Posted in In Our Own Backyard

Touring Savannah’s City Hall, Y’all

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Every First Tuesday Savannah’s City Hall opens its doors for free tours.  I know, I know, touring City Hall doesn’t sound like the most exciting entertainment venue around.  But hold on just a second, compadre.  After a hefty helping of Gabriella’s Zesty Chicken (on mashed potatoes) at Zunzi’s, I wobbled down Bull Street, remembering just in time to look up before I reached the river, and saw this …

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… Savannah’s incredibly beautiful City Hall.

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Completed in 1905 …

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… City Hall features two figures who adorn the front, just below the clock and gold dome.  And those two pretty ladies represent Commerce and Art.  If you know anything about Savannah, you will find those figures so, so timely.  Because what was true in 1905 is certainly true today:  Savannah is both a big business city (Savannah Port and Gulfstream, for example) as well as a cultured, artistic town (SCAD, Savannah Music Festival, festivals galore).

Come along.

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The original clockwork is now in the lobby:

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I really loved the wood floor.

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Looking up to the interior stain glass dome:

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Some important Savannahian.  (I want a bust made of me.  Where can you go to get that done?  Hobby Lobby?  Michael’s?)

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The plaque below looked historically official, so I stood there trying to read it to make people think I’m smart and all, but then I started daydreaming about the Vanilla Taffy down at River Street Sweets, so I took a picture of the plaque (which sorta still made me look smart because why else would you take a picture?).

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Here I am with the really interesting tour guide (and SCAD grad), Luciana Spracher.  She knew her stuff!

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Did you know Savannah has a flag?

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View from a back window of city hall:

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Very cool open style elevator cage:

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Something important looking:

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I pretended to know the mayor.  But you can only stand in front of her office for so long before people start to wonder what you’re doing.

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TANGENT:  A couple of months ago, I attended an event at the Savannah Civic Center with our mayor, Edna Jackson.

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Okay, okay, maybe I wasn’t exactly with the mayor, but you can’t tell that from the above photo with her and Savannah State’s President, Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier.

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Luciana led us into the Savannah City Council chambers.  For some reason I just got so excited.

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Here I am sitting at the mayor’s desk.  (Does she know people do this?)

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What a fun (and educational) tour!  Thanks, Luciana.

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I Love Savannah!

Posted in In Our Own Backyard

88 Reasons to Love the Carters

Last night I drove through the monsoon up to my old stomping ground, Georgia Southern University, to hear former President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter speak.

“An Evening with the Carters: A Conversation with the Former President and First Lady”

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Oh. My. Goodness. What an incredibly encouraging evening. Did you know that President Carter is 88 years of age? And going stronger than ever! (I’m just … “39” yet had to detour through Wendy’s drive-thru and grab a #1 with cheese just to get enough energy to calm my rain-soaked nerves and waddle into the Hanner Gym in some measure of consciousness.)

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I loved how the Carters were both entertaining and issues-specific on point. They divided the evening into segments of their life journey–with the President talking about their early years before the White House, followed by Mrs. Carter discussing their years in Washington. They then took turns sharing about their work with The Carter Center in Atlanta, dealing with many issues which other organizations don’t touch (eradication of tropical diseases, for example). The packed house interrupted the talk with applause at least a dozen times–and deservedly so. President Carter kept emphasizing the dire need for a return to non-partisan cooperation in our political world, as well as the responsiblity that each of us has to hold our politicians responsible for the decisions they make and the laws they pass.

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They seemed SO real, SO logical, SO much in touch with the possibility of changing the world into a better, healthier place.

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The coolest part of the evening: how this couple, who have been married over 60 years, kept deferring to one another. Their respect and love for each other came though so very clearly. (“Asking Rosalynn to marry me was the best decision I ever made.”) (“I grieved when Jimmy wasn’t re-elected. I know he would have been a better president than the one who won.”)

I sat next to this friendly, talkative couple, Leon and Morrie Shelkoff. Morrie is a school teacher, and Leon ran Leon’s Menswear in the Statesboro Mall for thirty years. They exuded happiness–look at those smiles!

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I drove back down I-16 to Savannah with buoyed spirits and a joyful respect for compassionate leadership.

(P.S. I met then-Governor Carter at a Governor’s Honors Luncheon way back when I was in high school. Even as a teenager, I had great admiration for the man.)

Posted in In Our Own Backyard, Where Happiness Finds You

Mr. Happy Goes to Charleston: A Photo Essay

Some of you may remember Mr. Happy (who is sort of my blog mascot).  Technically he is jointly owned by me AND grandson Daniel.  He lives in the back seat of my car (Mr. Happy, not Daniel) and helps me pick up Daniel from kindergarten a couple of days a week.

For months now, Mr. Happy has been nagging me for a train ride to Charleston, so early last Saturday morning, we hopped on board the 8:15 Amtrak bound for a one-night stay in the Holy City.

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Less than two hours later, we arrived  in beautiful Charleston, SC. (sister city of my hometown of Savannah).

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From the station, our Charleston taxi driver (who “drove” like a wild New York cabbie) whisked us to our hotel, the Best Western King Charles Inn in the historic district ( a very nice hotel–stay there sometime).

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The folks at the hotel treated us like royalty–especially Michael, Rhonda and Richard–and even gave us a beautiful upgrade … with rocking chairs on a balcony:

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After reading up on some sites to visit, Mr. Happy and I hit the road walking.

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We learned a bucketful of area history from guide extraordinaire Boyd Schuler when we toured the historic Edmondston-Alston House on the Battery overlooking the bay.

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I want that house to be MY house!  (If you have about four million extra dollars, please PayPal it to me ASAP.  Thank you.)

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We devoured some DElicious seafood at Hank’s.

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Went back to the hotel for a little rest …

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… before going to Godiva’s for some high-end chocolate.  Here’s Becky telling us about the latest Godiva and Charleston news:

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And co-worker Chris making chocolate strawberry footballs (WHY couldn’t the Falcons have won!!!):

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More touristing (is that an okay word?):

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And here we are at the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street.

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Pretending to preach:

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Time to go.

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A really fun trip for both of us.  See you next time.

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