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life’s good in the midnight garden
Savannah has a strong heritage when it comes to books, authors, and writers. Published in 1994 by Random House, John Berendt’s Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil shone a strong light on Savannah in the mid to late 1980s.
The book centered loosely around internationally known antiques dealer Jim Williams’s shooting of male hustler Danny Hansford in May 1981. It covered the four murder trials that took place over a span of eight years. Though Williams was acquitted when the dust settled, readers for the most part took great joy in the book’s characters drawn from every level of society…
Part One left us in the Edgefield General Store, a place with something for everyone, an old fashioned soda fountain, gourmet items, and the talented services of Maine the florist. It was there, near the front door, where two fellows out of Barnwell ambled in claiming they had found a pot made by Dave the Slave. Nancy Gilliam referred them to Old Edgefield Pottery around the corner. Off they went, would-be art peddlers, seeking fame and fortune.
Though I am a native of South Carolina (Aiken), I grew up in Augusta, Ga., and I think of it as my hometown. I haven’t lived there in years, and even if I wanted to move back there, I know that you can’t go home again.
That is particularly true in my case, but, no, it’s not because the Statute of Limitations has yet to run out on the antics of my misspent youth. In fact, I was nearly an altar boy. (May it please the court: let the record show that I said “nearly.”)
I’m making my way to Edgefield to attend Edgefield Camellia Club’s annual Camellia Tea. As soon as I take Exit 18 onto Highway 19, everything changes. I-20’s bland corridor of cars, trucks, and tedium gives way to thick, green cedar groves, sprawling pine-edged fields, stately avenues of oaks, an abandoned home or two, historic plantations, horses, and a curious collection of what appears to be forsaken 18-wheelers in a powerline right-of-way.
My goal is a leisurely one. Saunter around Edgefield a bit and take photos and make mental notes…
what would roger do?
On Monday, April 4, the Tennessee legislature approved a bill making the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee. At least two other states (Louisiana and Mississippi) had talked about it, but Tennessee was the first to actually approve such a measure. The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam, who has questioned its constitutionality but still might sign it into law. If that happens, the Bible will join the Channel Catfish, the Eastern Red Cedar, and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly as an official state symbol of Tennessee.
something to fret about
Even though I’m not much of a gardener, in March and April I used to worry about things like when I should plant my veggies. I always let the spring flower bulbs fend for themselves. Vegetables were different. Building on that thought, this year things are quite a bit different.
Today, it seems like I worry about everything in terms of the weather: shopping traveling, appointments — you name it. It’s now well into April and I’m still thinking about the “S” word — “snow.” How much snow will the next storm bring?
There are many reasons for people to decide to have a party, and such a reason occurred back in 1996 when a mama bear and her two cubs made their way out of the wild and onto Dahlonega’s Historic Town Square.
A large crowd gathered, some of them actually following the bears to the square in the Northeast Georgia town.The mama bear and one cub escaped to another part of town, where they were later captured by forest rangers and returned to the wild, but one bear cub climbed a sycamore tree on the square and remained there for several hours as rangers and other locals tried to coax it back down to the ground…
Several shootings lately. Today it’s in Virginia at a Richmond Greyhound Bus Terminal.
Fortunately, no need to panic. As quick as you can scream “Active shooter, shelter in place!” the news stations pounced, emphatically stating “this is not terrorism!”
Whew, for a minute I thought this was something serious.
The local news and CBS categorically stated “There is no link to terrorism that we know of….
remembering it is over
Governor Phil Bryant caused something of a stir in February when he signed a proclamation declaring April to be “Confederate Heritage Month” in Mississippi.
Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal made no such proclamation, but he didn’t need to. The Georgia General Assembly already took care of this back in 2009, when it legislated that “the month of April of each year is hereby designated as Confederate History and Heritage Month and shall be set aside to honor, observe, and celebrate the Confederate States of America…
guns on campus
According to recent reports, members of the Georgia General Assembly are scrambling to respond to Governor Deal’s reservations about HB 859, the “campus carry” bill, now on his desk. The bill permits students at least 21 years old with concealed weapons permits to possess firearms anywhere on the state’s public college campuses except residence halls, fraternities, sororities, and athletic events.
It’s no wonder legislators are confused. A couple of weeks ago, Governor Deal airily dismissed arguments against the legislation as “lacking validity.” In recent days, however, he’s become persuaded that the bill has to be substantially revised…
killing of jimmy dixon
“First, about the sharecropper,” he had begun “The only few years for which I can say much about it was in the 1940s. It was a tough life at our house. A world of make-do, hand-me-downs, and home-made clothing mom put together on a foot-powered sewing machine. A Mason Rotary that her mom — my grandmother — had owned before she died, when mom was just sixteen.
“Our two mules, Doll and Kate, were coarse and creative, and always unrepentant bullies. And the equipment — plows and cultivators, among other things — were worn-out and unreliable. Then there was the weather…
jury of peers to decide
St. Petersburg – The $100 million Hulk Hogan sex video case, upon which all freedom of speech in the Internet Age is said to hang, appeared to take a sudden turn Thursday morning in the direction of making all celebrity sex videos fair game for the worldwide web.
An appeals court ruled that FBI files had to be unsealed and made public and these files were rumored to be so devastating they would destroy Hogan’s case against the gossip site he is suing, Gawker, for posting a video in 2012 of him having sex with the wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge.
reality came charging
Jesse and Peetsy had seen them a few weeks before, on a Sunday, in front of the town’s only theater. They had walked by while the boys were checking out the posters in front. It was always closed on Sunday; the preachers had seen to it. The whole town seemed desolate. No one else was even walking around in the two blocks that shared the traffic light. No cars were parked on the streets and only an accidental one would pass through…
stranger than fiction
St. Petersburg – When Hulk Hogan, the former professional wrestler whose real name is Terry Bollea, took the witness stand Tuesday in his $100 million civil trial against the gossip site Gawker, there’s a good chance he wasn’t expecting to have to admit under oath he doesn’t have a 10-inch penis.
But, on the other hand, in this suit, who knows?
Maybe lawyers had prepped him.
or i scream
It’s not quite springtime yet, but this unusually warm winter appears to have begun transitioning into an early spring. Tree buds are popping out throughout town, and the weather is turning downright balmy. With that warmer weather come thoughts of our favorite cold, creamy concoction: ice cream. And thoughts of ice cream – a food product with which I have the love/hate relationship of the Perpetually On Guard Against Chubbiness – always remind me of a summer long ago.
like no one else
Writer Pat Conroy, who died Friday night, had a way with words that can only be described as an incredible gift. Perhaps no one more aptly painted word pictures of love, loss, beauty, yearning, pain, grief and aspiration.
Whether fiction or memoir, Conroy could tell a story like no one else. Just read his ebullient description of the inimitable author and chef Nathalie Dupree, the subject of the first chapter of his cookbook, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life: “Nathalie’s voice is deep and musical and seductive…
protecting our coast
Imagine going into the barbershop for a trim and coming out with a shaved head and a couple of missing ears. That’s about what happened to the storied Marshes of Glynn along the Jekyll Island Causeway. The barber of Jekyll Island, with an assist from the Georgia Department of Do Not Respect, has taken his shears to the Causeway to “trim” the place up.
A letter from one Karl Burgess, in the Coastal Resources Division, acknowledged the trimming plan, but apparently failed to mention that the assistants he was going to provide were novices at their jobs.
keeping us poor
Most of you know the feeling. You could lose a few pounds and you wish your clothes fit better, but you feel pretty good – still young, still vibrant. And then you see a recent photo.
It’s like that. For a native son and life-long southerner (excepting two years in Cleveland, OH), the Distressed Communities Index (DCI) map published Thursday in a report by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is profoundly troubling.
Dark reds are the most economically distressed communities; dark green are most prosperous. The ranking scale and methodology are explained on the EIG website, where you can also find the full report.
I know two nice guys from San Antonio and Nashville who recently wrote a cookbook on enchiladas. Cappy Lawton and his family have founded many restaurants in Texas, and presently own three in San Antonio; including La Fonda on Main which features many of the dishes from the cookbook. Chris Waters Dunn loves country music, but is presently more interested in honing his culinary skills.
The Myth. Of all the traditions associated with Georgia’s tradition-rich Jekyll Island, none is more durable than its being at the eye of controversy, the latest stoked by the Jekyll Island Authority’s ongoing redevelopment program. The complaints, simmering in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Internet web sites and elsewhere, feature invocations of M. E. Thompson, who, as acting governor, acquired the island for the state. The knock is that the Jekyll Island Authority’s management of the island is a betrayal of Thompson’s populist vision of Jekyll Island as “a state park for the plain people of Georgia.”
sho’ ‘nuff yummy
There is an old story about the ten-year old Alabama boy, Junior, who had never spoken a word in his life. Then, one morning at the breakfast table, the lad suddenly blurted out, greatly annoyed, “Mama, you’ve burned these here biscuits!”
His mother and the rest of the family were dumbstruck. After she regained her composure, the mother said, “Praise the lord, Junior – those were the first words you’ve ever spoken; you’ve never said anything before.”
Junior frowned at her and said, “Well, Mama, up ’til now, everything’s been all right!”
ice cream trucks
As the northern hemisphere sinks slowly into increased darkness and a long cold winter the southern hemisphere is waking up to the sounds of spring and summer. The birds and the bees are happy, the gardens have come alive and the grass has started growing again. Families are heading for the parks and beaches to enjoy the warm days. The sounds of lawn mowers, edge trimmers, leaf blowers and chain saws fill the air.
free market vs. fair play
Sometimes communities get hung up over relatively trivial activities. Take what is happening in North Kansas City, Mo. This suburb, surrounded by the larger Midwest area, has a 2013 population of 4,319, smaller than most of the cities near me in Gwinnett County, Ga. It’s relatively small, only 4.63 square miles, and two miles from downtown Kansas City. There’s a casino in town, and the biggest employers is Cerner, a major health care giant founded in North Kansas City. The issue that has people in North Kansas City talking is food trucks…
Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not.
“Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could make the case that eating ANYTHING, including alfalfa sprouts, contributes to weight gain,” said a Coca-Cola spokesman…
A long time ago in a place far away early explorers were sent to find a safe route through the mountains to a beautiful valley on the other side. As the explorers attempted to cross a flooded river on a wild and windy night their strongest horse drowned while trying to get the rider safely across the raging waters. When convict gangs were later sent to construct a bridge over the river they swore that on stormy nights they could see the ghost of the horse galloping across the countryside.
a clark & poland special
Robert Clark and I were on the road running down a story, a story about land, a farmhouse, and tomatoes, a story of war, old ways, and survivors of sorts. On a hot, humid July morning we abandoned I-20 for Longs Pond Road and after a back road or two arrived at a farmhouse near the community of Boiling Springs. Two big blackjack oaks stood out front. Out back, a handsome, clapboard smokehouse looked lonely, its fellow outbuildings long-fallen comrades…
not eatin’ that
No one in his right damn mind pays “you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me” prices to see a movie — even if it is an advance showing of a major motion picture. I’m willing today because this little excursion is part of my scheme to throw some serious ‘shade’ –- and some serious ‘cool’ –on a despicably hot summer day. I’ve come to the mall multiplex to match wits with Tom Cruise, to see if I can keep up with the on-screen goings-on in the latest installment of Mission Impossible.
Just within the mall, but outside the cinema, the conditioned air smells of popcorn and pastry. ‘Hot buttered’ emanates from the theatre; ‘Eau de Cinnabon’ oozes from the adjacent food court…