My Response to the New York Times’ Google Article: What They left Out. A Lot!

Source: My Response to the New York Times’ Google Article: What They left Out. A Lot!

And to my dear friend, Morna McDermott, thanks for keeping them honest, because at the end of the day, this is what democracy looks like:

Morna the protestor

Morna McDermott, Activist, Educator, Author, Sister

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.

A ‘Spectre’ of Light After the Dark

Only on Hilton Head

Unedited version submitted for the Island Packet, Sunday, October 30, 2016

After three weeks of hurricane disaster news and heroic recovery efforts, it’s good to know that anticipated, community-oriented events are still being planned and executed by business leaders who themselves are also recovering from Matthew’s devastation.

Mann's in Cinema Foyer

Larry and Lucie Mann enjoy intermission with wine and popcorn at their movie theater in Park Plaza, Hilton Head, SC.

Lucie and Larry Mann, owners/operators of Mann’s Park Plaza Cinema are hosting the Concours d’Elegance kick-off event Thursday, November 3, 2016, in a grand, silver screen party in the courtyard of their business located at 33 Office Park Rd, Ste 201, in Park Plaza just outside the main Sea Pines gate, next to Harris Teeter.

“We’ve been clearing debris from around our business and house, but as they say, the show must go on,” said Lucie on Sunday while she and her husband worked selling movie tickets, bartending, and conducting a Q&A via Skype with the filmmakers of an independent documentary about eating a plant-based diet called, “Eating Your Heart Out.”

It was like watching those motorized housekeepers on that old cartoon, The Jetsons, zipping around on motorized wheels, sweeping, while taking corners, smiling, talking, fielding questions about completely unrelated topics, films, and causes, heads swiveling to take in the whole business while staying focused on the conversation at hand.  I thought to myself, “I want what she’s having,” like the woman in that Rob Reiner movie.

Understand, this kind of multi-tasking is awesome to me.  I had just left my car parked in front of the box office and completely forgot about it for like, fifteen minutes because I had to remember both, buying popcorn, AND getting my mother seated AT THE SAME TIME.  Lucie carefully, kindly, and discreetly, tiptoed down the aisle and leaned over to me in the dark, saying, “Carmen, can you please move your car, so others can drop off their guests in front of the theater?”

Delicately implied at the end of that question, of course, was the word “numbnuts?”.

Hand-made earrings by Lucie Mann

Lucie Mann’s original, hand-crafted earrings, “No Two Are Alike”, are sold in the movie theater for $15 – $30/pair.

Lucie and Larry both bring an array of skills and talents to their partnership, which always culminates in amazing productions at their business.  Lucie is an architect by trade.  She also crafts her own earrings, and participates in local events that promote healthy, organic cooking and eating.  Larry’s background in contracting dovetails perfectly with their shared passion for neighborhood and community events, and of course all of these interests logically pointed them to buying a movie theater, right?

So, thanks to their shared passions, on November 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm, islanders will get a glimpse of Hollywood glamour, in the shape of one of the ten Aston Martin DB10’s made specifically for Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, (which will get it’s premiere Hilton Head screening also at Mann’s Nov. 3rd event).  This custom made car – estimated worth $3 million – is the only one currently being displayed in the United States as EON Productions rolls out its latest Bond movie, which also marks a fifty-year partnership between Astin Martin and EON, the company behind the 007 franchise.

Ilya Kagan, regional manager for Aston Martin, explained the precision and detail that went into the creation of the DB10, as well as the difference between “hero” cars, and “stunt” cars, when it comes to custom designing a car for a film.

James Bond and Astin Martin

Daniel Craig as James Bond, Agent 007, poses with one of 10 Aston Martin DB10’s made for the movie, Spectre, premiering on Hilton Head November 3, 2016 at Park Plaza Cinemas.

For the movie, Spectre, ten Aston Martin DB10’s were made.  Some were stunt cars, driven by the stunt doubles for the movie’s action sequences, and others, termed hero cars, are piloted by Daniel Craig as James Bond.  Unfortunately we, drooling cinematic plebeians, don’t get to know which of these cars will be on site at the Park Plaza Cinema courtyard on November 3, 2016.  But hey, who cares, right?  A three million dollar car is a three million dollar car, no matter whose derriere graced the driver’s seat, in my book.

“We at Aston Martin The Americas are excited to be able to bring this piece of cinematic history to a local movie showing at Hilton Head, SC. This is a very extraordinary vehicle, with only ten of them made, and with one of the examples of this car being sold On 19 February 2016, at a special auction at Christie’s in London for £2,424,500, or about $3.5 million, it makes for a very rare opportunity to see something like this in person,” said Kagan.

Attendees will get photo-ops with the DB10, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a screening of

Rows of red chairs in theater

Spectre attendees will enjoy the screening in Park Plaza Cinema’s new luxury reclining red theater chairs.

Spectre on Park Plaza Cinema’s BRAND NEW, RED, LUXURY, RECLINING, MOVIE CHAIRS!

Sounds like Vincent Chase’s sneak preview party in the movie Entourage, right?  Only, we’ll all keep our clothes on during the party, ‘kay?

Proceeds from Thursday’s event will go towards the Concours D’Elegance, and to the non-profit, Driving Young America (DYA), A Hilton Head Island High School program that supports students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry. Local vendors participating include, Ruby Lee’s, It’s Greek to Me, Delishee Yo, Whole Foods, Java Burrito, Signe’s Bakery & Café, Butch Hirsch Productions, TR Media World, and Crush Entertainment, Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse, 843 The Restaurant,

 Tickets Are Going Fast, So Buy Now

Spectre Event Specifics:

What –  Spectre Screening; Concourse D’Elegance Kick-Off Event
Food, wine, photo-op with Aston Martin from film
When – 5:30 pm, Thursday, November 3, 2016,
Where – Mann’s Park Plaza Cinemas, 33 Office Park Rd, Hilton Head
Tickets – $25.00 online here, Spectre Event Tickets or visit              www.mannsparkplazacinemas.com for more info.
Contact – 843-785-5001

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Week to Get a Johnny D Tree at Sonesta Resort, and Help Hilton Head Prep!

Christmas Tree

Hilton Head Prep Decorated Tree for Sale at Sonesta Resort

Season Greetings, Islanders, and Holiday Guests!

This is the last week of Hilton Head Prep’s Annual Festival of Trees at Shipyard’s Sonesta Resort.  Representatives from Hilton Head Preparatory School will be selling these beautifully decorated Christmas trees from 3pm – 7pm.  When Prep representatives are not available, trees can still be purchased at the Sonesta Front Desk.

I call these, Johnny D trees.  For those of you who don’t know my husband, Johnny D, you also may not know that his favorite holiday family activity is NOT packing the family into Sorel snow boots, going to the nearby Christmas tree farm and carefully picking out the perfect fir, cutting it down, loading it into the flatbed in the snow with the kids helping, and driving it home singing Christmas carols.

No.

Johnny D

Johnny D, Tells a Friend About His Day Choosing a Tree.

Finding a Johnny D tree, means sliding barefoot into your Ferragamo driving shoes, taking your convertible Mercedes to a nearby hotel on the beach, choosing the flashiest, most sparkly, already-decorated tree, palming the valet an extra fiver to heave it into the trunk, reward oneself with a glass of pinot grigio at the bar, for a job well done (having braved the traffic circles to get there), and then contributed to the Prep Christmas fund, his wife’s alma mater. High-five Johnny D, and Merry Christmas Hilton Head Prep!

Below, is what’s left on the Festival of Trees schedule this week.  Don’t miss out, get yourself a Johnny D tree, and then pat yourself on the back.

Please join us for the following Special Events coming up this week at 
The Sonesta! 
Christmas Tree

Decorated Christmas Trees Benefit Hilton Head Prep’s Scholarship Program

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Hilton Head Prep’s Strings will perform.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes will perform Lessons and Carols, which is based on a service originally offered at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England in 1918.  The service combines readings about the Christmas story from prophecy of a messiah to the fulfillment of the prophecy in the gospel texts. Carols will be sung by Candace Woodson after each lesson; and students from middle school and lower school will perform the carols in sign language.

Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 6:15 pm

The Chamber Readers of Hilton Head Preparatory School will perform “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.  The poem, which has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

Hilton Head Prep Proves You CAN Go Home Again – Celebrate 50 Years of HHPrep!

Entryway to Hilton Head Prep

         Welcome to Hilton Head Prep

Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called, You Can’t Go Home Again.  He was my favorite novelist when I was a teenager on Hilton Head in the late 1970’s.  It was very romantic, nostalgic, and sad I recall, when the young protagonist, George Webber, came home to the United States, only to find that things had changed while he was away in Europe, and nothing was as he remembered.

And that is very similar to my experience as a youth on Hilton Head in the 1970’s, leaving for college later on, staying away for seventeen or so years, and then returning to find that my high school alma mater has changed quite drastically, and yet, in quite an exceptional way.

Recently, I was invited to lunch at the new, improved, Hilton Head Prep to introduce me to the newest headmaster, Jon A. Hopman, and re-introduce me to what Hilton Head Prep offers the Island community.  Which is quite a lot, I have to say.

Jon Hopman

Headmaster, Jon Hopman

Prep English teacher Peg Hamilton,

English Teacher

Teacher of English, Peg Hamilton

who attended the luncheon meeting – along with Margot Brown (Director of Development and Finance)

Margot Brown, bio

Margot Brown, Director of Development & Finance

Bethany Wilkinson (Director of Communications and Alumni Relations), and Headmaster Hopman – reminded me that Hilton Head Prep is entering its fiftieth year, as a private island school.

Bethany Wilkinson

Bethany Wilkinson, Director of Communication & Alumni Relations

Rather alarmingly, it occurred to me that I was also into my fiftieth year.  Hmmm…..

“The Super Bowl began officially, in 1965,” said Ms. Hamilton.  As did, “the movie, Dr. Zhivago, the Voting Rights Act, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the song, I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher, in case you forgot), Medicare/Medicaid was enacted, the Grateful Dead was touring, and the Beatles played at Shea Stadium to adoring crowds,” she noted with pride.  Yours truly, was born then as well; apparently this was an auspicious time for first-year, Gen-Xer’s.  Yeahhh.

Trophy Case

Hilton Head Prep Trophy Case in the Joe Fraser Athletic Building.

All that was going on, while a little building in Sea Pines, was gearing up for classrooms, so that the few residents of Hilton Head at the time, could send their kids to a private school located on the island.  In those days, most kids like Mike Lynes (Islander extraordinaire – see Island Packet, Only On Hilton Head – August 22, 2015), had to trek by boat, or school bus, or in some cases, carpools, all the way to Beaufort, Savannah, and Bluffton (before the Cross Island Parkway) – that was a haul, to traverse this island back then.   


Invitation

Prep Alumni Social

Don’t forget Prep, SPA, and MRA Alumni, this Fri. 10/09/15  is HHPrep Homecoming. Dolphins vs. Thomas Heyward Rebelsbegins at 4:30.  Alumni Social starts at 7 pm at the Lucky Rooster in South Island Square.


Girl Reading Statue

Student Reading Sculpture has Been on the Campus for Many Years.

In the seventh grade, we had to drive to Savannah in late August, to buy back-to-school supplies and clothes.  It was also cool in the 1970’s to smoke cigarettes while driving (just watch any film made during that decade).  And Sea Pines Academy (known as SPA prior to 1985; the year May River Academy – of Bluffton – merged with SPA to form Hilton Head Prep) was right up there in the ‘cool’ sphere, when seniors were allowed to smoke at the picnic tables by the lagoon, next to the parking lot, where they were also allowed to park their cars.  So, they could drive to school WHILE smoking (a 1976 ‘cool’ bundle), park, and stroll into the rear door just in time for morning meeting.  I couldn’t wait to be a senior, so I could drive, smoke cigarettes, and park by the lagoon.

Yearbook Soccer Team

SPA Varsity Soccer Team, circa 1977

PrepBasketBallCourt

Present-day Outdoor Basketball Court, with Palmetto Tree in the Foreground

This was also back in the day, when we were proud to have as an alum, one of the famous Heritage Golf Course streakers, whose name nobody would give up to the authorities, not even today.  And not even now, would I tell you what I know, because this is a well-guarded Prep Alumni secret, along the lines of where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and where Whitey Bulger was hiding out all those years.

As you can imagine, times have changed somewhat, and of course, there is no longer a sequestered place at the school for seniors to hang out, and smoke… anything.  Yes, you will be glad to know, the Sea Pines family culture has evolved to healthier past times here on Hilton Head Isle (or so I’m told).

Signs at School

Modern-day Directions Through a Sprawling Campus. Before the ’80’s, the School wasn’t Big Enough to Need Signage.

We have also moved forward from, doggin’-it outside to the math trailer, to ‘integrating to an online curriculum at the Digital Learning Academy’.  Wow.  They’ve got way more technology and learning programs than we ever did, back in the day.

School Gymnasium

Joseph Fraser Field House – Beautiful Gymnasium by the Forest Preserve

Not only that, but Hilton Head Prep has a boarding school for international students, and also assists qualifying families with financial aid procedures, and there’s even an Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

And, this year, Hilton Head Prep implements the American College Testing (ACT) and SAT Prep Courses for high school students who want to amp up to college with all kinds of elevated aptitude test scores.  Also new, Prep gets to utilize the generous donation of the Main Street Theater for performances during the school year.  That, along with outreach programs that work with Smith Stearns and Van Der Meer Tennis Academy students, Junior Players Golf Academy (JPGA), and Lawton Stables Riding Academy students, has brought Prep standards to greater new heights.

Signs and statues

Always Putting Students First at Hilton Head Prep

Boy, it’s come a long way from walking to a math trailer after lunch, and smoking cigarettes by the lagoon.  Looking back, I would have to say that most Prep changes are definitely for the better.  I think I’ll make it to a couple of football and basketball games this season, just to see how much the campus has changed and grown. 

School Cafeteria

Hilton Head Prep              School Cafeteria

There will be a lot of commemorative events this upcoming 2015-16 school year, especially during February, 2016 – HHPrep’s Official Jubilee Celebration Month – as Hilton Head Prep celebrates fifty continuous years educating Hilton Head children.  If you’re new to the island, or coming home again, stop by and check it out. 

And below, you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. The whole student body joined together in 2012 to shout out, “Thank you for making a difference,” for the making of an alumni dvd.

Call for directions, 843-671-2286, or visit their website for a calendar of upcoming activities and events, http://www.hhprep.org/.

Just remember to leave your cigarettes at home.  I’ve heard there’s no smoking allowed on the grounds, now.

Support American Capitalism; Buy Jewelry from Hilton Head Blog Angel

necklace sets at Italian Heritage Festival

Jewelry Sets Did Very Well at the Italian Heritage Festival Last Saturday, September 19, 2015.

Segueing into my new business from the Italian Heritage Festival, I promise not to use up too much of my precious WordPress blog space promoting my new line of jewelry.  So, I’ll keep this one short and to the point.

(“Right,” I can hear you thinking.  “She wouldn’t know short-and-to-the-point if it smacked her on her keister.”  And you’d be right, for the most part.  But, I’m really going to try on this one, so give me a break.)

Sam the beach beagle on his cloud

Sammytones, Works Hard Assisting Blog Angel on His Cloud.

In order to maintain my lifestyle of sitting on my duff days in the Carolina room of our Hilton Head condo watching Sammy, the Beach Beagle, hold down the cloud (his white blanket-draped couch) in front of me, I must somehow generate revenue.  Being that my musings on all people, places, and things Hilton Head – while they may be pithy – do not put bacon or veggies on the table, or scarves and jewelry around my neck, or cars in my driveway, (my little, red, 2006 Sentra – AKA, the family ‘dog-car’ – paid for, thank you very much, although Sam has made sure that it trails sand, and frayed seat belts when you ride with me), I have decided to venture into the online retail business.

Johnny Carmen and Sam at the beach

Johnny, Carmen, and Sam – Hilton Head Island – circa, 2010

Jewelry is the name, and affordable, fun, and colorful, is the game.  I have picked out pieces that are perfect for an active lifestyle; unpretentious, while versatile.  Please enjoy, and let me know if you’d like to see something in particular.  I am currently designing some originals, and will have more choices soon.  For now, shop my website, take advantage of some of my opening deals while I work out the kinks and designs, and decorate yourself!

For those of you more comfortable with Etsy or Shopify, go ahead and check out the discounted necklaces there.  The holidays are upon us, and now is the time to think about that which you don’t really want to think about.  Affordable gifts.

All of which to say; let me help you, help me, sit on my duff, on Hilton Head Island, and entertain you.  Otherwise, I’ll have to go to work like everyone else – eight hours a day in an office – complain about how hard I’ve got it, and how no one understands me, how my boss doesn’t know as much as I do, get fired, and start all over again.  And remember, while I’m working for the Man, I’m usually too tired, burned out, and annoyed, to blog about anything remotely funny.  I don’t even have the energy to make fun of Johnny D, after recovering from a whole week of sucking it up in an office.  Okay?

Carmen DeCecco on the beach

Hilton Head Blog Angel Sitting
on Her Duff

We don’t need to go through all that recurrently, do we? Buy Jewelry Gifts For Less today, and keep me in my place, which is over here, looking out at the Spanish Moss sachaying down live oaks, and far away from the cubicles and the office norm.

They really don’t want me back, the Big Companies.  And when you think about it, you’d be doing Corporate America a favor by purchasing my jewelry.  See, if I can make a go of it out here, in entrepreneur-land, then they won’t have to put up with me, and my lousy attitude anymore.  So, that’s your incentive.  Support American Capitalism and Corporate conformity.  Buy Hilton Head Blog Angel jewelry so we can maintain the status quo!

In closing (I told you this would be short, and to-the-point, didn’t I?); remember when the Johnny and Carmen Project moved to Hilton Head a few years ago?  Some of you received an announcement that looked like this:

Family on beach with beagle

DeCecco Deal Newsletter, Hilton Head Island – circa, 2010

Well, we thank you all for the empathy, and support, and pats-on-the-back we received after we sent this out.  But, now we’re really in the business of being in business down here.  And I’m still writing cheesy family newsletters, only they’re called ‘blogs’, and we still want to hear about your cheese, wherever you are.  So go ahead, Like, Follow, Friend, Fan, Tweet, Toot, Pin, Tumble, Stumble, post, share, comment, and above all, BUY, so we can get off our duffs, and fly up to visit all of you, during the holidays and for weddings, and funerals… our patient, tolerant, dear friends, and readers.

And thank you, as always for playing with me.

Gratitude Blog From Hilton Head Blog Angel

Jewelry display at festival

Hilton Head Blog Angel Jewelry Booth at the Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn

This past weekend couldn’t have been better, even if we had scripted the event.  Which actually, we did.  Or rather, Paul Caimano, Committee Chairman of the Sixth Annual Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn, and his friends at the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head (IACHH) did. (Script the event, that is).

Three people at Italian Heritage Festival 2015

2015 Festival Goers Fan their Beers.

And that’s probably the reason everything at the Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn came off without a hitch or a glitch.  That, and the God-wink bestowed upon us, when San Gennaro instructed the heavens to shine sunny and warm all day long on Hilton Head, while his blood liquefied over in Naples, Italy, in front of the astonished, and awed, Catholic congregants.

And now that the Pope is visiting the United States this week, I thought it appropriate to share this great video I snagged off YouTube, of the March 21, 2015 blood miracle that occurred; a phenomenon that was visited by Pope Francis in Naples, just this past spring.  This is the same blood miracle that we celebrate in the United States every year, only it is the September 19th, scheduled, liquefaction that is fêted.  You see, we are fortunate that San Gennaro’s blood liquefaction is a frequent event – AND annual – so that nobody ever misses a moment to party down Vatican style.

Now according to the video, the March melting was just a partial miracle, as you will note, and Pope Francis – the good sport that he is – did not take it personally, but rather joked, that San Gennaro was probably none to happy with the state of the world, as it is.  Ergo, the blood only melts a little, and looks like pudding.  I guess we’ve got some work to do here on earth, to get his blood liquefying, and roiling the way it’s supposed to.  Way to go, World.

George Paletta at Festival 2015

IACHH Vice-President, The George, Happy that the Sun Shined Brightly on Saturday.

I’m just glad that San Gennaro saw fit to bestow a happy, sunny day on us, this past Saturday on Hilton Head, because lots of fun and entertainment was consumed by the Italian-American plebeians, of the New World.  And Yours Truly, reaped some of the spoils, thankfully, due to arduous planting of marketing seeds prior to this auspicious annual Hilton Head event.

San Gennaro Statue

San Gennaro Statue at Las Vegas Feast, sports paper bills for a tie (big surprise).

That is why I am thanking Islanders and visitors from near and far, who trod courageously through the fairgrounds Saturday, fending off pesky fan-wavers, and smoldering scents of pizza and grilled sweet Italian sausage wafting through the air, to brave the crush of local business vendors selling everything from hand-made ceramics, to raffle tickets, wine, and jewelry.

All, to the rousing musical entertainment of Larry Tanelli and his wife, Claudette, whose showstoppers included, “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That’s Amore!” and of course, the ever-popular (and my personal favorite), “Has Anyone Seen Il Presidente, Johnny D?  The Port-o-johns Are Running Low On Toilet Paper!”  That one, as always, drew a standing O.  Interestingly, the ubiquitous Johnny D, was suddenly scarce during that little ditty.

I also want to thank the IACHH Board, Club members, Festival volunteers, and especially the USCB students who assisted the set-up of my booth, and the ROTC who directed traffic and parking.  It would have been a rather amusing, end-of-day activity driving out of Honey Horn without the supervision of these patient, courteous guides, for many festival-goers (and ragged vendors, like me).  As it was, I felt cared for, and looked after by my young attendants.  Great job everyone.

Pink Beaded Necklace

Multiple Shades of Pink Beaded Strands Accent Any Beachy Outfit.

For those of you who couldn’t attend this gala event, and are devastated that you missed the grand opening of Hilton Head Blog Angel Jewelry, fret not.  I have here, the hyperlink needed to go directly to the website (Jewelry Gifts For Less), and choose a lovely, colorful, necklace to wear to almost any festivity that lies ahead in your future. And for those of you who read all the way down to this point, you will know that there is a contest with a free jewelry gift as reward, to the first patient reader/generous customer that sends me a link to any news media reporting on whether or not the blood liquefaction miracle occurred fully this past Saturday in Naples.

I could not find any, and I’m concerned since the last one didn’t, you know, totally liquefy.  I’d like to know if San Gennaro is getting over his Agida with this world full of wanderers from the flock.

In closing, I leave you with a full-blown, ten-minute documentary, explaining the blood miracle (for those of you obsessive, curious geeks, like me) of San Gennaro, that draws an explicit history of this Christian martyr’s journey from teenaged, medieval, Italian priest, to principle patron saint of Naples, seventeen hundred and fifteen years after his death.  Behold.

Hilton Head Art, ‘Life is a Carnival’, by Nancy Mitchell

Fire-Eating sculpture, Mr. Inferno

Fire-Eater, “Mr. Inferno,” sculpture hangs on wall.

Want to see what happens if you pursue your heart’s desire?  Check out Nancy Mitchell’s most recent handmade, hand painted sculptures at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’Walter Greer Gallery, sponsored by the Art League of Hilton Head.  Her show is inspired by the Savannah Carnival, put on annually by the Shriners.

Made from clay, wood, and painted with acrylics, each work is an exquisite, detailed creation, comprised of many meaningful levels, and signifiers.  One will observe something new on each viewing of the same piece, and feel the same childlike delight as though seeing it for the first time.

A surprising pleasure; some of the larger sculptures move with motorized parts for an enchanting display, such as the “Country Carousel,” and “Country Ferris Wheel,” (see close-ups below).

Pie-winner on ferris wheel

Blue-ribbon pie-winner rides the moving ferris wheel in “Country Ferris Wheel.”

Carousel sculpture

Detail of motorized, “Country Carousel”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, each one tells its own story.

Sideshow Tent

Sideshow Sculpture, “Step Right Up.”

Guitar Girl from sideshow

Sideshow close-up of Guitar Girl.

Like the girl playing guitar in the sideshow sculpture (see close-up, left) inspired by Mitchell’s daughter, real-life musician, Hannah Wicklund, singer in the rock band, The Steppin Stones.  Or, the man selling cotton candy, in “Cotton Candyman,” (wall sculpture, below right), based on the Italian vendor who worked the cotton candy stall.

sculpture of cotton candy man

“Cotton Candyman,” wall sculpture.

"Tough Crowd," sculpture

“Tough Crowd,” offers the whimsical perspective of the festival crowd.

Unique angles, whimsical characters, and bright colors hold the gaze as all the details come into focus, as in the sculpture, “Tough Crowd” (below, left). This work provides a rarely explored glimpse of the carnival audience enjoying the show.  A true joy to behold.

Carnival man on stilts

“Things are Looking Up.”

Such it is also, for the tall man on stilts, making balloon animals for kids (right), in the cleverly titled, “Things are Looking Up”.

There are multi-textural, multi-layered works that tell several stories at once.  And you don’t have to be privy to all of them to appreciate the piece in its entirety.  “Rock and Roll Funhouse,” is one such sculpture (below).  To see what Mitchell has added to the guitar’s fingerboard and head stock, you’ll just have to check out the exhibit this month.  Believe me, nothing disappoints.

Guitar-shaped funhouse

“Rock and Roll Funhouse,” displays the artist’s incredible attention to detail.

Wicklund family

Nancy Mitchell flanked by husband, Matthew Wicklund (l) and daughter, Hannah Wicklund (r). Not pictured, son Luke Mitchell.

 

Mitchell will gift 5% of the proceeds of her sculpture sales to the Shriners Hospital fund, in honor of Mark Bradley, Jr., a childhood friend of Hannah’s, who played drums in her band when they were kids.  After being in a plane crash years ago, he sadly passed on in a Shriners Hospital burn unit, after being treated for three months.  The donation is also a nod to her uncle, who was a Shriner, and is in recognition of the Savannah Carnival, which the organization sponsored annually.

sculpture of kids eating

Playful, “Sweet and Salty” wall sculpture.

Nancy Mitchell’s, “Life is a Carnival,” show of original, hand made sculptures, presented by the Art League of Hilton Head, can be viewed in the Walter Greer Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina this month.  

An opening reception will be held, Thursday, April 9, from 5 to 7 pm.  Dates – April 7  through May 3, 2015.; Days and Times- 10 am to 4 pm, Tuesday – Saturday; Location-  Mid-island, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC;  Contact-  (843)681-5060 for more info.    Cost- Featured art is for sale, event is free and open to the public.

Pet-Friendly Hilton Head is Perfect Winter Retreat

Don't Wait For Me

What Are You Waiting For?

Hi!  Sam, again.  As you may, or may not know, Hilton Head Blog Angel has a new gig.  A gig that has absorbed her thoughts to herself, as well as in conversations with family and friends, AND her musings on our walks and beach days.  Obviously, she cannot handle both, a newspaper gig, and, a blog gig, otherwise she’d be plugging in some copy here a little more frequently than once every couple of months.  As it is, I gotta’ keep the machine rolling along like it’s well-oiled, so you guys don’t notice the big, widening gaps in between her blog posts.

Now, you may wonder, why it’s such a big deal, if she’s only writing a column twice a month – every other Monday – about Hilton Head, why then is it so difficult to handle that, AND  a blog?  Well, we were wondering that ourselves, me and Johnny D.  Like, how long does it take to think about a topic, and then write about it, and you only have to do that like, every two weeks, right? Well apparently, we shouldn’t have been wondering that stuff out loud in front of Blog Angel, because, being a fragile, creative, word artiste (as she describes herself on a good day), she is constantly misunderstood by us less-evolved neanderthals.   I really don’t know what she means when she says things like that, but Johnny D doesn’t appreciate it either.  So, we just get up and watch TV in the other room, so she can have her space to, you know, flesh out ideas, and create.

water fountains

A Fountain For Everyone In the Family

Which brings me to my promo.  Those of you who have pets, should ask them where they want to go, and I’ll bet they say, ‘Hilton Head, please!’  And do you know why?  Well, I’ll tell you why.  Two reasons: 1) Great, easy-to understand leash laws for the whole island, including beaches.  And most public places, you’ll see containers with signs offering plastic bags for free, while you’re walking your best friend, in case you forgot to bring your own.  They even set us up with showers and water fountains, here on Hilton Head Isle.

Hi George.

That’s My Man, George Evans. Always ready with a treat.

And b.) the people that work here love pets!  Can you believe it?  Everywhere I go with Mom or Johnny D, I get treats.  There’s even some restaurants that let you sit outside and eat with your dog, like they do in the Old Country.  Wherever that is.  In the mornings, when we walk the golf course, the Guys, like Steve and Grady and Joe, take care of me with biscuits.  They know how hard I work treeing squirrels, so the golfers can play through, undisturbed.  It’s not easy being me, down here.

Leaving Sam's scent

Back Roll in the Sand, Leaves a Good Scent for Everyone. Sam was Here!

I know it looks simple, but taking care of Hilton Head Blog Angel and Johnny D, is like, the hardest job you could ever ask for.  You don’t know what I’m up against. So, make sure you are nice to the security guards and the bag boys and caddies while you’re here, because they’ll all take care of you, while you’re here in the middle of the winter, sneaking a break from those crazy snow storms up north, east, and west.  Really.

Who’d ‘a thunk, it would be warm enough to hit the beach this past weekend, right?  But there I am, living large, happy to be here, sharing my scent with anything that will let me roll around backwards and bark.  It doesn’t get any better than this.