Spring break in the mountains, specifically Blowing Rock, was enchanting! The weather presented the early morning mountain chill and the warmth of longer days in the afternoons. Rising early and playing bridge for a few hours in our pajamas, followed by shopping and having lunch in town where I ate fresh North Carolina trout and then returning to the villa to play bridge until we could no longer keep our eyes open was way too much fun for several of us house directors. Thanks to our gracious hostess, Phi Mu House Director Ann Winger. It was a good break for all as we anticipate the end of this semester and all that entails: formals, parent’s weekends, finals, rush prep, graduation, move-out day, maintenance, new projects, etc.
Spring has sprung and golf is in the air! First on the schedule of the four major golf championships is the annual Masters held each year in Augusta, Ga., where the practice round starts tomorrow. Steeped in history, 2017 marks the 81st annual event on this Par 72 course that saw a three-year break when the grounds were used to raise cattle and turkey to help during the World War II war efforts. Sixty-one magnolias planted in the 1850s line the 330-yard glorious Magnolia Lane entrance to the clubhouse. Genius golfer Bobby Jones and Scotland’s Alistair Mac Kenzie designed the course where, on the No. 13 tee, John Rae’s house once stood as protection against Indian attacks. Thus, the name Rae’s creek, a tributary of the Savannah River from Fort Augusta. The first tournament was held in 1934 when tickets were about $2.20 (the 20 cents for tax), and the first green jacket was awarded in 1949 to the champion Sam Snead. Each beautifully-designed hole is named after a flowering plant. And, Amen Corner is where in 1935 Gene Sarazen made a double eagle for what was dubbed as “the shot heard around the world” to earn a playoff bid then win the next day! The Masters was the first championship to be broadcast live via radio and the first to televise in color (1966). Until 1983, all players were required to use the Augusta National Club caddies who were African-American. Only one U.S president has been a member of Augusta National: Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower. And, only three professional golfers have been members: John Harris, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Tiger Woods is the youngest to ever win The Masters at the tender age of 21, and Jack Nicklaus has the most wins at six. The day following The Masters, The Bobby Jones Scholars from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland play a four-ball round before the groundskeepers begin repairs on the course.
As with each spring season, we are experiencing Lent. I mentioned early on this year that I would be studying the notes and commentary with my Bible instead of just reading the Bible itself. What a difference that is making in my understanding of who, what, when, where, how and why! It is amazing to me that after reading the most wonderful book 15 times thus far, that I can still learn so many things. I am fascinated by God’s holy word!
Also with this time of year, the Purple Martins return. Have you ever watched them? Last year at this time, I was living in Daddy’s cabin and had the extreme privilege of observing their extraordinary habits. Swooping in perfectly to take in insects on the lake. Beautiful acrobatics. Amazing! Last week, I called Daddy to find out if they had returned. His answer, “The scouts were here about two weeks ago, and all returned today.” Perfect timing for that call. Knew it in my soul. His love for them has resonated to me.
Members of the Athens Symphony are made up of volunteers who perform throughout the year in different venues around the city. Sunday lunch followed by the symphony’s Spring Concert, where they performed “Fantasy on a Theme” by Max Steiner who wrote the musical score for “Gone With The Wind,” made for an enjoyable afternoon. GWTW is considered one of the greatest films ever produced and received 10 Oscars for its 1939 introduction into the Hollywood movie history books. In an effort to share the story of the South during the Civil War, local pianist Jim McKillip wrote the pop version of “Tara’s Theme” and divided it into four measures: The Tranquility, The Conflict, The Revival and The Unification. All stood in the performance hall upon completion. It was the crescendo of the day. And, most probably don't know that “Tara’s Theme” almost became the Georgia state song.
I live in a house now with 67 young, vivacious and ambitious sorority girls who represent a third of the membership. Though my youth may be ‘gone with the wind,’ the love for classical music, the opportunity to witness the return of tradition ~ whether watching determined athletes play golf or Martins do their magic as they keep away mosquitos ~ or learning the multitude of bridge conventions or fine-tuning fly-fishing skills, I am more aware than ever that life is very short and God wants us to use all the talents He has given each one of us to help and love each other so we may make our little part of the world more unified. Heck, after that war of northern aggression, we are still rising for the south 150 years later!
‘Til next month, thanks for your correspondence as I am ~
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at SincerelySusan@timesnews.net. To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.