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Lee Scott

This isn’t something you see every day

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An elephant and a dog play in the water. Photo by Lee Scott.
An elephant and a dog play in the water. Photo by Lee Scott.

By Lee Scott

Recently, my spouse and I did a boat delivery from Beaufort up to the Chesapeake Bay. We have done this trip numerous times and for some reason, it never gets boring. 

It seems like there is something always going on like, dolphins playing in the boat wake and unusual birds sitting on the side of the marsh. Then there are kayakers, paddle boarders, and jet skis gliding by as you pass through their territory. 

No matter how many times we make this trip, something happens, and this time it was something totally unique.

I was at the helm of the sailboat and my spouse was below looking at the chart book. As I looked down the river, it appeared that a bunch of boats were gathering around some object in the water. At first I thought it was a large inflatable raft, but when I looked with the binoculars, I thought I saw an elephant in the water.

Now, I do not take drugs, nor am I on any medication, but this was unreal.  

“Uh, honey!” I called.

“Yes.” 

“I believe there is an elephant playing in the river ahead of us.”

“A what?” he asked.

“An elephant. And I am pretty sure there is a black Labrador dog on his back.”

My spouse came up from below, looked through the binoculars and casually said, “Yup, that is an elephant with a lab on his back.” (As if we see this sight all the time) 

He took over the helm and I grabbed my camera and started to take pictures. The two animals were frolicking in the water and people were everywhere laughing and enjoying the scene. 

The dog would climb on the elephant’s back, then the elephant would stand up and the dog would leap off into the water. They had this routine down well. 

I started sending texts out to my family and friends and received an e-mail from my son-in-law, Matt.  “Check out the YouTube video. That is Bella and Bubbles.”

Evidently, the two are part of the Myrtle Beach Safari.  

Bubbles was adopted as an ivory orphan in 1983. She grew from 300 pounds to 9,000 pounds and the Safari decided to have a pool built for her. 

In 2007, the contractor who was building the pool, abandoned a little puppy at The Preserve. Before long, the two became close buddies.  

If you get a chance to see the video check the two out playing ball. And if you happen to be traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway and see an elephant and dog in the water, don’t worry. It is just Bella and Bubbles. 

To see a video of the two, Google “Bella and Bubbles.”

Ummm … what was your name again?

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By Lee Scott

One of the most uncomfortable situations for many us is attending an event and not being able to remember the names of the people you see. 

You walk into the room and right away someone greets you by your first name and your mind is a blank.

But there is good news! 

Many people are in the same boat. We find ourselves struggling to come up with a person’s name knowing full well we cannot recall it.  

Fortunately, my spouse and I have our “I don’t know their name routine.” (I know other couples have their own method.) If I am chatting with someone and do not introduce him right away, he will put out his hand and introduce himself. This gives the other person a chance to introduce himself while I stand there innocently playing the “Oh, I thought you two had already met” look on my face.  

To complicate the problem of forgetting people’s names, I have added another twist. I assign names. There are so many men and women who remind me of someone else. My girlfriend Donna looks like Jennifer Gray from the old “Dirty Dancing” movie. 

Joanne, my mail carrier, was Jackie to me for a long time until one day when she corrected me. How embarrassing. 

However, I was lucky when it came to my spouse’s name. The first time I saw him, years ago, he was in a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner with a young blonde on his arm. I thought he looked like “Bond. James Bond.” Fortunately, his name is James and the young blonde is long gone.

According to medical websites, some doctors believe we do not remember names because we are so busy during the introduction observing the person’s features, body language and other characteristics that we dismiss the name part. Maybe that is why I am so quick to assign a name. I am too distracted focusing on who they look like and miss hearing their actual name. 

But my favorite assigned name was Alice, whose real name was Maureen. She was a waitress at a restaurant we frequented for many years in Annapolis. She went along with her new name, although it would confuse other customers. Maureen was always “Alice” to us and would serve my spouse a mean martini saying “Bond, James Bond. Shaken, not stirred.”   

Sometimes, you can have fun forgetting someone’s name. 

Yard sales are a sign that spring has sprung

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leescott.Ceramic Frog

By Lee Scott

It has begun! Spring has arrived and with it the annual ritual known as the “yard sale.”

This tradition has been going on for years. There may be some serious bird watchers who will disagree with me and say the sightings of the first ruby-throated hummingbird or the black-and-white warblers are the real indications of spring. But they are wrong.  

It is the sighting of the first yard sale sign.  

Oh, the beauty of the large black letters outlining the address, date and time; and better yet, the signs that read “Neighborhood Yard Sale.”  

Spring is the time of year for people to come out of their winter hibernation.  Neighbors and friends vie to get the best bargain, especially at those large block yard sales. 

These community sales make sense as neighbors combine forces for advertising and pull in many customers, like me.  

But I have learned through the years that the advertised hours at most yard sales are rarely honored. A recent yard sale I attended which was supposed to have started at 9 a.m. was already well in progress when I arrived a few minutes after 9. People were walking off with $25 bicycles, $10 Christmas trees and $5 lamps. I also noticed some serious shoppers double teaming so they could spread out and do reconnaissance for one another. Man, I wish I had thought of that idea.

As it is, there is nothing I really need, but the pull of the yard sign sale is too much for me.  

One week ago, I found myself turning my bicycle around the moment I spotted the yard sale sign. 

“Oh,” I said to myself, “I’ll just browse.” 

The ceramic frog sitting in my front garden is evidence that I did not just browse. How could I say no to a $5 item? And it did not matter that I was without cash on me because my girlfriend Chris was right there willing to loan me the $5.  

Karma. I was destined to own that frog. Even my spouse was seduced recently when he spotted a yard sale sign that said “All tools must go.” 

So, despite the migrating birds, Passover and Easter, the true universal sign of spring is here. Grab some cash, take your car, and get out there.  

But be careful when driving around neighborhoods. There are cars making sudden U-turns and stopping abruptly, and after all, that car may be yours.

Beach deprivation is hard on the soul

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hunting island.lee scott

Photo above: Hunting Island State Park is currently closed due to damages from Hurricane Matthew. Officials hope to reopen the park by the end of May. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

By Lee Scott

My friend Bonnie was over the other day and mentioned she was suffering from “Beach Deprivation.”  

“Can’t you sleep?” I asked.  

She shook her head and said, “Beach deprivation, not sleep deprivation.”  

Of course! 

We are all suffering from lack of beach. It has been six months now since we all scooted out of town and left poor Hunting Island State Park to take the beating. 

How many of us are suffering the same affliction as Bonnie?  We were so used to just jumping in the car and running down there for a walk. Or getting up early and having the beach to ourselves? How many of us took it for granted that our beach was always going to be there?

But it is deeper than just missing the beach. My father used to say that one must stand on a beach at least once a year and breathe in the ocean air. 

There is something so fulfilling about looking out at the ocean. Originally from Rhode Island – the Ocean State – I have such an affinity for beaches. Maybe this is the reason why during the past six months, I have had the need to visit other beaches. 

In a way, I am cheating on Hunting Island, but the roads are closed and the signs are up, and so I had no other choice.

There was the trip up to Kiawah Island to “watch a marathon,” but truthfully, I just wanted to walk the beach. Then there was the trip to the Florida Panhandle with a quick overnight stop at Miramar Beach. Oh, even the Gulf of Mexico breeze felt good that day as I walked barefoot through the sand.  

Those were fun walks, but I miss Hunting Island. 

I miss watching the sunrise when I was out turtling. I miss seeing the old trees that look like sculptures spread out in the sand.

Yes, Hunting Island State Park. I am as beach deprived as Bonnie Wright, past President of the Friends of Hunting Island. 

But we volunteers will be there once again, when the gates open to help support in any way we can and try not to take you for granted ever again. We have shovels, chainsaws and whatever other tools are needed to clean up the park. We just want to get in there again! 

In the meantime, like Bonnie, we all remain beach deprived.

When should folks start ‘acting their age?’

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By Lee Scott

Recently, I had the opportunity to go spiraling down a six-story waterslide called the Howlin’ Tornado screaming at the top of my lungs with a young 7-year-old who had persuaded me to join him. 

First, we had to climb six flights of stairs and when we arrived at the top we climbed onto a large inflatable raft.  Once we were settled and holding on, the attendant pushed us into a swirling tunnel flooding with water. 

What joy and laughter! We landed in a pool at the bottom where we high fived one another. 

“What a blast!” I yelled, to which my companion responded, “Let’s try another one of the slides!” and off we went with equal enthusiasm and joy.

Afterwards, my husband asked, “Aren’t you a little old for water slides? Shouldn’t you be acting your age?” 

The remark stunned me because it had never dawned on me not to go on the waterpark slides. 

“Act my age.”  

I had not heard that line in a long time; maybe when I was about 10 years old. 

“Oh,” I said, “is there a sign on the entrance to the waterslide that says you must be over 48 inches tall and less than 62 years old?”  

What “Aging Life Rule Book” is out with the title “Act your age?”

The incident reminded me of an old “Twilight Zone” episode from the early 1960s. (Yes, I am old enough that I remember watching.) 

It was about a group of residents in Sunnyvale Rest Home who snuck out at night and played kick the can, a game of their youth. The main character, Charles Whitley, believed that he has discovered the secret of youth: playing children’s games. When the group walked out through the front gate, they became children again, playing, running and laughing. Yet when they returned to the home, they were old again.

It is strange to be thinking of that show now that I am one of those seniors, still wanting to go out and play kick the can, shrieking and laughing like I was with my 7-year-old friend who said, “Come on. Let’s go.” 

Thank goodness it never occurred to my grandson Finn that someone my age should not go on the Howlin’ Tunnel.  

As for acting my age, I think I will continue to play “kick the can” until someday when it will be a bucket I kick instead of a can.

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.

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