Monday, June 30, 2014

Nighttime In Tybee -Part 2

My affinity with morning goes back to when I was a kid, maybe.  We were sleeping out, maybe at Sponsler's and I woke up just before the sun came out and I was mesmerized by the sky.  I could see everything millions of miles away.  The dampness of dew,  a young mind imagining the endlessness of space.  The clarity of the stars.  Was I the only one up witnessing this spectacular view.  Young eyes looking at the vastness of space, all the stars and I'm sure I thought it was the neatest time of day: when you could see two worlds, so to speak.  Of course, the solitude and quiet of morning suits my personality, too.  Like I said a few days ago, it's like cheating, you get a head start on everyone else.  Time to do whatever needs done without rushing, without frantic clock-watching.  

So here I am, on Tybee Island, magic box in hand, with a whole ocean in front of me, a lighthouse in the back, and a quiet solitude that washes over me.  It is one of those rare perfect times.  To think, to witness, to step back and see a wondrous thing: sunrise over the Atlantic, a new place, new smells. 

But before that happens, let's take another picture of my surroundings.  That's the Beach Grille in the back, it's parking lot, and I am standing on the wooden walkway to the beach.  The red light in the back is atop the water tower.  I'm not real sure what it's configuration is, but it is not a single light perched on top like you would expect, but a larger, longer kind of thing that serves an unknown purpose to me.  

And now the coming of a new day.

This is Fort Screven, just next to the Beach Grille, and serves as a museum for Tybee Island.  Paying one's fees for the lighthouse gets you free admission to the museum and Jeff and I took advantage of the opportunity.  Tybee citizens can be proud of their museum, they have down a nice job.     

Fort Screven was one of four coastal battery forts built on Tybee in 1887 for the defense of Savannah.  They were built during the Spanish-American War and were finished just before the end of those hostilities.  Some of the guns would be removed and shipped overseas during WWI.  By 1924 it ceased to be an artillery outpost and was ceded to the city at the end of World War II.  During the second war it was used primarily as a deep sea diving training school to aide in damaged ports and harbors.

This is the warm and welcoming home of the Sutor's.  Like many houses in Tybee it is built on blocks, or stilts, to insure it's safety in blows.  But Tybee is one of those lucky places along the East Coast.  It hasn't taken a direct hit from a Category 3 or more hurricane since 1893.  
Besides, no storm is going to encroach on you guys with those two vicious hounds patrolling the perimeter.  

Lily and Teddi in Time-out.  

We left Tybee after a great breakfast at the Breakfast Club.  Open only a few hours this is the place to go but be prepared to wait to get in. The line can stretch quite a ways on Sundays, and like Carville said, kind of, "…it's the food, dummy."  The decor is, well, Mid-50's Seaton, and the patrons don't put on any airs.  Flip-flops, sunglasses turned around so they are perched on the back of the head rather than to the front, and well, you get the idea.  Just a "down-home" kind of place that serves great food.  

We would head out in a little while, head South to Florida and be home by mid afternoon, full of great memories and a plan to return soon.  Savannah + Tybee + The Sutors = A great Time.      

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flashback Friday

In the time I worked at MDH, we were not without staff tragedy.  Today, we revisit some of the people who helped me in my shifts and in some cases outside of work as well.  These people have  passed away and remain in my thoughts. 



There have been some people along the way who I worked with at the Mary Davis Home who I liked, and in some cases liked a whole lot.  In the "whole lot" area was this guy, Mike Johnson who possessed a keen wit, hearty laugh, was devilishly mischievous, and an all-around great, great guy.  He was a guy's guy - a best friend type who everyone likes and who makes you feel like the most important person in the room.  he helped me move once, helped me re-do a boxcar I lived in on Bateman Street in G-Burg, helped me drink some beer, and made my place his first stop on Friday's before going home.  We golfed, fished, sat around and told lies and jokes and made like we were the two greatest studs on earth.  His wife, Pat, is still one of my top buds around and I stay with her when I'm up North.  After Mike died we organized a golf tournament that went on for about 5 or six years and gave the proceeds to the American Heart Association.  The demands on Mike's heart was too much: too many friends, too many laughs, too many cigarettes and it gave out.  I have told the story a few times that we all went to a smoking cessation class at Cottage Hospital, and one of the first things we did was to walk up and throw our cigs in the trash can - a symbolic gesture but also one of emotionally letting go.  It was tough but Mike and I tossed ours and returned to our seats. After a half hour of talking by various professionals they gave us a brief break.  I went into the bathroom with Mike and I'll be damned if he didn't pull out a pack and light one up.  t was a lot easier letting go my cigs than letting go of Mike - I'm not sure I've done it yet, maybe I never will.      


Marilyn Tapper was a counselor at MDH and was married to Alan.  Alan worked on the railroad and they had a couple horses on a little ranchette out in the country near Wataga.  Alan passed away a few years ago.  Back in the early days of MDH we did a lot of partying together and in the quintessential way many refer to co-workers, we were family.   Marilyn was one of my favorites - an exceptional Counselor who had uncanny insight into kids and what was happening on any given shift.   


Jerry Carlton was a character.  An old Navy man, he had a restaurant in Knoxville for years and when it closed became a Counselor.  I never knew anyone who cared more about the kids, and I never knew a more stubborn co-worker.  I don't know how many time I had to haul him in my office for a mid-course correction or downright "come-to-Jesus" talk, but damned if he still wouldn't go out and do it his way again.   You could say Jerry did things his way, but you couldn't say he didn't care.  He went above and beyond on so many things that often he'd put all of us to shame for his hard work and willingness to put in extra time on anything.  I wouldn't have wanted 10 of him, but we were all the better for having one.  Rest well, Jerry, you've earned it.  


Robin McFadden came to MDH as a Counselor from the Macomb area.  Hard working and funny, she had a great way with the female clients.  She could make them feel like she was just another kid over chatting about stuff and this quality enabled her to make a real impact in their lives.  In one of those office-romance-type thingies, she married one of the original Counselors when I was hired, Jim Glasnovich and they eventually took off for Florida.  They had a couple kids, but Robin had some demons and got hooked on something she couldn't shake and passed away about 7 or 8 years ago.     


Terry was a transportation officer and part-timer who filled in here and there.  A thankless schedule but the above picture really embodies her humor and spirit.  Friend of most, she was a vital part of our staff and even in her long illness, she never lost her laugh or ability to switch the conversation from herself to others.  I never ever heard anyone say anything disparaging about her.  Damn neat lady.  


Judy Kelly worked nights when I started and was about the smallest little thing I'd ever seen.  She was real quiet to go along with that little body, but when she had to I've seen her lay into some kids with the ferocity and loudness of a professional wrestler.    I never knew anything ever bad happened on her shifts - she simply didn't allow it.  


Florence Billings was the cook when I first started.  She never measured anything but never ruined anything either.  She would get her work done and then retire to the Staff lounge to hold court. And I mean funny as Hell.  She'd get talking about people and things and have all of us rolling.  Most of us drove beaters but she always had a new Lincoln.  For awhile I'd go in extra early so I could get in on the Flo and Chuck Potter show.  I don't know if it was a friendly or unfriendly rivalry they had but it was there nonetheless and to see those two go at it was something to watch.  Chuck worked the night shift and they'd go back and forth, usually about how much money they both had.  Kind of like, "I wipe my ass with $20 dollar bills", sort of stuff.  Yeah, unprofessional, profane and unbecoming at times, but funny, yeah, sure was.  Kind of like having Phyllis Diller and Sam Kinneson doing their best Don Rickles.  Flo died around 2002 and I'm not sure about Chuck.  

Life keeps going.  People come in and out of your sphere, they move on to other things, quit and sometimes pass away.  The folks above passed away and for awhile were very much a part of my life.  I miss them and wish them well, and think of them from time to time as part of a kind of community, that made me part of something, the Mary Davis Home.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Night Time In Tybee - Part 1

Tybee has a population of around 6,000 and is 12 miles away from Savannah so there is a lot less ambient light here than I have to deal with in St. Pete.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get up early and wander over to the lighthouse and beach area that is only two or three blocks away.

This shot was from the walkway on the beach.  Those lights out there help guide ships out to the sea lanes.  I'm not a harbor pilot but I play one on this blog.

Actually, I was somewhat astounded by the number of lights out in the Atlantic. There are no islands or islets out there, so I have no idea what the bright thing is in the center of this picture.  But the setting was so quiet and serene.  I love this time of day, before everyone gets going and the day starts.  Before the obligations and the dullness.  My dad jokingly called it the shank of the day.  Regardless, the darkness of the sky with the looming, almost wistful coming of light is the stuff of poetry.   

Turning around from the above setting and this is where I was.  The lighthouse, of course, and that lighted area is a parking lot to a restaurant and bar establishment.  

I then spent some time trying to get a good night shot of the Lighthouse.  

A shot of the Lighthouse and the keeper homes.  The homes have been restored to period accuracy if not actual original.  

Here are some shots of the keeper homes' interiors I took. 

That is the Moon perched on a pole sitting atop the Fort Screven, which is now a Lighthouse and Tybee area museum.

Around 5:45 am I left this area and wandered back to the Sutor residence.  I knew Jeff would be walking the pooches at 6:00, and I made it just in time to join them.  You know, thinking about that picture above, the cutesy moon perched on the pole, well, I'm kind of sorry I took that.  It is a cheap and obvious knock-off of what is passing these days as artsy pictures.  I'm not too sorry to take it down, however.  Just because it is derivatively shallow doesn't mean it doesn't have a dollop of whimsy.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bonaventure - Part 3

This is our third trip through Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.  This time I really will keep still as you scroll through the pictures.  

Tours proliferate throughout the cemetery and perhaps next time it might be worth it.  One other thing to note:  they also offer 2 hour midnight tours.  I'd love that one.   

 "Bonaventure", as one guy wrote, "is a good place to die."  He travelled many weeks to get here, and then committed suicide.  What a grand time checking out this place.  Needless to say, if you are ever around Savannah,  there is so much to see and do.  But be sure to find the time to wander around Bonaventure Cemetery.