Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, let's huddle up in the kitchen.
Let's remember that hospitality is our lifeline and hospitable we will be. To everyone. Period.
Let's embrace this simple concept now so that we will never share the embarrassment of the small restaurant in Lexington, Va., that refused to serve a table full of customers Friday night because of their presumed political beliefs.
The owner of the Red Hen restaurant conferred with staff in the kitchen and then asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because she is President Donald Trump's press secretary.
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She and her party already had been seated and had started eating when they politely left.
This is sick.
It hit home for me for several reasons.
My father was reared in Lexington, the beautiful Shenandoah Valley home of Washington & Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute, and the final resting places of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Lee's horse, Traveler.
In just a couple of weeks, our family as a whole will join in the 95th anniversary celebration at the church on Main Street founded by my grandfather. He was known to minister to all comers and treat everyone as royalty — including the town character whose ripe aroma would send my Granny into a fit of Lysol spraying whenever she dropped by the manse.
This refusal of service also hit home because, being born two weeks before the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, I am a child of that amazing era when the civil rights movement clashed with Jim Crow and supposedly won.
We finally realized the absurdity of people being refused service in restaurants. For generations, that had been the norm. If you were black, you were served at the back door, if at all.
We saw where the unraveling of Jim Crow discrimination began — at the table. It was at lunch counters. It wasn't at a trendy little spot like the Red Hen in Lexington. It was at the lunch counter at a Woolworth's dime store in Greensboro, N.C.
So when I read that diners in Lexington were being refused service, I'm screaming, "WHAT?"
This is surreal. Has nobody learned anything?
We are going backward as a nation. As a people. As a society. As human beings.
For many of us, this clashes with the tenets of our faith. Our surprise guests, who we are to welcome at the table, could be angels in disguise, we are taught, and they should all be treated accordingly.
For many more of us, it clashes with the lessons of our dear mothers. What the Red Hen did was, if nothing else, rude. It was astonishingly rude. In the kitchen confab the staff held before the owner kicked customers to the curb, they faced a fork in the road. And they took the low road.
Today, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort also stand at a fork in the road — with all our guests from afar and all the fine places for those guests to wine and dine and forget for a moment the dog-eat-dog world of work.
For crying out loud, let's act as if we have a mother — not to mention a Constitution.
Let's huddle up and resolve to never, ever be Red Hens.