Jean Meaney sent me an old newspaper the other day with a pearl of peculiarly Lowcountry wisdom in it.
It comes from an era when many Hilton Head Islanders were trying to decide if they'd bought a lot in paradise or the house of horrors.
By the time the brownish and frayed Jan. 13, 1976, issue of The Island Packet got to me, it had already been "recycled" once, when Jean helped a friend clean out her house a few years ago. People often send me such treasures with a note attached that goes something like this: "Every time I'm down in the dumps, I think of you."
The Packet at that time had been in publication only five years. It was a tabloid that came out every Tuesday and Thursday, whether it was needed or not.
Never miss a local story.
The lead story was on a proposed Hargray Telephone rate hike that had a prominent island lawyer bleating: "They're asking us to pay Mafia rates." I guess he would know.
And this was just in: Decibel readings taken at the Hilton Head Airport reached levels "far above those acceptable for human ears," said attorney Jim Moss, representing the Baygall Property Owners Association.
More than 350 people applied for jobs at the 10-story Hyatt hotel in Palmetto Dunes (now the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa). It was to open in two weeks.
The county administrator closed the Courthouse Annex on the island because he had no one to run it after dismissing the director for allegedly using county funds for herself.
You may find variations on these stories elsewhere in today's paper.
But you won't find this Lowcountry pearl from an editorial titled "Dean Poucher's Fish Bush."
"Dean Poucher may well be the world's best fisherman," is the sweet opening to the editorial about the paper's own fishing columnist. "But Dean has got something to learn about landscaping and Hilton Head Island raccoons."
Apparently Dean had given advice to the effect that fish scraps are useful things to put around the roots of bushes in the yard.
"Impressed by Dean's sincerity and desire to be helpful, and wanting to rejuvenate a lackluster bush around by the kitchen, the editor's helpmate planted some fish remains around the roots," the editorial says.
"Results came very fast. That night a platoon of raccoons dug up the fish and the plant, as well. Being smart, they reasoned that similar bushes must also grow fish roots and they came back the next night and pulled up some more plants.
"We hope that Dean will think twice before he ventures into gardening advice again."
The moral of the Fish Bush story is to stick to what you know. Or as they say in Bluffton, if you can walk on water, why mess around on the sand bar?