Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3/26/14 Savannah Introduction

     Welcome to Savannah Georgia, a city with many personalities.  If you want to get around the historic area of Savannah, you have your choice of many modes of transportation.  Rickshaw drivers are numerous.

     Now here is a totally unique approach.  This is a bar with wheels - and if you want to belly up to the bar you have got to be ready to pedal.  Mike Grayson is the pilot, and is someone who I will probably connect with again before I leave Savannah.

    Then there are the trolleys - several different trolley companies compete for your business.  They have stops all around town where you can get off at points of interest and board another whenever you like.

     But Old Savannah Tours has the corner on the market for uniqueness.  I happened upon John Sandifer, one of many actors who play different roles at various trolley stops to keep the customers entertained.  John plays Forest Gump - and if you haven't seen the movie, you must.  It is coming in twenty years old this year, and is one of only three movies I have watched more than once.  

    John hides behind a door in a theater, and when the trolley stops he approaches it in Forest Gump style.

     After sitting on the bus and entertaining the crowd for a few minutes, he suddenly realizes he is in the wrong place and has to leave.  You can hear all the folks shouting "Run Forest, Run !!"  That was one of the famous lines from the movie.  Each new trolley-load of folks spontaneously bursts out with the line, seemingly convinced they are the first group to think of it.

     And run he does . . .

    Later, John posed for me at Chippewa Square - in the spot where the movie began and returned to many times as Tom Hanks wove the tale of Forest Gump.  Remember a few weeks back when we visited the Chocolate Factory in Beaufort?  (Click Here.)  Tom Hanks bought his chocolate in Beaufort, but because they could not afford the price to get their name in the movie, Tom put their chocolate in a Russel Stover box.  (Think "Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get.)


     There was a park bench here where Forest Gump sat, but it is now in a local museum.  John has a great story - seven years ago he visited Savannah from Atlanta dressed as Forest Gump for Halloween.  His antics caught the eye of the tour company, and they ended up offering him a position entertaining their guests.  And he is only one of numerous actors that play various roles along the trolley route.  I would love to be able to profile a few more of these folks and maybe we can find out who the creative mind behind the whole thing is.  Stay tuned.

     Speaking of a town square, there are a bunch of them in this town.  When the town was laid out, it was organized into "wards" with each ward having a town square about 200 feet by 200 feet.  There are almost thirty of them - I can't seem to get an accurate count yet.  Each square has its own personality as it relates to the old homes that surround it and the monument or fountain it contains, and each square contains some unique personalities as well.  Under the watchful eyes of four marble lions in Chippewa Square, David Corcoran serenaded passers-by with various love songs, accompanied by his guitar and occasional harmonica.

     Meanwhile, just up the street in Wright Square, Willie Ware enthralled a young boy with several nursery songs.

Willie Ware

    Another square, another singer, but this one wrapped it up just before I arrived.

    Nathaniel Greene, who during the revolutionary war worked his way up through the ranks from private to a top general is buried in Johnson Square. 

     And just over the hill on River Street, Jan Shockley wooed those who happened by.  I like the way the American Flag is framed in the window behind him.

     And finally, from Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville Alabama, a group of teens who sing with a choir was playing percussion on trash-cans alongside the river.  Later they performed on some steps as a group - a very nice performance.

     I found them an absolutely engaging and uplifting group of young people.  Kudos to those that put forth the effort for these young men and women to experience Savannah, and extra Kudos to the youth for putting their heart and soul into the work they are doing.

All have a great Wednesday !!

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