Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Open Containers in Savannah...

It's been a while since I've been in Savannah which is silly.

Hey, it's an easy drive. The Lowcountry scenic marshes of the ACE Basin are delightful and apparently there are very few police cars on the highways.

The two we did see ticketing someone were driving unmarked cars.

One was a bright red Mustang, festooned with discreetly-placed flashing blue lights.

Not behind me fortunately.

I had forgotten that - just like in  New Orleans - you can walk around with a plastic cup filled with adult beverages.

I recall carrying around wine during the art walks in the (other) French Quarter in Charleston a few years ago.

It was soon banned outdoors but you could still have wine inside a gallery.

Last week I did a Brewery Crawl up in Charlotte and have had a lot of craft beer experiences so, this time I stopped for a cold "normal" one in World Of Beer.

Literally saw bottles from Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Czech Republic.

The large bottle of Chimay Ale towered over the others and poked its neck up through the next level.

 As soon as we got to the room on the 6th floor of the Hyatt, we looked out and saw a very large container ship, cruising past the River walk, headed for the port.

As they passed, crew members were waving, laughing and anticipating shore leave after crossing the Atlantic.

A ship from Shanghai takes only about 13 - 15 days to reach a West Coast port.

Checking this out, I found that arriving at an East Coast port, like Charleston and Savannah, goes on and on for 30 to 40 days, depending on where it leaves from, what's being shipped, the type of vessel and, of course, the weather.

The large ships average  about 480 miles a day when at sea.

So these crewmen were ready for some dry land and wet beverages.

The Market Square area - and all of the Historic District -  was packed. The streets were filled with crowds milling around and moving in clusters. Sidewalks were filled. I almost spilled some of my beer.

Proud parents with their new graduates sons and daughters.
A few young men were sporting black, square, tasseled mortar boards, while relaxing in t-shirts and shorts.

Bachelorette parties, people pedaling hard on a movable bicycle-powered bar, singing as loud as they could.

Speaking of singing, that was what drew me to Savannah this Saturday before Mother's Day.

Years ago, back around 2002, I went to a Lyle Lovett concert and he brought out a Blues singer named Francine Reed.

He later appeared on one of her records as did Delbert McClinton.

She has a voice, born to sing the Blues.

Ms Reed plays close to Atlanta and seldom tours outside the state, so I was hungry to hear her again.

That night I would sit in the audience and enjoy her songs in Springfield, Georgia, at the totally restored Mars Theatre.

It was about a 25 mile drive there, and the sunset looked promising, but the sun would dip after her show started.

We were about 45 minutes early so we cruised along the Main Street, looking for a place to get a quick sandwich.

Got a beer and fries at a crowded, popular sports bar/diner called Gaffney's Cheap Seats and hurried back to the theatre.

As we parked, I was pretty sure I saw her and some band members standing off to the side, not quite ready to head in.

Obviously I am a shy person but we introduced ourselves as big fans and said we had driven down from Charleston to see her show.

She wanted to know how long it took us and I said about 2 1/2 hours. Ms. Reed smiled and said she would sing real nice for us.

Then she posed with us for a few pictures.

Inside we got popcorn and a beer (it was a theatre so naturally there was popcorn) and took our seats down front.

She was welcomed and introduced by Tommy Deadwyler, Director of Cultural Affairs for Springfield.

He referred to the restored Mars Theatre as "a big gem in a small town."
Opened in 1945, it flourished until 1957 when television diminished the audience.

It sat vacant until the City of Springfield, with a grant from the Fox Theatre Institute, spent 7 years restoring it and it opened again last year in April.

That added to my appreciation of the setting and the Trio opened with a few songs before Francine Reed took the stage.

It is so nice to hear talented people play and sing. The room was good and the sound was excellent.

Each of the band had their solo and was richly applauded.

She was in fine voice - a bit gravelly in just the right places -  as she sang stories of love and adapting to what life throws at you.

"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" was a favorite I had liked from before. It was written by Bette Midler and Ms. Reed owns it.

"My baby jumped up this morning,
sat on the side of the bed.
He said, "I'm leaving you, baby."
And this is just what I said.
I said, "I can't make you stay if you want to go,
but it's high time , baby, that you should know,
One monkey don't stop no show,
One monkey don't stop no show.
So, if you still wanna go, go ahead, 
and I mean every word I said."
My baby thought I was jivin'
and he went right out the door.
He left me about three in the morning,
I got me a man at four."

She pleased us again with "Wild Women Don't Get The Blues, "Been There, Done That" and many others and the 2-hour show flew by.

At one point she said "I just love the smell of popcorn. Could I have some...and a beer?"

The next morning was Mother's Day and many ladies were treated to a lavish buffet in the atrium lobby of the Hyatt.

There were two carving stations and piles and piles of oysters and shrimp.

The streets were quiet and the parking garage that was packed to the gills the night before was now almost totally deserted.
As we were leaving. so was another container ship.

One had arrived when we did so another was heading out, down the channel toward the  broad Atlantic.

Hope the offshore tropical storm Ana did not cause them any grief.

We had sunshine and clouds but no rain.

Leaving Savannah on US 17 North, we quickly were back in South Carolina.

The first ubiquitous fireworks stand had a compelling reason to pull over to take a picture.

Actually two reasons. Shouldn't there be a donkey to have equal time?

But this trip was more about music than alcohol so I didn't worry seeing a pink elephant the morning after.

Enjoy in moderation.

And, do catch a show by Francine Reed. Most likely at Blind Willies in Atlanta.

Unless the Charleston Music Hall can get her to drop in.

I'd go again.

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