Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More from Savannah...

(First, in response to a request from Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for a "story," in a competition for dinner with the senator. Here's mine:I’m an old lefty. Born in England shortly before the start of World War II, I saw/heard bombs drop on innocent civilians. I saw good people scared out of their wits by war. I heard the drone of Heinkels, the whine of Messerschmidts—one crash-landed in a field not half a mile from our house. I have lived through austerity, and witnessed the survival of the human spirit through the worst of times.

I came to America in 1964. I have been a citizen since 1970. In the successive assassinations of President John Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, I watched the assault on what I thought to be the noblest of the American spirit. Beginning with the California tax revolt in the early 1970s, I have watched with dismay the progressive rise of an egotistical, me-first materialism that, to my way of thinking, ran counter to our own best nature as a nation, the good heart of America.

I believe that Senator Obama has touched that heart in a way it sorely needs to be touched again. The response to his candidacy is evidence enough that it’s still beating. I would be honored to sit down with him over dinner and talk about the ways in which we can work together to revive it to full strength.

Thanks for listening.)

Now, back to Savannah... Up a bit earlier yesterday, and a bite to eat in the breakfast room. Then out for the day... starting with a visit to the SCAD shop just a couple of blocks away. Not unduly impressed by the wares, we walked on to the Juliette Gordon Low house (founder of the Girl Scout movement in America)

with a lovely garden...

... amd a knarly tree...

and on past children playing in one of the squares...

before stopping uptown for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then on to the Teflair Museum and a tour of the current installation there--a local artist of the early 20th century. An interesting show from the point of view of Savannah--the streets we have walked, and some portraits of characters not unlike those we have seen around town in this early year of the 21st century. A very traditional approach, however, and not of great interest from the aesthetic point of view.

A quick visit to the City Market, which we had hoped might be an actual market place, but turned out to be nothing more that a tourist street with a number of eateries and souvenir shops. Returning to the museum square, we had much better luck at the contemporary museum, the Jepson Center for the Arts, in a brand new building designed by the Israeli architect Moshe Safdie.

A wonderful small museum, light, spacious and airy, with a grand staircase leading to the third floor, where we found two excellent exhibits: the first, cartoons by the Australian-born Oliphant, were a delightful satire on the recent American political scene, skewering Bush, his cronies, and his administration in general with scathing humor. The second show, "Fast Forward," was a selection of works on loan from the North Carolina Museum of Art--a small show, but one which managed to give an interesting international survey of art in a variety of media.

I love small museums like this one, where it's possible to take in the whole thing in a couple of easy hours without exhausting the body or the mind.

We enjoyed an excellent light lunch in the museum cafe, and found our way back to Leopold's for a second helping of their ice cream on the way back to our B&B to get ready for our morning departure. An hour in warm sunshine in a local park with a book made the late afternoon a very pleasant moment.

And finally, a blues concert. Great music, a lot of fun. But though I hate to be the scold, is it not just a wee bit odd to have nothing but white boys in the band,

and nothing but white faces in the audience--including, of course, our own? Correction, Ellie and I between us spotted one black face. Maybe we each spotted a different one. Which would make two, out of hundreds. And this is the blues? Didn't we borrow/steal it from black folks? Aren't they invited? I suppose it could be put that they choose not to come. At any event, it does seem that de facto segregation is still alive and thriving in this part of the world. Which goes to prove some points that Senator Obama made last week.

More later... from Charleston.


Richard said...

Hi Peter, I'm loving the photos. I agree with you about the heart of America, but I think it's as true to say that it beats in each of us as well as that nation.

I think that we need to get back in touch with this heart again on an individual basis as well, and further a field than the states.

I too hope Sen. Obama wins the race for the White House, I feel his hope and the change he promises offers something to the whole world, not just the USA.

Mercurious said...

I do hope you get to meet with the Senator. Your impressions would be wonderful to hear.

PeterAtLarge said...

Nice thought, Richard. Yes, I do very much agree.

And Mercurious, let's see. It would be a treat!

They call him James Ure said...

I too love the photos and the travel details. Savannah is a place I've always wanted to visit. As for Obama, he's the only choice we have in my opinion--and an EXCELLENT one at that!!