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Bodacious burgers A NE W NORMAL

A new annual meeting format


Friends and foils Fencing parries for position in South Carolina

Whether you are just dreaming of a weekend escape right now or hoping to venture out in the coming weeks, we have the latest information on Columbia SC re-openings, modifications and precautions underway, and ideas on how to maximize your travel plans in this vibrant Southern city. We’ll be waiting with a glass of sweet tea, unless of course you’d prefer something barrel-aged or bacon-infused. Visit ExperienceColumbiaSC.com

THE MAGAZINE FOR COOPERATIVE MEMBERS VOLUME 75 • NUMBER 1 (ISSN 0047-486X, USPS 316-240) Read in more than 600,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033

2021 |jan 12 En garde! More than 20 fencing clubs across the state teach an ancient combat sport that hones physical and mental skills while also offering a sense of swashbuckling adventure.

Tel: (803) 926‑3175 Fax: (803) 796‑6064 Email: letters@scliving.coop EDITOR

Keith Phillips Tel: (803) 739‑3040 Email: Keith.Phillips@ecsc.org


Updates from your cooperative



Travis Ward


Apply now for the 2021 Jenny Ballard Opportunity Scholarships from Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE).


Sharri Harris Wolfgang DESIGNER

Camille Stewart Andrew Chapman WEB EDITOR

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperatives have developed new ways to hold annual meetings and trustee elections to ensure member-owners stay firmly in control of all business affairs.


Trevor Bauknight, Jennifer Jas, Jim Poindexter CONTRIBUTORS

Mike Couick, Hastings Hensel, Jan A. Igoe, L.A. Jackson, Patrick Keegan, Sydney Patterson, Belinda Smith-Sullivan, Brad Thiessen

10 ENERGY Q&A Organize your energy If your goal is to lower utility bills in 2021, we have some good advice on how to get started.



18 SC STORIES Expert in the field

Mary Watts Tel: (803) 739‑5074 Email: ads@scliving.coop

Meet David Shields and learn why he and his colleagues at the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation are on a mission to bring back South Carolina’s best heirloom crops.


American MainStreet Publications Tel: (512) 441‑5200 Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. If you encounter a difficulty with an advertisement, inform the Editor.


ADDRESS CHANGES: Please send to your

Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices. © COPYRIGHT 2021. The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor.

is brought to you by your member-owned, taxpaying, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative, wise energy use and the faces and places that identify the Palmetto State. Electric cooperatives are South Carolina’s — and America’s — largest utility network.


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Bodacious burgers Whether you’re partial to beef, chicken, lamb or beans, Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan has a mouthwatering burger recipe that’s sure to please.


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See why thousands of eager explorers happily spend their leisure time sifting through the dirt and mud of Diamond Hill Mine near Abbeville.

local co-op. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Address Change, c/o the address above.



The witches of winter Witch hazel, a woody shrub that offers fragrant blooms in the coldest months, is a great addition to any winter garden.


27 MARKETPLACE 28 CALENDAR OF EVENTS 30 HUMOR ME Good riddance, 2020 Member of the AMP network reaching more than 9 million homes and businesses

Just in case you forgot to make meaningful New Year’s resolutions, our humor columnist has made a few for all of us—and our computers. Looking at you, CAPTCHA. FRO M TO P : M IC SM ITH; KEITH PH I LLI PS; G I N A MOORE


Bodacious burgers HUMOR ME

Good riddance, 2020

Friends and foils JANUARY 2021



8 DIALOGUE Not your grandfather’s annual meeting


Fencing parries for position in South Carolina

Fencing instructor Patrick Lausi demonstrates a smart salute to his students at Charleston’s Edge of America Fencing studio. Photo by Mic Smith.


SC   co-op news


A new normal, a new Annual Meeting FOR THE PAST 80 YEARS,

www.mcecoop.com LEXINGTON OFFICE

P.O. Box 669 254 Longs Pond Road Lexington, SC 29071 DUTCH FORK OFFICE

7524 Broad River Road Irmo, SC 29063 CUSTOMER SERVICE

(803) 749-6400 (888) 813-8000 Toll Free GENERAL INFORMATION

(803) 749-6555 (888) 813-9000 Toll Free REPORT OUTAGES

(803) 749-6444 (888) 813-7000 Toll Free BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Marvin W. Sox, Chairman Clifford B. Shealy, Vice Chairman Donette B. Kirkland, Secretary J. Allan Risinger, Treasurer J. Carey Bedenbaugh, Jr. Eddie C. Best, Jr. Kenneth V. Frick Alan R. Lunsford Justin B. Watts CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

B. Robert Paulling

The mission of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative, Inc., a not-for-profit member-owned electric distribution utility, is to improve the quality of life of our members by providing quality electric services at competitive costs with a commitment to member satisfaction. CO-OP CONNECTION EDITOR

Lacy Ridgell lacy@mcecoop.com


Mid-Carolina Electric members, employees and the board of trustees have come together every April for the cooperative’s Annual Meeting. It’s a special time for all of us to gather together and hear from co-op leadership, elect new board members and vote on proposed by-law changes. As you know, the risks associated with large crowds and COVID-19 prevented us from hosting the 2020 meeting, and those same concerns have prompted us to format the 2021 meeting a little differently. On April 7 and 8, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., members will have the opportunity to use drive-through registration and voting at one of two convenient locations. For those in the Chapin/ Irmo areas, join us at Chapin Middle School located at 11661 Broad River Road in Chapin. For those in the Lexington/ Batesburg-Leesville areas, come see us at Lexington High School located at 2463 Augusta Highway in Lexington (maps for both drive-thru locations will be included in the March issue). The business meeting will be held virtually on Friday, April 9 at 7 p.m. Members will be able to watch the meeting from the safety and comfort of home by accessing the link at mcecoop.com, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. For those who are not able to view the meeting live, a recording of the meeting will also be made available. Only members who register, in person, are eligible to receive the $20 bill credit. Please note that members are limited to ONE registration per person and may not register for others who are not in attendance. Each member who

Tyson Blanton tyson.blanton@lynchesriver.com



registers will not only receive the $20 bill credit, but also will be automatically entered into the prize drawings. Winners will be notified following the virtual meeting. To keep our employees and members safe, members will remain in their vehicles for registration and voting. In addition to social distancing, Mid-Carolina Electric employees will wear proper protective equipment. We will be ready to safely assist you once you arrive. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, please DO NOT attend the Drive-Thru Registration. Members will vote on proposed bylaw changes as Mid-Carolina Electric and other cooperatives work toward compliance with a governance law passed by the Legislature in 2019. Members can find our existing and proposed bylaws at mcecoop.com. Members can also obtain a printed copy of the proposed bylaws by sending a request via email to memberservices@mcecoop.com. Be sure to put BYLAWS in the subject line. 2020 has been a year full of uncertainty and change for all of us. While our Annual Meeting may be different this year, we feel this is a safe alternative to protect our employees and members, while still taking care of the cooperative’s business. I want to personally thank you for your understanding, and I sincerely hope to see you driving through at the Annual Meeting.



Friendships have lasted for former Youth Tourist Touchstone Energy scholar Macey McLaurin now studying neuropsychology at USC BY JOSH P. CROTZER


applied to go on the 2017 Washington Youth Tour, she had ambitions of going to law school. She felt the Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative-sponsored experience of going to the nation’s capital with other teens from across the state and learning about how government works would be beneficial to her future. McLaurin is now a junior at the University of South Carolina, studying neuropsychology. Even though she didn’t stay on the law degree path, McLaurin still feels that Youth Tour had a positive impact. “It was a really cool experience,” she says. “It was good to learn about the capital and America in general. I think the friendships I made were the best part. Many of them go to USC and I run into them all the time.” She saw one of her fellow Youth Tourists practically every day during

her first year of college. She and Sumter’s Grace Towery, who represented Black River Electric Cooperative, hit it off so well they roomed together freshman year. That’s the same year she also benefitted from another one of Mid-Carolina Electric’s youth programs. McLaurin was one of seven recipients of the Touchstone Energy Scholarship, a $3,000 grant given by the local cooperative each year. McLaurin said she switched to neuropsychology because she has family members who suffer from grand mal seizures, abnormal brain activity that causes loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. She’s currently pursuing internships and research opportunities. Eventually, she’d like to open her own practice in Columbia. In the meantime, McLaurin is still spreading the

word about the Washington Youth Tour. “I still encourage friends to apply,” she says. “It was really awesome.” Unfortunately, this year’s Washington Youth Tour has been canceled because of COVID-19. However, high schoolers will have the opportunity to discuss today’s issues with the governor, U.S. Senators and other state leaders through the Virtual Youth Experience, a week-long web conference for South Carolina teens sponsored by the South Carolina’s electric cooperatives that takes place June 21–25.

McLaurin is active in her college community—she’s president of the university’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry— but’s she never too busy to stop and share a “spurs up” with Cocky.

MID-CAROLINA OFFERS TWO GREAT OPPORTUNITIES for high school students. The $3,000 Touchstone Energy Scholarship and the Virtual Youth Experience (a replacement for the Washington Youth Tour). High school students from Lexington school districts 1, 2, 3 and 5, Saluda County schools and private schools within those districts are eligible to apply for these opportunities.

Touchstone Energy Scholarships

Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative offers seven $3,000 scholarships to students in local school districts who are exceptional examples of the spirit of cooperation, a deeply ingrained value and driving force within the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives brand. Special consideration is given to students who are involved in their communities, participate in extracurricular activities and have a financial need. Applications for the scholarships are available online at mcecoop.com. The deadline to apply is March 19.


Apply today for scholarships!

Virtual Youth Experience

The Virtual Youth Experience is a week-long web conference that takes place June 21-25. It gives high school sophomores and juniors a chance to meet virtually with state and federal leaders, compete for $5,000 scholarships and connect with young people from across South Carolina. Visit mcec.cooop/youth to apply. The deadline to apply is January 31.



SC | agenda Women returning to school to earn college degrees may now apply for financial assistance from the 2021 Jenny Ballard Opportunity Scholarship program. Sponsored by Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE), a service organization associated with South Carolina’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives, the scholarship is a onetime award based on financial need and personal goals. In 2020, two candidates each received a $2,500 award. Charliss Wilson, a member of Horry Electric ­Cooperative, used her scholarship to ­continue her education at the Marion County School of ­Practical Nursing in the Academy for Careers and ­Technology. Along with


Apply now for 2021 WIRE scholarships

H OW TO A P P LY Apply online at ecsc.org/content/wire-scholarship Application deadline: June 1, 2021 Paper forms are available at your local electric cooperative and can be downloaded as a PDF from SCLiving.coop/scholarship. Completed forms can be attached to an email addressed to Peggy.Dantzler@ecsc.org, or mailed to Peggy Dantzler, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, 808 Knox Abbott Dr., Cayce, SC 29033.

ONLY ON SCLiving.coop

a licensed practical nurse. For Lana Colombo, a member of Santee Electric Cooperative, the scholarship helped pay tuition at Trident

Bringing the heat The devilishly hot Carolina Reaper super-hot pepper is a “gift from God” that changed everything for Fort Mill’s “Smokin’” Ed Currie. Go behind the scenes at PuckerButt Pepper Company to see how a product grown in S.C. is setting the world on fire. You’ll find this web exclusive on the home page at SCLiving.coop.


u Be a member of a South Carolina electric cooperative. u Have graduated from high school or earned a GED at least 10 years ago. u Be accepted into an accredited S.C. college or university. u Demonstrate financial need and clear academic goals.

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2021. Recipients

will receive scholarships for the Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 semester, with funds paid directly to the college or university.

GONE FISHIN’ The Vektor Fish & Game Forecast provides feeding and ­migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour. Minor peaks, ½ hour before and after. Minor


Applicants for the program must:

2020 scholarship recipients Charliss Wilson, left, and Lana Colombo.

traditional financial aid, Wilson says the ­scholarship was “truly a blessing” as she works toward completing her training to become

Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Charleston, where she maintains a 4.0 GPA. “Scholarships to me were like getting a ride to Mars. I never in a million years thought that I would get one,” says Colombo. “It just proves to me that I can do what I said I was going to do.”

AM Major


PM Major

JANUARY 16 9:16 17 9:46 18 10:16 19 3:31 20 3:46 21 — 22 23 8:46 24 10:01 25 10:46 26 11:16 27 11:46 28 7:16 29 7:46 30 8:16 31 8:31


AM Major


PM Major

FEBRUARY 2:01 2:31 7:31 2:31 3:31 8:16 3:01 9:16 4:31 10:46 11:01 5:46 11:16 — 7:01 11:46 — 8:01 12:31 8:46 5:16 1:31 9:31 5:46 2:16 10:16 6:01 3:01 10:46 6:31 3:46 11:16 6:46 — 4:31 12:01 12:31 5:16 12:31 1:01 6:01 1:01 1:46 6:46 1:46 2:16 7:46

1 9:01 2 3:01 3 3:31 4 12:31 5 3:16 6 8:31 7 9:46 8 10:31 9 11:16 10 11:46 11 7:16 12 7:31 13 8:01 14 8:16 15 8:31 16 8:46

2:16 9:31 10:01 10:31 11:16 4:31 5:16 5:46 6:16 6:46 12:01 12:31 1:01 1:31 2:01 2:16

8:46 3:16 10:16 4:01 — 5:16 — 6:46 — 8:01 12:46 9:01 2:01 10:01 3:16 10:46 4:01 11:31 — 4:46 12:16 5:31 12:46 6:16 1:31 6:46 2:01 7:31 8:16 2:46 9:16 3:16


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SC   dialogue

Not your grandfather’s annual meeting


President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina


AT SOME POINT IN 2020, many of us fantasized about escaping a year that took so much from us and created so much chaos. Perhaps we could return to some romanticized point in the past. Maybe we could jump ahead to a better time in our future. Such flights of fancy can be a temporary break for minds that are overburdened and overwhelmed. Being a student of history, I often think about electric cooperatives’ bygone era. From their inception, cooperatives had to do things a little differently. That’s why innovation is in our DNA. So is democracy. Cooperatives had to figure out ways to bring their members together to do the business laid out in their bylaws, namely, electing the trustees for their governing boards. In the early days, it could be a challenge to convince rural farmers and merchants to interrupt their day and travel into town to hear financial reports and to vote on board seats. So, co-ops got inventive with ideas to attract the whole family to an annual meeting. They organized beauty pageants. They held electric fairs where members saw the latest plug-in appliances. They arranged appearances by a live mascot, Willie Wiredhand, for the kids. Co-op annual meetings became a part of the fabric of local communities. Over the years, pageants were replaced by live bands, but exhibits of smart thermostats, solar panels and electric cars still educate consumers about the latest technology. And children are now entertained by LED Lucy or Solar Sam characters. Attractions and incentives to attend meetings— registration gifts, door prizes and drawings for retired fleet vehicles—remain a part of the appeal. After all, today’s co-op members are juggling many competing priorities, just like those farmers and merchants in the early years. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to wreak havoc on annual meetings and the co-op elections that are an essential part of who we are. Co-ops could not hold traditional annual meetings without putting the health of members and employees at risk. For many of the state’s cooperatives, getting ballots in the hands of their members in 2020 was crucial. A law passed by the state legislature revised the rules that govern electric cooperatives, increasing

Despite the challenges of a pandemic, South Carolina cooperatives increased access to the ballot box and increased engagement with their membership. transparency to co-op members and adding some government oversight. Co-ops worked with legislators to craft the law so as to ensure their members had access to the information they need. One key provision of the law required many cooperatives to revise their bylaws and put them up for approval by the membership. Once again, cooperatives got inventive. Instead of gathering under a tent or at a local high school gymnasium, co-ops set up drive-thru lanes so their members could register their attendance and vote in a socially distanced way. Cooperatives also allowed early voting periods and, in several cases, held their drivethru events at multiple locations over multiple days. The business portion of the annual meetings went virtual, as election results and financial reports were broadcast online for members to view at their con­ven­ ience. Some of the old traditions held on, of course. There were still prize drawings and registration gifts. Cooperatives, as they have often been able to do, brought in the new without throwing out the old. The response from cooperative members across the state was overwhelmingly positive. They appreciated the efficiencies of the process. They enjoyed the conveniences of the longer time periods and multiple locations. Many of the cooperatives that held these nontraditional annual meetings set record registration totals. Despite the challenges of a pandemic, South Carolina cooperatives increased access to the ballot box and increased engagement with their membership. Our challenges are certainly not over, and the nature of future cooperative annual meetings is still being determined, but I’m looking forward to seeing how our cooperatives continue to meet their members’ needs.

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SC   energy Q&A



A WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT Replace that dirty filter! Its impeded air flow drives up energy costs. Compare the new filter (left) to the filter used for 90 days (right).

Last year brought financial hardships, and with a new year ahead, I’m looking for new ways to save money. I know there are things I can do to save energy at home and lower my monthly bills. Can you share a few ideas on how to start the year off right by saving energy?

projects and upgrades, there are other ways you can get organized to save energy: Replace filters regularly.

Start by gathering information Begin by reviewing your 2019 and 2020 energy bills. Knowing how and when you use energy can help you decide how ambitious your plan should be. If you have questions about your past bills or energy use, give your electric co-op a call—they’re available to help you understand your energy bills. Your co-op may also offer a free app that can show you exact data about your home energy use. Next, visit your electric co-op’s website to see if they offer additional assistance, like energy improvement rebates, free energy audits or other special rates and programs. Finally, the most important step is to schedule an energy audit or conduct an online energy audit. Your co-op may offer free audits or have a list of local contractors you can hire. If you plan to live in your home for many years to come, hiring an energy auditor may be the best investment you can make. An 10

energy auditor can tell you which energy efficiency actions will save you the most money or provide the biggest improvement in comfort. If you’re looking for a faster, DIY (and socially distanced) method, try an online energy audit like energystar.gov’s Home Energy Yardstick.

Develop a plan Now that you’ve gathered the information you need, you can develop a plan. If your priority is cutting energy costs, you can select the measures that will deliver the most savings. Maybe you’re already planning to do work on your home, such as roofing or renovating, and you can incorporate energy efficiency strategies into that project. To complete your plan, you’ll likely need to check with local contractors or suppliers about costs.

Take action Now that your planning is done, it’s time to take action. If you’re tackling any major energy efficiency projects that require a contractor, remember to do your research and hire a licensed, reputable professional. In addition to energy efficiency


Label the circuits in your breaker box. It may not reduce your energy use,

but it’s an easy way to get organized and will save a lot of headaches down the line. We hope by taking a little time to complete these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a more energy efficient 2021.

Send questions to Energy Q&A, South Carolina Living, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033, or email energyqa@scliving.coop.




You bet! Here are a few simple tips to help you get organized and start an achievable path to saving energy. First, we’ll take a look at three important steps when considering energy efficiency projects: gathering information, developing a plan and taking action.

A clean filter can improve the performance of your heating and cooling system and reduce the electricity needed to pump air through your ductwork. Replace the filter now if it’s been a while, then set a reminder on your phone, online calendar or paper calendar for the next replacement. Filters should be replaced every month if you’re using an inexpensive filter, or every three months if you’re using a higher-quality filter. A better filter will do a better job and last longer. Program your thermostat. Heating and cooling your home account for the most energy use, so setting your thermostat to match your lifestyle can make a major difference. If you don’t have a programmable or smart thermostat, get in the habit of manually adjusting your thermostat throughout the day or setting it to the most energy efficient setting when you’re away.


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Fencing clubs across the state teach an ancient combat sport


The masked swordsman attacks me with his blade, aiming for my vital organs— my panting lungs, my pounding heart. But I have been training in an ancient combat sport, so with a circular flick of my wrist, I parry him away with my own blade. Then I riposte and lunge in, stabbing him once in his chest. When I push in the blade with more force, it flexes in a perfect U-shaped bend, as if angling into his flesh. Only then does the masked swordsman remove his mask and reveal himself. He’s grinning—not like a man mortally wounded, but like a fencing coach approving the technique of his novice student. EN GARDE “I always tell people that not everyone is going to be a fencer,” says Edge of America instructor Patrick Lausi. “But I think everybody should try it. It’s such a good sport.”



SIBLING RIVALRY Cordesville residents Ingrid Keene, 13, and her brother Cyrus, 10, bond over their love of fencing.

The swordsman’s name is Patrick Lausi, and together with coaches Ian Dube and Annemarie LeDonne, he trains fencers of all ages and experience levels at the Edge of America Fencing club in North Charleston. One of more than a dozen U.S. Fencing member clubs in South Carolina, Edge of America, you might say, takes a double-edged approach. It is dedicated to promoting one of the oldest sports in the world while also building a competitive club whose members can compete nationwide. “Fencing now is the biggest it’s ever been in America, and it’s only going to get bigger,” Lausi says. “Our job as a club has really been to build a community. Not just here in Charleston, but also in South Carolina. We’re trying to build fencing from the ground up. Our biggest goal as a club is to make fencing not only affordable for people but obtainable, too.” Part of that goal, Lausi admits, is to squash the idea that fencing is a “rich person’s sport”—the leisure activity of snooty aristocrats using French terminology as they daintily twirl dainty swords. Edge of America seeks to bring fencing and all its benefits to the people. “There’s no other workout like it,” Annemarie LeDonne says. “I like it because it’s an individual sport,” says Bob Mones, the club’s veteran fencer and a former Pan-Am games champion. “That’s the joy of it—counting on yourself. You can’t blame someone else for screwing up.” “There’s a lot of strategy in it,” adds Noah Kern, an 18-yearold who is one of the club’s best fencers. “It’s very much a mental struggle.”

FIRST, THE BASICS Form and footwork are key to success in the sport. Novice fencer Hastings Hensel, left, learns the basics from Edge of America instructor Patrick Lausi.



Like Edge of America club member Noah Kern, who confesses that he got into fencing after seeing The Princess Bride, I, too, became interested in the sport by way of entertainment.

Abraham Slender tells Mistress Anne Like Kern, who confesses that he got Page that he bruised his shin “playing into fencing after seeing The Princess at sword and dagger with a master Bride, I, too, became interested in the of fence.” sport by way of entertainment. Not, Today, modern fencing encommind you, the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean films, nor the slasher passes three different combat sports, Kill Bill, nor the medieval and classical each with its own weapon—the foil, hero tales like Braveheart or Gladiator. the epee and the sabre. Not even the monumental light saberFoil fencing is the most popular swinging episodes of Star Wars. Perhaps with beginners. The foil is a lighta little Game of Thrones, especially the weight and flexible sword, and a point scenes when Arya hones her swordis scored only when the blade-tip hits skills with the water dancer Syrio Forel. the torso area. With epee, a heavier All of those, it’s true, contain great sword than the foil, a point can be sword-fighting scenes. scored anywhere on the body. The But, alas, I admit—even if it seems sabre, which only has one sharp side, thrusts and cuts. It is often referred to to emphasize a stereo­typical vision of as the most intense form of fencing, the sport—I came to fencing because and points are scored only from the of my love of William Shakespeare. waist up. Romeo versus Tybalt. Macbeth versus “Sabre was fenced on top of the Macduff. Hamlet versus Laertes. horse,” Annemarie LeDonne explains. Which, it turns out, makes perfect “THAT’S THE JOY OF IT” Bob Mones, a former “And what’s more valuable? The sense. Sword fighting and sword trainPan‑Am games champion, relishes the personal person or the horse? The horse. That’s ing have been around since the Bronze nature of the sport. “You can’t blame someone else for screwing up.” Foils, top, are ready to see action. why they kept it from the waist up, Age, and during the late Middle Ages and why it’s a cut.” She makes a cluckand the Renaissance, sword fighting noise like a sword slicing through a torso. ing schools in Europe proliferated. After the invention of the She tells me all of this when I arrive at Edge of America printing press in 1440, so did sword-fighting treatises and manuals. But sword fighting evolved from a military exercise for my first foil fencing lesson on a Saturday in late February. into a sport. The first known usage of the word “fence” occurs The club is tucked within a nondescript strip mall bay, beside in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor, when a Doscher’s IGA Food Store. You might think you were 14


READY, FENCE! Bob Mones, left, and Coastal Carolina University student Zach Thornton duel with epees, a heavier sword than the foil.

stepping foot into an old Dress Barn or Payless ShoeSource, but once inside, you see that the place is cleared for combat. Old fencing trophies and medals line the walls, but the large wooden floor is marked off with fencing pistes—the 46-footlong strips where fencers clash—and you can hear the sounds of metal swords clink, clink, clinking. Before my lesson, I watch two kids battle in a mini tournament, then a father and son duel each other as if in a Shakespearean comedy. The kids, to be fair, haven’t yet reached the sophisticated athleticism of the Olympic fencers I’ve watched on YouTube, but as soon as they hear, “Ready, fence!” they seem to be having the time of their lives. Lausi, who also teaches fencing in various Charleston-area schools and satellite programs, says, “Most kids, they want to play with swords. They want to hit people. So, when they hear that you can kind of do that with fencing, they get excited.” We walk over to the back corner, where I don the gear. I slip into the plastron, a kind of protective undergarment, and then into the jacket—both heavy cotton for muffling the hit of a blade. I pull the heavy glove over my right hand, and then the black mask over my face. Lausi hands me my weapon and leads me to the piste.

Lausi is a dedicated and serious coach. He first got his start in his hometown of Columbia at a local rec center, and he was soon addicted. When family friends gave him equipment from their son who passed away from cancer, Lausi began to really focus on the sport and to compete. After moving to Charleston, he formed an informal “fight club” in 2012 for fencers to work out and hang out. People would come by, curious, and ask if they taught lessons, and eventually Lausi quit his job to coach fencing full time, merging two Charleston fencing clubs into Edge of America. All this experience gives him the patience needed to coach tenderfoot apprentices like myself, and he’s stockpiled a bunch of useful analogies. He tells me to hold the foil with a loose wrist, like I’m carrying a cup of hot soup. He refers to the parry and the riposte as always going together, like mac ’n’ cheese. He tells me to land on my back foot when lunging, imagining I’m trying not to slip on wet grass. He’s preparing me for my first battle on Open Fencing Night on a Thursday evening. The fight, it turns out, is going to be a tough one. I’m set to face Kern—experienced, fit, young—and I’ll be lucky to score a point. Before the fight, I try my best to go through all the things



S.C. Fencing Clubs EDITOR’S NOTE: As this issue went to press, South Carolina remained in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check with local clubs for the latest on classes and fencing meets. For the latest information on stopping the spread of the coronavirus, visit scdhec.gov/covid19.

Edge of America Fencing For $85 a month, members have unlimited access, including use of all equipment, gear, and facility space. Coaches offer lessons for a small additional cost. 1750 Remount Road, Hanahan CONTACT: Patrick Lausi or Annemarie LeDonne, (843) 410‑9099; edgeofamericafencing@gmail.com Columbia Fencers’ Club • Katie & Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center, 306 Flora Drive, Columbia • Seven Oaks Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia CONTACT: Dr. Jane Littmann (Head Coach), (803) 781‑0056 Foothills Fencing Academy 1004 Piedmont Hwy., Piedmont CONTACT: Judy McCarter, (864) 593‑3684 Clarendon County Dueling Academy 1794 Old Georgetown Road, Manning CONTACT: (803) 460‑6158; ccduelingacademy.com Clemson Fencing Club —Clemson University 252 Fike Recreation Center, Clemson CONTACT: clemfen@g.clemson.edu Crossroads Fencing Academy Inman CONTACT: Sarah Mayes (Head Coach), (864) 590‑9136; crossroadsfencingacademy@gmail.com Lowcountry Fencer Island Rec Center, 20 Wilborn Road, Hilton Head CONTACT: Patricia Wilkens, (843) 816‑0756; wilkenspw@aol.com or the Island Rec Center, (843) 681‑7273 Knights of Siena Fencing Academies — South Carolina Locations • 1314 Rutherford Road, Greenville • 104 North Main St., Six Mile CONTACT: Alan Blakeborough (Head Coach/Owner), (864) 270‑6172 Summerwood Fencing Academy 2354 B Ebenezer Road, Rock Hill CONTACT: Michael Edgecomb (Head Coach), (864) 648‑9498



WELL DONE Bob Mones and Zach Thornton exchange congratulations after an invigorating match.

If it weren’t for the protective armor and dull blade-tip, I’d probably be dead, but I can tell by my pounding heart that I am fully alive. Lausi has taught me. After the standard sword salute and then the thigh-pat to signal I’m ready, I squat with my butt down and my feet open in the en garde position. I hold the foil loosely, not opening myself up to easy shots. I make careful movements backward and forward. But I can tell Kern is toying with me. He is probably slyly grinning behind his mask. He lets me in, and when I lunge—in my mind’s eye, as clumsily as a drunken bear—he easily parries me away and goes in himself, quick as a hornet’s sting, for the hit. The buzzer sounds. And sounds. And sounds. And sounds again. Then it sounds, and I realize it has sounded for me. I can’t even tell you how I hit him. I’m pretty sure it was an accident. In the end I am, alas, beaten soundly. But when I lift off my mask, I’m grinning. I mean, if it weren’t for the protective armor and dull blade-tip, I’d probably be dead, but I can tell by my pounding heart that I am fully alive. And this being the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we don’t participate in the customary handshake, but bump elbows instead. I’m embarrassingly sore as I walk over to Coach Lausi. He knows I’ve got a long way to go, but he’s encouraging. “I always tell people that not everyone is going to be a fencer,” he says. “Not everyone loves getting hit with that blade point. But I think everybody should try it. It’s such a good sport.”


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SC   stories

Expert in the field David Shields AGE:


Columbia. Chair, Carolina Gold Rice Foundation (carolinagoldricefoundation.org); Professor of English, University of South Carolina. ON A MISSION: The foundation researches and promotes cultivation of heirloom crops, providing long-lost farming knowledge and seed—for free—to communities seeking to reconnect with the state’s agricultural and culinary past. A MATTER OF TASTE: “I think the world of heirloom grains, because they don’t lend themselves to mass mono-cropping, give you a life that’s manageable, and connect you with ingredients and taste that have great resonance in the community.” RESIDES IN:



It might be said of David Shields that he is, quite literally, a man of many tastes. Seashore Blackseed Rye, Purple Straw Wheat, Brunswick Black Oats, Bere Barley, Hicks Mulberry, Red Bearded Upland Rice, Carolina African Runner Peanuts—these are just a few of the heirloom grain crops that Shields, as chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, has helped restore in South Carolina and beyond. The Carolina Gold Rice Foundation is a coalition of millers, geneticists, farmers and historians dedicated to restoring traditional farming practices and reintroducing the heirloom crops that fed generations of South Carolinians. For his part, Shields scours old agricultural journals, farmers’ instruction manuals, classified ads, seed catalogs, seed banks and anywhere the clues of past crops can be found. “Sometimes you’re running down the highway and see this extra tall corn growing on the side of the road,” he says. “And you know by the sight of all that corn that it’s an antique corn. You go up and ask the farmer, ‘Can I have a few ears?’” Once the grains are located and identified, Shields and his colleagues go about the rigorous process of ensuring the seeds can be cultivated year after year. He sees this as important and necessary work in an age when modern plant breeding is often driven by traits like the ability to withstand roller milling, rather than by flavor and sustainability. “In cultures all across the world, for hundreds of human generations and thousands of plant generations, seed selection was for flavor,” Shields says. “And since flavor is equated on a certain level with nutrition, in this large picture of understanding, the oldest forms embody the wisdom of entire cultures about flavor [and] nutrition.” —HASTINGS HENSEL | PHOTO BY MILTON MORRIS


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SC   travels

Rock on Digging for crystals at Diamond Hill Mine BY HASTINGS HENSEL

the Diamond Hill Mine outside of Abbeville just looks like any big old mud pit. A place a wooly mammoth or an elephant might wallow, if such creatures existed in these parts. To get to the treasure, you must, as they say, dig deeper. “The previous owner had a letter someone had given him, and a lady mentioned how much fun she had finding crystals at Diamond Hill Mine. This was back around 1865,” says the current owner, Gina Clary. “At that point, it was a hill, and the hill would sparkle when it rained, so that’s how it got its name. A lot of people have misconceptions about TO THE UNTRAINED EYE,

GET THERE Diamond Hill Mine is located at 100 Diamond Mine Road outside of Abbeville. HOURS: Open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ADMISSION: It costs $20 per person to dig, and you get to keep all crystals that you find. TIPS: Recommended digging gear includes snacks and plenty of water, sunscreen, a long screwdriver for locating and digging around crystals, shovels, pronged garden cultivators, buckets and spritzer bottles or screened wash basins. DETAILS: Owner Gina Clary can be reached at (864) 934-3744. For more details, visit diamondhillmine.com.


that and expect to find diamonds.” What the rockhounds—the thousands of people who come to Diamond Hill Mine each year toting pickaxes, spritzer bottles, wash basins, trowels and fivegallon buckets—are after, though, are the specimens of crystals that form in veins of an intrusive igneous rock called pegmatite. Twice a year, the mine uses an excavator to churn up new batches of crystals, but unlike tourist traps in the mountains, Diamond Hill Mine is “unsalted.” Everything you find is native to the site. “A lot of people really enjoy rockhounding at Diamond Hill because it’s relatively easy to find good crystals,” Clary says. “The way our veins run, it’s easier for beginners to get good crystals.” I arrive at Diamond Hill Mine on a mid-July Monday with the temperature approaching three digits, but heat doesn’t deter the 30 or more rockhounds fanning out over the hills like prospectors of yore. On the advice of a rockhounding friend, I carry with me a small, three-pronged hand cultivator, an army shovel and a bucket. Everyone is super friendly, but they dispense various and conflicting bits of digging wisdom. Some say you have to move around. Others say that, once you find a cluster, you have to commit to

THRILL OF THE HUNT Rockhound Emma Kachel, a repeat visitor from Atlanta, celebrated her birthday by digging in the dirt of Diamond Hill Mine with friends. “If this is what I want to do on my birthday, it must be good.”

it. Some say to dig in places not turned over. Others say you need to find the pits where it’s clear others have been digging. I pick a shady spot on the back side of a hill, where I find that the hardest part is knowing at first whether you have a rock or just a hard clod of red clay. All day, I let clunk inside my bucket whatever rocks I find. Part of the fun of rockhounding, everyone says, is not always knowing exactly what you have until you get home and clean the crystals. I let my rocks soak overnight in Bar Keepers Friend and water, and I polish them in the morning with a toothbrush. To my relatively untrained eye, I have some gorgeous specimens. Nothing, perhaps, to sell but enough to remind me of Gina Clary’s advice on rockhounding. “When it’s a good day out, and you’re away from everything, it’s great therapy because you get in your zone of digging,” she says. “Everything else just fades away.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: As this issue went to press, South Carolina was still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with Diamond Hill Mine for the latest updates on access and hours by calling (864) 934-3744. For current health recommendations to stop the spread of the coronavirus, visit scdhec.gov/covid19.



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SC   recipe



2 tablespoons butter or olive oil 1 large onion, thinly sliced 2 pounds ground chuck Steak or burger seasoning, to taste 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 8 slices sharp cheddar cheese 4 burger buns (your favorite) 4 pieces leaf lettuce Pickled jalapeno slices Kicked-up ketchup (recipe below)


In a medium skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil and add onions. Cook until onions start to soften. Turn heat to medium-low and allow to cook until deep golden brown, 20–30 minutes. Stir onions occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. Set aside and keep warm. In a medium bowl, mix ground chuck, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce thoroughly. Divide meat mixture into eight even portions and shape into patties (slightly larger than the size of the bun). On an outdoor grill or inside on a grill pan—sprayed with cooking spray—cook burgers to desired doneness. Cover each patty with a cheese slice the last 30–60 seconds, long enough to allow cheese to melt. Cover the bottom half of buns with a lettuce leaf and cover with 2 cheese patties. Top with a portion of caramelized onions and jalapeno slices. Serve with ketchup or desired condiment. KICKED-UP KETCHUP


1 cup ketchup 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (or your favorite pepper sauce) 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

In a small bowl, combine ingredients. Also great on your favorite fries. Can be made several days ahead. Store any leftover amount in sealed container in dry, cool place.




Is anything more perfect than a well-made, great-tasting burger? Always good and always the perfect choice when nothing else will satisfy, these burger recipes can be made with your choice of meat. So many burger options, so little time. 

LOADED GREEK LAMB BURGER 1 ½ pounds ground lamb (or beef) ¼ cup chopped red onion 1 large garlic clove, minced ¼ cup kalamata olives, chopped ½ tablespoon oregano, fresh chopped Greek seasoning, to taste 4 pocket pitas, cut 1/3 off top 4 bibb or romaine lettuce leaves, rib removed ¼ English cucumber, thinly sliced 1 tomato, very thinly sliced ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled Tzatziki sauce 4 pepperoncini peppers, garnish, optional

Into a bowl with the ground meat, add onions, garlic, olives, oregano and Greek seasoning, and mix thoroughly. Divide mixture into four patties and grill, either outdoors or on an indoor grill. Put a lettuce leaf in each pita pocket and add a burger. Top with cucumber slices, tomato slices and feta. Drizzle with tzatziki sauce and garnish with a pepperoncini.




1 cup Greek plain yogurt 1 cup grated cucumber, drained 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed 1 tablespoon olive oil Kosher salt

Mix all ingredients, and refrigerate until ready to use. Recipe makes 2 cups; leftovers keep 3–4 days in refrigerator.


Turn the page for more great burgers!


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets, cut in half horizontally All-purpose seasoning, to taste Olive oil 4 slices Swiss cheese 4 brioche buns

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage Sliced bread-and-butter pickles 1 avocado, peeled, halved and sliced into 6 slices per half Ranch dressing

Preheat oven on broil setting and adjust oven rack to 4 inches from broiler. Generously apply seasoning to chicken and sprinkle with olive oil. Place fillets on a foil-lined broil pan and cook to 165 degrees, approximately 5 minutes depending on thickness. Cover each fillet with a cheese slice and cook just long enough to allow cheese to melt, 20–25 seconds. On bottom half of bun, cover with cabbage, then pickles. Add chicken fillet and top with 3 avocado slices. Serve with ranch dressing.


Grind your own. The secret to the best burger patties starts with grinding your meat from scratch. Chuck roasts provide the perfect beefto-fat ratio. If you have a stand mixer with a meat-grinding attachment, this is an easy task.


Perfect burger beef-to-fat ratio. A ratio of 80% beef to 20% fat is the industry standard. While 75% to 25% makes a juicier burger, the burger will be smaller due to the shrinkage from the loss of the extra fat. And 85% to 15% will result in a drier burger. When you purchase ground beef, these designations are clearly defined on the label.





SC   recipe




1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained ¼ cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 small poblano pepper, seeded and chopped 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 large egg

In a medium bowl, coarsely smash half of the beans and combine with onion, garlic, pepper, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, egg, oats, salt and pepper. (Alternately you can do this in a food processor using the “pulse” setting.) Mix in the remaining whole beans (this provides texture for the burger). Form mixture into patties. Add additional oats if needed so patties are sticky and hold together. These patties are delicate so handle carefully. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. In a skillet—sprayed with cooking spray— over medium-high heat, carefully place and cook patties 4–5 minutes on each side. Cover each patty with a cheese slice the last 30–60 seconds, just long enough to allow cheese to melt. Cover the bottom part of each bun with spinach and top with a burger. Serve with pepper relish. 24

½ cup rolled oats (or breadcrumbs) Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper 3 pepper jack cheese slices 3 onion burger buns 1 cup baby spinach, washed and dried Roasted red bell pepper relish


¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 cup chopped roasted bell peppers (store‑bought or homemade) ½ cup chopped white onion Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, or refrigerate until ready to use. Can make up to 2 days ahead. Strain before serving.


1 ½ pounds ground chuck Steak or burger seasoning, to taste 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 cup grated gouda or crumbled blue cheese 4 hoagie rolls 4 pieces leaf lettuce 8 slices bacon, cooked to desired crispiness 1 small red onion, thinly sliced Dill pickles, sliced horizontally 1 tomato, thinly sliced Barbecue sauce, your favorite

In a medium bowl, mix ground chuck, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce thoroughly. Divide meat mixture into eight even portions and shape into oval patties (roughly the size of the hoagie bun). Divide cheese into even portions and place on top of 4 patties. Top with remaining patties and pinch around the sides to prevent cheese from spilling out during grilling. On an outdoor grill or inside on a grill pan—sprayed with cooking spray—cook burgers to desired doneness. Put a lettuce piece on each roll and add two slices of bacon. Add burger and top with onion, pickle slices and a tomato slice. Serve with barbecue sauce or desired condiment. CHEF’S TIPS

Choosing buns. Buns can make or break your “burger event.” Look for quality buns in the bakery section of your supermarket—not on the bread aisle. No one wants to eat a burger where the bun falls apart. Always melt the cheese on the burgers. Whenever possible, melt cheese on the burger prior to serving.

What’s cooking at SCLiving.coop WHAT TO MAKE FOR DINNER? Find inspiration at


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SC   gardener


The witches of winter

n Overwintering garden friends on the wing will appreciate it if you continue to have the bird feeder well stocked through these chilly, barren times. Also, keep the bird bath free of ice during any extended cold spells and wash the bowl at least once a month.



Proper watering and indirect sunlight will help poinsettias last into the new year.

TIP OF THE MONTH Keep the colors—and memories—of Christmas bright during the gray months of early winter by properly watering leftover yuletide plants such as Christmas cactus, poinsettia, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Only irrigate when the upper half-inch of soil in the pots is dry. Also, these holiday pretties will show off longer if placed in an area suffused in bright, indirect sunlight, with the exception being Jerusalem cherry, which will benefit better in a window basking in the weak rays of the winter sun indoors for at least a few hours each day.



n Sizzling orange, blazing red, neon yellow—these are the bright colors to paint the handles of your garden tools now so they won’t be easily lost in the growing rush of lush garden and lawn greenery to come this spring.

IT’S COLD, AND SPRINGTIME seems a long way off, meaning gardeners have to grit their chattering teeth and wait for better times in warmer climes. However, while having to endure such naturally frigid weather, maybe now is not a bad time to seek at least some seasonal comfort from a seemingly unnatural source: a witch. Well, not a real witch, but rather witch hazel—a patient plant that waits for the chilliest times of the year to put on a delightfully unexpected show of floppy, ribbon-like flowers that have the added bonus of being fragrant, which is a big plus in any winter garden. There are native witch hazels, with American witch hazel (Hamamelis ­virginiana) being most commonly found in the wilds of South Carolina. While this woody shrub can thrive in home gardens, its flowers are tiny sprites that could go unnoticed because they are usually in bloom during the foliage flame-fest of the fall leaf-drop season. But leave it to professional plant breeders to conjure up better witches. They have been busy blending the best attributes of Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis)—a small tree (15 to 18 feet) with extremely fragrant yellow flower ribbons—with Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica)—a dazzler with yellow to rusty red blooms and flashy fall foliage that can range from yellow to red to purple. The ­resulting Hamamelis x intermedia clan has many cultivars that are fancy garden dancers quite able to brave the chill of January and February to put on unexpected but certainly welcomed flower


Arnold’s Promise (inset), and Jelena, two popular cultivars of witch hazel, bring a muchneeded splash of color and a sweet scent to the winter landscape.

shows for spring-starved gardeners. Arnold’s Promise is perhaps the most popular (meaning the easiest to find at garden shops) H. x intermedia selection with its 1- to 1½-inch-long stringy, fragrant yellow blooms and rich orangered autumn coloration, but there are other contenders for the crown. Jelena will also turn heads—and noses—in the winter garden with its sweetly scented, copper-red, dainty dangles. Diane has a similar look and sweet smell, but tends to be slightly more heat tolerant, making it a possible pick for Lowcountry gardens. Usually growing to only a modest 10 to 15 feet tall and wide in the garden, H. x intermedia cultivars aren’t landscape space hogs. While being tough plants, they perform better in welldrained, rich, slightly acidic soil in moderately sunny locations, with some midday to afternoon shade allowance in gardens closer to the coast. L.A. JACKSON is the former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Contact him at lajackson1@gmail.com.


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SC   calendar JAN 15–FEB 28

Upstate JA NUA RY

7–28  Exhibition: Just Kidding, Milliken Art Gallery at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9181 or kathryn.boucher@converse.edu. 21  Opening Reception: Counterfeit, Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg. (864) 582‑7616. 29  Winter Warmer, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020. 29  Winter Warmer, Twichell Auditorium at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020. 30  Spartanburg Wedding Festival, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg. (864) 235‑5555 or weddingfestivals@gmail.com.

SCLiving.coop/calendar Our mobile-friendly site lists even more festivals, shows and events. You’ll also find instructions on submitting your event. Please confirm information with the hosting event before attending. EDITOR’S NOTE: As this issue went to press, South Carolina was still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many festivals and events to be canceled or postponed. Please check with organizers if you plan to attend these events and follow current health recommendations to stop the spread of the coronavirus. For updates on the pandemic, visit scdhec.gov/covid19.

28  Dick Goodwin and His Big

Band, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


Daily until Jan. 22  Outside and Around Us Plein Air Painting Exhibition, Aiken Center for the Arts, Aiken. (803) 641‑9094.


13  Cupid’s Chase 5K, Conestee

Park, Greenville. (864) 233‑6270. 13  Love Notes: Music From the Heart, Twichell Auditorium at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020. 22  VOCES8, Twichell Auditorium at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9724 or boxoffice@converse.edu. 26  Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 948‑9020. O NG OIN G

Daily through Jan. 18  Ice on Main, Main Street Ice Rink, Greenville. (864) 467‑5751. First Fridays  First Fridays Open Studios, Mayfair Art Studios, Spartanburg. (864) 278‑3228 or aheckel@spartanarts.org.

Midlands JA NUA RY

14  Keb’ Mo’, Newberry Opera House,

Daily from Feb. 4 to March 19 

Every second Saturday until March  2nd Saturday

Gaelic Storm is scheduled to perform in the reduced-capacity Newberry Opera House on Feb. 9. 23  The Del McCoury Band, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 23  Virtual Red Shoe Run, virtual event, based in Columbia. (803) 254‑3181 or www.rmhcofcolumbia.org/redshoerun. 27  GYROTONIC Mat Class with Sarah Council (in-person or virtual), Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 29  Deas Guyz Orchestra, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 30  Balsam Range, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.

Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


1  Steve Tyrell, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 3  Mother’s Finest, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 3  Yoga Stretch & Flow with Brittany Winans (in-person or virtual), Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 4  Mutts Gone Nuts, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 5  Newberry Ballet Guild: Pantheon (two shows), Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 6  Edwin McCain and full band, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


2  Virtually Speaking: Face Jugs of the South, virtual event hosted by Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Charleston. (843) 284‑9227. 3–6  Colour of Music: Black Classical Musicians Festival, various venues, Charleston. (864) 406‑6838 or info@colourofmusic.org. 6  The Other Side of the Coin Documentary Screening and Discussion, Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Charleston. (843) 284‑9227. 6  Save the Light Half Marathon & 5K, Folly Beach Pier, Charleston. (843) 795‑4386. 12–14  Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition, multiple event sites, Charleston. (843) 723‑1748. 13  Cupid’s Chase 5K, James Island County Park, Charleston. (843) 879‑3270.

Going… Going… Gone… Exhibition, Aiken Center for the Arts, Aiken. (803) 641‑9094.

15  John Denver Tribute,

Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 16  Try Pastels with Marcia Kort Buike, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 17  The Modern Gentlemen, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 20  Yoga Stretch & Flow with Brittany Winans (in-person or virtual), Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 22  Delbert McClinton, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


9  Gaelic Storm, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 10  Introduction to Samba no Pe with Adriana Blanco (in-person or virtual), Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 12  Tribute to Whitney, Diana and Aretha, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 13  Connecting Possibilities— Abstract Painting with Becky Jo Steele (virtual), Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 13  Cupid’s Chase 5K, Maxcy Gregg Park, Columbia. (803) 750‑8998. 13  Peabo Bryson, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 19  Sawyer Brown, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 20  Blue Dogs, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 20  Painting Skies with Marcia Kort Buike, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 25  Sister Hazel, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 26  Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 27  James Gregory (two shows), Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264.


Market on Main, Main Street, Edgefield. (870) 703‑0778 or edgefieldmarket@gmail.com.

Lowcountry JANUARY

14–16  Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival, virtual event, based in Charleston. blackinkbookfest@gmail.com. 14–17  SOS Mid-Winter Break/ Winter Workshop, Ocean Drive Beach & Golf Resort, North Myrtle Beach. (800) 438‑9590. 19  Virtually Speaking: The Civil War in the South Carolina Lowcountry Book Talk, virtual event hosted by Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Charleston. (843) 284‑9227. 28–31  Charleston Jazz Festival, multiple venues, Charleston. (843) 641‑0011 or jazz@charlestonjazz.com. 29  A Night in the Valley: Home Edition, The College Center at Trident Technical College–Thornley Campus, North Charleston. (843) 574‑6580. 30  Hilton Head Snow Day, Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island. (843) 681‑7273 or info@islandreccenter.org. 31  Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston. (843) 853‑8000.

The Beaufort International Film Festival will go on, with participants following proper COVID-19 safety procedures, of course. 15–19  Beaufort International Film

Festival, The Beaufort Inn, Beaufort. (843) 522‑3196. 19  Hopeful Horizons Walk4Love, downtown, Beaufort. (843) 379‑6151. 20  Hopeful Horizons Race4Love, Cat Island, Beaufort. (843) 379‑6151. 20–21  The American Heritage Festival, Graham’s Historic Farm, Lake City. (904) 200‑1232. 27  Lowcountry Glass Mosaic Workshop with Pat Stone, Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, Charleston. (843) 284‑9227. ONGOIN G

Daily Jan. 22 to April 18 

Manning Williams: Reinventing Narrative Painting, Gallery 8 at the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706.

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SC   humor me

Good riddance, 2020 BY JAN A. IGOE

it’s not so much about welcoming a new year than celebrating the demise of the old, icky one, with its political contortions, social unrest, murder wasps and deadly pandemics. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, 2020. Since my personal New Year’s resolutions usually crumble before Groundhog Day, I’ve made a few for everybody else so this year will go better than the last one. As you know, the bar wasn’t set too high.


GETTING RID OF STUFF Whether you’re selling your grandmother’s mahogany dresser or rehoming your kid’s Xbox, let’s drop the “Serious inquiries only” language. Of course, you want qualified buyers and would only waste time with tire-kickers. But here’s a newsflash: Buyers don’t know how serious they are until you tell them the price of grandma’s dresser is $17,899 and they have to pick it up from her fifth-floor walk-up. That’s when they discover they weren’t serious. Were you? FREE FOOD LECTURES Say you wear size XS (extra scrawny) and have advanced degrees in nutrition, dietetics and clinical counseling, so clients don’t mind paying big bucks for your expertise. However, when you spot a stranger stuffing herself with fried Twinkies and a 1,320-calorie Oreo mocha fudge Blizzard, don’t help. Your resolution is not to ruin anybody else’s food fantasy. You don’t want the boutiques to run out of your size anyway, right? MAN OR MACHINE Before granting access, websites want proof that we are human. My computer, the one that already knows all my social media preferences, passwords, best friend from first grade and the day my goldfish died, won’t vouch for me, so CAPTCHA makes me identify photos of trains or planes from a 30

bunch of random images to prove it. Pick an elephant or miss one lousy locomotive and the website SWAT team moves in. I’m human, alright? You made me pick planes three minutes ago—the Northrop YB-49, a B-52 and Snoopy’s doghouse. (I wasn’t sure about the zeppelin.) So I’m human. Possibly a dumb human, but still human. Would a bot be screaming at the top of her lungs and punching you in the screen? So stick that in your 250-gig memory and stop with the CAPTCHA thing. Do not make me call Snoopy for air support. PAGE LICKERS I didn’t like trading germs before the pandemic, but now, watching someone lick their index finger to turn a page makes me gag. If the book belongs to you, by all means, slime away. But in a library, where other people share printed material, should we be swapping spit? Let’s do the math. If a book printed in 2001 has three finger-lickers turning its pages six days a week, that’s 73,642,841 personal germs per page (give or take). That poor book could have drowned by now. This year, there will be no sticky


fingers in libraries or bookstores. Wear gloves and promise to keep your fingers six feet apart. DISSING LOYAL CUSTOMERS So you’ve got a special offer? A free iPhone with purchase? A lifetime supply of air freshener for new customers? Wait a minute. What about the schmoes that have been paying you on time for 18 years? What do we get? The corporate marketing wizards had a six-hour meeting to decide we get nothing? Hmm. Let’s say we stop paying you and ignore a few delinquent notices. We’ll let you cancel our accounts so we can return as brand-new customers. Your resolution should have been to treat us like the royalty we are. Meanwhile, I’d prefer my iPhone 12 in that nice bluegreen color. Happy New Year. JAN A. IGOE hopes that 2021 will be a great year for everyone. We’ve probably run out of apocalyptical stuff, so that’s a good start. Ideas and comments are always welcome at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.


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January SC Living  

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