Welcome March. Here in SC you are certainly coming in like a lamb. I just hope you don’t surprise us with a hard freeze that damages everything!
This is a long post but it covers all our activities in February. I hope you take the time to read it. I also hope you think you will agree we had a very fun, educational and social month.
Every month seems to fly by and we always have lots of fun things to keep busy with but February seemed especially busy.
Every week Bob and I go to our OLLI “Religion and Politics” class. We have been surprised that there are not more heated discussions. After all, this is the Bible Belt. The 20 or so of us in the class all seem to be on the same page. Pretty much everyone has spoken up and so far no one has really rallied for the religious right.
On Thursdays I go to my OLLI “History of the South” class. This term I have been learning more about the background of slavery, what the lives of slaves were like, the arguments for and against slavery and more about why the south is so “states rights” and some of the history for the tension that is between the north and the south. I will be sad to see it come to a close this week.
As long as we are talking about OLLI, this term for the first time I coordinated some of our Friday bonus trips. I did three events.
The first one was bringing in one of the local Secret Service Agent to talk to us. There were 60-70 people there. He was a fantastic speaker with a sense of humor and great stories like guarding the Bush twin girls! There were many, many questions.
Next week we went to the Children’s Museum. It is less than 2 years old and with it’s 80,000 sq. ft. is the 10th largest in the world and the 7th largest in the US. You can’t go there if you aren’t with a child so it was really a treat to be able go. Let me tell you, keeping 30 adults together in a fun place where they want to play was like herding cats. Luckily no one got lost. If you are there with your kids the parents and children have wrist bands that link them together so they can be matched up if they get separated. How cool is that?
The third event was to visit the American Legion War Museum. I had about 15 people for that. They brought in 3 veterans to talk with us about their experiences in WW 2 and a man who was a prisoner of war in the Korean War. Such moving stories. It was very clear from hearing these men talk that post tramatic stress is nothing new. It took the Korean prisoner of war many decades before he could talk about what he had to do to escape.
On the cultural side we went to the Peace Center Les Ballets Trockadero which was the drag ballet and it was fabulous. Talented dancers who were serious about their ballet but also threw in just enough humor to make it really fun. These men with their hairy chests wearing tutus were a hoot. The opening production was Swan Lake so imagine 15 or so BIG swans. Everything went well until the prince had to pick up or throw one of the swans and then he needed a little help from the other swans. Funny. The next two performances were only 4-6 dancers and I think were meant to be lighthearted and fun and the last performance had a Spanish flare and was serious and beautiful.
Next we went to a Furman student play called Circle Mirror Transformation. It was both funny and moving. The 5 actors and actresses did a superb job. One challenge they have is that they are so young and it is hard for them to look the part of characters in their 40′s and 50′s. They can act the part but just don’t quite look the part.
Before this event we went to a Japanese restaurant and used our Groupon for fantastic shrimp sushi, tempura vegetables and a three course meal that we split. I had sake and Bob had a glass of wine and after the Groupon it cost us $4. What’s not to like about that? This second event at the Peace Center was the Wroclaw Philharmonic which is from Poland. How 90 musicians can play so beautifully together is amazing. Bob and I aren’t symphony/classical music buffs unless we really know the music and this was the work of Polish composers which we did not know. They did a fine job but it just wasn’t our thing so we left at intermission. You don’t feel guilty leaving when the tickets were $5.
The last big event was the Broadway musical Memphis. We started out the evening with wine and upscale snacks at the “Art Bar”. It is just what it sounds like, a bar with lots of art work and a bald bartender with big red mutton chop whiskers. We had a Groupon for our food and couldn’t spend it all so bought appetizers for a young couple also in the bar. It was fun to “give” a little gift to someone. The performance was perfect – good vocals, lots of action, excellent musicians, cool costumes, great dancing and a fine story. It was technically very good but it just didn’t WOW us. We love the music from the 50′s. This was all original music and unfamiliar (but certainly rock and roll) and we expected we would hear some of the old tunes we liked so much. For example, I saw Joseph’s Amazing Coat and Wicked and didn’t know the story or music and I was “WOW”. We have tickets for Lion King in June so it will be interesting to see how we like that. For $185 we better like it a great deal!
The Travelers Rest Chamber of Commerce had their monthly meeting. There were about 70 people there which I think is great turn out The speaker was a local lawyer who spoke briefly on elder law. He will be teaching a course in Elder Law at OLLI next term and Bob is going to take it. It is so heartwarming to see how this little town is working together to make Travelers Rest a much better place.
Of course I had to get together with my friends. One of our Newcomers events was a behind the scenes tour of the Peace Center, like Orchestra Hall in MN, and it was so interesting. You don’t think about all the space that is needed behind the stage for dressing rooms, equipment, practice rooms, etc. Then out for lunch at Larkens which is an upscale restaurant downs by the river. Bob and I really enjoy their crab cake and she crab soup. It was a nice way to spend a rainy day.
I made spring greeting cards with a couple girlfriends, Bob and I hosted three couples for a dessert fondue on Valentines Day, we attended a memorial service for the husband of one of my Newcomer friends and a few of us Tarot card ladies (ladies I met in my Tarot Card class last year) got together again. The Tarot card ladies mostly visit and maybe spend a little bit of time on the cards. I am the experienced Tarot card reader so having to do this is keeping my reading skills a little more current. I bought a transparent Tarot card deck after the class that is really, really interesting.
Add in swimming for Bob and water aerobics for me 3 times a week, a couple massages for me and using my Groupon for a manicure and pedicure and making time for quite a few naps and petting the cats and the month flew by!