Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From the House

Bluffton Today

The security issue at Department of Revenue and other state business will be there for us next week. Today, I want to say a few words about tomorrow’s Thanksgiving celebration. I also have a modest proposal for dealing with the dreaded “Black Friday.”

I really hope all your families are intact and things and moving in the right direction for you. For us, this Thanksgiving will be the first without family members who have gone on before us. We are, nonetheless, filled with gratitude for the chance to be with family, and celebrate our many blessings.

None of those blessings are more elevating than having Mary’s father, John Kinzer, back with us after his health mishap in Scotland. John is undergoing rehabilitation at NHC out on Highway 170 here in Bluffton. Wade Taylor and his superb staff are seemingly going above and beyond to return John to vigorous health, although from conversations with the families of other NHC patients, “above and beyond” is pretty much what they do every day. Obviously, part of our celebration will involve watching sports in John’s room on the big flat screen TV.

The day after Thanksgiving is usually called “Black Friday” for reasons both accurate and distressing. In truth, the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season doesn’t seem to bring out the best in us. Tempers get short and car horns get a little too much use as we prepare for the next holiday while trying to get over that last extra slice of pecan pie with chocolate chips. Allow me to proffer this modest proposal:

Instead of Black Friday, let’s make it Bluffton Friday! Instead of lining up in front of a big box and waiting to be herded into a cavernous building with hundreds of other inpatient shoppers, try spending the day in old town Bluffton and doing your shopping with folks who are happy to see you and treat you like a treasured friend. Don’t get up before daylight and dash out of the house. Sleep in. When you are good and ready, head over to Bluffton and be prepared for a nice day. Park in the Promenade, or on May River Road, or Calhoun St. or in the parking lots of the many churches. Shared parking is an old Bluffton tradition.
There are lots of lunch possibilities. There’s Captain Woody’s or The Cottage or The Sippin’ Cow, and a host of tried and true winners. For something a little different, there is a new Jamaican restaurant, The Red Stripes, behind the famous Squat and Gobble on Pin Oak. Red Stripes is inexpensive, pleasant, and really good. Spicy Jerk Chicken with rice and peas is perfect for a cool afternoon in November.

This year, instead of another noisy video game, why not give your kids a colorful book? There are two wonderful bookstores in old town. How about a beautiful antique wooden treasure box from the McCracken’s at Stock Farm Antiques? Or a Steve White soda-fired mug from Pluff Mud Gallery? When you do business with your neighbors, those dollars stay in your community, as opposed to ending up in Arkansas so the Waltons can buy another Gulfstream 5.

Here’s the deal as I see it: Holidays are to remind us to be kind to each other, to appreciate our loved ones while we still have them. We also need a reminder to take care of ourselves so our loved ones can enjoy us as well. Do we really need more shiny, Chinese-made, digital gadgets? Put some mindful love into your gifts. Shop as though you value where you live and care about your truly local businesses. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Be thankful, then enjoy Bluffton Friday.