Thomas R. Lawrence
456 South 10th Street
Opelika, AL 36801
As I See It! TM
|June 2013||Volume 4, Number 6|
In This Issue:
Welcome from Tom
Front porch Press
Society South Magazine
As I Like it!TM
|THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: A committee is a group of the unwilling, chosen from the unfit, to do the unnecessary. — AnonymousJune is here and darned if it didn’t bring summer along with it. Summer in the Deep South is an acquired taste. The heat and humidity can be overwhelming. Even the golfers complain. Mind you, they don’t stop playing, but they bitch and moan about the near-liquid heat. Generally the prospect of summer in Alabama will prompt thoughts of summer vacations. Some of the more affluent will opt for the Islands or a couple of weeks in Tuscany. Most locals will choose the beautiful beaches of the “Red Neck Riviera” from Gulf Shores, Alabama, to Destin, Florida.
Clista’s son, Todd, and his family paid us a visit over the Memorial Day weekend and we spent a day at Callaway Gardens just across the Georgia line near Pine Mountain, Georgia. We visited the various garden areas and the butterfly exhibit, but the highlight of the day proved to be the Masters Water Ski & Wakeboarding Tournament held on Robin Lake in the Gardens.
This was my first experience with wakeboarding and I have to say it was pretty interesting. A kid on a small board, something like a snowboard, is pulled behind a specially built inboard cruiser that is equipped with some sort of mechanism that will throw a ginormous wake behind it. The kid on the board then does a series of stunts similar to snowboarding in the halfpipe. Points are scored for difficulty and style. After the meet was over, I commented that I equated the experience to a visit to the Grand Canyon or the Sistine Chapel: been there, done that, and will never have to go back.
Later in the summer we will probably make a road trip to some part of the country that neither of us has ever visited. We might go see Mount Rushmore and the Little Bighorn battlefield or maybe drive up to Nova Scotia and the Maritime provinces. Right now, Nova Scotia is the leader in the clubhouse just based on the temperature differential between the Dakotas and the North Atlantic. If we go to that part of Canada, we will spend some time on Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the French islands just off the coast. They are actually an integral part of France and the food ought to be pretty darn good.
There have been further developments on the grandchild front. Lauren, Clista’s daughter who lives in the Bay area of California, has a twelve-year-old son named William. William has been a competitive swimmer in the California swim club system since he was six years old. Swimming in California is like football in Florida—it’s about the best there is anywhere.
William posted times during the regular season that gained him Junior Olympics Pacific Region Short Course meets held in March, and he made it to the event finals in three different strokes. He has qualified for four Far Western events to be held in June. So far he is having a great year, especially in the fifty-yard breaststroke. William’s older brother, Austin, is a very talented gymnast and is competing at level nine, which is just one level from the top of gymnastics. I will have more to report on both of these boys as the summer develops.
FRONT PORCH PRESS
Lisa Davis, my partner in Front Porch Press, has finally prevailed and we will be announcing the revised and corrected version of Delta Days. Titled Delta Days: Tales of the Mississippi Delta, Second Edition, it will be published under a new ISBN number and should be available in late summer. An e-book version of the new edition will also be available through the usual outlets. If you have read the first edition, this is basically the same with some of the glaring typos and mistakes corrected.
We are still in the research phase of our book on Will Carpenter. Will has literally dozens of people who are willing and anxious to contribute to this effort and we are attempting to contact and interview each of them. This process will probably take the rest of the summer, but things are moving along.
Our blog/e-mag, www.PorchScene.com, is up and running. It is our intention to provide a voice to the average Southerner. The whole concept of the “New South” has been thoroughly covered by traditional media ranging from Garden & Guns to The Oxford Review. I’d like to think that we can offer the regular folks an outlet for their thoughts. Mary Prater, the technical brains behind this new effort, tells me that the June edition is featuring the Mississippi Delta, and we already have great stories and interviews posted.
We will be seeking contributors in the areas of farm life, travel, art and design, and that great Southern pastime, eating. If you have an interest in participating, let us hear from you.
You can also follow Front Porch Press at:
SOCIETY SOUTH MAGAZINE
The design of the new website for Society South is almost complete. If everything goes as planned, we will have worked through the traffic volume concerns and be live sometime in August. In the meantime, Kay is signing on a stellar group of contributors, each with an established following, and the video production team is well into their shakedown cruise. All of this is aimed at building sufficient paid subscriptions to support a national publication at launch.
As I Like it! ™
Last month I wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece about our experiences at Sperry’s in Nashville. I was pretty hard on the old Nashville standard and the piece generated quite a bit of feedback. Friends and admirers of Sperry rallied to its defense, and while there were a few real men that agreed with my response, the overwhelming majority disagreed with me. To these well-meaning folks, I refer you to the title of this little tome, AS I SEE IT.
The most interesting and by far the most surprising response came from the owner and management team of Sperry’s. Al Thomas, Sperry’s owner, emailed me and expressed his concern that I had experienced a less than satisfactory evening and asked that I allow his manager to give me a call and discuss the situation.
I agreed and soon I received a phone call from Keith Blakeley, the manager of Sperry’s Cool Springs location. Keith was very professional, seemed genuinely concerned that things had been less than perfect, and generally conveyed his desire to take corrective action by counseling his staff and instituting additional training. No mention of the fact that I might have been just a little grumpy and harsh in my assessment.
All in all, I felt a sense of his caring deeply about the restaurant and its customers and an honest effort to fix what might be broken. I understand that the young waiter was counseled and allowed to enjoy additional training. This will probably help him after he gets to Hollywood. As for me, I’ll give Sperry’s another chance on a future visit to Nashville.
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