By Pamela Brownstein
Last Friday, adults, teenagers and young children gathered at the Mindermann house to celebrate Bunny Mindermann’s birthday. They all enjoyed grilled steaks, roasted vegetables and Bunny’s favorite salad that features hearts of palm and artichoke hearts.
But more than the food and drink, everyone enjoyed each others’ company — the children played outside, the teenagers told jokes and hung out in the large garage while the adults talked and laughed on the back deck as the tiki torches danced and late afternoon turned into night.
It’s a typical scene that plays out often at their house, where the emphasis on spending time with friends and loved ones makes this family tight-knit and creates a welcoming environment for others around them.
As the mother of three kids ranging in age from 15 to 4, Bunny stays busy keeping the household running. She grew up in Myrtle Beach and moved to Beaufort in 1996. Most recently she worked full time at Ali’s Attic, but is now enjoying time at home since the store closed last month.
Bunny and Dennis first met when they worked at the same company in Beaufort. But they were both married to other people at the time, so they were just friends. When she stopped working there, the two lost touch. Then, as fate would have it, they ran into each other at a gas station, and that was the spark that reignited their relationship, although this time on a more intimate level.
They have been married for six years, and they are playful and sweet and fun to be around.
Dennis is a laid-back, hard-working guy with a good sense of humor. He likes to work in the yard, and he likes the Blue Angels, he has pictures of the jets hung up all around their garage, which also doubles as a bit of a man cave. He also likes going to the grocery store — he’s well known at the BiLo on Boundary Street because he shops there almost everyday, and their family has saved up some major Fuel Perks.
And it’s a good thing too because they recently added a third car to their fleet in anticipation of Bunny’s oldest daughter, Holt Emeline Winkler, getting her license when she turns 16 at the end of May.
Holt attends Battery Creek High School where she is a stellar student and is also involved with band. She is section leader for the drumline, and she plays the bass drum in marching band and timpani in concert band. She started playing the drums, bells and keyboard in elementary school, and now she’s also a member of the Beaufort Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Even though Holt’s technically a sophomore, after taking her first college credit course this year in English, she realized she learned more in that class than any other, and — because her grades are so good — decided she wanted to graduate a year early.
Bunny said this was hard for her to accept at first, she was planning for the family to have two more years all together, but now she fully supports Holt’s decision because she knows her daughter is smart and driven.
Bunny jokes that one of the biggest challenges of being a parent is “knowing if you are doing the right thing and not messing them up for life!” But she must be doing something right because in addition to being beautiful and talented, both of her daughters are nice, smart and respectful.
As a seventh grader at Beaufort Middle School, Ryan Marie Winkler, is an energetic 13-year-old. With her big blue eyes and long blond hair, this outgoing teen recently landed the lead role in Beaufort Middle School’s production of the musical “Fame.” The public is invited to support the students and see the show on stage at Beaufort High School auditorium on Friday, April 11 at 6 p.m.
Like her sister, Ryan also performs with the Beaufort Symphony Youth Orchestra, but she prefers strings and is the second chair violist.
Frank, 4, is a sweet little guy who keeps everyone on his toes. He likes to play the drums, just like his big sister Holt, and he is fast on his bike, even with training wheels. He turns 5 this year and will start Kindergarten in the fall.
He likes to play with his cousin, Tucker, the son of Bunny’s sister, Anna, who also lives in Beaufort and works at a local daycare facility. The two boys enjoy spending time with their grandma, Frances Siler, who was a third grade teacher at Laurel Bay for 20 years.
With beach season fast approaching, the family is getting ready for their favorite time of the year. Every weekend during the summer, they pack up all their gear — including canopies, coolers and corn hole — and spend the whole day at Hunting Island State Park. Dennis has already purchased and assembled a new grill in anticipation for cooking out at the beach.
Ryan says, “I enjoy spending time as a family and all the activities that we do together, especially our days on the beach at Hunting Island.”
The Mindermanns are also generous people who are always willing to help their friends and neighbors
According to friend Cindy Trainum, “I was introduced to Bunny and Dennis about a year ago by my daughter, Phoebe, who is ‘besties’ with Ryan. They are such a down-to-earth couple with whom my boyfriend, Pat, and I quickly became fast friends. They are always there when you need them — and always fun to be around!”
The whole family appreciates all that Beaufort has to offer — from the small town charm to the festivals to the natural beauty and outdoor opportunities — and they all make our community a better place to live.
Bunny said, “Our plans for the future include raising our kids and having fun enjoying our town.”