Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hey, I've posted 1000 posts!! Or so the chart in the back room of the Shoe told me right before I came onstage here.

We're having a great time in Savannah. Paul and I never do this sort of thing, just doing the relaxing tourist thing among busloads of retired folks in pastel capris and polo shirts and sunglasses or umbrellas. Last night we ate at a little sidewalk cafe. This is not something we do. But we did. Ah, the memories.

Today we toured the old Catholic church and the Jewish temple, both built in the same Gothic style. Just a few months after the colony was formed here, a boatload of 42 Jews from Spain and Portugal sailed in, looking for a safe place to settle. The small community here was dying of dysentery and typhoid and other swamp diseases, and the doctor on the ship saved their lives. Some six months later the word came from General Oglethorpe's supervisor that he was not to let Jews settle in Savannah. (Or Catholics or lawyers) He said, Too Bad For You, they're already here.

It's no wonder there were swamp diseases here. The Low Country, they call it. The elevation is about 2 feet, with scummy little canals here and there around town and if you go driving out of town it seems like most of the land beside the road is damp and marshy. And probably alive with alligators and rattlesnakes. "RATTLESNAKE ROUNDUP" advertise a few billboards along the main highway. It's in March. We don't plan to attend.

We spent some time on the riverfront today, where the Savannah River comes in off the ocean and brings monstrosities of ocean vessels with it. It gave me quite a turn when I looked down the street the first day and at the end were these three-story buildings and behind them was another building but it was moving slowly sideways. It was a big merchant ship from afar of course.

Along the riverfront is the old cotton shipping district, where the "factors" or brokers worked in a long row of brick buildings and workers took 400-lb bales of cotton down the cobbled streets to the ships. The streets and walls are made of stone that used to come from England as ballast for the empty ships, which would then unload the stones and reload the ships with cotton and send it back to the mills as per North and South, that Elizabeth Gaskell book I just read. And then the locals would use the stones to pave the roads and stuff.

We haven't heard as much of that deep Southern drawl as I was hoping. Are all the tour guides transplants from elsewhere or what?

But both the host and waitress at the seafood restaurant this evening had teeth missing, which must mean something profound about the culture.

We are staying at the Hilton which is wonderful but has its drawbacks if you are frugal Mennonites from Oregon, but that is a subject for another day.

Quote of the Day:
"Fun Family Festival!!"
--the billboard about the Rattlesnake Roundup


  1. Yes, I know about the drawbacks of expensive hotels. They gouge you every which way.

  2. I'm wondering what profound thing the missing teeth tell you about the culture?
    If you are not hearing the southern drawl you are doing too many 'touristy' things and not experiencing reality.
    Please do see the squares while you are in this lovely city - although this time of year that part of GA does not shine like it will in about a month when all the azaleas and spring flowers are blooming.
    (Yes, I am originally from GA, not far from Savannah, and a bit defensive about it. :))
    another side note - a sweet young friend of mine is not far from you in a hospital recovering from brain surgery.

  3. I'm so glad you and Paul could do this! Thanks for sharing the interesting little facts &details! Here's an interesting little fact from this end...I just clued in yesterday who the new teacher at the Mennonite school is...your niece, Janet!

  4. Welcome to Georgia! If I weren't 6 hrs away from Savannah I'd invite you over for a cup of tea :). Savannah is really beautiful, I hope y'all keep enjoying your stay.

  5. Ah, you are in the heart of Eugenia Price's country and the setting of many of her historical novels. I loved them and dream of actually visiting St Simons Island some day. Mary Horst

  6. Dorcas, it was interesting to see your comments about Savannah. My husband and I are going there tomorrow for three days and two nights, gratis of our church. We too were told not to miss the squares. This is our first time but hopefully not the last. We're 4
    hours plus, from Savannah in Sc.
    It would be fun to have our paths cross. Pauline (Gina's mom)

  7. Now I'm curious; what are the "squares"? (just in case I ever get the opportunity to go to Savannah, which I doubt, but I still am interested)
    Glad you're having a good time! Sounds so romantic! :)
    Have a safe trip home.

  8. If you have time, go to St. Simons Island (if you are a Eugenia Price fan). The church was especially worth the visit. Walking through the cemetery you can see the graves of the characters in her books.