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Jeff Whitten: In appreciation of a good wash
editor's notes

A press release recently tumbled into the email inbox announcing the purchase by a Canadian company of approximately 500 acres at the Belfast Commerce Park.

It included a link to a website, so I clicked it and learned the development, in its words: “... is a vision of those who dared to see the forest through the trees. A place with a purpose — to engage people and the landscape together in an inspired way of living that enhances the lifestyle that organically exists. Heartwood emerged naturally from the old soul that is Richmond Hill, Georgia.”

Now that’s writing even someone with an overgrown teenager’s soul like me can appreciate. When I read it, I hear the voice of Morgan Freeman in my head, his voice lending dignified background music to visions of endless days and nights padding about in a pine forested paradise while non-GMO dolphins splash about in the nearby river and marsh, scolding the alligators and wild hogs whilst us flip-flop wearing, cargo-shorted and invariably good-looking humans enjoy a never-ending oyster roast.

That’s right. It could happen. Anyway, I may be saddened by the continued development of this part of the world, but the website is nicely done. Kudos.

PS. Check it out at

Onward: I went to supper the other evening when my wife looked at me funny. It is a look she has had plenty of practice giving me over the years. It emerges from her brow naturally, one reckons, like an organically well-designed upscale warehouse complex that has taken root in native Georgia soil enriched by the bone meal of generations of daring entrepreneurs.

Must be all the rain.

Anyway, this time she followed up the look with a question.

“Did you take a shower?,” she asked, because in our house on weekend evenings we generally take a shower (wife first, to warm the bathroom) and put on our pajamas, then eat supper in front of the TV, watching reruns of Rick Steves.

It’s a good system. Keeps me out of bars and jails.

“I did,” I replied, truthfully. I had just gotten out of the shower as a matter of fact and was clean as a whistle if a whistle was short, fat, had a pelt of sorts on its chest and was wearing a t-shirt and pair of long-sleeved South Carolina Gamecock sleep pants.

“Well, the soap wasn’t wet and you weren’t in there very long so I just wondered.”

I spluttered. I actually spluttered. “You checked the soap?” I asked. “Who am I, Beaver Cleaver?”

That, for you younger folks, was a reference to a certain 1950s-60s sitcom in which Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver and his older brother Wally had adventures. Early, on there was an episode in which they faked taking baths because American kids back then hated taking baths. For all I know they still do.

Anyhow. In my dotage I tend to enjoy taking showers and would spend all day in one if it meant I didn’t have to do anything else, like drive to work with all the other maniacs out there on the roads, or pay taxes, or listen to politicians, or be told what to do, or have the internet and its nuts to worry about.

“Where’s Whitten?,” someone would ask. “Where else?,” someone would answer. “He’s in the shower.”

“Right, I should’ve known.”

“Tell that to my wife,” I would say, toweling off. As for that particular evening, my better half said she based her observation on the fact I didn’t spend very long in the bathroom coupled with the fact when I wasn’t looking she walked back there and checked and my soap was dry.

“Well,” I replied, “Maybe you checked the wrong soap. But I wasn’t in the shower very long because I was efficient.”

I had her there, and she knew it. She is forever telling me I could do certain household chores more efficiently, and then doing them herself to save time and frustration. Mostly this is because what she wants done is clean things up.

If I am the reincarnation of Oscar Madison, the fictional sportswriter of “The Odd Couple” fame; my wife is the female equivalent of Felix, the neatest neat freak to ever freak out.

“I’m on to you,” she’ll say, while doing something I ought to be doing if only I did it better and neater and before she thought it up, “you just do it halfway because you want me to do it.”

Not at all. 

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News and proof that nth generation South Carolinians from the Upstate can too spell cat if spotted enough letters.

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