Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

Mary and I hope each of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. It is certainly one of our favorites. There is something about a holiday that is dedicated to gratitude, to being thankful for all that we so often take for granted, which really strikes a chord with our family. There is great family time, traditional food, and after a nice walk, some holiday football on television.

Down here in the Lowcountry, in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Sun City, Hardeeville, and all the areas around and between the creeks and estuaries, Thanksgiving is also the start of almost six weeks of festivities, culminating on New Year’s Day with Hoppin’john and a little more football.

For those of you who may be new to the area, the Bluffton Christmas Parade is an event you will not want to miss. It is the first Saturday of December, which this year, falls on the 7th. The magic begins at 11 a.m. In truth, the magic actually began months ago, as Parade Maven and Bluffton Town Clerk, Sandra Lunceford hammers out the final details and burnishes the parade organization to a high luster.

To the 20,000 or so folks who will line the route, the parade is an extravagant celebration of our town, our people, and all our friends who come to help in the festivities. Each year, it’s a little different than the last, a little better in that we have more new neighbors who either watch or participate. If the Bluffton Christmas Parade was the only thing you knew about Bluffton, you would know a lot. You would have a good idea of how we feel about our place, about ourselves, and what it takes to be a community. You would feel as welcome as each of the merchants and restauranteurs make you feel when you enter their establishments. You would also know that fun and efficient organization are not mutually exclusive.

After the parade, I urge you to have a late lunch at one of the many fine eateries in the Old Town, or take a stroll through the great selection of galleries and shops. Even during the Great Recession, Old Town grew its business community, and now that we are on the mend, it is really standing tall. One of the new businesses is May River Toys, located on Calhoun Street in one of the wings of Miss Babbie’s The Store. Proprietor Jaja Epps and husband Chris Epps seem to me to exemplify something quintessentially Bluffton in their business approach. Even before these young entrepreneurs made a nickel of profit, they donated stuffed animals for Bluffton Police cars, for any domestic violence cases that might involve small children. Friends, these young folks are our business neighbors. They get it.

Next week, it’s back to policy and politics. Preparations for the new session are well along. That said, I believe that we should be attentive to all aspects of our society, not simply our political organization. A little gratitude might even smooth over some of the rough edges of current politics. For this politician, it’s worth a try.