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This Mother’s Day, Mother (still) knows bestWhen Amanda Walton was pregnant with her daughter, Walton’s father offered a bit of advice that has proved true time and again. “He said, ‘They don’t come with a manual, but there are two things that are a close second: (The book) ‘What To Expect: The Toddler Years,’ and your mom.”

This proves two points in rapid succession: that fathers offer wise and loving counsel to their children, and that mothers are even better at it.

Walton, 28, says she has turned to her father for advice on things like buying cars and leasing apartments, life decisions that call for a cool head and a bit of business savvy. “But when it comes to matters of the heart, I think moms know best,” says the mother of a 3-year-old. “And there’s nothing closer to your heart than your child.”

Sgt. Frank J. Carson with Wexford resident Nancy OechsnerThis year, a platoon of Wexford residents is extending some Southern hospitality to returning men and women of the US Army by hand-delivering 93 individually packaged “welcome-home bags” for returning and redeploying soldiers at Fort Stewart, Ga. The project is part of a volunteer effort called “Operation Welcome Home,” which primarily argets single soldiers and is connected with Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS).

The group is planning its third trip to Fort Stewart in July.

Reality winner Patrick House on starting his new life in the LowcountryReality winner Patrick House on starting his new life in the Lowcountry

Even before the confetti fell on Patrick House’s victory celebration on “The Biggest Loser,” he already knew his new life would start in the Lowcountry. The Mississippi native won the 10th season of the NBC reality show in December by losing 181 pounds — 45 percent of the body weight from his original 400-pound frame.

But the show was about more than that: Its theme was “pay it forward,” and House is doing so at the MindStream Academy in Bluffton, where he serves as fitness coach. “We are making uge differences in kids’ lives,” says House, who has already settled with his family in Bluffton. House says he was quick to fall in love with the Lowcountry lifestyle. “My wife, family and I have been really blessed with the hospitality we have been shown,” he says. And thanks to his newly trim frame, he’s looking forward to trying out such iconic Lowcountry activities as wave runners and offshore fishing. “Now that I am at a healthy weight, I can actually do those things with my wife,” he says.

Phyllis MauneyPhyllis Mauney: retired Marine, career musician and, most likely, the Lowcountry resident who has played harp for the higher number of presidents.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps E-9 gunnery sergeant Phyllis Mauney has never fired a weapon, but she wields a mean harp.

The 57-year-old Bluffton resident, who moved to the area in 2005, joined the Corps in 1978 after auditioning for “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band. After years with the Marines and performing with symphonies, she’s now a freelance harpist. But she doesn’t carry her harp around in a hip holster; it’s a 75-pound, 46-string load that she delivers and sets up by her diminutive self. “It fits nicely into my van, but sometimes I call on a friend to help,” she says.

Jodi BassaniFor the past 10 years — four of them at the Quarterdeck — Jodi Bassani has worked directly in the heart of the Heritage. Bassani isn’t much of a golf fan herself, but she’s probably served some of the game’s most famous players — although it’s hard to know for sure, since she rarely has a free second to look up long enough to see who she’s serving. This year the Quarterdeck will be staffed as usual: four bartenders at the main bar and two at outside bar, with portable bars on the patio and a handful of servers walking around to handle demand. Bassani talked about what it’s like trying to hold down the fort amid patrons hopped up on golf buzz, and how crazy the scene could be if people think this year will be the Heritage’s last.

Q. What’s the busiest night of the Heritage?
A. Friday and Saturday. It’s just insane down there — the patio is full, the entire inside bar is full and there are people everywhere.

John HutchesonEvery morning, John Hutcheson and his wife, Elma Rios, mount their recumbent bicycles — the lowto the ground, laid-back-seating kind —and begin their 45-minute commute to work at Sea Pines Montessori Academy. Their route goes from their rented home in Spanish Wells Plantation over the Cross Island Parkway, down Palmetto Bay and Cordillo roads and to the school at the back gate of Sea Pines. John, 60, and Elma, 51, have shared a classroom there since moving to the school from a similar gig in Seattle three years ago, teaching fourth-, fifth and sixth-graders.

Spending all that time teaching and biking together has taught them a lot about what’s important. And, as Hutcheson, told us, it made them wonder why, on an island with 12 miles of paved leisure paths, more people don’t bike to work.

Green spirits: How to drink appropriately this monthThis St. Patrick’s, pick up some good vibrations with these green libations.

In this green edition of Monthly, it’s important to note that there are shades of emerald that go beyond the environmentally friendly.

This being March, we must recognize a festival that elevates and exalts the color green like no other: St. Patrick’s Day. And while St. Patty’s ostensibly celebrates the life of a Christian martyr who drove snakes out of Ireland, it is also a celebration of Irish culture, or at least an extremely vague and extremely incorrect approximation thereof.

In that spirit, we’re popping the cork on a few green drink ideas to help you get into whichever form of “green spirit” you prefer.



Lanier Laney, left, and Terry Sweeney at their Beaufort home. “People say, ‘Do you miss L.A.?’ Never,” Sweeney says.These days, when Terry Sweeney walks the streets of the Lowcountry, he’s more likely to get compliments about “The Happy Winos” — his local wine column — than the Nancy Reagan impression he did on “Saturday Night Live” three decades ago.

Sweeney’s wine writing and local address are part of a different reality than the one he and partner and fellow comedy writer Lanier Laney lived for several decades in New York and Los Angeles. In the 1980s, Sweeney wrote for and appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” lampooning the likes of Reagan, Joan Collins and Diana Ross. As the first openly gay performer on broadcast television, he also cleared the way for legions of other gay performers and characters on TV — even if it meant its share of aftershocks.

A Hilton Head Island teen uses her Sweet 16 party to ask for a little something more than presents.

Crystal Garmon’sSixteen-year-old Crystal Garmon’s got it made, and she knows it. She also knows who to thank, at least in part, for the comfort and freedom she enjoys at her Hilton Head Island home. “I think it’s really cool that (those in the Armed Forces) would just give up their lives to defend this country,” said Crystal, a sophomore at Hilton Head Island High School. “We have a great life here, and they’re out there su ering in the cold and the dirt.”

The image of troops putting themselves in harm’s way troubled Crystal, who had an idea while working with her parents on invitations to her Sweet 16 party in December: In lieu of presents, she would ask for donations that would go toward care packages for troops. “Her dad and I just looked at each other, puzzled,” said Crystal’s mom, Michelle Garmon.