have to do is drive a rental car, go into a new restaurant or use a public restroom.  

Let me explain. 

It happened recently with a rental car. Instead of a normal key, I was given a key fob. All I had to do was push a button to get the car started. Right away, I knew I would have to figure out where everything was in the car. 

The radio was placed nicely in the dashboard as normal, however, the controls were on a panel between my driver’s seat and the passenger seat. That meant instead of glancing straight ahead to change the station, I would have to look down at buttons and figure out how to change the station. I challenged myself to set it up before I left the parking lot. 

Crossword puzzle question: “What is a ten- letter word for frustrated?”

Answer: “Grrrrrrrrr!”

Then as I was driving away a voice said, “In one half mile take a left on Beach Road.” Oh dear, it was a navigation system. And she was talking over my newly programmed radio station giving me the weather update at precisely the same time. I pulled over and discovered the button controlling my radio, also had a NAV control switch. I shut her off.  

Crossword puzzle question: “What is a three-letter word for navigational system?”  

Answer: “Map.”

Next a stop is at a restaurant for lunch. There was obviously an automatic door, I know because it said, “automatic door.” But the question was: Do I walk right up to it and wait, or is there a button to push? Can I just push the door open?  

Then there are the public restrooms. Are you familiar with those sinks where you are not sure if you are just supposed to stick your hands under the faucet for water or are you supposed to push a button? Same problem with the soap dispensers? And do not get me started on those air machines where you stick your hands in and watch as your skin starts to flap.   

Yes, you can forget about the crossword puzzles. We now live in a world where automatic machines challenge us every day.  

At this rate, my body will run out way before my mind.

Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands

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By Lee Scott

The other day while chatting with a friend on the phone, she wondered what I was up to and I said, “Enjoying this beautiful day.”  

“Where are you?” she asked. 

“At home,” I replied. 

To which she answered, “It is pouring rain here.” 

We only live about a mile apart.  

Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands! It happens a lot during these hot July and August days. When the weatherman says “50 percent chance of scattered showers,” he really means it. Scattered means it is going to rain somewhere.  

You may have noticed it when leaving sunny Beaufort and driving down to Bluffton. You start to see cars coming at you with their headlights on and windshield wipers going. Sure enough, rain. 

I have found it raining on one side of Sea Island Parkway, only to drive over Cowan Bridge and not a drop of rain has fallen. Sometimes it is torrential rain too, with the tires throwing off water higher than the car windows and I know if I can just get over the little bridge I will be out of it. 

Which brings me to planning a picnic or an outside barbecue. Relax. Do not cancel your summer party. It is probably going to rain at some point, or somewhere, but it just might not at all. 

It happened to us the other night while preparing to grill on our back porch.  We were looking out our window at the blue sky when we started to hear thunder. Then the waving American flag at the end of the dock shifted from the south to flying from the west. I looked out the front door. Sure enough, something was coming.  

We began our thunderstorm prep. We put the umbrella down and moved the dinnerware back into the house.  

It started to get dark, the wind howled, there was thunder and lightning, and then, nothing, not a drop of rain. Within a half an hour any evidence of a storm was gone. We should have known. 

We try to track some of these storms on the weather radar. If the storm is west of Hilton Head, they seem to skim Beaufort and miss us altogether. (although Edisto might get hammered). But these summer pop-up storms have a mind of their own. Let’s face it. When the thermometer hits 94 degrees there is a good chance that a storm will build up somewhere. 

The question is always, “Is it going to hit my house during my summer barbecue?” 

The answer is: It might. It might not. Let’s just say, you have a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms today.

The ‘staycation’ is the best vacation of all

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By Lee Scott

Every year, millions of Americans plan their annual summer vacation. This adventure usually involves car travel, plus hotels or rental property. It might even mean visiting amusement parks or relatives. 

At the time of the long sought-after vacation, the car is loaded with food, clothing, children’s toys/electronics, beach chairs and other miscellaneous needs. 

Then after a fun-filled holiday it is time to load the car again and return home; sometimes exhausted and sunburned.  

And, for many people, it means heading back to work the next day. 

Ah yes, the annual vacation!

It did not take me long after starting a full-time job, while raising kids, to figure out that my all-time favorite vacation week was my “staycation.”

This was an entire week off from work where I could just stay in my own house for more than two days without being sick. Oh, the joy. Putting on shorts and T-shirts every morning, going to the pool and catching up on my reading from the pile of books stacked next to my bed.

What a treat to sit on the porch with a glass of iced tea and not have anything to do or have anywhere to go. 

The extra money I might have spent on hotels and restaurants went towards enjoying my own home and town. Seven days of not having to get up early, commute to work or go to bed exhausted. 

For the most part, we spent the sunny days at the pool. My kids could play with friends and I could unwind. On the rainy days, we would close the curtains and put in a Beta tape (yes, I did not have a VHS) watch some movies like “Goonies” and eat lots of popcorn with butter. We would treat ourselves to ice cream cones and pizza. By the end of the week, I would be rested up and more prepared for the work week ahead.

Looking back, I think the kids might have thought it was boring. They liked the trips to Disney World and the beach. 

But now they have children and jobs of their own and it does not sound so boring after all. I think they appreciate the cost of a staycation versus a normal vacation also. It is quite a difference. 

Even though I do not work full time anymore, I still require a staycation. One or two weeks where there are no projects in the house, no outside commitments and no long drives on the interstates. Just time to sit around in shorts and a T-shirt and read the books stacked up next to the bed.

My kids are so jealous! 

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