The lobbyist

Very often we hear it spoken disparagingly of lobbyists. No doubt it is as much a collateral indignation of popular conversation as defence practice is of the legal community.  Either way it is equally clear that both viewpoints are sustainable. It is a useful reminder that writing to one’s legislative member, urging a certain way to vote (whether for climate change or gun control for example) is lobbying.

Lobbyists communicate the views of special interest groups to lawmakers, including members of Congress. They aim to influence how lawmakers write or vote on legislation related to particular issues—immigrant rights, health insurance, clean energy, housing development, transportation, and many others.

The topic of lobbyist has for me recently assumed a different and uncommon vernacular. The chief season for tourism on Hilton Head Island is the summertime when the North Atlantic Ocean is tolerable for swimming and the beaches are warm and inviting. There is however a substantial crowd which comes in the wintertime when the temperatures are cooler in order to escape snow and slush in the north. Many of the northern interlopers are older people. In any event the indisputable fact is that the island is far less busy in the winter than it is in the summer. We have traditionally made our escape from the island no later than the end of March when the golfers begin to arrive in hoards most especially in Sea Pines where we always stay and where the RBC Heritage Classic golf championship Is held every year in nearby Harbour Town (this year scheduled for April 15-21, 2024).

Renowned for being one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour schedule, the par 71 layout provides a different challenge for the world’s best players. Having been designed Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, it is no surprise that the result is truly spectacular as it incorporates the beauty of the natural environment and incredible golf holes. The course winds its way through towering pines and oaks which combined with the presence of thick rough means that accuracy off the tee is paramount. Harbour Town is best known for its closing hole; guarded over by the iconic lighthouse, the 18th is one of the world’s most celebrated holes. Over the years the course has picked up numerous awards which include being rated as the 13th best in America which is testament to the sheer quality of the place.

Yesterday when I was returning home from my routine bike ride on Lands End and usual afternoon preoccupation at ZIPS Car Wash™, I sat for a moment in the lobby of the apartment building to recover my strength.  It is a habit I have come to adopt not only to succour myself (or to use my iPhone) but also for the deliberate and unapologetic purpose of nosiness. For me civility is both endemic and requisite. While thus doing so I was rewarded with the social advantage of encounters with various people and their dogs, all of whom abided that cheerful openness one expects in familiar territory.

One such encounter was with a lady who was manipulating her Townie bicycle from her apartment through the lobby and out the front door. I recognized the Townie bicycle, as I told her so, because we coincidentally own two of them. I commented in addition that, in my opinion, they are superb bicycles. She agreed. She did not stop there in her communication with me. In fact she became almost alarmingly unreserved, informing me that she was a widow, a unit owner, from Ohio and various other intelligences, all in the space of probably no more than 45 seconds.

Shortly after her departure from the building, I could hear the elevator decending once again to the ground floor. There were voices in the elevator, more exactly one voice speaking to someone who did not respond. When the elevator door opened there was only one tall gentleman who came out of it but he had on leash two small, extremely enthusiastic dogs who upon seeing me instantly approached and climbed onto my legs to indicate their intention of greeting me. Naturally I immediately patted them and told them how marvellous they were and how I hoped to see them again very soon. I shared a brief offhand hello with the owner as he led his companions outside for their constitutional.

This morning we encountered a staff member sweeping the front steps immediately adjoining the entrance. When I enquired about what appeared to be a collection of dirt crumbs (which I found to be a curious assembly in that location) he pointed up to the ceiling of the porch roof in the corner of which he explained had been a wasps’ nest. He then bent downwards and picked up an egg-shaped cocoon of dirt which he said contained a spider used as food for the young wasps. I thanked him for the education.

The colloquium of locals is not limited to one’s apartment lobby. For example today after grocery shopping at Publix we ventured to Sprout Momma Bakery at 93 Arrow Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 for a late morning breakfast and to collect some homemade bread.

Sprout Momma Bakery is a family owned and operated artisan bakery dedicated to sourcing local ingredients, using organic flours that are never bleached or bromated, and handmade fresh, REAL food from scratch, everyday. Sprout Momma has taken old world traditions, wholesome ingredients, and hard work to feed customers delicious handcrafted food.

Sprout Momma Bakery

We became briefly acquainted with the daughter of the owner.  She handled the front counter, taking and delivering orders, offering useful suggestions and recommendations. The food was nonpareil! It was in a word the Sacrament of Heaven! Had I now a particle of appetite remaining I would still be there. It is beyond assured that we shall return when the moment is propitious for both ourselves and our anticipated visitor. It was only recently that we were asked where our favourite dining spots on Hilton Head Island are located.  Sprout Momma Bakery unquestionably qualifies as one of them. The catering and party services may also be of interest to others whether residing or vacationing here.

An unwitting feature of public communication – especially in a resort town such as Hilton Head Island – is that each of us is a diplomat speaking from our home base on behalf of our countrymen. Certainly the national label is patent for those of us who qualify as international, whether we’re from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, England, the Continent or beyond. Even within the limits of the United States of America it is clear that the visitor speaks for his or her particular state; and, in many instances it is apparent that the entitlement is welcomed and nurtured. By the same token it must never be overlooked that barring cosmetic and linguistic differences, we’re all very much the same. We all thrive upon communion and interaction. For some it is a casual encounter upon a bicycle ride; for others it is an association at a golf tournament; or perhaps a chance meeting at a restaurant. Even a chat in an apartment lobby.