“At the Intersection of ‘Yes Ma’am’ and ‘Dude’ “

I admit it: I live in a bit of a fantasy world. Don’t worry, there is no real break with reality, I just prefer to think that life is like a colorful, interesting movie with a great soundtrack. Honestly, why would you choose otherwise when regular life is so mundane, frustrating, and just so darn…LIFE-Y?

Anyone who tries to get my head out of the clouds, and wants me to be more “realistic” (ugh!) is doomed to failure. But have no fear: LIFE does a pretty good job of bringing me right back down to earth, where I land with a *PLUNK*.

This is what happened when my intrepid husband and I stayed at the seemingly fabulous Thunderbird Inn in Savannah. This is a bona fide retro motor lodge built in 1964, 2-story, drive-up style. You can’t miss this place: it has the MOST stunning neon sign:


and the exterior has an authentic mid-60s color scheme:


The outside is so well done, they have added little touches like retro bicycles, and the whole thing looks just untouched by time. Really cool.

Well mister, I took one look at that place and the Movie Music just swelled in my head… Dean Martin “Everybody Loves Somebody” and The Shangri-Las… how wonderful it would be to stay there!

So when we found ourselves with two events in Savannah on consecutive days, my husband suggested we stay there, for fun. I was so excited, and promptly exclaimed that we would have to take our dinner to-go in the room in order to spend as much time as possible in that groovy setting.

At check-in we were “upgraded” to a King Suite. Sweet! When we got to the door of our room, there was a sign saying that the bed had the Magic Fingers Feature. Fantastic! As visions of ambiance danced in my head we opened the door, entered the room, and *PLUNK*! I was yanked flat out of my movie soundtrack and I thudded down to earth.

Let’s just say… the ultra-cool, retro vibe of the exterior did not extend into the room! It was an ugly, plain, not-very-stylish hotel room. In really the lower levels of hotel rooms I have ever stayed in in my life. Furnishings? Bland. Walls? Bare. Color scheme? Beige. It was such a letdown. And the King Suite designation? Seemed to be because there was a large fold-out couch uncomfortably shoved between the bed and door.

tbird 2

And the Magic Fingers? We never did get that to work.


Disappointing, to say the least. After we went OUT to dinner (definitely not taking it to our room) I kept my husband out walking the streets, here and there, to avoid actually hanging out in this room. But when we returned, I had to acknowledge that the room was actually quite clean, the A/C unit worked well, and the bed was super-comfortable.

That night I slept ridiculously well, because the bed WAS so comfortable, and I woke feeling refreshed. We headed towards the lobby to get coffee, and this is what we saw:



Oh joy!!! Cue the soundtrack! The movie continues!

tbird 1

The Antiques Road Show Axe Murderer

“Do you like our street?” asked the man blithely crossing one of those confusing, cars-going-every-direction Savannah intersections.  “That’s MY house.” he added with a big grin.  “Would you like to come in and see it?  It is the oldest building on this street.”

My husband and I exchanged a glance, and followed the man up the steps.  He was so cheerful, with a completely matter-of-fact hospitality, that it would have seemed terribly rude to decline.  And that is how we met Mr. Duke Beauregard Turner of Savannah.

Here’s the house:

Savannah Staircase

I’m thinking, like you do in such instances, “What if he’s an axe murderer?!”  My husband’s kinda fake-y smile indicated he was thinking the same thing.  We had been doing our usual Savannah sight-seeing:  walking the streets, poking into the odd little shops, and yes, gawking at the quaint historic architecture.  This was a particularly charming house, with a “Built in 1850” bronze plaque by the front door.

Savannah Rowhouse

So Mr. Turner gave us a tour.  He talked about the history of the house (originally built for a prominent wealthy merchant) and pointed out some of the more significant features.  And it was, in fact, quite intriguing to see how folks might live in such a museum-quality environment.  He was not boastful in any way, perhaps just “house-proud” as they say in the South, and with a genuine desire to share his enthusiasm that was quite infectious.

However, the biggest “wow” was not the house itself, but the antiques that furnished it.  Mr. Turner and his wife have amassed some really cool treasures, if you like that kind of thing, which my husband and I do, being regular viewers of The Antiques Road Show.  The thing about really old stuff is that it all has such fascinating stories attached to it…that’s what we really like.

So when he asked us if we wanted to go upstairs to see some “really unusual and interesting things”, I pushed aside my “DEFINITELY AXE MURDERER!” thoughts, smiled and said, “Sure!”.

The architecture upstairs was even more personal and charming, with some pieces like a large oval gold-leaf-framed mirror with a fierce, wings-spread eagle across the top that looked so Revolutionary War I swear it could’ve come from Betsy Ross’s place.

But the piece de resistance, the Big Kahuna if you will, was over the fireplace.  It was a large, framed, torn and tattered, slightly charred, but completely colorful and intact CIVIL WAR CONFEDERATE FLAG.  (!)  Now I don’t know about you, but big ole Confederate flags kinda make me a little uneasy.  I guess I get confused: true and important artifact, clearly on the wrong side of history, what would my New York friends say, etc.

This particular flag was the real deal and given to Mr. Turner’s family after the death of his great-grandfather on the battlefield.  Approximately 2 1/2′ square, it dominated the room.  Written boldly on the flag itself was a list of important battles this particular Confederate Army Company had been engaged in, such as Bull Run, Antietam, and several other very significant campaigns.  Mr. Turner explained that someone from his regiment had taken special care to be sure this memorial flag got to his ancestor’s surviving family.

And that’s what it was:  a memorial and a tribute to his great-grandfather’s service.  It is quite moving to look at in that context, which is the privacy of Mr. Turner’s home.

As we left the company of this delightful, pleasant man in one piece (no axes, antique or otherwise) I was appreciative that Mr. Turner had certainly made our day, and while he was genuine and unfazed, I still found myself wondering:

Is it politically incorrect to display Confederate Army memorabilia??

Mr. Turner in his living room

Mr. Turner in his living room

Savannah Junior League Thrift Sale

Savannah rarely disappoints…what a unique place it is!

Wanted to check out the Savannah Junior League Thrift Sale at the Civic Center, but traffic was SNARLED as soon as I got off the bridge.  9AM on a Saturday.  WTF?  But then…I realized…a PARADE!  Yay!  Like for real…marching bands, majorettes, cheerleaders…even an extremely poised beauty queen.

Savannah Lions Cheerleaders

Savannah Lions Cheerleaders

beauty queen

Extremely Poised Beauty Queen

As for the Thrift Sale?  Initially I was disappointed, just garage sale junk.  And then…I saw them…Designer Wedding Gowns.  Prices SLASHED down to $50.

They looked so extravagant amongst the cracked pottery and used DVDs, but also kinda forlorn.  “Ah, time for an artsy picture” I thought.  The irony, the contrast, the brick wall against the white satin, and blahblahblah.

wedding gowns

$50 or Less!

And then……

this bride-to-be appeared…she looked so cute.

A soon-to-be Mrs.

A soon-to-be Mrs.

She really made my day.