I was in charge of the Bluffton Christmas parade for many years. I have many fond memories of the fun times we all had.
One of my favorite memories is of the times Mr. Hugh O'Quinn joined in the lineup in his ancient truck. Not only did Mr. Hugh have an old truck but he also had an old tractor I loved.
Mr. Hugh and his wife Miss Inez lived on S.C. 46 in a cottage now used as Steve Kiser's real estate offices. Mr. Hugh always planted the most amazing vegetable garden every spring. His garden is now a parking lot beside his house. There used to be all sorts of wonderful things to eat all season long.
We lived in Buckingham at that time, and I too had great hopes of having a garden as special as Mr. Hugh's. I asked Mr. Hugh if it might be possible for him to ride his tractor to my house and plow up part of the yard for a garden. He said that would be no problem.
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Well, I think often about how much trouble that was for him. U.S. 278 was a two-lane road but Mr. Hugh had a way to get to Buckingham that not many people knew about. He rode his tractor down Alljoy Road to the Ulmers' property and came through where they had their farm. That was a dirt road now paved called Buckingham Plantation Drive across from Moss Creek. So then he only had a little jaunt to my house. It took him about 30 minutes to make the journey. Quite a trek. He seemed to enjoy the whole adventure. My gift of plowing lasted three years and only stopped when Mr. Hugh was worried his tractor wasn't running well, and so my garden became smaller.
Back to the Christmas parade and Mr. Hugh's wonderful old truck. One year Louanne LaRoche had a great idea; she always has great ideas, by the way. She decided to decorate Mr. Hugh's truck with palm fronds and dress herself as the Angel of Bluffton. Louanne made wings out of palm fronds and attached them to her back. Gold tinsel was draped everywhere. Mr. Hugh acted as if he were used to his truck looking like a palm forest and happily drove through Bluffton in the parade. That was one of my favorite memories and I have no photograph of it. Mr. Hugh's tractor and truck should have been enshrined somewhere in town. What a wonderful sight they were.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.