Monday, April 23, 2007

Two men, a crowd, and an airport terminal

Applause suddenly erupted from a few gates away.

Since we had been sitting in the airport for hours, waiting and hoping that the impending Nor’easter would spare us and we would soon be back on our way and on time - I could only surmise that the applause was in response to a flight that was finally beginning to board.

But the applause continued to build and haggard travelers began to stand.

And then I saw the reason why.

Two lone soldiers were making their way through the crowd. Dressed in camouflage and with their heads dipped, I believe in modesty, they emerged.

Hundreds of strangers – no doubt all with differing political views and thoughts on the war in general – came together if only for a few minutes to salute two young men.

We started the day with one common thread - we were all flying Delta. But we ended our day together in pride, strength and with a sense of community - all formed right there in an airport terminal.

Tears streamed down my face as I made eye contact with one soldier. He nodded, smiled and strode on his way.

I hope the rest of their travels bring them the same respect and gratitude.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Breaking News

The time has come ... my Bluffton Today column is no more.
No swan song is scheduled (or requested from my Editors), but I thought you may enjoy the last column I wrote, which will not run. Apparently, my editor felt this would launch Pancake Gate II and I guess I have to agree. Ironinc that the paper allows anonymous blog posts and vox messages to spew vitroil, but a columnist is not allow to draw negative attention to anything. So much for the power of the pen.

The real reason behind my departure is based on philosophical differences – my philosophy is that the VOX (a method that allowsd anonymous caller to leave voice messages and then the paper pritns them) is a horrible medium for public opinion. BT disagrees with me. Bottom line, I just wasn’t having fun anymore. No, being ridiculed in the paper by anonymous callers is not fun, in case you were wondering.

But, I have paved the way for another unsuspecting Yankee to open their mouth and insert foot. It should be fun to watch!

Hot Pepper's Goes Cold

Now, I don’t like to complain (cue, laugh track), but I gave my heart to Pepper’s Porch and it
has since been broken.

In November 2005, I penned a column about the allure of this Lowcountry treasure –

“Pepper’s Porch was lit up like a Christmas tree with strings of white lights and caught our attention. Once inside, it felt as if we were sitting in an old friend’s dining room – it was casual, a keyboard was being played in the corner and artwork smattered the walls…

… For the remainder of my stay, we dined at Pepper’s Porch each night. When I finally arrived in Bluffton permanently it was our first stop, and remains at the top of our list. The “Back Bar” reminds me of a spot in New Jersey that Joe and I used to frequent often, and I know that if we ever convince our friend Neil to make the trek to SC for a visit, it will be the first place we take him. We have sat outside under the giant oak and watched old men “pick” (a term I picked up recently) at their mandolins and young children fly through the air on the swing that hangs from that oak.”

Again, in August 2006, I sang the praises of Pepper’s as #1 on my Happy Hour Hot Three List –

“We’ve been heading to Pepper’s most Fridays this summer. The new Back Bar opened a couple of months ago and the outdoor venue is a hit! I could sum it all up in two words – dollar beers. Yes, you read correctly, happy hour on Friday nights ‘til 7:00 p.m. features $1 beers, and $3 pitchers. … … Pepper’s Porch screams Lowcountry and that is what makes it a hit in my book.”

Well, I fear I have to take it all back and ask what happened to Pepper’s Porch?

Perhaps what I always loved most was that you could grab at drink at the Back Bar, sit down at a table upon a bed of oyster shells, sit back, relax, maybe order dinner, and just listen to some music.

Well, times they have changed.

Now, when I approached the bar I was told that if I was sitting at a table I would have to wait for a waitress. Ok, I’ll wait. And, I’ll wait. And, I’ll wait. I’ll flag her down, and I’ll wait some more. Hmmph. I’m getting thirsty over here.

Now, I’d like to order some food. Can I get a menu? Ok, I’ll wait. And, I’ll wait.

Hmmm? Where is our food? Ok, I’ll wait. And, I’ll wait. Here it is, except that steamed oysters aren’t supposed to petrify, they are supposed to be sweet and succulent and, can I get a bucket for my shells? Did she just say, “not right now”? Ok, I’ll wait.

No, we aren’t ready for our check yet. No, still not ready for our check, but I’ll have another drink. And, I’ll wait. And, I’ll wait.

I understand that the purpose of my trip was a relaxing, casual night out. But there is a different between laid back service and oh my gosh, I may die here waiting.

When I can’t stand it anymore I finally agree to take the check, upon which the waitress has added a tidy little tip of 18% for herself. For a party of two? You have got to be kidding me, right?

The good news is (yes, there was a little), Snow Bird Mike never disappoints. He provided great entertainment as always. And I have to say, I love the fact that the beer pitchers now have built-in ice compartments, a brilliant invention!

However, it saddens me that my “go to” hangout is lacking its luster.

And that got me thinking, what happened to Pepper’s Porch? Am I alone?

Let the VOX calls begin.