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April 2008 Archives

April 1, 2008

Thoughts...

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Mercer Williams House, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia
It's a golden city, with a history that is incredible.
I had no idea how the city was developed and who was responsible for the most intelligent design of a city that I think I've ever seen. The streets lead to and from gorgeously landscaped public squares that are full of landscaping, benches, statues, water features...all creating a lush location for people who are walking through the city.

Here are a few things that I discovered today...

Barnard Street, full of antique shops and home decor stores.
Beautiful!

Carriage rides, horse-drawn carriages slowly weaving in and out of the traffic, taking people through the city in a graceful way. Nothing hurried, nothing rushed, just a simple horse and carriage ride. Reminds me of being a child and taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride in the wintertime.

River Street, difficult to get to, easy to love!
River Street Sweets...best pralines in the world. Buy several, eat them all at once. You'll never crave sugar again.

Mercer Williams House and Carriage Shop, a mysterious place for me to visit today.
Having read the book and watched the movie about the life and death of Jim Williams who restored Mercer House, it was a strange visit to the Carriage Shop today.
I browsed through the book that Jim's sister, Dr. Dorothy Kingery, has written about her brother, looked at all of the photos of Jim's restoration projects and realized that this man made the world a better place by his innate ability to transform a broken-down historical house into a place of perfection.
I overheard people telling stories to one another about Jim and his life in Savannah, and I wondered what he'd think about all that has happened to this city and this house since his death. Some of the changes are directly related to his life, and more importantly to his death.
I left the house, thinking that Jim deserved to live many more years and to enjoy his homes and continue his restorations. He was a genius, and the world's a poorer place without him and his gifts.

"Living here pisses off all the right people." ~ Jim Williams

April 4, 2008

Savannah's a Seductress

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After spending a week and a few days in this sultry, steamy, hot and sexy city of the South, I can tell you categorically, she's a baaaad girl!

I've never been so wiled and beguiled by any place in this world like I've been by the delicious city of Savannah. From the wonderfully welcoming people to the warm and humid weather, I've felt like I've been wrapped up in a romance novel for the last while.

Our tour guide told us tonight that Savannah is the city that most people cannot help but return to...perhaps the ghosts that populate the city haunt the visitors as well as the Savannahian homes.
Whatever it is, people return to Savannah in droves, cannot stay away and cannot wait to come back again.
Count me in! I'm a convert, dahlin'.

April 8, 2008

Savannah Afterthoughts...

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I'm home from my stellar 10 days in Savannah, Georgia.
My travel site, Slowtrav, held a gathering in this most beautiful of cities, and over 80 Slowtravellers showed up for a few days together.

We stayed in hotels, motels, B & B's, apartments and private cottage rentals.
We ate Low Country cooking, Royal Champagne High Tea, Italian, Thai, funky southern food and fresh seafood by the boatload.

People arrived by car and plane.
They came from the southwestern corner of California to the northwestern end of Alberta, from the southeast coast of Florida to the far northern reaches of frigid, snowbound Ontario.

They traveled to Savannah solo, with partners, with kids and with grandkids.
Everyone arrived with their hopes and anticipation for a warm and welcoming visit with each other.

We ate together, walked together, visited and talked together and always, simmering in the background, our affection and love for each other percolated gently, making each moment memorable.

Some of us slept late, others were up with the sun.
A few Slowtravellers arrived early in Savannah and others stayed on after the rest of us went home.

We are as different from each other as black is to white, as day to night. Yet, we gelled like a finely tuned machine and each one did their part to help to create a wonderfully warm weekend of good company and good food...and not a little good drink!

I'm home.
I'm sleeping in my own bed and drinking out of my favorite cup, coincidentally given to me by my Slowtrav friends a few years ago.
I'm here in my own corner of the world, but a very lovely part of me remains in Savannah, waiting for me to return, God willing.

"Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.” ~ Unknown

April 10, 2008

Missing Savannah...

How is it possible to miss a city this much, after spending only 10 days there?
I've been home for a few days and my heart's still in Savannah...
Still there, among the acres of azaleas...


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...behind the doors of these glorious historic homes...


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...inside the shops and stores...


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...walking through the parks...


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...riding in the classic cars out to the Crab Shack on Tybee Island...


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...and walking home at the end of the day down this street to my own apartment...


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Maybe, one day soon, I can go back again, find my heart and bring it home.
The sooner the better.

"I had the joyous experience of visiting Savannah not too long ago and it took my breath away." ~ Bobbie J.

April 11, 2008

Still Unpacking...

I love getting ready for a trip and making all of the plans and arrangements, packing my luggage, arranging for a house sitter, canceling the paper.

I also love coming home, after the trip is over.
Usually, I come home and unpack and put every single thing away that same day.

This trip home from Savannah was a long and arduous travel day for me. Being without sleep for over 24 hours is not my idea of a great time. By the time I finally closed my front door and sat down on my bed to check all of the messages on my phone, I'd been traveling for close to 22 hours! No wonder I was a zombie.

Because of my jet lag and exhaustion, I've been unpacking in bits and pieces over the past 5 days. What I have discovered about this method of settling back in is this...I'm taking more time to savor the little treats I brought back for myself and for my family and friends. I've spent several hours browsing through my photos, over an hour looking at and wrapping up some beautiful pieces of jewelry for gifts for my daughter and a dear friend.

After unpacking my prize from the Slowtrav Saturday night Low Country Boil, I then sat with a fresh cup of tea and read my prize, Shannon and Ruth's book, Chow! Venice right the way through.
Long story short...I've really enjoyed taking a few days to unpack and put away my clothes and gifts!

Maybe I'll adopt this as my new way of re-entering real life. It seems to prolong my post-trip high! That's gotta be a good thing, don't you think?

My Slowtrav winnings...
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"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~ Lin Yutang

April 15, 2008

The Savannah Tea Room

Savannah has a few tea rooms.
My favorite home-away-from-home tea room is The Savannah Tea Room on
E Broughton Street.
I discovered it the first day I was there and ate lunch there almost every single day after that, for the rest of the time I was in Savannah.
The owners were darling, taking very good care of me and remembering my name, for goodness' sake!

I have a variety of teas, always served in a heated tea pot with a cozy to keep it piping hot...

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My table is always carefully set with all of the lovely things necessary for a good cuppa...

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After the quiche and salad or the Cobb salad, there is the inevitable tray of sweets...

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Finally, a cup of Flaming Tea finishes the meal, eases a tummy full of too much sugar and too many carbs...

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Tea and quiche in the Savannah Tea Room...my favorite place to fill my hungry spots.
Wish I could drop in tomorrow for lunch.


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future." ~ Thich Nat Hahn

April 17, 2008

How Savannah Was Named...

Do you know where the name for the city of Savannah came from?
Bet you think it's some fancy southern name that means 'gorgeous city' or 'azalea heaven'...something like that.

If that's what you think, then I have to tell you that you are wrong.
Completely and totally wrong.

I met a wonderful person, Paulette, in Savannah last week, when our travel site, Slowtrav, held a get-together for everyone in Canada and the US who wanted to come. Paulette told me the true story about where the name 'Savannah' comes from. You'll be surprised when you find out!

Paulette's brother and sister-in-law have a beautiful little daughter who is 4 years old. Paulette's brother adores the city of Savannah, so he named his only child Savannah, because of his love for the city.

I just received an e-mail from Paulette, telling me that her niece, Savannah, has informed the family that she just found out that there is a city that has been named for her!
Bet you didn't know that!

"Perhaps it was the massive oaks draped with Spanish moss, or the gracious wrought-iron-accented buildings, or the cobblestone walkways along the riverfront, but my first and lasting impression of Savannah was a sense of deja vu, like a vague distant memory evoked by some provocative fragrance." ~ Alice Ross

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April 18, 2008

Delicious Savannah

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Photograph credit BGE

Author's note: I wrote this piece one morning after my first couple of days in Savannah, but chose not to post it until after our Slowtrav gathering...I didn't want to scare any of my Slowtrav pals by sharing this with them, before they arrived in Savannah...

Delicious.
This word describes what Savannah, Georgia is to me.
The fragrant of the wisteria, the colours of the azaleas at this time of year, the sights and sounds of the life in Forsythe Park as I walk through this morning.
It is delicious, completely.

I'm not saying it is a perfect city, by any means.
That was evidenced late last night by the sounds of gunshots ricocheting around outside of my apartment.
Two shots were fired.
It woke me out of a sound sleep...
then silence.
Maybe it's my imagination, I think, and the guy upstairs really did drop something...maybe.

Just about the time I was falling asleep again, two more shots.
They were so close that I felt the percussion and heard the sound echoing ringingly after each shot.

Now, I'm awake and I know that I'm not imagining this.
That is the first thought I had earlier.
That I'm imagining this.
Maybe I am mistaken.
I mean, I'm not an expert in gunshot sound.
I've just been on Bull Street, photographing the Mercer Williams House, famous for a couple of gunshots that rang out in the dark of night, ending the life of Danny Hansford.
Maybe I'm still in that neighbourhood in my mind, imagining the sound of those shots.
Whatever.
This now seems pretty real to me.
I drop to the floor beside my bed, lie down flat with my pillow under my head and my huge duvet wrapped around me tightly, as if that will protect me.
The police and ambulance sirens follow, and then...all is quiet.

I am now afraid, seriously so.
It takes me about 30 minutes to talk myself into getting up from the floor and back into my bed.
Going back to sleep, I timidly reassure myself that the locked outer courtyard, the locked inner front door, the bars on the windows and an ADT alarm system will be enough to keep me safe the rest of this night.
At least, that's what I tell my frightened little self, as I plunge deep underneath the duvet and blankets.

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Soon, it is morning, I am safe and I am still alive.
Outside in my street, there is no sign of last night's drama.
Possibly, it was a street over or up from here, but it sounded like it was right on my doorstep.

So, you may want to ask me if this is what makes Savannah delicious to me.
Yes, that is exactly what it is.
Besides the delicate and ethereally beautiful azaleas blooming, besides the charm and the exquisite details of the architecture, there is an underbelly to this city that scares the be-jeepers out of me.
Delicious.
Deliciously dangerous and deliciously lovely.
Both sides of the coin.

That's what enticed me in the movie and book, 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.' The author, John Berendt, very convincingly portrayed the smooth-as-silk upper layer of Savannah's society in all of the silk shantung suits and delicately-veiled hats, while showing us that underneath that luscious exterior, there is another side to this city of delights. A side that is dark and mysterious, a side that has an edge to it that belies the veneer of southern grace and charm.

Maybe I heard a little of that edge last night.

"Despite the rococo fame Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil brought to this southern gem, Savannah's sexy side remains elusive to casual visitors. Beneath those airs of antebellum gentility, the city is a kitschy party central, but where to find the fun?
Good-time junketeers who want a taste of both sides of the town's split personality should check into the classy Gastonian hotel, and head immediately to Vinnie Van Go Go's, the pizza joint cum social hub of the City Market district.
From there, locals migrate to the live music at Velvet Elvis or Jim Collins, where the beer is cheap enough to keep you out all night.
Jump-start the next morning at Gallery Espresso before walking through every leafy square from River Street to Forsythe Park. Even without a hangover, your eyes will ache to see such beautiful architecture and gardens.
As for day two? Rinse, then repeat." ~ Ann Marie Gardiner

April 19, 2008

Here's a Smilebox for you, from Savannah, with love...

Here's a Smilebox for you!
I found this on Sandi's blog, and it took only a few minutes to create my own album for your viewing pleasure...hope you enjoy it!

Click to play Framing Flowers
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a slideshow - it's easy!

"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” ~ Aaron Siskind

April 22, 2008

I've Learned...

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I've learned that, no matter what happens,
how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:
a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents,
you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.
I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life...
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.
You need to be able to throw something back
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.

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But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,
your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you
I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Angels have walked beside me all my life--and they still do.

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April 25, 2008

The Wooden Bowl

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You will remember this story of The Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. A lovely story that reminds us all of our own fragility...

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson.
The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
'We must do something about father,' said the son.
'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.'

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.
There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.
He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?'

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.

The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless.
Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.
Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.
That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

" Be extremely kind to the elderly, the sick and the very young, because you'll be each of these at some time in your life."


April 27, 2008

Unruly Airline Passengers

An award should go to the gate attendant at a small airport some 12 months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly in the cargo bay.

A crowded flight was canceled after one of the airline's flights had been withdrawn from service.
A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk.
He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said,
"I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be in FIRST CLASS."

The attendant replied, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out."

The passenger was unimpressed.
He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear,
"Do you have ANY idea who I AM?"

Without hesitating, the attendant smiled, then grabbed her public address microphone:
"May I have your attention please! May I have your attention please!" she began, her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. "We have a passenger here at Gate 14 who does not know who he is! If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14."

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the attendant, gritted his teeth and said, "F*** you!"

Without flinching, she smiled and replied, "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that, too."

"There are only two emotions in a plane...boredom and terror." ~ Orson Welles

This page contains all entries posted to That's my story...and I'm stickin' to it! in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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