My first taste of Grits. At the restaurant where Forrest Gump was filmed, no less

grits

“What are grits?” I asked the waitress, a young, pretty girl with long legs.

“You don’t know what grits are?” she asked with grave concern.

I said I didn’t. She explained they are kind of like Cream of Wheat, but with salt and pepper and cheese they are pretty good.

I ask her some more questions about this restaurant, Debi’s, and its connection to the movie Forrest Gump. She starts to answer my questions.

But the owner of this restaurant, Debi, keeps on her. “He will need to entertain himself, get to the tables now. Sir, did you get on the Internet OK?”

“Yes ma’am,” I’m replied. They all are calling Debi ma’am in here.

The conversations are rather hilarious. I mean, this place really is like the South is depicted in the movies. Yet, this entire place reminds me of the Quad-Cities on many levels, too.

I already have been told – in whispers, by people who seem to care, especially when I share my story – that this place “Isn’t as safe as the tourists think. Be careful at night.”

‘Proper’ Catholic girls, knee-high stockings and lots of history

So, I chose this place because of the “Forrest Gump” writing on the window. A scene was filmed here, where the waitress is pouring Forrest’s coffee and sees him on TV. Here’s a clip of a Forrest Gump Savannah scene. The “box of chocolates” quote was filmed in Chippewa Square. It’s kind of funny that I filmed that selfie scene in Wright Square, because it just immediately made me think of the movie. I did not even realize it was filmed here.

Every two or three blocks, there is a town square here. They all are beautifully landscaped and surrounded by stunning historical buildings, including many churches.

On my walk here, there were several young girls in long plaid skirts, with knee high stockings. Of course, they all entered a school across from a  grand Catholic church. Or maybe it’s a cathedral. I should go back there today.

The weather is beautiful. Sunny with a high of 65 today, but it should be in the mid-70s to near 80 the rest of my visit.

Well, time to dig into my grits, biscuits and gravy and ham and cheese omelet. I’m going to “walk the squares” after this, and maybe go see Mercer House – where the well-to-do older gentlemen murdered the live-in hustler, was convicted three times, but then got off when a Georgia Superior Court overturned. James Williams died eight months after that.

food

Oh, I’m learning everything. The hotel concierge knows EVERYTHING. I sat in her office about an hour this morning. I plan to start each day in her office.

As for the Williams case, I have been instructed, “Now you don’t bring that up when you’re there. We pretend that didn’t happen.”

More on my hotel later.

I’m leavin’, LEAVIN’! On that midnight plane to Georgia! Will it be good or evil?

savannah

On that midnight plane to Geor-gia…leavin’ on the mid-night plaaaannne to Geor-gia…WOO WOO!

Well, actually, I landed, at midnight 08, to be exact, at Savannah Hilton Head. What is Savannah, Ga. famous for?

A book called “Midnight in the Garden and Good and Evil.”

Yes, I know. It’s spooky already, isn’t it.

The book, in the first chapter, is a journalist’s tale of the quintessential capitol of the South. Well, there is some argument about what the true capitol of the South is. But there is no argument that all the characters — and the best stories — are in Savannah.

The book, by John Berendt, begins with Chapter One (of course). It’s about his conversation with a man he meets who lives in an historic home who appears to be overly brimming with confidence. It’s a bit odd, yet a bit familiar, at least to me.

The man boasts to the journalist about how he became one of the most famous men in Savannah. Halfway through the chapter, a young man who turns out to be a hustler (and who ends up murdered by the end of the book) bursts into the scene as if he owns this fancy man’s house. He’s rough and tumble and has a foul mouth. The journalist finds it curious.

The chapter ends with Mr. Fancy Pants proclaiming, “I have two Christmas parties, not just one. Both are black-tie. The first party is the famous one. It’s the one that gets written up in the newspapers, the one the high and mighty of Savannah come to. The second party is the next night. It’s the one the papers never write about. It’s…for gentlemen only,” James Williams tells Berendt. “Which party would you like to be invited to?”

Berendt’s answer: “The one least likely to involve gunfire.”

Oh, but there’s so much more.

Already, a trip both enchanting and terrifying

I know. The chill went down my spine when I read it, too. And then I booked a trip to Savannah.

And here I am. The flight from the Quad-Cities to Atlanta was lovely. I never had flown Delta before. Very nice, comfortable aircraft, and extraordinarily friendly southern belle flight attendants. “In the event that our captain decides to turn our flight into a cruise, a flotation device is located underneath your seat.”

That made me chuckle. But when I got to TGI Fridays in the Atlanta airport, terminal E, things got a bit odd. A young man who did not look old enough to be drinking the beer in front of him, and who was, um, well, a little “turned up,” I guess you would call it (I know because I’ve been there, and would never want to go back there), struck up a conversation with me.

It didn’t take me long to understand his situation and very gently explain it to him, and get him to confirm it with me. I then offered him some advice that he seemed to appreciate.

Next, I asked him where he was from. I swear he said, “Davenport.” I said, “Davenport????” He said, “Um, no, Orlando. I’m going there for a family thing, I guess you could call it.”

Well, we had a heart to heart. I hope the kid is safe and gets out of the life he is in.

When I left, the waitress said, “See you again!” And a very scary looking man with greasy hair, probably 30 but looked to be pushing 50, said, “No, you won’t see him ever again.”

Yes. I know. That chill down the spine again.

Then I almost missed the midnight plane to Georgia

I then realized that I had not set the clock forward (an S7 Edge doesn’t do that by itself?) and was an hour late to board my flight.

I ran to the gate.

And I heard, “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the hour-long delay, but a member of our flight crew had a delay from another flight, and we cannot operate the aircraft without three flight attendants. We hope to board within 20 minutes.”

Twenty minutes later, we were in the air. That plane must have flown 1,000 mph because we were only two minutes late.

Now I’m here.

Um, well, honestly, the place feels a bit…odd. In many ways. I will get into all of that tomorrow. I’m tired and I need to say my prayers and go to bed.

NOTHING can stop Lois Lane. She keeps going, and going…

There’s so much more to come. Stay tuned!