by Regina Maguire Kirshbaum
I’m Southern charmed! Me, a hard core New Yorker, transplanted here to our beautiful Lowcountry. I have bitten Eden’s apple and it is sweet and unforgettable, melting my tough veneer, and planting a smile on my face that can’t be removed, in spite of a few bad traffic moments.
You had me at hello, Lowcountry—from the moment 30 years ago when I first stepped into your inner circle-—and now that I’ve called Hilton Head home for a full year, I’m grinning like an idiot and that’s hardly a bad thing!
“Living the Lowcountry High Life” means a lot of things to me, but today I’m focusing on kindness. Don’t get me wrong, New Yorkers are plenty nice; we just have a funny way of showing it sometimes. Down here, in Lowcountry Camelot, nice seems to be a way of life, a sort of birthright. Nice is cashiers at the grocery store who not only give you a smile, but often enjoy a little chat -- sometimes much to the chagrin of the people behind you in line, and that’s okay, because those folks get treated with sugar, too. Nice is gentlemen, young and old, holding doors for me. Nice is the quiet on the roadways, sans blaring horns. Nice is the manager at Francesca’s who makes sure that my four-legged fur son, Nyo, feels welcome; and when he isn’t with me, asks how he’s doing. Nice is the way the folks down here treat my 89-year-young mother, also a native New Yorker, who is stunned on a daily basis by the kindness of Southern strangers.
I’m not saying that nice things don’t happen elsewhere; I’m just saying that y’all seem to have a special sauce for making every day of my new life down here deliciously pleasant, especially when it comes to my interactions with the people involved with my mom’s health issues. She is currently happily residing at The Bayshore, where the caring staff improves her life every day. Then there’s Marta, at the Fudge Shoppe in Coligny Plaza, who rushes out to my car to give Mom a chocolate covered cherry because she knows how much Mom loves her sweets! There’s also the staggeringly kind treatment Mom receives from the staff at each of her physician’s offices. And I can’t possibly forget to mention the sweet cosmetics salesperson at Belk who let Mom take advantage of a gift-with-purchase promotion a full week before the official start date. Who does that? Never happens where we came from!
But I think Lowcountry kindness is manifested most beautifully in how we treat our wildlife. The tireless efforts we extend to our beloved sea turtles. These magnificent creatures are blessed with the intuition to nest here, where kindness abounds. And we even yield the right of way to road crossing alligators! Up north, that would be the definition of crazy, but down here, it’s a happy demonstration of what it means to live and let live.
I hope you’re also finding this magical place we call home to be a happy sanctuary. For me, well, I’m still in a stupor after my recent visits to the DMV and the post office. Yup, I had happy experiences there, too!
Living the Lowcountry High Life, that’s me!