Beaufort is like a large box of crayons: A full array of many colors

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comJune 10, 2013 

File: Bay Street in Beaufort.

FILE — Staff photo

Thanks to Michael McNally of Callawassie Island for his essay on Beaufort.

'WHAT COLOR IS BEAUFORT?'

By Michael McNally

Now that's a good question.

When you look at the buildings and the streetscapes, overall you see a lot of lot of white in the midst of the live oak green. That's what an architect friend of mine, who lives in a big white house on Bay Street, told me a few weeks ago when we were discussing possible revisions to the City Master Plan. He didn't like the original artist renderings as shown in the draft City Master Plan ... most of the buildings were rendered in darker, drab colors ... they were not white; they were not Beaufort.

A lot of other folks I talked to also didn't like the choice of the colors either. And, they are right; when you walk the streets of Beaufort, the houses and buildings, most of them, are white, or at least other light colors, happy colors, historic colors -- Beaufort colors.

Those discussions got me thinking as to really what is the color of Beaufort?

When we think of the people who live here, Beaufort's population is close to half white and half black with a lot of shades in between, but that's only a few of the colors we have here.

As Forrest Gump might say, Beaufort is like a large box of crayons. But it's a special box -- there are so many colors that color our wonderful city.

Even on the darkest, cloudiest day, Beaufort has a silver glow that fills the sky and bounces off the river's waters. Beaufort is the color of smiles at the Candice homecoming concert on a dark, rainy evening.

It might be the color of shrimp or grits on a bright, sunny day in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park that reflects the colors of family and friends, the glowing faces, or the colors of fellowship, or prayers at a 9/11 memorial service.

There's the color of smiles while walking along Bay Street at Christmastime, hearing the voices of children singing and laughing at a puppet show. And there's the color "Billy," which is an unusual blend of the colors civic and compassion.

The colors of culture include symphony, and youth at a young people's concert, and Gullah at a festival at Penn Center. We can't forget about arts; we use that color every day all over our city.

Beaufort green comes in many shades, from Waterfront Park Lawn green to Live Oak green, to the colors of service and honor when the green wreaths are laid on the graves at Beaufort National Cemetery.

Use one of the many umbrella colors in the box to color a rainy Christmastime night or the Candice Glover homecoming concert filling Bay Street and the park. We don't mind the sweet Southern rain.

History is an old but favorite color of so many people. A lot of visitors come here to see it in person; we're lucky, we see it every day.

On a hot summer day, use Bay Street to color the flower boxes and storefronts while you're saying hello and having a conversation with strolling visitors you meet along the way.

I use the festival colors for parades, concerts, art shows, theater and boat parades in the river. These crayons take up a large part of the box.

Beaufort has many colors, but the crayons in the box that are most used and worn -- the favorites, the ones with the paper peeled back leaving only a short stub -- are the colors family, love, smiles, community and togetherness. And let's not forget about colors named Semper Fi and freedom. Or happy; after all, we are the happiest seaside town in America.

So what is the color of Beaufort?

It's the whole box.

Melt all the crayons and make one; that's the color. I think the folks at Crayola might want to do that. The next time you look into one of those giant boxes of crayons, look for that special sparkling crayon, a color rarely seen in nature. You will recognize it. It's Beaufort.

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