Posts Tagged ‘Eva Carter’

A Visit to Downtown Charleston, SC’s Art Walks – May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Even though I haven’t been to many art walks in Charleston lately, it’s still our backyard as far as art communities go. I don’t know everyone there now and many don’t know me, but for a lot of the folks who have been there more than a few years, it’s hard for Linda and I to just slip into a gallery and not be spotted. Gallery owners and artists seem to gravitate to us – one because we’re friends with a lot of these folks – at least we feel we are, and two, we haven’t seen most of these folks – face to face in a long time. So we’re like a blast for the past.

It would be nice to do an art walk and not be working, but the nature of these events is always social/working. I want to write the trip up for our blog and they hope I’ll write it up – everyone needs publicity. The problem in Charleston is we know and meet so many people we want to talk to that I end up doing more talking than taking photos. So, I have some images to not make this blog all words, but in no way all that I should have. I’m sorry for that. We got some from the galleries or their websites.

I’ll refresh people’s memory of the weather on May 6, 2011, in the Charleston area. A forecast called for scattered showers, but it seem to be raining most of the day up here in Bonneau, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company on the shore of Lake Moultrie. And just as it was about time to leave, the rain came down hard, but the weather wizards said the system would clear out of the area by 6pm. This time I was hoping they were right. It rained pretty hard all the way to Charleston’s borders, but as we crossed that border the rain stopped and the sky opened up.

By the time we found the same parking space I used in visiting the April art walk, the sun was shinning. Thanks to whoever saved it for us. The rain had cleared the air and cooled it down to a very pleasant 75 degrees. We’ve had some great weather as far as temps go lately – although dangerous at times.  At least there weren’t any tornado warnings on May 6.

Our first stop, due to location, was Nina Liu and Friends, at 24 State Street. The gallery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The exhibit being presented that evening was Defining Moments, featuring works by Susie Miller Simon of Colorado, on view through June 30, 2011. Simon couldn’t be there for this opening, but will come in a few weeks.

Nina Liu’s gallery is spread throughout three levels in her home – which is still up for sale – if anyone is interested in living in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter district and wants to also have a gallery – or not. She’ll sell – either way. Liu is hopping to retire one day to the home she has waiting in Mexico – someday. But, we’re not in any hurry to see her go.

We noticed something strange going on. People were coming into the gallery, saying hi as they passed by, heading upstairs. Liu noticed the strange look on our faces and explained that they were regulars to her openings and they know the food and drink is upstairs. I rolled my eyes, thinking to myself that they could have at least glanced at the works in the exhibit before – running upstairs, but it doesn’t seem to bother her as another group zoomed by. Her food is very popular.

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Work by Susie Miller Simon

Simon’s works give reference to imagery of the Southwestern United States – a million miles from Lowcountry art, which is refreshing at times and I’m sure a reason why her works are so popular here. I’ve included an image, that I’m sure wasn’t in this exhibit. I got it off the Internet just to give you an idea of what the work is like. But you’ll see some images like this and some very different, but you’ll be able to tell it came from Simon.

It was reassuring to see some of those folks who rushed upstairs eventually filtered down to see the exhibit, one even asking about the price of a work found upstairs. A good time for us to move on.

For the second month in a row, I was focused on going to Smith-Killian Fine Art, at 9 Queen Street, at the corner of Queen & State Streets. Last month it was to see an exhibit by Shannon Smith and this month to see “abstract” works by her mother, Betty Anglin Smith, as well as works by a very strong group of SC’s contemporary artists including: Carl Blair, Eva Carter, Matt Overend, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs and Scott Upton. The exhibit, Contemporary Carolinas – an Invitational Exhibition, will be on view through June 12, 2011.

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Works by Laura Spong (L) and Leo Twiggs (R)

The week before we had talked with Laura Spong at Vista Studios in Columbia, SC, during Artista Vista (read about it at this link) and knew she would be there. And, I was hoping to see and talk with Carl Blair, whom I haven’t seen in a while. Blair, was the one and only member of the Commission of the SC Arts Commission who listened to my complaints and tried to do something about them. The one and only! A true arts leader in SC – a rare exception. Unfortunately he didn’t make the trip from Greenville, SC.

That’s OK – I’ll take the hugs from Betty, Eva, and Laura any day.

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Work by Eva Carter

In my opinion, the day William Halsey passed on, Eva Carter became Charleston’s top “abstract” artist, if not one of the best in SC. After closing up her gallery a few years ago, this was the first of her work in an exhibit in Charleston. Although she has now opened a studio just around the corner from her old gallery, at 16 Gillon Street, we haven’t been able to catch her there when we were in Charleston – so we were also looking forward to seeing and talking with her and seeing what she was painting these days.

But, the real kicker in this show was to see more “abstract” paintings by Betty Anglin Smith. I mentioned in my write up of the April 2011 art walk in Charleston that we saw an unexpected work – an abstract painting by Betty at Shannon Smith’s show. We loved the work and I wanted to see if it was a one hit wonder or if we have a new abstract artists in town. Folks – we weren’t disappointed.

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Work by Betty Anglin Smith

Of course as Betty put it – she’s not quitting her day job of painting landscapes – just yet. We all know there’s a smaller audience for “abstract” art in the Carolinas. But, every day we see more of it all the time – and that means more people are buying it. I tip my hat to Smith Killian Fine Art for taking the risk to present such a show – during the Spoleto Festival season in Charleston. I hope it pays off for them – so they can do it again. I know I could have spent a good bit of my lottery winnings there that evening. Now all I have to do is win one.

This was a great show of works from some of SC’s best artists, not painting what most people expect to see when they go to Charleston to see or buy art. But, I’ve always said there is a lot of this kind of art being made in Charleston – you just have to work a little to find it.

What a good time to transition over to Corrigan Gallery, located at 62 Queen Street – one of those places you won’t find what some people call “Charleston” art. But, you will find plenty of art made by Charleston artists. The exhibit, Egg Meditations, the continuation of a ten year exploration by Yvette Dede, was being presented. The exhibit will be on view through May 31, 2011. I swear it’s been that long – ten years since I’ve seen work by Dede on view in Charleston. At one time she ran Print Studio South, which eventually turned into the Redux Contemporary Arts Center (which hasn’t sent a press release about its May/June exhibit yet). But, that’s what happens when you become an adjunct college professor. You spend more time teaching than exhibiting.

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Works by Yvette Dede

For regular readers of my views on art – presentation is a big factor with me and this exhibit was a top notch example of how to present a cohesive group of works – in this case based on the egg shape. Dede made special frames for her small works and in the intimate space at Corrigan Gallery they looked fantastic. I’m talking about the presentation of the art. I really don’t care what the wall looks like or the floor – as long as they don’t distract the viewer from the art, and in that case – that’s a bigger problem for the artist. There’s nothing wrong with the wall or floors at Corrigan Gallery – I’m just saying well presented art can look good in someone’s cluttered basement.

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Works by Yvette Dede

After checking out all the variations Dede presented, we checked out some of the other works being displayed at the gallery and I came across a work which really fooled me at first in an alcove between the two main rooms of the gallery.  There was a large abstract work on one wall – blue and red. You know how I like abstracts. When I got close enough to see who the artist was,  I was, well not totally surprised, but embarrassed that it was by a good friend of ours –  John Moore. I’ve seen a lot of Moore’s abstract photographs, but for some reason this image didn’t click, I was seeing it from the side and I had just looked through some of his works in a stack and this just fooled me at first.

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Work by John Moore

The real joke here is that Moore and I have talked a million times about the fact that it’s too bad he presents his work as photographs – more people would buy them if they were presented as paintings. A sad fact but true. And, the real tragedy is that many people think they are Photoshopped, but these are the real deal. He finds these outrageous colors – in man-made materials touched by nature. And, to top it off – Moore is color blind. Figure that one out and you can help me pick lottery numbers.

Moore is a purest, he doesn’t manipulate his images and he doesn’t want to fool people into thinking these are not photos just for the sake of sales. He just has a good eye, takes his time before he clicks the shutter and knows how to get the best out of his equipment and when the light is right. That’s the real art of photography.

After Linda coaxed me off the soapbox, our next stop was Horton Hayes Fine Art, at 30 State Street. We wanted to see what Mark Horton was painting these days. The gallery also shows works by Nancy Hoerter, Shannon Runquist, Bjorn Runquist and Chris Groves – all skilled painters. Now, I guess these works don’t fit the classic description of “Charleston” art in that although they are landscapes of the Lowcountry and still lifes – I just think of them as master works. You just want to be in these places put on canvas. You can feel them – smell them. We didn’t talk to anyone here – it was too crowded.

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Work by Mark Horton

Seeing the works at Horton Hayes made me want to go check out Mickey Williams Studio-Gallery, the next street over at 132 E. Bay Street, at the corner of East Bay and Broad Street. This was our old hangout, once the office for IF Labs, then for Carolina Arts newspaper and Carolina Arts Gallery. I spent many a day and night in that space. It survived Hurricane Hugo as if it was just a thunder storm. This was also Eva Carter’s old gallery space.

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Work by Mickey Williams

Williams paints some incredible Lowcountry landscapes. I wanted to go by and see his works and talk to him about facebook. Sometimes I get on facebook by 7am and most days by then Williams has been on for several hours – talking about the birds in his back yard, his garden or the colors in the morning sky. He’s like the good morning guy in the Charleston facebook family – which is funny – as he, like me, is technology challenged. But, he’s got facebook down to a science. I called him and asked him to send me a photo – he had to check with his wife. Sound familiar? We’re two peas in an iPod. We embrace technology – we just don’t know how to make it work.

Our last stop was at Lowcountry Artists Ltd, at 148 E. Bay Street. Their next exhibit is The Power of Glass, featuring blown glass  by Robbie Clair and etched and fused glass by Steve Hazard which will be on view from May 28 through June 11, 2011. This gallery has almost doubled in size since the last time I was in it. As a co-op gallery it has also seen many changes in the group of artists currently showing on the walls.

Another space where we could slip in and get a good look at the art first. Of course we knew some of the artists by name or work and there were a few surprises – like seeing works by Patsy Tidwell on the wall. Her gallery was one of the mainstays of the Charleston art community, but she sold it a few years ago and now it’s closed. I’m sure she is enjoying life now creating artwork vs. trying to sell other artists’ works. It’s not easy running a gallery as an artist – even when you’re doing it as a co-op of artists.

Another surprise was seeing works by Jason Luck, a Seagrove potter who has moved to Charleston. Those Seagrove potters are everywhere. Well they’re not really – but their work seems to be getting everywhere. But, you really have to go to Seagrove, NC, for Seagrove pottery. The chamber of commerce pays me to say that.

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Work by Jackie Wukela

Because we didn’t have to answer a million questions as to how the paper is doing we finally got to eat some of the goodies being offered during the art walk. But, our anonymity could only last so long as I had questions I wanted to ask so we went up front and introduced ourselves to – who I felt sure was Jackie Wukela (due to facebook). She is typical of most of the folks we “know” through the paper. We’ve talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth, but never met – face to face.

The minute we did this, Carolyn Epperly, who I’ve talked to many times at Tidwell’s Art Gallery, but not in a while, said “I thought you looked familiar.” Jackie Wukela and Lynda English, who are members of Lowcountry Artists Ltd. are also part of the visual art community in Florence, SC, where they live and have a gallery. So this was a twofer – we got to talk about Charleston and Florence’s art communities.

Before long the end of the art walk was on us and it was time to head back to Bonneau. On the ride home a few things struck me. We’ve been to two art walks in two months in Charleston and the art walks have changed – as have the galleries and artists who fill them with works since the days when we went to every one of them.

Charleston’s visual art community is moving away from what many people have tagged it as being for years, a city of artists who are in love with the city, a bad rap in my opinion. Sure there is lots of “tourist” art here to be had – it’s what most tourists want and Charleston is a tourist town, but the artists have moved on to creating what they want – hoping that the more discriminating visitors will want to take that art home. And, a good number of the artworks are being made by artists who live elsewhere – all over the US. The so called “Charleston” art is no longer a novelty – it’s now moved into the realm of novelties – souvenirs.

And, the art walks as I knew them have also changed. There was a time when an art walk in the French Quarter was a near festival – one big party event. I used to equate them to going to the Mall during Christmas – you’d run into everyone you haven’t seen since the last one there, but not so these days. There is an art walk every month in Charleston and most galleries stay open whether they’re in the group hosting it or not. So, it’s not such a special occasion any more. Still, lots of people go to them and enjoy them, but if it rains a little it’s easy to say – I’ll just go to the next one.

Of course my memories are from the 1990′s – what I call the golden age of the visual arts in the Carolinas. It might not be fair to make comparisons to current times – an age where many people are attacking the arts to gain political points and the economy has suffered one blow after another.

I for one am glad to be able to go to them again, but it might be some time before I go to the next one. We’re a little exhausted at this point and there’s so much going on all over the Carolinas. If you don’t believe me – just check our paper out at (www.carolinaarts.com). See how long it takes you to get through it all – end to end.

Adventures in Michigan – Reunion or Bust – Part 1

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

The Setup

They say you can never go home again. Well, someone said it and they must of messed up, as I’ve gone home several times with no problems and this year had planned a major trip back to Michigan, my state of origin. I’d say my home state, but since I have now lived in South Carolina longer than I lived in Michigan, I think old SC will have to be considered my home state. After 36 years here I’m still coming to grips with that notion, but that’s another story.

What that person should have said is – Oh, you can go back home, but it will never be the same. At least those things you remember will never seem the same and since no place stands still – there will be a lot of different things there. And, if I learned anything on this trip – my memory for the past is just not what it used to be and is surely not as good as some people’s. I know I said this a lot – “I don’t remember that.”  I’ve been telling Linda, my better half, for years that I’ve got “old timers” disease and now after this trip I’m sure she believes me.

Well anyway, this trip was to be a reunion with some old high school friends, which included a few cousins. At least that was my plan. This idea was hatched last February when a few fellows from high school got together at a friend’s home down in Merritt Island, FL, next to Cocoa Beach. One guy came from New Orleans, LA, two came from Saginaw, MI, I was coming from Bonneau, SC, and a fifth friend came for a day from a town 50 miles or so away from Merritt Island. Others from Michigan just couldn’t fit the trip into the time frame we came up with. So, at that gathering we planned a summer trip up to Michigan – closer to many other old high school friends – hoping more people could get together.

We had done this in the past when pretty much this same group of guys came to Charleston, SC, and we rented a place out at Folly Beach on the Atlantic Ocean. It took me years to live that gathering down. And it’s just getting to the point where I can show my face on Folly Beach again. It’s a good thing we’re a lot older now.

My friend (Jim) (no last names – to protect the innocent – right) who organized the Florida gathering took the lead in getting this reunion organized. A few friends in Michigan said they couldn’t, wouldn’t, be on the organizing end of anything. A big breakthrough came when we visited one of my many cousins on another trip to Florida when we learned that she (we’ll call her Joyce) and her husband (Rick) had been spending summers up at Higgins Lake in Michigan – the middle of the lower part of Michigan. So we had a southern contact that would be up north by the beginning of Summer – this was progress. There was a State Park at the lake where we could have a gathering – if people actually came.

As things turned out, after all our efforts to find some folks and get them on board for the time frame we selected, it ended up that our trip was going to be in three or four locations – pretty much the folks we had planned to see and even (Jim’s) plans changed at the last minute and he ended up in upper New York state. We’re now planning to try and get folks together in two years – hoping that will give them time to get organized and make it happen. But if it doesn’t – it doesn’t.

And, at this point I want to state that this trip wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of our three hosts in Michigan. They treated us like royalty. We hope to one day be able to return that generosity.

For the purpose of keeping these entries as short as I can, I’m going to break this trip up into 3 1/2 parts. But, those who know me know – nothing is short once I start talking or writing.

So one evening after we finished our August issue of Carolina Arts after Linda got off work at her other job at 7pm, we packed up the car and headed north up I-26 to I-40 and then hopped on I-75 in Knoxsville, TN. From there it’s a straight shot up to Michigan – except for Kentucky and OMG Ohio. A drive that is so boring it takes forever to make it through that state. But, I drove straight through for 19 hours – with one unscheduled stop in Berea, KY, at the Kentucky Artisan Center which I’ve already written about.

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Of course we stopped at a million rest stops in-between. We crossed the border into Michigan about 5pm the next day and once we got to Ann Arbor we were headed West on I-94, going through Jackson – I had a relative who was the warden at the State Prison there – then Battle Creek – where most of your breakfast cereals come from – then Kalamazoo – where I attended my last years of college at Western Michigan University (I never finished, with just one more semester to go – that’s another story) and then on to South Haven, MI, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

South Haven – Our First Stay

When we arrived in South Haven we got lost. Google maps sent us in the wrong direction. Get this folks. I stopped the car and called for directions. Does this make me any less a man? After 19 hours of driving I was ready for this trek to be over.

When we got to my cousin’s home we parked that car where it stayed put for days. We’ll give my cousin the name of (Rocky) and his wife (Sandy) – like the waters of Lake Michigan turn rocks into sand – lots of sand.

After a tour of their home and a little unloading of the car they drove us into South Haven to the Riverfront Park – catchy name – the Charleston, SC, area has three of them (Riverfront Parks that is). This park sits along the Black River which runs into Lake Michigan. It’s a favorite place for folks there to walk along and watch the sunset.

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We see lots of sunsets on Lake Moultrie at home, but this lake is a little bigger – there’s no seeing across to the other side. From South Haven, looking across the lake your left eye is looking at Illinois and your right eye is looking over at Wisconsin. There aren’t many places where you can do that.

We have to stop the story for a little geography lesson. Lake Michigan is 307 miles long by 118 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 925 feet, but the average depth is 279 feet. The lake has 1,660 miles of shoreline – largely of sand and pebble beaches touching four states: Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Now that’s a big lake. The Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface and volume.

It was here (back at the Riverfront Park) that our host learned how easy it was going to be to entertain us – at least me. We later learned that everyone was planning art adventures for us. They wanted to show off the arts in their area or thought that’s all we were interested in since we do an arts newspaper – wrong. We get enough of that at home – everyday. Parading through a bunch of art galleries and art museums was the last thing I was interested in – I was on vacation. Linda and I also determined that this was the longest we’ve been away from South Carolina and our business – ever or at least in a long, long time. So we wanted to get away – far away – as much as we could.

So here’s the deal. After the sunset on the walk back to the car I see fireflies and go nuts. They’re (my cousin and his wife) amazed at my excitement. We used to see fireflies in our backyard when we first moved to Bonneau, but after we cleaned up the jungle in our backyard – we never saw them again. We’d have to go up to the mountains in Western North Carolina to see fireflies, and I can’t remember seeing any on my nighttime delivery trips of Carolina Arts. So, this was an occasion. Everyone soon learned that we had no formal plans to see anything, do anything (with a few exceptions) – we had come to visit them. But we saw and did plenty.

At this point I think it’s a good time to mention the temperatures in Michigan. The highest it ever got while we were there was 84 degrees, and there was little humidity – except when it was raining. Some days it never got above 74 degrees and one day it was cool enough to put on light jackets – well Linda got cool. I was born in Michigan. I only wore a coat for a few hours when it was raining.

In South Carolina we had been having months of 95 + degree days with lots of humidity. It was going to be hard going back and it was. The heat is still turned on here. But as someone said in Michigan – at least you don’t have to shovel heat. They had a point.

After we got back we talked a little bit, but then we crashed – we had been up well over 24 hours at this point – it was time for bed.

My cousin and his wife have a backyard that is half garden, half wildlife preserve – they were feeding birds, squirrels, and chipmunks from miles away. There was always something going on back there to watch. And, we spent plenty of time out there – as it was nice enough to do so. Back in SC – I don’t go outside unless I have to in the Summer. Their backyard also backed up to a cranberry bog – which was interesting. I’ve never see one of those before. Now, I can check that off my life list.

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The next day we went back to the downtown area for a tour, first by car and then by foot. The homes along the lake shore were mostly owned by folks who lived and worked in Chicago – at least the big places. This seemed to be a theme all along the eastern side of Lake Michigan – which is all sand dunes, and I guess considered to be the best side of the lake. I saw the same thing in Maine when I was there. Most of all the land along the coast was being bought up by people from Boston and New York City. It’s the same way at our lake in Bonneau – politicians, judges, teachers, business moguls, lawyers – they all live along the edge of the lake. Little folks like us have to live on the other side of the road across from them. Of course when one of our neighbors explains that his breakwall cost more than his house and he’s replaced it twice – I always tell him I’m happy to be where we are. It seems that the more money you have, the more troubles you have. And, a lot of these folks staying in the big houses in South Haven are only there during the summer. But the town looked really nice with a lot of the old homes being restored.

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When we got to main street, which wasn’t named Main Street, it was inevitable that we would come to an art gallery and end up inside, but I wasn’t ready for what we would find there. I’m walking around and pretty soon I see a painting and mention to Linda – “this sure looks like an Eva Carter painting”. She agrees and the next thing we do is turn it over and Eva Carter’s name is on the back, but this is not an Eva Carter painting.

Eva Carter is a world famous painter from Charleston, SC. We’ve known her since the days we began our arts newspaper, we have some of her work in our collection and we know her work doesn’t go for $650 – not a painting this size. My cousin and his wife (Rocky and Sandy) were amazed that I could identify a painter’s work by sight and so was I as I didn’t expect to see it in this gallery. I took a picture of the painting without anyone from the gallery seeing to deal with this later. You see, we should have stayed out of art galleries – now I had a duty to preform when we got back home.

I’m not going to mention the gallery, they probably don’t even know they are helping rip off an artist. I later learned from Eva that this has happened many times to her now – it’s the price you now pay when you’re an artist who creates works that are popular all over the world – people rip you off and there’s not much you can do. If you catch someone, it might cost you more to stop them and even if you do, someone else will pick up right behind them. If someone wants to rip you off these days – they can do it. There are plenty of people willing to pay less for a ripped off copy of good art.

I guess the only benefit, if you want to call it that, is that now works by Eva Carter are sold all over the world. She gets reports from friends all over who run into works where they shouldn’t be, but if you want an original Eva Carter you’ll have to get one from her. And, you’re going to have to pay more than $650, but you’ll be getting more than a $65 poster mounted on board or canvas. The good thing is – this is only happening to a few images – but, over and over again. Buyer beware!

As much as you try sometimes you just can’t get away from your work.

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We had lunch that day at Joe’s Bar & Grill (I’m not making these names up.) where (Rocky and Sandy’s) daughter, (Laura) worked. I had two foods on my list of things to do – eat Michigan cherries and lake perch. They had perch on the menu and I ordered it. Oh man, oh man, if there is anything I miss from living in Michigan – it was fried lake perch and it tasted exactly like I remembered on the first bite. I later learned from (Rocky and Sandy’s) daughter (Laura) that these perch were not from the lake. I’m like – what? Apparently restaurants can’t serve perch from the lake because of the mercury levels. So where do these perch come from? She didn’t know. And, what about all those perch people are fishing for in the lake and taking home and eating? She (Laura) said she didn’t know.

What’s this world coming to when you can’t get Lake Michigan perch when eating in a restaurant in a town on Lake Michigan? This would have been perplexing until we found ourselves in a Wal-Mart and they had cherries, but the cherries were from Washington state! We were in Michigan, one of the biggest producers of cherries and Wal-Mart is selling Washington cherries. Go figure.

I learned on this trip that my cousin (Rocky) had become quite a cook, which was a bit of a surprise to me, but very good news – we were eating very well. I’m including a photo of one of the meals we had – it looks like something you would see in a magazine. We ate really well the whole trip. But, one of the things I learned about folks in Michigan I guess I never really knew when I lived there was that folks in Michigan are nuts about ice cream – not just the kind you buy in the grocery stores – the kind served by people who make it themselves – hand scooped.

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One afternoon they took us to Sherman’s Dairy Bar. If you’ve ever been to South Haven you probably were taken to Sherman’s. I’m glad we were taken, but this was just the beginning of one of the themes of our trip. Sherman’s is the type of place where you get a number and wait and when you get your ice cream – you may have to wait to sit down and eat it. Well, you’ll start eating it the second you get it – or you’ll be wearing it. They believe in giving people their money’s worth and more. They want satisfied customers and they get them every time.

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Another highlight of our South Haven visit was going to see the movie,Inception, at the Michigan Theatre (really, I’m not making these names up). It’s just $3.50 for first run movies, and if you buy one of their popcorn buckets for $2, you can enjoy popcorn at every movie you go to there after for $.50 – and drinks were just $.50. Boy, I wish we had one of those kind of movie theatres in the Charleston area. The Michigan Theatre is one of those small town restored theatres right downtown – not a big multiplex outside of town.

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The 13th Hour

Back in high school, my cousin (Rocky) and I were in a rock and roll band – we lasted a couple of years before our own Yoko broke up our band (another tragic story of fame and glory cut short), but (Rocky) has kept up with his guitar playing, while the last time I played a guitar, I was playing The Beatles Rock Band game with our son. But, today, (Rocky) plays on Sundays for Jesus. On our last full day there, we went to one of the services at First Baptist Church in South Haven. This was one of those modern multi-media services – we have them in our area, where going to church is more like going to a concert. The minister did a power point presentation for his sermon. It’s not the kind of church I went to as a youth, but if I was a church goer – I could get used to this kind of church.

On our way out we were spotted as someone new and a member of the welcome committee made sure we left with one of their welcome packages – which included a copy of the church’s cookbook and a mason jar full of ready-to-make brownies. We had them a week or two after we got back home. (Rocky and Sandy) kept trying to tell the person we would be a 1,000 miles away in a week, but it didn’t matter to them – they wanted us to feel welcomed – and we did.

The last event of our stay in South Haven was a private, after hours, visit to the training center at the Pailsades Nuclear Power Plant, just south of South Haven where (Rocky) works. He keeps the equipment running for the test they do to see how prospective employees would handle themselves under the pressure of something suddenly going haywire in the control room. We got to see a run through of all the bells, buzzers, and flashing lights going off – in case someone spilled a Pepsi on the control panel  or something like that.

810nukeplant

(Rocky) got his training in the US Navy and he assures me nuclear power is safe and I believe him. It’s one of the only things France has gotten right. We need a Nuclear America and we can send all our waste to Iran – they seem to want nuclear stuff for some reason.

Early the next day we were headed north to Interlochen, MI, to visit an old high school friend (Pati) and her husband (Jim) who had just moved back to Michigan from Minnesota, where they had a fairly large maple syrup operation. But that’s Part 2.