Summer 2014

June 5, 2014

The beautiful Savannah azalea blooms have pretty much come and gone, and it won’t be long before the gorgeous magnolias have blossomed and dropped the last of their sweet fragrant petals to the ground. Thus begins another Savannah Summer. Graduation is over, many students have gone home for the season, and Downtown’s Historic District takes a deep breath, relaxing and making ready for the influx of visitors soon to come. Businesses and residents alike have geared up for the crowds, anticipating great fun and good times ahead for hosts, visitors, and all who wish to enjoy Savannah’s charm and beauty. Thus River Street, City Market, Bay Street, Broughton Street, MLK, Jr. Blvd., the Bull Street corridor, Design District, Starland, and all the other unique and special areas and attractions of the Forest City await you. Plus, the water down at Tybee Island is heating up, preparing for the throngs which will soon arrive to dip, splash, and spend time on her sunny Atlantic shores. So y’all come on. It’s going to be a nice, hot summer, just the way we like it. Here we go…Wheeee….!

March 2014

March 25, 2014

March came and went so fast this year it seems unreal. It wrapped up what has been the coldest winter here in Savannah for many years. Of course we had it nowhere near as bad as much of the rest of the country. Though it has been colder than usual so far this year, spring is trying to come into its own here lately. As it is going to be in the low 30s again tonight, it seems we’ll never get our beautiful spring weather. But the past few days have been decent and judging from the pollen storm we’ve had, this should be our last cold spell. So if you are planning on coming to Savannah, or just thinking about it, now is the time. April is just a few days away and you’ll still be able to beat the throngs of tourist which will descend on the city very soon. Now that St. Patrick’s Day is over and spring is coming in, everyone is gearing up for all of our lovely visitors which will probably number about 2 million again this year. So y’all come on. We’ll be here to serve you plenty of Southern Hospitality along with your grits.

October 2013

October 17, 2013

Fall blew in with another successful Oktoberfest here in downtown Savannah earlier this month. We can now say, yet again, that the Holiday Season has arrived. “So what,” one might utter, in response to the seemingly never ending commercialization of every single “special” day or event on the calendar, the incessant shoving down our throats of those wonderful days on which we used to wait so joyously to partake. Perhaps we even catch ourselves asking, “Why can’t ‘they’ just let it all come as it may, let us decide when to begin creating our costumes for Halloween, planning our traditional menus for our Thanksgiving dinners, and (especially) start our shopping for whichever of the most glorious of holidays we choose to celebrate: Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, etc.?”

However one feels about the holiday spectacle, it seems to me we created this culture of non-stop crass commercialism to satisfy something within us. It is an outward manifestation of the search for meaning in life. Plus, people wanted holiday stuff out earlier so they could get prepared, so they’d have plenty of time to get it all together for the big day(s).. So the merchants and the manufacturers obliged. Traditionally, one thing that brings me back to some semblance of sanity during the peak of the Season (when it all just seems like too much) is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Need I say more? It reminds me of the reason for the season, so to speak.

When I look back over the years, it amazes me how important it was at certain times to have certain things, and the lengths I would go to get them. I wish I’d have known then what I know now–that the really important things in life are the things we usually already have: Family, friends, community, home, Spirit. These things have become ever more meaningful as the years pass, especially when I consider that there are some out there who do not have any of life’s true treasures. 

So my practical plan for the holidays this year is to demonstrate some gratitude and do something to get out of myself and help others. For as unseemly as it all might sometimes appear, the Underlying Reality is that we have created what we’ve gotten, both individually and collectively, and it is up to us–each and every one–to make it better for ourselves, our families, those around us, and the world at large by being the best we can be today. None of us is promised tomorrow after all, so be grateful for today. And remember that together with a little Grace, despite our illusory differences we can do anything.

Peace Be with You ALL….Don Newman

September 2013

September 10, 2013

With September here and already a third over, I am taking time to meditate on how quickly 2013 has gone by. August is done, I am 54 years old, school is in session, football is here, leaves are starting to fall, a dear friend of mine just passed away, 9/11 is upon us, and I feel like I have so much to do before the year ends. Life goes by so fast as I get older. Days come and go one on top of the other. Weeks fly by. Then months. Then years.

As we look at the lives we were given, and then made for ourselves, let’s appreciate ALL that we have. First of all, at least we were given a life. Beyond that, most of us can look around and despite what problems we have or what challenges have come before us, we can see that our lives have been a heck of a lot better than a lot of people’s. So why waste time and energy complaining or fussing? Why not thank our lucky stars for the blessings which have been bestowed upon us. Then Thank Our Gods and the Universe we had this chance to begin with.

I’ll end here with a note to remember those who were taken from us so tragically on 9/11/2001. Remember also those we have known who have gone before us. May the God of Light and Love bless them and keep them always. May God Bless You and Keep You, too.

And Happy Birthday month to my lovely wife, Liz.

Peace, Love, Hope,

Don Newman

August 2013

August 2, 2013

August is here…and what a summer this has been. Rain, rain, and more rain has been the story of the day for weeks on end here. Yes the drought sucked, so it’s not that we aren’t grateful, it’s just that all the rain is having a huge negative impact on the crops down here. And that means the farmers are going to suffer even more than in the drought. With a drought there is at least the possibility of irrigation, but when it won’t stop raining, there is nothing they can do. So even though it is hard to complain about rain when you have been suffering from a long drought, I’ll try to reconcile the two by saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you God for all of this wonderful rain. We really needed it, but now we really, really, really need some nice sunny days. The crops need some sunshine…so thank you for the sun we are about to receive, indeed, that we are already receiving….” Peace, Don

Alright! Here we are celebrating the 237th birthday/anniversary of the founding of the United States of America. In Savannah, this is a big deal because Georgia was one of the original 13 colonies, and went on to become one of the original 13 states. Since Savannah was the first city in Georgia, and was fast becoming a major port as well as an important line of defense, it became the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution. The British had taken Savannah in December 1778 with relative ease, but on October 9, 1779, a joint Siege of Savannah by American and French forces (which were heavily reinforced by 500 Haitian volunteers) to take Savannah back from the British resulted in losses so heavy that the Revolutionaries were forced to retreat. Thus Savannah stayed in the hands of the British until the end of the war.

Most of this Revolutionary history is little known because it is Early American history and is shadowed by Savannah’s huge part in Civil War history. That is why I wanted to mention it here as we go out to celebrate our Freedoms. They were not easily won. And have not been easily kept. Many have fought and died to get us where we are today. But it all started back there on July 4, 1776 when the American Revolution got under way. So when you’re recalling Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, and Francis Scott Key this weekend, think about Kasimir Pulaski, Sgt. Jasper, and those 500 Haitians who fought here in Savannah in 1779. And be grateful for the life we have. It could have been altogether different but for Perfect Divine Order. For more info, check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Savannah

Peace and Happy Fourth of July.

(In case you were unaware, Savannah was given to Abraham Lincoln for Christmas in 1864 after having burned Atlanta and most everything else between on his March to the Sea. But we’ll talk about that some other day.)

Well, here it comes. St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. If you are not familiar with St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah, GA, then let me fill you in. Savannah, or more specifically the Savannah Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, puts on one of the biggest, if not THE BIGGEST St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the country. Not only does Savannah put on this spectacular St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but it also hosts essentially the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Party around. If you’ve never been, you owe it to yourself to go. It really is something else. If you have been, then you know what I am talking about. There really are no words to describe the celebration. Suffice to say, “It Rocks!”

For one thing, about 250,000 visitors come into the area for St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. This pretty much doubles the population of the metropolitan area. So if you like crowds, then you will love the festivities. If you do not like crowds, then stay away from Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day or any day near or around St. Patrick’s Day because the festival usually last from 5-7 days. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that. Also, if you enjoy alcoholic beverages, then you will be in heaven. For those of us who do not drink, there is still a lot of fun to be had. From the Mass at the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, to parade going, to people watching, to enjoying green grits with breakfast, to the bands playing down on River Street and up in City Market, and pretty much everywhere else, to checking out the green fountains flowing in the parks and squares, and eating lots of corned beef brisket with cabbage and potatoes, one can find many things to do besides drinking.

If one did find themselves without anything else to do, one could always take to collecting beads. This is a custom similar to the one carried out at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But be cautious if you do begin amassing a collection of beads around the neck. Some bead givers may expect more than you are ready to give in exchange for a string of the colored beads.

Whatever you do this St. Patrick’s Day weekend–whether you come to Savannah or not–be careful and stay safe. Above all, DO NOT drink and drive. It is not only dangerous, but it is stupid.

So that is pretty much St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah in a nutshell. I have written a poem I would like to share about St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah, entitled, what else? St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. It is from my book The Little Poetry Book of Savannah. Enjoy….

 

St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah

The beautiful, sacred Cathedral

Of St. John the Baptist,

Worshipping and praising,

Celebrating St. Patrick,

The patron saint of Ireland,

Steeple spires reaching to the high heavens…

A parade to beat all parades,

Green, green, glorious green,

A party to beat all parties,

Beads, beads, glorious beads,

River Street like you’ve never seen,

People, people, everywhere.

What a day!

Unbelievable!

Imagine the unsuspecting tourists

Coming to see historic sites

And enjoy Savannah’s laid back pace,

Seeing water in the fountains

Flow and splash and spray liquid emeralds,

Like the bright green beer down on the river

And at City Market,

And everywhere…

Man, oh man, what a spectacle!

The luckiest day of their lives?

One thing is for sure.

The display definitely ranks high

As something to call home about!

St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah….holy revelry!

Don Newman (2012)

Today in GA History

January 21, 2013

Today in GA History

Check out the Today in GA History link for a Great little website featuring a prominent figure in Georgia History each and every day. Very often these feature something about Savannah since it is such an important part of GA History.

Contact page

December 20, 2012

New contact page is up. Peace, Don

November 28, 2012

Just posted current info on the Happenings page. Peace, Don

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