Posted in Holiday Joy, Savannah Joy

Neal’s Post from the Past: ”A Savannah Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration”

A post from about a decade ago. What was I thinking with my outfit for the day?!

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Anyone who has been to Savannah on or around March 17 knows that Saint Patrick’s Day is a pretty …

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… in this city! From the Greening of the Fountain and Tara Feis onward, Savannah embraces its Irishness, shamrocks growing and showing up everywhere, an already diverse and fesitval-driven city photosynthetically converting excited energy into green Gaelic joy. And since 2013 St. Paddy Day was Sunday, Savannah opted to hold its primary celebration on Saturday with the parade (the nation’s second largest), River Street revelry and other merrymaking events.

Since Yours Truly lives DIRECTLY on the parade route along Abercorn Street, and since some green Irish blood flows through my veins (Saye =”one who lives by the sea”), I decided to host a little parade-viewing party.

Party Prep Notes For some reason I will never fully grasp, I decided to make Cabbage and Ham in the Crock Pot (or as I call it, Beverly Hillbilly-ishly, “the Slow-Cooking Pot”).   

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Now cabbage sounds fine, and even a bit Irish, until you understand that my place is a little under 800 square feet, positioned at the front of a beautiful old building completed in the 1800’s.  Well, the slow-cooking cabbage produced a Rather Strong Aroma (try not to imagine it), first in my apartment, then wafting across the hall to my next door neighbor and fellow party hostess Audrey’s place, then throughout the entire old building, and probably up and down the parade route and on to the South Carolina border across the river.  People were so nice and pretended that the smell made the party more “Irish authentic.”  But a bunch of folks had drinks in their hands, so I’m not at all certain their sensory perception was on target.  AND I noticed they would get a bowlful of steaming, fragrant cabbage and then quickly run out the door to see the next band or float they “had been waiting on.”

Here’s me helping to set up the area for guests to sit and watch the parade outside my building (my windows have the St. Patty tacky shamrock cutouts and green garlands).

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Before the parade started, I made a quick tour of the squares close to me.  A few sights:

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I met some cool green-clad new friends:

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I found this pretty lady pirouetting in front of my apt, so of course I had to get my pic with her:

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Here’s across-the-hall stylish neighbor Audrey:

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And here’s party guest/good buddy Ellie and her brother encouraging the crowd:

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I wish I was brave enough to dance in the street!

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Hip green-haired son/father duo Ethan and Kevin:

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Former Everyday Creative Writing Student Jaymes stopped by for a while.  (He knows what’s rocking in Savannah.)

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Buddies Rich and Edward (who brought party-hit basil lemonade):

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Cool St. Patty Baby:

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Made great new friends with some folks visiting from Maryland and staying in the vacation rentals in my building (so of course they were party guests too)–Kathy and Karen with their husbands.  And don’t they look SO Saint Patricky?

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Preparing to kiss the parade marching men:

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(Public Service Announcement:  I think I will rent out my place next year for St. Paddy Day.  Is $2000 for the holiday too much?  I plan to include a HUGE bowl of frozen-but-on-the-table-in-a-jiffy Authentic Irish Cabbage and Ham.)

New kayaking friend Tom with Edward, Rich and me:

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Church buddy Diane with Rich, Edward, Robert, Jaymes and me:

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Good friend Zach and brother Josh marching in the parade (marching, that is, before I ran out into the street and made them stop).  Their Irish family has been in the parade for something like 1000 years.

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What a wonderfully fun Savannah Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration!

But sitting here after the parade, I started to worry:  “What if my Crock Pot Cabbage Smell keeps those hundreds of thousands of visitors from coming back to Savannah next year?  Can they trace it all back to me?”

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Posted in Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “A Label-Free World”

Hello out there. I did this blog post quite a while ago, but thought in today’s adversarial political and cultural environment, it might be relevant. We (okay, I!) judge others much too quickly.

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Let’s try, in this new year with relatively few mistakes in it so far, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to refuse to label somebody or some thing based on initial interactions or our preconceived notions.

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What an incredible truth!  (And, oh gosh, how it indicts me.)

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I LOVE this short video about labeling:

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Let’s try to make it a label-free year (at least for you and me).

Posted in Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “This Road”

A poetic post from back in 2014.

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Each Monday morning, my former colleague Eric Nelson up the road at Georgia Southern University posts a poem on the departmental listserv.  I love today’s.  It feels a little “The Road Not Taken”-ish but with a twist of its own.

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What If This Road

— by Sheenagh Pugh

What if this road, that has held no surprises

these many years, decided not to go

home after all; what if it could turn

left or right with no more ado

than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin

were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,

that is shaken and rolled out, and takes

a new shape from the contours beneath?

And if it chose to lay itself down

in a new way; around a blind corner,

across hills you must climb without knowing

what’s on the other side; who would not hanker

to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know

a story’s end, or where a road will go?

— from What If This Road and Other Poems (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2003)

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Posted in Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “The Smile — and Happiness Shared”

Here’s a post from back in 2014 about the power of a simple smile.

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The students in my English 123 (Freshman Composition) classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) are doing what I call Visual Essays in this, their next-to-the-last week of Fall Quarter 2014. We read two books this term, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist and Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier, both relating to our course theme of “Happiness and the Exploration of Joy.” The Visual Essay project invites the students to MAKE, rather than write, their papers. Traditional essay requirements are still required: a focus and thesis, structure, detail and support, etc. But this essay morphs into a drawing or painting, a sculpture, a collage, a video, a food, etc. Basically this project is a visual representation of one topic narrowed into a clear thesis/perspective/idea. The challenge: how to “show” their thesis.

Debora Jacob (from Brazil) went to Forsyth Park here in Savannah last Saturday.  Here’s her Visual Essay titled “Happiness Shared” on the topic of the smile and its significance.

Thanks for the encouragement, Debora.

Let’s all SMILE more often.

Posted in Five Friday Happy Bringers

Five Friday Happy Bringers: 1/14/22

1. A birthday greeting/art work from a buddy In Arizona.

2. Pretending that I have a clue about what to do with my new hand-me-down Apple Watch. I remember when a watch just told you the time.

3. The joy of simply waking up in the morning.

4. Chocolate on my fork.

5. Cornbread.

Especially when it’s made in my grandmother’s cast-iron skillet.

Weekend Joy to you all!

Posted in Encouragement, Throwback Thursday, Neal’s Post from the Past

Neal’s Post from the Past: “Top Ten Happiness Questions”

Here’s an old post from my blog back in 2014, when I was semi-retired, teaching as an adjunct at Savannah College of Art and Design. I recently looked at it as 2022 made its way into our lives. May these questions be an encouragement to you.

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This past fall term at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), where I teach composition to international students, my course topic was Happiness Studies.

Each week, I introduced a new question, which I told the students had the potential to make them happier–IF they took the time to ask and then answer the question.

Here are the ten questions.  I challenge you to ask them to yourself whenever you need a dose of joy.

Dr. Saye’s Top Ten Happiness Questions

1.  Just how important is it?

2.  Do I realize that I can choose to think a thought that feels better?

3.  Why do I sometimes try to control other people? That’s really not my job.

4.  What do I see RIGHT NOW that is beautiful?

5.  Who has helped me recently?

6.  What is a good holiday memory?

7.  What do I really, really love?

8.  Do I realize that I can take three deep breaths right now and center myself? My breath is my life.

9.  Who can I be a blessing to in the next hour or so? How can I do that? 

10.  Am I paying attention to NOW (and not wasting time regretting the past or worrying about the future)?

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I encourage you to print these questions, put them up some place where you can easily see them, and start asking.

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