Thanks to Island Elves, No More ‘Dumb’ Easter Bunnies on Heritage Sunday

Easter Pail Deliveries in Sea Pines

Easter Elves, Elissa Ealey, Christien Turner, and Sharon McDonnell prepare Easter pails for morning deliveries in Sea Pines.

A great secret about being on Hilton Head at special times of the year is that island families and visitors are protected by elves that live underground.  Through the years, they have observed the island’s growth from their quiet little nooks, sneaking out at dusk and in the wee hours to assist us in areas of our evolution where we need help – but didn’t always know it – and at certain times of the year, like Easter, they hire assistants to help with overflow.  Right now the assistants work for Sea Pines Resort, and are taking calls for Easter Bunny pails, at $40/each, and a wagon ride, at 843-842-1979. They are under the careful supervision of head Easter elf, Jen Westerfeld, and yes, reservations are necessary.

Sea Pines Easter Bunny

The Sea Pines Easter Bunny delivers on time, and also offers a wagon ride.

Easter elves became necessary due to a story about a family whose parents would like to remain nameless.  But whom nevertheless, had set a rather demanding precedent for their darling children, known as Carmen and Preston of Baynard Cove environs, whereby the Easter Bunny always left full, and overflowing baskets of chocolate eggs, goodies, and pastel-colored sundries next to the fireplace Easter’s Eve, giving much incentive for the little angels to snap awake early for church in the am each year.

But woe, one season back in the 1970’s, the sacred Sunday fell on the same day as the sacred Heritage Golf Tournament Final Sunday round (just like this year, of our Lord, 2017).  Which also meant that sometimes, the rituals accompanying the hallowed Saturday Eves, also conflicted with one another, resulting in opposing early, Bunny tee-times, and church bells.

To wit; due to the aforementioned conflicting rituals the night before, the Easter Bunny did not make it to the fireplace of Casa Hawkins one Easter/Heritage Sunday morning, back in the day.  You can imagine, upon bounding out to the fireplace in bunny pajama finery at sunrise finding no Easter baskets, the children were none-too-pleased.

As later family relations have retold this tale, the wise Queen-Mum, and her visiting sister, snuck out the back porch on the 11th tee in their dressing gowns with baskets, candy, and painted eggs (whilst the CBS cameramen were setting up on the 15th for the final day wondering to each other, what will the Hilton Head residents think of next, as they remembered that the year before, two streakers ran across the 17th fairway on live tv).  Unconcerned at what the cameramen might be thinking, the sisters quickly arranged the baskets nicely at the front door of the Hawkins’ residence.

Pleased with their work, the lovely debutantes, tiptoed back around into the house, as though this was all normal, Easter-Sunday-morning-Hilton-Head-goings-on, and said, “Well, what’s wrong Preston?  Why are you frowning this lovely dawn?”

And Carmen, who was older, and a little wisenheimer at this point in life said, “He’s mad because the Easter Bunny didn’t come this year.”

To which, the Queen’s sister said, “Well, has he checked out the front door?  Maybe the Easter Bunny couldn’t get down the fireplace last night.” (We were also new to the Sea Pines neighborhood, so certain child-ish beliefs of a general theme were getting spun to us in odd variations as we matured).

Frowning, Preston marched his little padded hoofies to the front door, swung it open, where, SURPRISE!  There were TWO Easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs, colored cellophane wrappers, with price tags, pine straw sticking out, and Spanish moss dripping off the sides.  Preston stood looking down for a few minutes, and finally said, “Dumb, Easter Bunny.”

[Just a heads-up; if you weren’t living here before 1980, the rest of this might be really boring.]

Which brings me to my earlier point about the elves that have been watching island humanoids (they call us, ‘Fumbling Island Ogres’ in case you were wondering), to see what kinds of antics we might be up to, in the course of a weekly episode.

For more examples (besides just the ‘Laughingstock Hawkins Clan of Baynard Cove,’), at one time in Hilton Head’s development, early Island Ogres thought it might be nifty to erect green stop signs (so unique, even Horace Sutton mentioned it in the Chicago Tribune in 1969) and to have directional signage hanging from boat oars, to keep things recreational-looking, and resort-ish for vacationers.

Seriously.  Old-timers like Bart Whiteman, Clan Berrigan, Steve Plowden, and all of Charles Perry’s kids will back me up on this.

Bart Whiteman

Bartman, Island Realtor extraordinaire, remembers all.

As everyone now knows, landscaped rotary circles were the answer to stoplights; adorned with trees and foliage, hiding the other side of the road, so newcomers to the island would not know if the road ended, or went around to the other side, or dead-ended, or what the heck?  Why doesn’t this Godforsaken place have streetlights?

Elves noticed immediately (of course, amidst much glee and knee-slapping), that Fumbling Ogres could not discern color from text when it came to disassociating the shade of green, from the word, ‘Stop’.  Nor, could they retreat quickly enough from making a right turn, where the sign that said HarbourTown, with a white, painted left arrow, was hanging from a brown oar with the paddle-end pointed towards the right.  This was especially funny, if it was the posted instructional sign on the rotary circle, and the paddle happened to be hanging leftward.

One can only imagine the resulting noise-pollution issues; horn honking, and finger-gesturing; lots of foreign-language shouting, which resembled much too closely, the cities from whence the Visiting Fumbling Ogres came.

So, after much more belly-laughing, the elves set about quietly adjusting mistakes for the Fumbling Island Ogres, who had to keep marching forward in this experiment known as the Shambala Hilton Head Island.

Sadly, no longer could the elves enjoy the escapades of Fumbling Ogres imbibing too much of the vine, falling from tavern into the bay, as weekend entertainment.

So, within a few short years, the green stop signs turned back to red, bike paths became more clearly marked with lots of little red stop signs, magnets appeared on refrigerators that told visitors not to feed alligators, and to turn off beach-oriented lights so the loggerhead turtle hatchlings could find their way to the ocean.  Then, signs appeared on beach pathways reminding everyone to pick up after their pets, and later signs that came with plastic bags to pick up after their pets (because the elves watched Fumbling Ogres ignore the first sign, so they had to actually build a roll of plastic bags into the sign – phew – Fumbling Ogres needed lots of help).

And yes, now you can call for the Easter Bunny, so that a little kid doesn’t have to stand at the front door, shaking his head saying, “Dumb Easter Bunny” late Sunday morning.


For a Bunny pail delivery call, 843-842-1979, or go to https://www.seapines.com/events/Easter-Pail-Deliveries/April-2017 within Sea Pines Resort only.  The Easter Bunny will bring a pail filled with beach toys and Easter candy, plus an elf will come along to assist.  The cost is $40./pail.  If you would like a pail reserved for your child and you are not staying in side Sea Pines, you can still order an Easter Pail, with 24 hours notice, and pick it up at the Sea Pines Fitness Center on Lighthouse Rd.

Hilton Head Lighthouse Barbershoppers

barbershop-chorus

Bill Andrus conducts the Hilton Head Lighthouse Chorus, December 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bluffton, SC (HHIBarbershoppers.org)

[The following unedited article is the PG-13 version of Sunday’s Island Packet, ‘Only on Hilton Head’, found in the Features section on page, C9, behind the half-page ad for activating your online digital Packet.]

If it weren’t for barbershop quartets, I probably wouldn’t know the second or third verses of most popular songs.  That’s because not only to barbershop singers know how to harmonize like nobody’s business, they also ANNUNCIATE clearly each word, so that we’re not all bellowing perfectly, “GLOR…OORR…oorr…oorr…or…RIA, in excelsis Deo!” and then mumbling into, “Shemp and Moe…m-hm…Curly… Why mhm…Gus trains…beer bong…” trailing on similarly for two more excruciating lines until we all belt out, “GLOR…OORR…OORR…oorr…or…RIA,” like we really mean it, darn it.  Alleluja, Angels We Have Heard on High.  Ta-da!

As one might guess, we paid close attention to the lyrics during the Holiday Serenade at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Malphrus Road, in Bluffton, Friday, December 2.  It helped that the programs they handed out included lyrics to all the carols so we could sing along (no fudging it that night with the Stooges, no siree). And might I say, what a lovely treat to hear Christmas carols sung in perfect and whimsical harmony by our own Hilton Head Island Lighthouse Chorus (www.hhibarbershoppers.org), a chapter within the Carolinas District of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

My neighbor Dennis Miller, sings bass in his own quartet within the Hilton Head chapter, and is busy making the rounds of assisted living facilities, offices, and churches this time of year.  Anyone who hasn’t booked a barbershop serenade, or attended a concert of barbershop chorus singers, is missing out on a very special, sometimes forgotten art in American vocal music history.

Barbershop singing began in the early 1800’s in American towns, before there was easy access to any kind of public entertainment.  Men would gather around barbershops – literally, it was a hangout back then – and sing harmony to amuse themselves and impress the ladies.  The art of harmonizing has tentacles reaching out to urban areas where city dwellers gathered to make music without instruments.  Remember the vocals of the Drifters, Temptations, the Four Seasons, and so on, all have their roots in the barbershop style of harmonizing.

And while they entertained themselves, America most certainly benefited from a whole industry and genre of inspiring sounds that permeate churches, holidays, and Americana. And speaking of holidays, if you miss out on a Christmas serenade, the next big one is definitely Valentine’s Day.

“Every year, we are booked all day long on Valentine’s Day.  We charge a small fee for two songs, a rose, and a card, delivered to your sweetheart’s door.  And the songs are as hokie as you could possibly want.  ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ is always one of them,” said Dennis.  This last is a song I can only hear in my head off-key, in Alfalfa’s trembling, cracking voice singing to Darla with bubbles flying out of his mouth, so maybe Johnny D will surprise me with a little hokie barbershop serenade this year, and I’ll finally hear how ‘Sweetheart’ is supposed to be sung.

(You definitely have to watch this, okay? Now, you will totally appreciate the harmonious, harmonizing of the Hilton Head Barbershoppers)

Barbershop choruses donate portions of their proceeds to benefit area music non-profits, like high school programs that need rebuilding. Currently, much of the Lighthouse Chorus proceeds are going towards rebuilding their own membership.  Sadly, the area chapter of harmonizers has dwindled from about forty singers ten years ago, to sixteen or so, presently, as interest in the genre has waned.  Participating in competitions is also part of the annual schedule of events for members, an added perk of traveling that they enjoy.

The Hilton Head chapter encourages anyone interested in participating or listening to them rehearse or simply learning more about how to become a chorus singer (you only need to love to sing, the program says), to attend any of their weekly rehearsals on Tuesday night at 7 pm at the Cypress Clubhouse in Hilton Head Plantation, 20 Ladyslipper Lane, 29926.  You can call for more information, (843) 290-9517 or email, contactus@hhibarbershoppers.org.

A First Date with Joe Maffo

Man holds alligator

Joe adorns me with a snake necklace while showing off  one of his toys; a baby (live) alligator.

If you haven’t yet been to the Joe Maffo’s exhibit at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, then you are missing out on something special.  Held outside on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Joe and his staff of students and volunteers educate delighted crowds about reptiles, chickens, and rabbits, among those he had the day I visited with Johnny D.

Brothers  Brothers, Miles and Owen, share a python.

kid holds baby gator

Local student assists Maffo as summer job.

kid with snake

Visitor from Beaufort, Miguel wears a python “hoodie” with Maffo.

Joe carefully wraps onlookers with his friends, then explains how and what they eat, and why they should never be approached in the wild.

“I want people to educate people to respect our wildlife, but not fear it.  We are all part of the same eco-system,”  says Joe.

 

 

 

 

And we’re not the only ones who appreciate Maffo’s expertise.  Featured in August’s Men’s Health magazine, pg. 34, he’s gone nationwide.  Also look for a piece in the Wall Street Journal called What’s in My Bag, for a look at what Joe Maffo carries around with him… maybe you don’t want to know!

chicken on guy's shoulder

Johnny D bonds with a chicken.

For more information about Critter Management call, 843-681-8050

Or check out the exhibit schedule here: http://www.coastaldiscovery.org/home/discover-and-learn/site-tours-programs/

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Vacation From Our Vacation; How Does One Leave the Best Place in the World, Even for a Week?

South Beach Sunset, Hilton Head

Good day to you from cloudy, rainy, chilly, Providence, Rhode Island.  The worst thing about living in Hilton Head, South Carolina (not that there are any other bad things to compare it to), is traveling away from the island to vacation someplace else.  It’s really a tough call.  There is no place like Hilton Head, and to spend money traveling elsewhere just to take a break from… from what?  Warm days all year, wide, sandy beaches, gorgeous natural land/seascapes, painted sunsets, scenic bike trails, year-round tennis & golf, and frolicking dolphins?  We need a break from that?  When I go online to look for places to go on vacation, they all list the things I just listed here, as fabulous one-of-a-kind amenities that usually cost additional fees.

So, now what?  Well, we plan many of our trips around friends and family who live in other places, so that when we get there, if the flora & fauna doesn’t quite do the trick, the company more than makes up for it.  And this always works.  We come back home, feeling suddenly very popular and appreciated, and well-fed.  Now that’s a vacation!

The second worst thing about traveling away from Hilton Head, is trying to explain to Sammy the Beach Beagle, that it is only for a short while, and that, upon our return, we will once again romp and play in the sand, scare up some squirrels, and roll in all things dead and stinky (Sam, not me, will roll in dead, stinky things).  After which, we will boldly go to Red Rover now located 25 Bow Circle for a massive power wash, that leaves Sammy somewhat befuddled since he has just taken great care in applying Eau d’Ecomposing Horseshoe Crab to his entire body (several times he must swivel his body into the shell’s innards, because the first roll doesn’t always take, as you may know), and then within a mere two hours of washing, scrubbing, conditioning, blow-drying, defurminating, and spritzing, he now smells like a pinch of vanilla-laced lavender.  The look on his face after this sudsing is, as you can imagine, totally worth it.

Sudsing Up at Red Rover

Red Rover is a blast, by the way.  The owner Paige, is as nice as you’d want your dog’s hairdresser to be.  She owns a couple of dogs who also work very hard with her at the salon, greeting humanoids and welcoming stinky beach bums like Sam.  They also sell super premium dog food, and keep treats by the door for all good little boys and girls.  Sam likes the Lucky Dog meals and we buy a couple bags every so often, which helps him like the place a little better than when I dropped him off – me handing him to Paige with one hand, while my other hand holds my nose.

The best thing about Red Rover, is that you can join in the fun yourself.  The friendly staff helps you into your apron, and helps your buddy up to the platform, then they show you how to use the hoses, which shampoos to use, how to scrub him and massage him (the massage part makes the experience less annoying to Sam, who by then starts looking a bit dopey), and how to blow-dry his fur completely.  After you get the hang of it, the assistants wander over to other clients, yapping and licking and sniffing (like the salons we go to), leaving you to bond with your sweet angel of the sulphur-swamp. Sam and I like this part, because I sing to him and tell him jokes and scrub-a-dub, while he starts to unwind after his hard morning coaching seagulls to fly away all at once in a panic.

The fees at Red Rover are very reasonable, and are adjusted to less, if you like to do the washing, drying, brushing, scratching, singing, and smooching all by yourself without any help.  And they will still help you at the end or the beginning if you need it, and charge you less; that’s how phenomenal they are. For information or a grooming appointment, call: 843-671-9274 (WASH), or visit their website or Facebook page.

Now to give you a full idea of how our trips away from home effect Sammy, you may enjoy a little video called, How I Can Make Mommy Stay.  It’s a tear-jerker, so make sure you have a kleenex box next to your screen.