Review Category : Contributors

The challenge of towing a power boat down I-95

By Lee Scott

We travelers see things all kinds of things in our travels up and down major interstates. Along with speeding buses, there is an endless parade of FedEx trucks, Walmart trucks and numerous nondescript tractor-trailers. There are the RVs filled with Canadians heading south in the winter, and north again in the spring like migrating birds. There are college students with all their worldly belongings piled up in the back seat as they

Lee Scott

Lee Scott

relocate from home to college, and minivans packed with kids as families return from vacation, bicycles hanging off the back of the vehicle.

It is also amazing to see all the things that are towed: motorcycles, go-carts, cars, U-hauls and, of course, boats. And although I have experienced the towing of a boat behind our truck locally within a few miles of our house, it was totally another story towing a boat down Interstate 95 from Washington, D.C., to South Carolina.

First of all, anyone familiar with the D.C. region knows of the treacherous road conditions. Large interstates pour into one another — I-495, I-395, I-295 — and the list of “I”s goes on as you travel farther south. The Springfield bowl is an engineer’s dream of pouring mass quantities of humans in speeding vehicles from one end of the region to the next. This particular area is interesting when driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck towing a 22-foot center console boat.  The cars and 18 wheelers merging onto the highways at 65 miles per hour can be a challenge when trailering anything.  One has to hope that the car doing the merging understands that they can’t just pull out behind you immediately.

Then there is the jersey wall challenge. There are long stretches of construction on I-95 from New England to Florida, and for some reason, along many stretches, these jersey walls have been moved inside of the old white lines. By the looks of the black and white marks on the walls, it appears many vehicles have slid into these concrete barriers. Of course, it is inevitable that when there are jersey walls on both sides of a small bridge, an 18-wheeler truck will choose that moment to pass! It is a challenge not to side swipe the jersey wall or the truck.

Then there are drivers that don’t understand that you are moving over to the left passing lane because there is a car ahead going 45 miles per hour, or worse, another pickup is towing a boat larger than yours. You have to pass them. Frustrated, oncoming vehicles drive up to the back of the trailered boat, fly into the right lane to pass you on the right and slip between you and the vehicle you are trying to pass.  Of course, three other cars have to pass you on the right as you attempt, with your right hand turn signal on, to get back into your normal lane. But first, you have to make sure you have enough speed to get over before another car going 80 mph attempts to pass you on the right. All the rearview and side mirrors can’t anticipate the idiot riding your tail who decides to pull out.

Gas stations are another interesting challenge. You pull into an end lane to fuel the truck and suddenly 50 other cars seem to need fuel also. (Did I mention that pulling a boat lowers your gas mileage considerably? As you pull out of your lane to attempt to get back to the highway, cars are pulling out in front of you because no one wants to get stuck behind the truck with the boat. Now I can understand this feeling, but having to suddenly stop for a white Cadillac cutting us off, necessitated a long horn blast!

My sympathies go out to anyone pulling a boat, or anything else, on the major highways. My suggestion is to leave very early to avoid any traffic congestion, watch out for the nuts on the road and get to your destination safely.

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career.  A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Lee now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She recently moved to St. Helena Island with her husband and two cocker spaniels. She enjoys boating, traveling and reading. 

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Is your dog a manipulator?

By Tracie Korol

People tolerate behavior in their dogs they would never tolerate in fellow human beings. You would never allow your nephew to punch visitors in the crotch to say hello, or slobber on your girlfriend because he’s happy to see her.  Dog owners make excuses like, “oh, he’s just being friendly” when the dog leaps up and rakes his nails across the neighbor’s bare legs or “she must have done something to upset him” after the dog rips a hole in the mail carrier’s sleeve.  My favorite excuse for bad dog manners is “he was abused before we got him.”

When an owner has been unsuccessful in creating clear rules and expectations for his dog and then said dog couples that with her instinctual mantra, “what’s in it for me?”, the end result is some form of chaos. For instance, Merlin, a large exuberant herding cross, does not come when he is called, ever.  Why? Because there’s nothing in it for him. However, he has learned that if he plays chicken in the front yard long enough, his exasperated owner will open the car door, cheer him in and then take him for a ride around the neighborhood.  Score! There’s something in it for him now. Merlin loves car rides. And because Merlin is a clever pet, he added door crashing to the activity. (You know, that unattractive behavior when you crack open the door and the dog muscles you out of the way and speeds out in a blur.) Now he gets his car ride on demand. What a brilliant manipulator!

June bites at her owner because it elicits a huge response, guaranteed. Biting usually does. June doesn’t get enough attention in her busy household so she has learned exactly what behavior is going to get her the biggest reward. (Dogs don’t differentiate positive from negative; attention is attention.) In both instances the manipulator is in charge. In both instances there is a lack of leadership.

A dog’s mental health depends on leadership. People will often mislabel this as dominance, but that is a simplification borne of watching too many dog-training TV shows. When living in social groups, canids will establish leadership hierarchies that dictate access to resources such as food, resting places, favored possessions, territory and mates. The social relationship is naturally extended to the human members of their household. These leadership behaviors often occur without aggression and instead, come to be about control of the outcome. In domestic canid groupings, overt aggression is rare and deference common. Owners often inadvertently reinforce a leadership outcome for the dog by deferring to the dog’s demands. Plus, some owners are pure patsies.

This sets the dog up as the one in charge, and each interaction that ends with deference to the dog reinforces that behavior. Each time Merlin hops into the car and happily rides shotgun around the block, his bad manners of not coming when called are reinforced.  The high point of Merlin’s day is the reward of watching his owner shrieking, waving her arms around, chasing him around the yard and then, taking him for a ride.  It sounds like great dog fun.

Other behavior occurs because it can. In other words, the owners do not prevent the dog from engaging in a certain behavior and that in itself can be reinforcing. For instance, counter-cruisers (usually the tall guys) will occasionally score a huge reward that only encourages them to keep cruising.  How many times have you heard the story of the rump roast taken out to thaw that was sucked down in seconds by the family lab? It happened at my house. Once.

The solution to curbing a manipulator’s creativity and enthusiasm is a three-step process. First, your dog gets a new mantra — “nothing in life is free”. The goal is for the dog to “earn” everything he desires by deferring to the owner. Deference is accomplished when the dog follows the request to do, whatever — sit, down, come, get the ball, be a dog and stay on the floor. The catch is that he has to do what you ask when you ask it, not before and not 20 minutes later. It takes a little discipline on our part to remain consistent and not give in to those big, sweet eyes, but the reward is that our pets are not a constant trial.

Then, he learns that you have opposable thumbs and are in control of his environment. Any attention he receives is at your grace. You give him attention on your initiative; you only give attention and reward his fine behavior when he is calm and quiet and acquiescent. And finally, he learns that you are center of his universe. You call the shots. He learns to focus on you and wait for instruction.

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Health Tip of the Week: The seven minute workout

By Ian Hart

Many people have this idea about working out: You have to spend hours at the gym and work out five to seven days a week. This is true if you want to be a bodybuilder, a professional athlete or compete in certain events, but the reality is that you can get a lean, toned and attractive body in less than 90 minutes a week. Yes, you heard that right, only 90 minutes a week.

Many people find it hard to believe but when we introduce them to people who have achieved dramatic results only doing 70-90 minutes of training a week and have lost 60 to 70 pounds and between 10% and 15% of body fat, their skepticism quickly turns to belief, motivation and excitement about the future of their own health and bodies.

The key is knowledge — knowing what exercises to do and how much of them to do. Ostensibly, if you just did a 7-10 minute workout each day, seven days a week, that is approximately 50-70 minutes of training a week, and I am sure you will see great results.

Here is a quick routine to do at home:

• Run a set of stairs (30 seconds)

• Squats (30 seconds)

• Push ups (30 seconds)

• Walking lunges (30 seconds)

• Jumping Jacks (30 seconds)

• Jog In Place (30 seconds)

Do three sets for a total of 9 minutes of working. You can do this pretty much anywhere, anytime and it takes less than 1 percent of your day. No excuses!

Ian Hart is creator of EarthFIT Transformation Systems and co-creator of the Back Pain Relief4Life Formula. Contact him at or 800-718-7FIT.

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Suffering, struggling or barely surviving? Then change states

By Martha O’Regan

Depending on your current life disposition, some of you may hear this statement as “pack your bags and move to Nebraska” if life isn’t happening as you had always hoped. Hopefully, more of you heard, “if you want something different to occur in your life, change your state of being.” How you heard this statement will speak volumes about your level of awareness and how you are thinking. So, without judgment, simply “check in” to where your mind took you when you read the headline of the article.

Martha O'Regan

Martha O’Regan

While listening to one of my quantum science gurus, I received a major “ah-ha” that I intend to share in a way that creates immense change in many lives immediately, so here goes. Your personality is your personal reality and if you wish to create change, you must create a new personality, otherwise you continue to create your same reality.

OK, so what does that mean? Our personality is the cumulative repetition of the way we think, act and feel based on our environment, circumstances and conditions in our personal reality.  When we repeat the same thoughts, we make the same choices, generate the same behaviors, have the same experiences, produce the same emotions, which in turn form the same thoughts — and around and around we go for days, weeks, months, years, and decades creating the same personal reality. So we wake up one day and decide we are ready to create change in our life, yet we don’t change our habits then we get frustrated that change isn’t occurring. We humans are so quirky, aren’t we? But, we come by it honestly because we were never taught to do it any differently … until now.

So, without moving to a new state in the Union, we have to create union with a new state of being; one that will create change in our patterns, habits and reactions.

A state of being is when mind and body are working together to align with a specific destiny. Let’s look at some basic concepts. Thoughts are the language of the brain and feelings are the language of the body.  Our thoughts produce an immediate chemical reaction in the brain which then stimulates a feeling in the body which then creates a similar thought producing the same feeling, creating the thought, then the feeling and over time creates memorized behaviors, emotional reactions, habits and our personal state of being.  So, if we are to create any change in our life, we have to create new thoughts in order to create new feelings, etc.  But how?

The first step is to shift the paradigm of “cause and effect” into “cause an effect.”  We have been raised in a culture that when good things happen, then we can be happy.  What if we could just be happy and begin to observe what happens in our lives?  Quantum law tells us that our environment is an extension of our mind and that if we want our environment to change, we have to change our minds or our thoughts.  This is contrary to the old way of thinking that we are a victim to what is happening to us externally.  Feels quite different, don’t you think?

The brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real or what is imagined, so if you are ready to create change, begin by imagining a new state of being.  If time, money and circumstances were not a factor, what would you love to be, do or have in your life?  Allow yourself to dream big, visualizing with full color and features, until you can feel it in your body and repeat as often as you can.  Creating new thoughts and patterns will create new feelings, producing new thoughts, stimulating new feelings, and so on and so on, until new patterns, attitudes, and behaviors emerge. Now, we have a new state of being. Give it a try.

Live Awake … Have Fun!

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A Northern’s perspective on the Lowcountry

By Lee Scott

“Welcome to Beaufort!”

I have heard that phrase so many times since moving here. It is often said with a warm, friendly Southern inflection that I enjoy hearing.

Lee Scott

Lee Scott

“Thank you!” I say enthusiastically because I love hearing it.

Then it is usually followed by the phrase, “Why did you move here?” I’m sure it is one of those questions easily asked, but sometimes hard to answer.

The response that I usually give is, “We like the area. We love the waterways, the food and the greenery.”

But the truth is that Beaufort reminds me and my husband of Annapolis, Maryland, our hometown, but the Annapolis of 25 years ago before people discovered the city and before Baltimore and Washington, DC, started to spill their population into our small town. The historic buildings, the old churches and cemeteries and the art are all very familiar to me.

We moved here because it is beautiful, the weather is wonderful, the people are friendly and the community has the small town flavor that we love, an atmosphere that we find comfortable.

After only a few months here, I am slowly getting familiar with the town. I have learned that I don’t leave the house without a hat, my suntan lotion, my Skin So Soft or some other bug spray.

I have learned to use one of those silly window shades for my front window if I am going to be leaving my car out in a parking lot for long. (No, I don’t have the ones with the eyes, but feel free to let me know where I can get one!) I seek shaded spots in the parking lots. I have learned to keep my windows open a few inches to let the heat out of the car while I am in the grocery store.

I have learned that no matter how much my cocker spaniels whine about going with me for a ride, I cannot take them in the car when the temperature is 90 degrees.

I have learned not to fake a Southern accent because it just sounds horrible. Speak normal and the Southern accent will slowly slip into your life. I know this because I am originally from Rhode Island and I know how accents can change. You can pick up the local accent fast enough, don’t’ push it.

I have learned that I have to carry a sweater with me because of the transition from the heat to the air conditioning. There is so much I have learned and so many things that I want explore.

The first few months have been wonderful. The people have made all the difference. And from this Northerner’s perspective, I feel welcomed to Beaufort.

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career.  A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Lee now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She recently moved to St. Helena Island with her husband and two cocker spaniels. She enjoys boating, traveling and reading. 

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Connecting body, mind and soul

By Takiya Smith

In my opinion, most things don’t compare to the sense of achievement one feels when the body is in complete health, the mind is at total peace and the soul, a matter of the heart, is cleansed by absolute freedom.

However, the catch and trickiest part to reaching optimal alignment of body, mind and soul is intricately, but with all simplicity, found within.

No amount of input, action or exterior party gesture could begin to point you in a direction that will ultimately begin within you. What and whom makes you happy is a matter of inner self that exudes an outward expression. Where you want to go and when and how you get there are paths to be personally chosen for a journey that you should determine.

From head to toe, mind to soul, learn to allow to give self control. Look for peaceful moments in your day to sit and just listen to the quiet. Search for matters in life that allow you to feel energized and plan for connections that refresh, revitalize and lift you. Day by day, it’s the small things that will make monumental impacts. It’s called life, and no matter what, it’s certainly worth living.

Takiya La’Shaune Smith, mother, licensed cosmetologist, mentor and owner of Beautique Lash & Brow is an author and beauty columnist promoting inner and outer beauty, self-esteem, preservation and awareness. For more information, visit her blog at or call 843-263-0426.

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By Tracie Korol

Last summer an email appeared unexpectedly in my inbox. I thought it was a hoax. No such luck. Topic: Forbes magazine published an interview with Royal Canin’s president, Keith Levy. Levy was introducing the new “anallergenic” formula kibble made with ground up chicken feathers. No, really. The title of the article was Dog Food Made From Feathers: A Win-Win for Royal Canin.

According to Mr. Levy, This “anallergenic” line was 10 years in the making, using feather meal (FM in industry parlance) as the main source of protein. It is designed for intensely allergic dogs for which even novel protein diets (buffalo, kangaroo, rabbit) don’t seem to work. There are 47 ingredients in this product. Here are the top 10: Corn starch, hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate [feather meal], coconut oil, soybean oil, natural flavors, potassium phosphate, powdered cellulose, calcium carbonate, sodium silico aluminate, chicory

The lead item in any list of pet food ingredients is, according to AAFCO regs. The Association of American Feed Control Officials is the organization that calls the shots for pet food and NOT a governmental entity — 70% of what’s in the bag.  So, most of this product is cornstarch. The next ingredient on the list is hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate, which is a technical name for feather meal. According to Levy, feather meal is “not only nutritious but can also be made very palatable to dogs.” The feathers are broken down to an amino acid level, and palatizers are added for taste so it doesn’t taste of … feathers?

Levy says one of the benefits to using feather meal is that it supports the company’s efforts in sustainability.  “Ultimately we’ll have an issue with finding protein for the human food chain. By using alternative sources of protein, we’re using something that would otherwise end up in a landfill,” says Levy. “It’s the best of both worlds: You’re not competing with the human food chain, reducing waste and providing an incredibly nutritious protein.”

Now, I’m all for recycling and all for seeking sustainable food sources, however, I cringe at the thought of my dog friends eating things that should be made into pillows or, even better, thrown out.

The question, beyond the gross-out factor, comes down to protein quality. What would you rather feed your pet — 4 ounces of real chicken meat or 4 ounces of ground chicken feathers and corn starch? All three ingredients contain protein, but they are definitely not equal. Ounce for ounce, the real chicken provides more protein, and the protein is highly digestible and usable. Pets can eat smaller quantities to receive the optimal level of protein when it is a digestible protein. In contrast, the ground feathers contain protein, but in a non-digestible form, as in they’re FEATHERS. Real meat offers highly digestible protein — protein that can be easily broken down by your pet’s body. Your pet cannot digest and cannot live on the protein contained in feathers. It simply passes through the digestive system unused.

Levy continues, “We’re looking for lots of different sources of protein for our foods: hydrolyzed soy; we are currently researching worm meal as a potential protein source for some of our foods in China,” he told the interviewer. “Few brands are more expensive than us,” Levy bragged in the interview.

And once again, we are faced with the really naive belief that just because a dog food is at the top of the price range, it is not necessarily because the quality of the food is, too. Then, there is the added concern about sourcing in China.

And the kicker? You can only purchase the food from specialty retailers with a veterinary prescription. Add another layer of authenticity. Currently, on, a 19.8 pound bag of RC Anallergenic Formula runs $86.99. Bonus: shipping is free.

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Understanding pregnancy and your dental health

By Jennifer Wallace, DMD

Congrats on the soon-to-be new addition to your family. There will be a lot of changes to plan for in the next few months. Let’s see, there’s a name to pick, a nursery to get ready, diapers/blankets/clothes to buy — but don’t forget to also plan to take care of Momma during exciting this time.

The old wives tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby is false. If the mother’s intake of calcium is inadequate during pregnancy, her bones — not her teeth — will provide the calcium her growing baby needs. This calcium loss is quickly made up after breastfeeding stops. However, the demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women.

Ben Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that certainly applies to this subject. You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits like flossing, brushing with fluoridated toothpastes, eating a healthy non-sugary diet and visiting your dentist regularly. Pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women, including gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay from cravings of sugary foods, vomiting from morning sickness and gagging when brushing.

During pregnancy, your increased hormones can affect your body’s response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth). During pregnancy, about half of all women (60 to 70 percent) experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused when plaque accumulates in the spaces between the gums and the teeth. The accumulation of bacteria can lead to the loss of bone around the teeth and can eventually lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. Pregnancy Gingivitis is caused by an increase in hormone levels, which can exaggerate a woman’s response to dental plaque in the mouth. This extra plaque may cause swelling, bleeding, redness and/or tenderness in the gums. Changes in the gums are most noticeable from the second month of pregnancy, reaching a maximum in the eighth month.

In women with severe morning sickness, frequent vomiting can erode the enamel on the back of the front teeth. If you are vomiting frequently, contact your dental office for information on how to prevent enamel erosion. It is important not to brush right away after you vomit, since the stomach acid in your mouth will only help erode the teeth as you brush. Wait about an hour before brushing your teeth after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch the tooth enamel. DO rinse right away with water, or a fluoridated mouth wash.

Research has found a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing. Estimates suggest that about 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease, which is a chronic infection of the gums. Appropriate dental treatment for the expectant mother can reduce the risk of premature birth by more than 80 percent, according to one study.

Another old wives tale is that an expectant mother shouldn’t visit the dentist until after birth. Of course, the best approach to dental care is to see your dentist before you get pregnant for an exam and cleaning. During your pregnancy, the second trimester is the best time to receive routine dental care. During the last trimester, it may become uncomfortable for you and baby to sit or lay for longer dental appointments.

Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. With proper hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout pregnancy. So be sure to share the good news with your dentist ASAP to prevent and prepare for a happy, healthy momma and baby.

Jennifer Wallace, DMD, practices on Lady’s Island at Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort, 843-524-7645.

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Eating green

By Tracie Korol

Dogs are remarkably flexible in their tastes. They’ll polish off a bowl of dried dog food, then walk over to see if there’s anything tasty in the trash. If they’re still hungry, they’ll head to the laundry room to see what’s in the cat box. Basically, they’ll eat, or at least sample, whatever they find.

There’s a good reason for their liberal tastes. Unlike cats, that evolved solely as hunters, dogs survived by scavenging. When they couldn’t catch live prey, they’d eat the ancient equivalent of road kill. They didn’t care too much if had been lying in the sun for a week or was moldering under old leaves. It was food, and they weren’t going to pass it up. When meat wasn’t on the menu, they’d rummage around for tender leafy stalks, berries, grasses, fruits, flower blossoms, seeds and even a few roots, They simply weren’t fussy, and dogs today haven’t gotten any fussier. They’re predisposed to eat just about everything.

In addition, there’s some evidence that dogs get cravings for certain foods. It’s possible that dogs occasionally get a hankering for greens, just as people sometimes go to bed dreaming about Mom’s fried chicken. It’s not as strange as it may sound. There is also a theory that dogs may not always be seeking food, but are intuitively seeking medicine. Each spring, Moses, my Bassett hound friend, would pull himself along the ground, upside down underneath the pea-vine supports, and pluck the first tiny pea pods right off the vine.  He had equally arcane methods for harvesting the first asparagus shoots, parsley, blueberries, mint, garlic and baby carrots. Moses ate a fairly clean diet but would occasionally need to visit the garden.

For example, in early spring, dogs like Moses, may be attracted to the first shoots of common quack grass (Elytrigia repens). Each blade of this “dog grass” contains silicon for strong joints and connective tissues, essential fatty acids for clear skin and shiny coat, enzymes for digestion, chlorophyll for antioxidant support and soap-like saponin constituents that combine with the stringy fibers to help cleanse the digestive tract and keep parasites at bay. After a season of low grade kibble, a dog may feel his system needs a boost.

Likewise, dogs will occasionally chew on berries, bark, pods, seeds or leaves that contain healing properties. The red or purple fruits of raspberry, rose bushes and hawthorn all contain flavonoid constituents that are good for the cardiovascular system.

The oils contained in the raw seeds of flax, currants, wheat, pumpkins and squash may be relished for an extra measure of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that are needed for skin and coat health.  Pumpkin seeds are also a natural and gentle vermifuge — expels intestinal parasites.

Even certain kinds of algae (“pond scum”) contain a cornucopia of nutrients and disease-fighting chemicals that wild dogs may seek in time of need. But how do we provide these things for our “suburban wolves”?  When do they need these things and in what amount?

By serving a daily helping of nutritive herbs and “green food” at mealtime your dog will be provided added measure of nutritional or systemic support. Good “greens” are flaxseed, spirulina, garlic, dandelion root, kelp, alfalfa and nettle.

Before you “go for the green” on behalf of your Best Friend and head to the store for supplements, it is important to realize that green food supplements only serve to round out a good diet. They cannot be expected to replace nutritional elements that are missing from poor quality, bargain basement, supermarket kibble.

But, if you’re a do-it-yourself type and are conscientious about what goes into your dog, adding a commercial green supplement or a combo-mix of the beneficial herbs or even providing your Best Friend with his own tray of barley or wheat grass can only increase his energy, shine up his coat, float some anti-cancer antioxidants in his system, reduce the pain and swelling of arthritis and tidy up his digestion.

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Enjoying an impromptu candlelight dinner

By Lee Scott

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed a candlelight dinner. He cooked hamburgers and corn on the grill. I marinated tomatoes and cucumbers we had picked up from our local produce stand. We ate at our dinner table with multiple candles shimmering in the darkness. It was so romantic.

You guessed it: Our electric was out.

With the temperature at 88 degrees and the heat index at 105 degrees, we  anticipated some kind of rainfall. Of course, associated with bad storms, there are the occasional power outages. The clouds across the creek from us started to mushroom around noon and they grew darker as the day went on. The thunder and lightening in the distance sent the dogs under the bed. Then it got closer. There was a piercing lightening followed by a particularly loud clap of thunder. That did it: The house grew dark.

It’s amazing how quiet the house is when the electric is out — no air conditioning, no refrigerator whirring in the background, no television blaring. The only sound was the ticking of the battery operated clock and the sound of matches as we lit candles.

We still had our iPads and cell phones so we could check out the weather radar and contact SCE&G about the outage. But, in the meantime, we sat in our under-utilized living room with candles and hurricane lanterns and just chatted.

We had a few hours of peace and quiet before the noise returned. Ceiling fans started to turn, the air conditioning kicked on and the television came alive. We were back to normal once again.

Too bad it took a thunderstorm for us to have a romantic dinner.

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