My visit to St. Simons Island, GA to speak at the Scribbler’s Retreat Writers’ Conference was my first trip to the south, and I made sure that I immersed myself in the culture (at least as much as one can in a few days). I walked on the beach, climbed the lighthouse, toured a Civil War era cemetery, strolled among live oaks dripping with Spanish moss (which is neither Spanish nor moss but a member of the pineapple family). And ate. She-crap soup. Crab cakes. Shrimp and grits. Red beans and rice. Key lime pie. Fried oysters. Fried green tomatoes. Fried dill pickles. Vidalia onion pie. I was disappointed in the fried green tomatoes and the beans and rice. Both dishes were seasoned heavily with rosemary, which is my least favorite herb. And I was disappointed not to find such haute cousine as fried Twinkies, but I’m sure my stomach thanks me for the oversight.
I also met a woman I considered to be a quintessential fading southern belle. She was still beautiful despite being past her first youth, and hospitable (she took me on a tour of the island on Sunday in the hours between hotel check-out and my flight home). She was also charming, sweet, and . . . from Maine. Just shows one should not assume anything.
Several of my meals were eaten in the company of fellow speakers Phillip Margolin, Chuck Barrett, and Jane Wood, (and Chuck’s delightful wife who taught me that “the store is always open,” meaning that authors always need to be ready to promote themselves. Maybe I’ll even heed her words and carry my bookmarks with me!)
I’m still trying to collect the photos that people took of me, but until then, you’ll have to be satisfied with photos I took.