Today I was taken aback when a young friend asked me, “How does it feel to always live your life at full throttle?” I smiled and thought for a minute, then shrugged because I don’t know any other way to live, it seems I’ve always balanced umpteen projects at once! And this month that has certainly been true.
We traveled to Hilton Head, S.C. the last week of January and were gone ten days. It was nice to escape the snow for a few days and enjoy the sunshine. There were eight of us in our group this year, all cousins or siblings. We had such a wonderful time, so busy talking and having fun, we barely had time to eat out! This year’s highlight was visiting Daufuskie Island by ferry, it’s about a mile off the coast, midway between Hilton Head and Savannah, GA. Our tour guide was none other than Sallie Ann Robinson, the Gullah Diva. Next year she is going to come to our condo and cook us a Gullah meal. She was one of Pat Conroy’s students when he taught for one year on the island nearly fifty years ago. In fact she wrote the memorial tribute to him for Life magazine in 2016. One of our cousins who was heading to Florida, stayed a day longer to help Sallie Ann’s family and friends clear land to prepare for soon to be delivered prefab home. We stayed a day longer to spend time with our dear friends, the Hamidi’s, who spend their winters in Hilton Head. They are always so gracious and hospitable, she is a phenomenal baker and cook. She served us the best scones I’ve ever tasted. She shared her recipe and I tried to make them when we came home. My scones didn’t even taste like hers…but I will try again! Within a couple days of arriving home, we had to deal to with a couple heavy snowfalls as well as ice.
This month sets off a marathon of grandchildren birthdays. We enjoy watching them grow and become such unique individuals. We feel blessed, even as my office is stacked with boxes to organize for the next five birthdays!
We listened to Rosanne Cash’s music on the ride to and from Pittsburgh last weekend, where we stayed with dear friends. Friday night we went to Heinz Hall for a delicious and elegant dinner. Then to the theater for Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3. A nice relaxing weekend. Saturday afternoon I had lunch with a cousin who lives on The Strip and we enjoyed catching up with each other’s lives as we mourned a favorite aunt who had passed a few days earlier.
We watched a few good movies: The Water is Wide, Pat Conroy memoir - Hallmark. Excellent, especially after having visited Daufuskie Island, and reading his book with same title, so recently.
15:17 to Paris, A true story, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. Excellent! Starring the three young American men, playing themselves, who thwarted a terrorist attempt on a train bound for Paris a few years ago.
The Hollars, Fiction, family drama and comedy. About a middle aged couple and their two grown sons. Loved it!
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Excellent! (Well, except for the profanity.) The intense story will stay with us long after watching. The acting was top notch.
Phantom Thread. Very good movie. Acting is intense but the story had a disturbing quality, and we did not leave the theater feeling happy. Though by the next day we were glad we’d seen it.
Doris. Very good movie. Sally Field stars in this movie about an older woman who falls for a much younger man. It is a thought provoking - laugh out loud comedy. I really admired Field’s performance.
Books I have enjoyed: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. Fiction. EXCELLENT!! One of the best books I have read in a long time. It’s about women spies working in France during WW1 and WW2, layers of deception, commitment, bravery and near starvation. Fascinating well researched novel. I loved it!
Composed by Rosanne Cash. Memoir. Very good. I didn’t have high expectations and was pleasantly surprised by her intelligence and excellent writing. I’ve bought four of her cds since reading the book and we are now major fans of this very talented singer and writer. One sentence that will stay with me from this book, she wrote it after the death of her parents. ”Lose is the universal equalizer.” How true.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, Fiction, excellent book. Music is the protagonist who tells this rather complicated story. It starts out a bit slow but is worth the effort. it is so well written that I had to check twice to see if it was really fiction!
Water is Wide. by Pat Conroy. Memoir, excellent. The story of his year of teaching on the island, after touring the island with our tour guide being one of Conroy’s students, well, needless to say, the book came became more alive to me. It is a pity he passed two years ago.
Still Me by Jojo Moyes. Fiction. Very good story. It is the third or maybe fourth novel about Louisa Clark, a British kooky, yet lovable character. Moyes writes in a refreshing fun style and develops her characters with crisp descriptions, layering tension and suspense along the way.
Resurrection Road and Judas Island. by Kathryn Wall. Fiction, very good books. Wall has written a whole series about Bay Tanner, private investigator on Hilton Head Island. I’ve read several of her books over the years and they are fun, suspenseful page turners. Especially fun to read after being on the island and knowing where many of the places and streets she writes about are located. The local B&N has a huge selection of her books in the Bay Tanner series.
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That’s it for this month. Till next time, keep reading my friends.