David Lauderdale

A wise 14-year-old can advise Beaufort

We send Beaufort into its second 300 years with a pep talk and a recipe.

The pep talk comes from an unusual source: a 14-year-old boy.

It was in a school essay written in 1922 by Leon Keyserling, the late uncle of Mayor Billy Keyserling.

"Beaufort is our city," young Leon wrote. "We should hope and pray for it to grow."

He called for better "avenues of ingress and egress" and "diversifying the economy so the citizens would not be solely dependent upon farm yields."

The chamber of commerce should launch a promotional campaign to "attract tourists, new industry and eventually new residents." The city needed a hotel, and a more attractive train depot for first impressions.

Leon Keyserling went on to get a Harvard law degree and pursue graduate work in economics at Columbia University. He worked on the New Deal, the mayor said, and wrote a later essay that formed the intellectual basis of the Employment Act of 1946.

Young Keyserling saw a need for improved sanitation, cultural programs, schools and fire protection.

Mayor Keyserling was touched most by his uncle's words: "If only we the citizens of this town could get together and work with the same ideas in mind, we could accomplish a great deal."

The mayor said that remains true today, and he shared the old essay to urge people to roll up their sleeves. "Let's recommit to working together to make Beaufort's future even brighter," he said.

As for the recipe, it comes from Billy Palmer, who died Tuesday after a short bout with pancreatic cancer. His parents, Manny and Pearl Palmer, ran the legendary Yankee tavern in Beaufort for 25 years until it closed in 1985.

Palmer tried to keep the spirit of the campy tavern alive and was pleased with the successful Yankee reunion organized last May by Jim Gibson.

Palmer was asked how to make one of the Yankee's famous sandwiches, the Skipper Special. It was named for Skipper Von Harten, but also called the "Heartburn Special."

"Take a Publix seven-inch sub roll and good Swiss cheese, a good onion, dark spicy mustard and your own spicy pepper -- I favor crushed red pepper," Palmer wrote on the Yankee Reunion Facebook page. "Then grill the meat and onions, melt the cheese over the meat and onions and there you are."

Characters from all walks of life gathered at the Yankee. If they could unite over a Skipper Special, surely we can heed the words of a 14-year-old and pull together for a brighter future.