Ten things to be thankful for this year:
Without chainsaws, few of us would be home yet after Hurricane Matthew hit Beaufort County on Oct. 8. Either that, or we’d all have bulging biceps like Popeye from swinging an ax. And bulging discs to match.
I still think the greatest miracle of the hurricane is that none of our homegrown Paul Bunyans killed themselves roaring around with their weekend chainsaws.
We should be thankful for the undefeated Bluffton High School Bobcats football team. But where would we be without the little machines buzzing around like sandbox toys shoving branches and debris out of the way?
▪ Tree people
They came and they conquered. Come spring, another group of touring pros will come to town. The PGA Tour guys are a lot different from the tree guys. One group buzzes around in courtesy BMWs. The other came lumbering to town in bucket trucks. One group dresses in wild colors to quietly tiptoe around every misplaced pine cone, asking a judge if it can be moved an inch. The other group crushes whole forests without looking up, and that’s in beep-beep-beep reverse.
It’s like the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the chess team. But we should be thankful that RBC and Boeing signed up this year to keep the golfers coming to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing in Sea Pines — and that the tree professionals were everywhere when needed.
▪ Traveling angels
After the hurricane, hundreds of volunteers from across America came to help. They helped those who could not help themselves. They didn’t ask for a dime. And then they went home.
We also helped each other after the hurricane. We learned that we need good neighbors. And we learned that we have a lot of good neighbors. We helped each other, as individuals, churches, foundations, nonprofits, charities, food banks, civic clubs, property owners’ associations, governments, utilities, businesses. As neighbors.
▪ Pat Conroy
With Conroy's passing in March of this year, we could better appreciate what he meant to us.
His “wound” was thankfully our geography, and the best-selling author put into words things we saw but could not express. But more than that, he was our friend. As the home folk, we got to know his humor. And we could feel the fire that burned within him. I’ll never forget the time he blasted the developers stomping across his geography, saying they would pave the Atlantic Ocean if we let them.
▪ Walter Greer
The artist who passed away as the hurricane approached did more than show us the beauty of the egret and the dignity of the Gullah folks he found when he moved to rural Hilton Head Island in 1960. As Hilton Head morphed from a Gullah outpost to a larger community of newcomers from off, Walter Greer quietly let us know it was going to be done with style.
▪ Joe Bowler
The Hilton Head artist who died this month was as inspirational in his beat-down of polio as his ability to capture golden light caressing beautiful bodies. He was in his 30s when they said he’d never walk again. Joe and his wife, Marilyn, didn’t see it that way. He beat it. It was hard.
But not only did he go on to walk — and paint, and fish — he was darn near a scratch golfer. His friend Charles Perry told me Joe golfed with a cane. He’d hit the ball, pick up his cane and move on to hit it again. His only trouble was in the sand pits, where he could lose his balance and fall over. They’d pick him up, and he would proceed to take all the winnings.
▪ The Rev. Ben Williams
He seemed to have a boundless love for each of us, and the affection was returned at his funeral last Saturday. I thought I was so special the day the oversized pastor of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church for the past 42 years called me “Brother David.” Soon I learned he called everyone “brother” or “sister.”
▪ The Lowcountry
They say that your worst day on the golf course still beats the best day at work. I say the worst day in the Lowcountry still beats the best day anywhere else.