Saturday, March 18, 2017

IS MOTHER NATURE QUITE DEAD BENEATH THE WALL?

With both the Ides and St. Patrick’s Day behind us I was looking forward to the arrival of Spring. However, upon returning to north Georgia from our milder coast I was in for a surprise. Seems Mother Nature decided not to start winter here without me!! As flattering as that might have been my ready-to-bloom iris plants were appalled. We had cold, rain, freeze as if it were January and not the middle of March. I stayed inside until it returned to the 60s which was yesterday.
I could have used a volume of Walt Whitman to read but alas and alack, as they say, my personal library consists of mostly history books. I do have one book of poetry by my late nephew but his writing, though quite excellent, tends to prod one to despair as well as deep thoughts. An example comes to mind: 
“I climbed upon a steepled church                                                                                                          to view the world from such a perch.
So high was I when I did fall
that nothing now I see at all.
Quite dead am I beneath the wall.”

Not light reading by any means. Then I recalled from memory a Whitman-like poem written by my late mother and used it as my mantra until the wintry blasts passed. I had to rely on memory because if she ever published it, I don’t own a copy. As I recall it went like this:

“There’s a hustle and a bustle now among the forest folk
Old Mother Nature’s spoke to them that’s why they have awoke.
She said, 'Get up and dress yourselves or ere you will be late.
I saw a nest of Robbins today so Spring is at the gate'….”

It goes on for many stanzas but that beginning is all I recall. It helped. If any forest folk see this you might want to heed her words.

Monday, March 06, 2017

RETURN FOR A NATIVE

Having been brought up in Savannah and spent many years there since, I knew what to expect when I chose it over a cruise to Barbados or a couple of months on the US Gulf coast. It would be a generally mild winter with a couple of frigid, i.e. below freezing, nights but with speedy warm ups. It did not disappoint. Of course my primary residence north of Atlanta also had a milder than usual winter but still the change of venue was good.

Savannah has changed though since I left it in 2005/6 ish as I suppose my living in Roswell this decade+ has changed me. It wasn’t a holiday time but the city was always packed with tourists. Tourists originally came in the hopes of getting a peek at the, some might say odd balls portrayed in the best seller, Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil, but I prefer the term unique people who make up the population. And, of course, they come to see the unparalleled architecture and notorious city planning of our founding fathers. Wlliamsburg, Va. has similar architecture but it is a replica, built in the 20th century, as I  recall with Rockefeller money. Only Charleston and Beaufort in S.C. have the authentic architecture and though they have other historical features they lack the gorgeous parks called squares by natives (though they’re really ovals).

The tourists are so numerous in fact that the tables have turned and the city’s population, or at least those that dare the impossibility of parking and very slow and POLITE drivers in the Historic District, gape at the outlandish get-ups of tourists. Don’t these people have mirrors in their hotel rooms? It has become a city where tourists come to marvel at other odd-ball tourists… whether they know it or not, I‘m not sure. Still it works… though at first I thought surely someone is paying these people to parade by and entertain me.

It was a very restful visit. I felt as if I were living, through time travel, in about 1930. For those who wish they‘d lived in the olden days when life was slow, I recommend it. The PEDESTRIANS, carriages, bikes (not as many as Asia but getting there) and two-wheeled-platform gizmos are the predominant means of transport though others which challenge Rube Goldberg apparatuses are also in use. As mentioned the few cars are so polite you become accustomed to drivers who gesture to each other, “you go” and get the response, “no, after you.”

Which brings me to my moment of alarming realization: I was indeed home but forgot what it really was like. I’d been to the grocers and parked at my front door. Carrying my groceries across the sidewalk, I paused when a very rapidly walking student passed but abruptly stopped and spoke to me in shock, “M’am, how far do you have to carry those? I’m late but…”
I interrupted him saying, “Just up the step to my front door. I’m fine but thank you.”

Sadly there were no tourists to witness that exchange between two obviously rare but authentic odd ball Savannahians.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

RETREAT FROM WINTER QUARTERS

After a two month winter retreat to a warmer climate, I’m home again… jiggedy jig! The return trip was exhausting and as I was returning from east Georgia to north of Atlanta part of the reason was at one point I was surprised to find myself in South Carolina. If you know your geography you know there is no valid reason one should be in our northern neighboring state when making such a journey.

After unloading my “luggage” (primarily one piece of actual luggage and mannnnny large plastic containers) I rested and then got to the chores that accumulate when you vacate your primary residence for months: picking up month’s worth of snail mail from the US Postal Service; going online to pay accumulated bills and checking my emails. My snail mail was delivered to me in a huge plastic container which nicely matched my above mentioned ‘luggage’ of such containers but for the United States Postal Service lettering and logo on the side. I’ve been home three days and am yet to reach the bottom of it.

Checked my emails which I had attempted to mange while on vacation by buying a gadget called “a notebook” (of course it wasn’t a REAL notebook but an electronic one) and a mobile WE-FI. In this user's hands it was not a good pairing so I wasn’t able to so that. One of my email boxes had well over 500 unread… let alone answered, emails.


I’m managing to whittle down these chores and came home with fabulous material for new blogs. Will be posting anew and often once I’m able to catch up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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Friday, December 16, 2016

SAD BAD OLD DAYS

The good old days photos and newspaper clippings brought back from my recent Savannah visit are still spread pell-mell on my dining table awaiting my sorting. Thanksgiving Day I and visiting family were entertained going through them so they have served some purpose. Since I’ve taken a closer look and found some items might be more interesting as examples of the so-called GOOD old days in light of the continuing world disasters we’ve since come to accept on an almost daily basis… or perhaps it is just my passion for history.
Going through copies of old G Southern U newspapers from when I attended, there were whole editions I’d put away to later clip and save. One such was a 1955 front page headline “’Dear Brutus’ cast set For Spring Production” (Don’t ask me what the choice of Capitol letters indicates since I haven’t a clue.) I was in that play so I clipped and read it. An early paragraph caught my attention and brought a flood of memories that spanned several decades: “Darwin Humphrey, freshman, Vidalia, has been chosen to portray Mr. Dearth,’ a good man who has gone wrong, and in his heart despises himself for it’.” The last paragraph deals with yours truly thusly: “In the role of Mrs. Purdie will be Nan Waters, senior Savannah. Mrs. Purdie is: ‘a simple young wife, wistful, who knows her husband is fond of Joanna’.” The only thing I remember about that play was being criticized in my portrayal for what I thought was showing simple and wistful facial expressions as I stood behind a tree spying on them.
Fast forward to the 80s when I was listening to my car radio and a rather well known Georgia humorist, Lou Grizzard, was doing a bit. I was shocked to hear him remark that another award winning journalist Georgian, Darwin Humphrey had several years before (1978) been murdered in the Jonestown, Guyana masacre. That was the first I’d heard of whatever became of my long ago stage buddy. How could I have missed that fact as closely and vividly as TV coverage was of that horror show when over 900 members of Jim Jones ‘s Peoples Temple commune were also killed?!
Simple! His professional name, used for years while covering the Viet Nam War including the fall of Saigon and as NBC newsman who won four Emmys and DuPont/Columbia Award, was not Darwin Humphrey but Don Harris.

Sadly, some good old days were not so good after all.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

"I GOT CULTURE" part 2

She then showed up, apparently thinking that waiting "someplace in the general area of" was the same as waiting "at Frogmore". The remainder of my vacation was a complete hassle after she insisted on taking charge. They treated me to "breakfast" at a nearby strip mall... a far cry from a leisurely and scenic brunch on Beaufort Bay. As I gulped down my so-so she crab soup, Madame Art Association informed me she'd arranged for cocktails on an acquaintance’s boat for our afternoon... Oh and BTW invited them to my dinner I had arranged for the evening (and foolishly invited Mme AA and hubby to, sight unseen, as a thank you for her kindness to my college mate). I only glared at her news of the latter and informed her I wouldn't be able to attend her impromptu nautical cocktail party.

Went on to Fripp to check in and enjoy. Took a while for the salty marsh fluff air, gently lapping Low Country water below my balcony, etc. to relax me after exposure to such strange manners. Put it out of mind and telephoned old friends from high school and arranged to ride in with one for my dinner party. Briefly apologized to said high school friend as we rode to dinner saying I'd never been exposed to some we were to dine with as they were the type who thought it was acceptable behavior to invite other strangers to attend a dinner party as long as you'd been invited so could make no promises about the company we'd be keeping. "Just roll with any punches, please."

After dinner Mme AA's behavior remained consistent. She and hubby with College mate in tow followed us to my friend's home afterward and came in. Mme AA arranged a full day for the next but was politely told by my high school friend she had other plans already. Mme AA undauntedly rushed on to say since she'd be riding home with me and my College mate, we could meet here first thing on our departure date for a coffee since we all knew where it was and I didn't know where their vacation trailer was!

Gladly took off for Fripp and bed after such as miserable experience, hoping I'd seen the last of the woman. Not to be so but I was civil, .. barely. She managed to insert herself into the driver's seat of my car in the later and final episode so it was with great pleasure that I called her at 5 AM (YES, I'M AWARE THE CORRECT TIME FOR CALLING CIVILIZED PEOPLE IS 9 AM TO 9 PM)  on the last day of  MY VACATION and when it went to machine announced I'd be going to the nearest car dealership to repair an under drag problem before returning home so she and College mate could ride home with hubby and the dogs in their pick up.

That woman badly needs an I GOT CULTURE lapel pin and if Gov. Deal thinks we can't afford to have an Arts Comm. at least require these regional volunteers to take a basic etiquette course particularly if they're from out of state.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I GOT CULTURE

                                                                 
I love that 1960s' slogan when the Savannah Symphony Orchestra handed out it printed black  on a large white lapel button to attendees. It brought a smile and inferred inclusion of everyone, not merely the usual elite, to their performances. Any reared and educated in Savannah were taught perhaps a uniquely Savannah saying: “Got is Rot and Gotten is Rotten” in proper English usage… so perhaps it was more amusing to us. As I’ve taught and traveled in many other places, I’ve learned got is apparently more acceptable now.
A decade later my son went to his school’s costume party as a hobo with a tattered white shirt, askew string bow tie, ragged tails (all reasonably priced and slightly altered via Goodwill store), five o’clock shadow cum eyebrow pencil, obviously recycled butt of a cigar, white gloves with holes in some fingers and that ‘I Got Culture’ lapel button. Don’t remember if he won the prize but his outfit was a big hit.
The Great Recession recently caused our state government to budget cut and relieved us of the 'non-essentials' like the Georgia Arts Commission. . even though it had served the state well through political contentions such as completion of the relief sculpting on Stone Mountain without ever losing sight of our heritage of remaining gracious in the face of aggressive and hostile rudeness. This now former Georgia Arts Commission served as a sort of aid and clearing house for the entire state for all of the Arts (visual, musical, literary, performing, etc.).
By 2016 I’d forgotten the ‘I GOT CULTURE’ button but on a mini-vacation trip to the coast was reminded of that lapel pin in reality. And it wasn’t even slightly amusing. An artist friend of mine and I set out to our mutual College reunion's Bar-B-Q etc. just west of the coast with the thought of making a side trip to the beach. All went well until the next morning when, awakened by said College mate at 8 AM. I looked at her as if she were insane since obviously she was. We'd known each other for 63 years and never in that time had I been a morning person. Her mantra was "Early to bed and early to rise" so I knew never to call after sundown. She knew never to call me before eleven in the AM. Why on earth would she wake me on the first day of a vacation? Apparently because someone on her cell phone needed to talk to me!! Really?? REALLY!
I don't remember the exact words she spoke but it was something about picking up my fellow college mate as she was to stay with them while I went on to Fripp Island. Nor do I remember my exact words but they were something like, I'll be having breakfast across the street from my motel on the picturesque bay so why not pick her up there. I was not rude as Southerners are not naturally so. Amazingly she, who had a vacation place in Beaufort didn't know where Beaufort Bay was! Would I bring her to Frogmore instead? (Not Frogmore as in Queen Victoria's favorite place belonging to the Royal family of the UK but a two story white wooden structure in the midst of St. Helena's Island in SC. about 5-10 miles distant from my motel). "Sure".

I drove to the gas station facing the house known as Frogmore and waited, having no coffee and not eaten but my friend had taken advantage of my motel's free breakfasts hours earlier. I gassed up the car but still no sign of the woman.  Earlier I'd expressed my feelings to my passenger about this pushy person who defended her by explaining, "She is, but she has to be to run our Art Association" (albeit as an unpaid volunteer). My jaw went slack and I said, "Oh, really", but kept the rest of my thoughts to myself... now mentally adding and obviously dumb and/or unpunctual woman to my impressions of her. Asked my passenger to call the woman on her cell and ask where she was as I waited coffee-free in Frogmore.  (To be contd.)