On the Town

A Christmas surprise comes early at a Bluffton Labor Day celebration

Lori and Peter Kraft with artist Murray Sease and the early Christmas surprise.
Lori and Peter Kraft with artist Murray Sease and the early Christmas surprise. Special to The Bluffton Packet

Don and I were thrilled when we received an invitation to Nedra and Bill Brown’s house for “nibbles and nips” Labor Day weekend.

Nedra and Bill are a charming couple whose house is always welcoming to all and, as the saying goes, they have never met a stranger. The couple have built an enchanting house in Stock Farm and love living in Bluffton near their children, Lori and Peter Kraft and Mitch and Laurie Brown, and grandchildren Arden and Ella Brown.

We arrived at the party to find the dining table laden with all sorts of wonderful things to nibble.

But we did not realize we were in for a real treat.

Six or so months ago, Peter had commissioned Murray Sease, a marvelous artist in La Petite Gallerie at my store, to paint a portrait of Lori with her horse, Moe Bandy. Peter gave Murray a wonderful photograph of the two that was to be the basis of the finished product. The portrait was to be a Christmas surprise and I thought nothing more about it except I was told not to say a word if I saw Lori.

Guests began arriving and among them were Murray and her husband Bill. I was as quiet as a mouse about everything although secrets are so hard to keep, especially good ones.

We were all chatting when suddenly Peter stood up and started tapping his glass and motioned us all into the living room. Over in the corner was something covered with a dark cloth. Since I am rather nearsighted, I could not see exactly what it was. Peter gave a little speech and when he finished, I knew what had been hidden as he pulled off the cloth to reveal the work of art.

It was a marvelous surprise even for Murray because neither of us had any idea that Lori was getting an early present. It turned out that Peter could no longer keep his secret. There were a few happy tears and much oohing and aahing because the portrait is wonderful and Lori is over the moon delighted.

Sharing in the fun were Lori , Jamie, Patterson and Lily Guscio, Jean and Doug Corkern, Tat Guscio, Matt Nadler, Laurie, Mitch, Arden and Ella Brown and Peter’s son, Nick, who was visiting from New York for the holiday weekend.

It was fabulous to share the fun.

Traffic means money

We think we have parking problems in Bluffton.

Boston is in the throes of welcoming 150,000 students back this fall. There are 35 colleges there and thousands of students arrive with vans and trucks stuffed to the gills with all manner of “necessities”.

The traffic this all creates is a big mess. Everyone fights for parking and those who can leave town while all of this is going on do so until all calms down.

The renters move into more than 10,000 buildings around the city and when they arrive, the city comes to a standstill, rather much like the summer visitors on Saturdays and Sundays coming to Hilton Head.

But like us here in the Lowcountry, there is money to be made from the students and many shopkeepers look forward to their return.

It is a fact I think that many of us depend on visitors and without them we would be in a pickle. The same goes for Charleston, Savannah and Beaufort.

We are where people want to be.

Sleeping on the job

There is a new trend in some spots.

Instead of taking lunch breaks some workers are taking “nap breaks”.

There are nap studios springing up where you can pay to rest your weary head. Prices start at around $15 for a 30-minute nap with a bigger charge for up to 90 minutes of snoozing. The lounges can be found in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington, D.C., where you can rent lavender scented pillows, eye masks, earplugs and all kinds of sleep aids.

I think this all started at Facebook and Google offices, two places always on the cutting edge of ideas.