This is the week that I get to turn left.
At the big intersection on Hilton Head Island, I will turn left instead of going straight like I do on the other 4,362 work days of the year.
This is a refreshing thing. I highly recommend that you put a left-turn in your own life somehow. It's as close as I get anymore to rebelling against the man, growing long hair (does nose hair count?), hopping a freight train or buying a motorcycle.
Left takes me to the Cross Island Parkway, over the Charles E. Fraser Bridge to the never-never land known as Sea Pines.
Never miss a local story.
There, the beautiful people of the world will gather this week to watch PGA Tour players scramble for $5.9 million in prize money at the 47th RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.
Now you see why I call it never-never land.
My job is to tell what is happening outside the ropes.
For seven consecutive days, I will be like one of the golfers. I will be a grinder. Except I will outside the ropes. And I will be scrambling for 5.9 dollars.
I will clip on a Fit Bit and record billions of steps. I will be the only sober person there. I will be beaming your likenesses all day every day on our website, our Facebook page, my Twitter account and the good old newspaper.
This has been my cross to bear for a number of years. Besides that left turn, here is my list of "5 Things To Do If You Are At The Heritage":
5. Walk the Hall of Champions in the new Harbour Town Clubhouse.
The nicest strokes of the Heritage are on display here in the oil paintings of Heritage champions by the late Coby Whitmore and West Fraser.
Coby's dashing illustrations were coveted by America's great magazines in their prime. His sports car designs were Corvettes before there were 'Vettes. He moved to Hilton Head in the late 1960s, and was a mentor of sorts to young West Fraser, the son of Joe Fraser Jr. and nephew of Charles Fraser, who created the tournament. West Fraser works out of Charleston, specializing in plein air oils that to us are like Lowcountry Wyeths.
4. Watch the sunset over Calibogue Sound from the grass lawn behind the 18th hole.
Things have quieted down by this time of day, except for some giggling and music hopping across the water from the Quarterdeck Lounge. But this is a scene that has inspired men to come to the island every year for 30 years for a week of golf and camaraderie, and late in life spread the ashes of a lost buddy while clinking glasses in the orange sun and praying for another year.
3. Catch a seat in the public bleachers at the 16th hole.
At this hole, you can actually see golfers make their short approach shots. You're close enough to tell who's who. It's where an American flag is atop the flag stick on the weekend, and a local high school ROTC student guards it during the putts. It's where the Patriots Outpost is a skybox dedicated to service men and women and their families. And it's where the priceless humor of Lowcountry sculptor Walter Palmer brings a dose of reality to never-never land. His sculpture in a nearby yard is a goofy bird bending a putter over its head. The sculpture is called "I Love This Game."
2. Saturday night at the Harbour Town Yacht Basin.
If the we ather's right, this is the best happening of the year in South Carolina. Think of the Carolina Cup with a splash of the Chitlin' Strut. The boats are loaded and the people are bobbing, or something like that. The Heritage is believed to be the only PGA Tour event on a saltwater marina, and we have found that to be cause for great celebration. And just when you think the island belongs to Ohio, catch the Gamecock flag flapping in the wind high atop the 130-foot Rice Quarters yacht owned by Barnwell native done good, attorney Joe Rice.
1. The opening parade.
This conglomeration of goofiness links all the pieces together. Citadel bagpipers. Men in Colonial uniforms with lighters ready to set off a canon that shakes the leaves. Volunteers in red coats. The governor in a red tartan jacket. The reigning champion with children in tow. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott in Heritage plaid claiming to be Scottish. And the CEO of the title sponsor, the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest banks in the world, taking it all in as if it makes perfect sense.
Before they go screeching around the yacht basin to the opening ceremony on the 18th green, just as they have done since 1969, I like to step down by the Liberty Oak where Charles Fraser is buried. Beneath his bust is chiseled: "To see a true memorial to this man, look around you."