David Lauderdale

Mapping the great divide that keeps us separate

A friendly reader left a phone message the other day with a suggestion you may find helpful.

"You always hear 'the north end' and 'the south end' of Hilton Head Island, but I would like to know, and I'm sure other people would like to know, where the south end becomes the north end," he said.

First of all, let me say how humbling it is to be the ruling authority on Things That Don't Matter. But since such matters take up much of our time here in La La Plantation, let me thank the gentleman for pulling me deeper into the pluff mud of life.

Actually, this has come up once before. When the late and lamented Port Royal Bookstore moved from the north end to the south end, owners John and Linda Stern noticed something peculiar.

For 14 years, they had regular customers who suddenly professed they could not possibly go all the way to the "south end" to browse for books.

The bookstore was under attack from many angles: big box stores, online stores, even customers distracted by cellphone calls. They would walk outside to yack on the phone and never come back. Linda Stern lamented: "And it's not as if they're getting important information. They're saying, 'I haven't talked to you since I parked the car.'"

The Sterns placed the island's Mason-Dixon Line at Folly Field Road.

Things are a little easier in Beaufort. It has East Street, West Street, North Street and, well, I guess South Street seceded somewhere along the way. It has a Downtown, Uptown and Northwest Quadrant. And farther out is Beaufort Town Center.

Bluffton has Old Town, which is easy to see. But good luck in finding the New and Improved Town.

And until some tangible sign of Okatie turns up, we won't worry about North Okatie and South Okatie.

If you want to look at this on a regional basis, it's safe to say the South ends in Hardeeville.

But as I look at the map of Hilton Head, I see Broad Creek as the great divide between the north end and the south end.

That's handy because Beaufort County is divided by the Broad River. Those who live south of the Broad are lovingly called SOBs. Which might mean that if you live both south of Broad Creek, you are a Super SOB.

This may explain the reluctance to venture hence, which the Sterns noticed.

But don't you think Beaufort County is a little small to have so many imaginary lines drawn in the sand?

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.