Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Artisan Center’

Kentucky Artisan Center Goes Extra Miles for Kentucky’s Visual Artists

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

It’s funny how you can run into something that takes on a life of its own. That’s what happened when I wrote a story about a visit to the Kentucky Artisan Center on my way to Michigan this summer. Ever since I wrote that entry, readers have been e-mailing me about items relating to that story. First, it was about TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia, an artisan center in Beckley, WV, and then a Charleston, SC, on-line publication,CharlestonCurrents.com, asked if I would write up my idea of a SC artisan center at the intersection of I-26 and I-95, and now an artist in Kentucky who came across the story sent me a link to an article in The Richmond Register about the Kentucky Artisan Center setting up a satellite gallery in Lexington, KY, for a big event. It seems there is no limit to what the Kentucky Artisan Center or State of Kentucky will go to in helping Kentucky’s artists.

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It would be nice to see some of that here in SC. Wouldn’t it be nice if the SC Arts Commission or the state of SC would open an artisan center in Charleston, SC, during the run of the Spoleto Festival USA each year – showcasing our artists to that audience? At least that is cheaper than building an artisan center.

You can read the article in CharlestonCurrents.com at this link.

You can read my last entry on this issue at this link.

Here’s the article that was in The Richmond Register.

Here’s the newspaper article:

Artisan Center to open store at WEG – September 20, 2010

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BEREA — For the first time, visitors will be able to shop at a Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea store in Lexington. The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will showcase the creative works of over 400 of its Kentucky artisans in a satellite store created for The Kentucky Experience complex at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park from Sept. 25 through Oct. 10.

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Housed inside the Kentucky Proud Product Pavilion, which is one of three buildings that make up The Kentucky Experience complex, this satellite store will be a smaller version of the center’s main facility off I-75 in Berea, but will look and feel very much the same.

Showcased in the store will be a wide range of Kentucky artisan works including pottery, jewelry, woodworking, baskets and fiber art; two-dimensional art such as paintings, prints, photography and note cards; books by Kentucky authors, beauty products and home furnishings and a selection of Kentucky music and Kentucky Proud food products.

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The Kentucky Artisan Center Satellite Store will include over 2,000 products created by 400 Kentucky artisans from over 140 Kentucky communities in more than 85 counties. The store will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. except for Sept. 25, when it will be open until 10 p.m., Oct. 5 when it will close at 5:30 p.m. and Oct.10 when it will close at 5 p.m. This store is one of many areas the public can visit with a General Admission ticket.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea also is presenting at this location, demonstrations and book signings by Kentucky artisans, and the Kentucky Proud program is presenting food samplings daily. These events are scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Kentucky Proud Product Pavilion.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to introduce Kentuckians and visitors from around the world to the creative works being made by the state’s talented artisans,” said Victoria Faoro, Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea Executive Director. “We hope that people attending the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will visit the Kentucky Experience complex to enjoy all that Kentucky has to offer, and shop in the Artisan Center at Berea’s Satellite Store in the Kentucky Proud Product Pavilion— to take home wonderful Kentucky artisan-made products.”

Throughout the games, the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will also be open regular hours at its Berea location at 975 Walnut Meadow Road, just off I-75 at exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The center features works by more than 650 artisans from 100 counties across the commonwealth.

For information, call 859/985-5448 or visit the center’s website at (www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov).

The Story of the SC Arts Commission’s Failure to Develop a Major Artisan Center in SC Just Won’t Go Away

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I never intended for this to be a continuing issue, but others just won’t leave it alone. My first blog entry about the Kentucky Artisan Center got a lot of attention and then a regular reader pointed out to me that the State of West Virginia was first to create this artisan center concept on major interstate highways.

I knew when I wrote the story nothing would ever happen in South Carolina – it’s just too logical – especially since we have one of the best locations for it – the intersection of I-95 and I-26. Logic doesn’t stand well in our state – at least at the state level.

Now SC is strapped for money, but these states had their vision when times were good. I guess the SC Arts Commission doesn’t really keep up with what their neighbors are doing. And, our art community is left behind – way behind.

Now we introduce you to TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia.

I haven’t been there yet, but I will go and check it out someday. But here’s some information I found on their website.

TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia

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Tamarack’s striking, peaked red roof and attractively landscaped grounds draw half a million visitors annually off I-77 and I-64 (Exit 45 at Beckley, WV) into a welcome respite of visual beauty, Appalachian sounds, and distinctive aromas.

A one-stop-shop for West Virginia culture, heritage, handcrafts, fine art, regional cuisine and music, Tamarack employs a rigorous jurying process to ensure product quality and authenticity.

Resident artisans work daily in observation studios to demonstrate textiles, metal, wood and pottery. Throughout the year artisan demonstrations and food tastings engage visitors in new experiences. The fine arts gallery offers a glimpse of the current art scene. Live musical, theatre, dance and storytelling performances, as well as West Virginia films, are scheduled in the intimate 178-seat theater.

Tamarack is not only a well-known tourist attraction but a major economic contributor. The Tamarack System, as a statewide economic impact component, affects all 55 counties to the tune of nearly $51 million in goods and services purchased to date. Craft sales have totaled $61 million.

Tamarack’s world-renowned partner, The Greenbrier, manages dining services, offering Tamarack guests delectable cuisine in the food court, during dinner theatre, at special events, and for meetings and special occasions in the Tamarack Conference Center.

Hospitable, accessible, accommodating and memorable—Tamarack is truly a showcase for The Best of West Virginia.

The Tamarack Vision for West Virginia

We envision a vibrant cottage industry in West Virginia where jobs, market opportunities, training, and educational resources abound for West Virginia’s artists, artisans, craftspersons, and food producers, and our rich cultural heritage and artisan skills and traditions are preserved and strengthened for future generations of West Virginians.

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The Tamarack System will be recognized globally as a dynamic catalyst and premiere showcase for all aspects of advancing West Virginia arts, crafts and food products and those who produce or perform them.

History of Tamarack

TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia is the nation’s first showcase of handcrafts, fine art and regional cuisine. It comprises a warmly decorated retail store, working studios for resident artisans, a fine art gallery, a theater, and A Taste of West Virginia food court, managed by The Greenbrier Resort.  Additional meeting space is available in the Tamarack Conference Center.

A visionary governor, Gaston Caperton, set the stage for Tamarack’s conception, and in October 1989, the Parkways Authority issued a $143 million bond; a small percentage was set aside to upgrade rest areas along the turnpike, and concession revenues from these – not toll revenues or tax dollars – were to fund tourism and economic development projects.

The Road

As the new director of Economic Development and Tourism, Cela Burge had an idea to connect West Virginia craftspeople with turnpike travelers.  When Cela suggested to the Authority’s Board of Directors that West Virginia products be sold in the new service plazas, the board agreed to the idea.  Nobody expected much to come of it. But, the crafts were a big hit. During the grand opening of the Princeton Center, complete with musicians and a big pot of apple butter cooking, Governor Caperton told David Dickirson, a member of the Parkways Authority’s  Board of Directors, that it would be wonderful to have a place with that type of atmosphere every day of the year.  Thus, the idea for Tamarack was born.

During the next six months, Burge and her helpers met with craftspeople far and wide; outlined a strategic marketing plan for developing the new center; began searching for architects; expanded warehouse facilities; and planned fact-finding visits to art and craft centers in several states. Dickirson approached Rod Stoner, director of food and beverage services at The Greenbrier, about providing their expertise.

A Design and A Name

In May 1993 Clint Bryan and his associates, Doug Bastian and John Harris, won the project. Their proposed design was arresting, innovative and eminently functional.  A Beckley firm, Radford and Radford, won the construction contract.

Tamarack was named in the late spring of 1993 by The Arnold Agency in Charleston, WV.  Linda Arnold, a Beckley native, and her creative team of Dick Allowatt and Carrie Stollings proposed the name of a tree, also called the American larch, known for its qualities of strength, beauty and versatility.

Organizing Artisans

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Meanwhile, Cela Burge and her associates were meeting and learning from another group of people who were integral to the project – the artisans.  The jury process to select products sold at Tamarack, has been in place since the beginning to insure quality and authenticity of WV-made items.

Artisans were also involved in the construction of Tamarack.  West Virginia artisans created structural elements – and were paid by contract – a year before visitors ever touched Tamarack’s handcrafted door pulls.

The Challenge

From the first, Tamarack – both the building and the concept of a centralized marketing system – aroused strong reactions. Governor Caperton consistently voiced high hopes for Tamarack.  And in October 1994, The Crafts Report devoted its cover feature to “West Virginia’s Bold Experiment.” A few months later, the national publication honored the Parkways Authority with its Crafts Consciousness Award.

Building a Dream

At the official groundbreaking on August 8, 1994, visitors sampled food from The Greenbrier, including the fried green tomatoes that have become a signature of Tamarack.

Behind the scenes, Tamarack’s staff and jurors continued their work. Artisans who passed the jurying process then received an initial order. For some, it was the largest order they had ever received. By June 1995, Tamarack had placed orders with more than 900 artisans. By the end of 1996, more than 1,300 West Virginia artisans were selling their wares at Tamarack, over 450,000 people had visited, and sales had topped $3.3 million.

Tamarack’s David L. Dickirson Gallery represents over 500 juried West Virginia artists. Exhibitions rotate every six to eight weeks showcasing the best of West Virginia fine art.

Tamarack’s popularity as a gathering place and the more than fruitful partnership with The Greenbrier sparked the idea of adding a conference center. The grand opening for the Tamarack Conference Center was held on June 20, 2003.

Tamarack has continued to grow.  Over 2,800 artisans from all fifty-five counties have become part of the Tamarack family.  Gross revenues have topped $78 million and purchases for goods and services have exceeded $65 million.  And as of June 30, 2007, Tamarack had enjoyed almost 5.2 million visitors.

This history was created from excerpts of Tamarack at Ten by Colleen Anderson.

TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia is located at: One Tamarack Park, Beckley, WV  25801. Admission and parking are free. Retail hours are: Jan. 5 – Mar. 1, 10am-7pm and Mar. 2 – Jan. 4, 8am-8pm. Food Court hours are: Breakfast – 8am-10:45am; lunch and dinner – 11am-closing.

For further information call the Center at 304/256-6843; 1-88-TAMARACK; or visit (http://www.tamarackwv.com/default.aspx).

OK – It sounds like this kind of project is not only a cultural boon to a state, but an economic one too. I can envision one of Charleston, SC’s finest restaurants providing the food end of things and the thousands of people who travel those interstate highways the support. All we have to do as a state is to build it, but if the powers that be ever come to that conclusion – I hope they leave the SC Arts Commission out of the picture. They never had such vision – why should they change their color now. It will take the vision of people who know about tourism matters – the artists of SC will contribute the artistic end of things.

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.

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(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.