A Folly Starfish Christmas Story

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By Minta Pavliscsak

It was Christmas Eve in our little slice of Folly Under the Sea. This year things around me seemed more calm than usual. Everyfish seemed to be ahead of the typical hustle and bustle of the season. That is, every fish except for me. I like to live in the here and now, which means I am really good when it comes to what others view as procrastinating. I like to think of it more as I work well under pressure. That aside, I was bobbing from store to store as quickly as I could but a starfish can only go as fast as the current takes him and today the current was in no rush.

Somehow I managed to squeak in grocery shopping, picking up my famous last minute –but always perfect– gifts, visiting a few friends, and even getting a relaxing arm massage at Sacred Arm Massage & Healing Arts. Floating home, I looked around at all the happy fish. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was glistening brightly through the waves. There were even surfboards overhead, and not a shark sighting all day. The small fish were playing with each other and singing carols in anticipation of what tonight would bring. The bigger fish were holding hands and sneaking kisses, just as giddy as the little ones.

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Finally making it home, I put on my favorite Michael Bubble Christmas album and started wrapping presents. Later that evening, I enjoyed the sunset in my back sand where I could see the human’s Folly Christmas tree off in the distance. Those humans are so creative! Who would think to put a Christmas tree on the beach anyway? ?After Christmas Eve dinner and appeasing carol singers who literally would not leave until I gave them figgy pudding –good thing I picked up dates at the store– I finally settled in to rest until Christmas day.

However, it was a restless sleep, and when I did drift off I had crazy dreams. One was of a psychedelic octopus. He just kind of joyfully floated in one spot, smiling and waving almost glowing in the surf. And then I woke up. Then there was the dream of a sandcastle Santa Claus. Had I seen the humans building one on the beach? Had Santa visited me and I sleepily caught him? Was Santa Claus really made out of sand? The psychedelic octopus seemed to make more sense than that! Maybe I was just as excited as every fish else that I had seen the day before. After all, Christmas is my most favorite of all the holidays. And even after all these years, I have never stopped believing. I gave into my excitement and floated out of bed, cranked up the Bubble, and got ready for the day.

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As I put on my funny Santa attire, the smile that would remain ever present for the day crept across my face. How silly of me to think there would be sleep on the eve of today of all days! The doorbell rang. My friends and family had arrived. It was the beginning of another perfect Christmas Under the Folly Sea.

From our family to yours,
Happy Christmas, Merry Everything!

Never Stop Believing

Sunrise on The Battery – Quiet Morning in Charleston

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

There is nothing more spectacular than a Charleston sunrise or sunset.? What makes a sunrise so remarkable is the absolute tranquility and silence that compliments a visual show of elegant serenity.? So often, we distracted by the tourists, cars, carriages, golf carts, dogs, runners, bikers and cameras that we lose sight of just home important a quiet moment can be to clear our minds and free our souls.

The Battery captures the essence of a true Charleston sunrise.? With the sun rising from the Harbor on the East and the colors of Rainbow Row and the flowers that ordain the walkway exploding in a shower of positive energy, it is a treat to see.? As you walk or sit, locals with be out for an early morning jog or to walk the dogs.? Don’t hesitate to smile and say good morning.? You know they will.

This visual point of view should sway your intentions to set your alarm a little bit earlier and experience this for yourself or with someone you love.

Good morning Charleston.? A flower to symbolize the start of a beautiful day

There is something magical about that yellow ball rising from the harbor

The smell of the flowers add to the experience

The reflection in the water goes right to your toes

Whether you look to your left or right, the view is perfect

The Palmer House is always a sight to see at 5 East Battery

The very first moments of dawn are a rainbow in the sky

All calm in the Charleston Harbor

Eclectic realm of natural life

All is right when you start your day with a quiet sunrise at The Battery

From the Office to the Water: Burton Swain Makes a Paddle boarding Dream a Reality

Article by Juliette Cheatham - Photo provided by Juliette
Article by Juliette Cheatham – Photo provided by Juliette

It’s a story everyone can relate to: attending school for years, paying thousands of dollars for a Bachelors Degree, then several thousand more for a Masters. Signing away all of your hopes and dreams to work for whichever nondescript corporation offers the highest paycheck. Of course it sounds glamorous at first; a contract with potential bonuses, savings plans, and benefits. It feels like all the hard work and money was worthwhile and everyone is so proud of your accomplishments.

Then reality sets in… Day after monotonous day in an office cubical you crunch numbers under fluorescent lighting and white walls as you sit next to Bob, or is it Rob? It doesn’t even matter; it’s not like a corporate office job allows for any freedom of expression. Is the pinnacle of life really be a 401k and dental insurance? It certainly wasn’t for Burton Swain.

Swain, a graduate of UNC Wilmington moved to Charleston, SC six years ago for a logistics job right out of school. After a few too many years being unhappily employed and left feeling unfulfilled from his work environment, he decided it was time for a change.

“I was working seven to seven, six days a week and I was completely miserable doing it. I kind of had this epiphany. I deiced to quit and spend a few months back packing around Europe rediscovering what was important to me.”

While traveling abroad, he started trying to identify what in life was most important to him and how to create a life with happiness as the center. Going to school in Wilmington, Burton was always drawn to the Charleston for it’s similar laid back feel and close proximity to the ocean.

An idea struck him in Interlaken, Switzerland during a day of whitewater rafting through the Alps. His favorite memories were always on the water, “whether it was wake boarding, surfing, kayaking, or skirfing. I spent most of my time with my friends outside on a boat.”

That was essentially how Swain’s idea for a mobile standup paddle board company, Chuck SUP, was born!
“My business partner and friend from college has a very similar company in Wilmington. His idea combined with my own passions inspired me to create a like minded business in Charleston.”

Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham
Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham

There are many SUP companies already in the area, but Burton’s offers a level of accommodation to tourists that has yet to be utilized. Instead of having the paddle board company be the destination, Chuck SUP brings the paddle boards to the customers. Travelers on vacation can call the company and have the boards delivered to their house, the ocean, or an area on the marshes they want to explore. Customers may keep the boards for a few hours or for the entire week if they are vacationing for an extended period of time. Burton offers lessons to those who are new to the SUP game as well as guided tours.
The company is driven by Burton, seven paddle boards, and a dream with ambitions to grow and thrive further in this community. Swain with his calm, cool, laid back, persona makes him the ideal paddle-boarding guide. Whether you’re up for some exciting dolphin watching or just want to take in the calming sights around the ocean, Burton’s got you covered.

Swain says that he’s happier now that he’s working closer to nature and more often on the water doing what he is passionate about. “Although it’s a seasonal job, I think this is a step in the right direction for me.”

We live in a society of pressures to follow a fiscally stable path and often lose sight of our true passions. Burton Swain has taken a tremendous risk to pursue a level of happiness that carries on to his customers and into the Charleston community.

If you want to learn more or talk to Burton about creating an adventure go to his website and his contact number is 843.352.3365.

Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham