“Life is Short, Enjoy the Music While you can still Dance”
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September 2021 - “ Enjoying Life” Contents Volume 20, Issue 9
About the Cover Artist:
Andrew Atroshenko is a winner of the American Professional Artists League’s Frank C. Wright Medal of Honor, awarded at the Grand National Exhibition in New York in 2006, and winner of the “Public admiration” award at the Canada Portrait Society annual International competition in 2007. At 19, Andrew was accepted at one of the most prestigious art schools in the world, St. Petersburg Academy of Art. Since 2000, Andrew worked with dealers from Western Europe and the US, exhibiting and selling his paintings in such US galleries as “Valentina” of Carmel, California, “Elite” of Scottsdale, “Vendome Galleries” in Beverly Hills and Desert Springs, “Collectors Fine Art” in Las Vegas and Hawaii. His works were sold at art auctions in Nice, Lion, and Paris, France. From 2005 till 2010, Andrew’s work was distributed worldwide by the largest US art publishing company, Collectors Editions. His work has been featured in such publications as Art World News, Art Business News, American Art Collector, and Architectural Digest. You may directly connect with the artist through: Email: email@example.com Facebook: Andrew Atroshenko Instagram: @andrew_atroshenko_art
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Music Box by Diane DeVaughn Stokes
Sasee Gets Personal with Allison Harrington: Speech Solutions, Inc.
Sweating, Itching, and Having the Time of my Life by Deborah Clark Vance
Martine Nash Williams: The Journey to Successfully Enjoying Life by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson
Sasee Gets Personal with Sarah Stapleton: Moore, Johnson & Saraniti Law Firm, P.A.
Food and Love by Erika Hoffman
Aunt Dorothy and the Outdoor Concert by Glenda Ferguson
No Dancing! by Michelle Goering
The Road Not Taken by Caroline Chirichella
Jina Narron: Class (and The Arts) are Back in Session by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson
Twine & Twig
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from the Editor It was fall of 2002 in the Blue Ridge mountains, the perfect time of the year - football season! The “Band that Shakes the Southland” began to play, and the music took over the crowd - It’s time! It’s my time to run out onto the field to perform. The cannons fired off and my adrenaline kicked in. The stadium was packed full of orange and purple pride, eighty thousand Clemson Tiger fans chanting as one, and a small ginger-haired girl who embarked on her first dream. That’s me, nothing but sparkles and smiles, oh and a baton in my hand, of course. As I posed there as big and as bold as I could, more ready than ever to twirl my little heart out as I listened to the instruments sing, all I could think to myself was, “I was made for this!” At the age of six, this was my first experience of Game Day in Death Valley and I was wholeheartedly captivated. I decided right then that I would work as hard as I could to become a Clemson University Tiger Twirler. I attended the “Tiger Twirler for A Day” football game every year growing up and successfully fulfilled my dream. My passion for baton twirling, music, and choreography grew immensely. Although my time as a Tiger Twirler is now over, hearing the Tiger Band play the tune of our fight song, “Tiger Rag,” will forever be a sensational feeling and a connection to my team’s monumental memories that I will always remember. I never would have imagined that my passion would go beyond a competitive and collegiate level, but once I moved back to the Grand Strand, I have been blessed to teach younger generations and perform professionally with Over the Moon Productions. It’s truly astonishing to me what opportunities have come my way due to the genuine and simplistic joy of doing what I love. During those melodic moments when it’s just me, my batons, and some groovy music, I feel soulfully whole. I encourage you to discover your passions and learn how to truly enjoy your life.
Publisher Delores Blount Sales & Marketing Director Susan Bryant Editor Sarah Elaine Hawkinson Account Executives Erica Schneider Gay Stackhouse Art Director Patrick Sullivan Contributing Photographer Chasing the Light Photography Web Developer Scott Konradt Accounting Gail Knowles Executive Publishers Jim Creel Bill Hennecy Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 www.sasee.com • firstname.lastname@example.org Sasee is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission. Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
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by Diane DeVaughn Stokes When you live in Myrtle Beach and don’t have a big Performing Arts Center, even though I have fought long and hard as the former Chair of the City of Myrtle Beach Cultural Arts Committee for twenty-five years, you pretty much have to go out of the area to see some big-name acts. However, I will give Carolina Opry, The Alabama Theater, the former Palace Theater, the First Presbyterian Concert Series, and the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art credit for fostering some really great concerts, many that I have had a chance to emcee. My top favorite out of the area concerts were Paul McCartney who was my heartthrob in my pre-teens, Neil Diamond who I fell in love with during high school, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, a college favorite of mine, and most recently, Elton John in his farewell concert tour. They all took me back in time with memories good and bad that had me sobbing during the performances. I looked around and no one else was crying. They were all happy, clapping, cheering, standing at times, and swaying to the music. My husband was quite embarrassed the first time this happened at the McCartney concert. He thought I was having a nervous breakdown. Heck, I thought I was too. He swore he would never take me to another concert. But we all relate to music in different ways. The Beatles music takes me back to when my beautiful baby sister was born which was such a joyous time. Yet one year later, my new dad was transferred, and we had to move out of state away from my beloved grandparents who I had lived with for the first eight years of my life. Yes, all these memories came flooding back during the McCartney performance. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a very “up” and positive person, making people laugh and feel good. This crying gag is so unlike me, but I have purged tears during every single concert. When I emceed the Lettermen show at the Alabama Theater - no not David Lettermen, but the fabulous vocalists, THE LETTERMEN - I knew I could not cry because I was going to have to speak to the audience after intermission. But who wouldn’t cry after songs like “Cherish,” “When I Fall In Love,” “More,” and the crying-est song of all times “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” I was a basket case backstage. I had tear streaks all down my cheeks. Luckily, I keep a make-up bag in my car 8 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
for emergencies like these. TV people have to be prepared, right? But my nose was still red, and my raccoon eyes were hopeless. Then there are Broadway shows that make me weep bitterly. Whether they are in New York or even local community Theater, I can’t help myself. I can’t even talk about “Les Miserables” without balling! Over the years I have been fortunate to emcee the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art in October. It’s the best and you shouldn’t miss it. Most of the guest performers have been music from the times of our lives. And I can tell you, since I usually sit in the audience after the opening introduction, I’m not the only one totally losing it. A couple of years ago a woman who sat behind me was crying during Pablo Cruise singing “Whatcha Gonna Do When He Says Goodbye?” So, I handed her a tissue since I am always prepared at venues like these and she said, “Thanks, when my first husband left me for a younger woman, this song empowered me. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I finally found happiness.” I truly believe that everyone has a jukebox of sorts in their head that is tied to their hearts that cause everyone to react differently upon hearing a song. Recently, my husband surprised me with Sirius Radio since I was no longer working for any local stations. I just love it. I have the fifties, sixties, seventies, Beatles, Broadway, and Classic Rock programmed so that if a song is sending me into a crying gag, I just press a button and I am taken back to a different time and place in my musical box of memories. But tissues are always close at hand.
Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the co-owner of Stages Video Productions in Myrtle Beach and Host and Producer for the TV show “Inside Out” on HTC. Diane and her husband Chuck share passions for theater, travel, and scuba diving. She is the author of “Floating On Air - A Broadcasting Love Affair.”
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Gets Personal with
Allison Harrington: Speech Solutions, Inc.
For two decades, Allison has been a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), which is someone who assesses, diagnoses and facilitates treatment of a variety of communication disorders in both children and adults. SLPs practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, rehab facilities, private clinics, and homes. In 2015, Allison’s parents retired and moved to Ocean Isle Beach and her sister lives in the area too. Family is what brought Allison to the Grand Strand and she now owns a home and has a satellite office in Shallotte. Fishing or riding on the boat with friends or family is what Allison is doing when she is enjoying life the most. Allison’s idea of Girls’ Night has definitely changed over the years! If she was having a Girls’ Night tonight, it would involve being somewhere local and small listening to live music with no cell phones – just remembering past memories and making new ones. From Post Malone to Kid Rock, Earth Wind and Fire to the Eagles, Allison has seen many genres live in concert. Although she is a fan of all types of music, her all-time favorite song is “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The best music memories Allison has made is with her son. They have gone to a concert every year together since he was fourteen years old (except for during COVID – their Aerosmith concert in Boston keeps getting postponed). Their first concert was Maroon 5 in Alabama and since then, their trips have taken them to places like New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. Allison supports the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) which is a shining star for our region. She enjoys endowing scholarships in her parents’ name. Before COVID, every recipient of the scholarships were females from Brunswick County! Allison volunteers through Speech Solutions, Inc. because as a company, they are very involved in the community. She said, “the individuals we serve are from our communities and by volunteering, you have a better understanding and appreciation for all things. Check out our Facebook page or website on ways you can help us help volunteer!” www.facebook.com/Speech-Solutions-Inc-146950442034536
“Stand for something or fall for anything!” is Allison’s favorite quote. 10 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
Speech Solutions Inc.
Make memories and safely bring home your catch on your private fishing trip.
Meeting the Speech and Language Needs of Our Community Since 2003 We assess, diagnosis and treat our patients to help improve their speech, language, cognitive, communication, voice, swallowing, fluency and other speech disorders We also have the equipment and certified Speech-Langugage Pathologists to provide Vital Stem Therapy.
Nationally Accredited and State Licensed Speech Solutions, Inc. is owned by Allison Harrington M.Ed., CCC-SLP “The mission of Speech Solutions, Inc. is to provide speech and language needs with integrity and accountability in the communities we serve, to give back through community service and to inspire moments of optimism and happiness while creating value and making a difference.”
910-754-3484 127 Village Drive, Suite B Shallotte, NC 28459 www.speechsolutionsinc.com
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Sweating, Itching, and Having the Time of my Life by Deborah Clark Vance
I chose my outfit mindfully before meeting up with my friends the other day. Then during the entire morning, no one at all remarked about my clothes. They didn’t bat an eye about my dirt-stained shirt or my mud-caked shoes, nor did they say a peep about Marilyn’s baggy shorts or Alice’s funny hat. Meet the Dirt Crew, one of the friendliest, smartest, most enjoyable groups of women I’ve had the pleasure to know. Before I even met them, I’d done so much thinking, seeking, and planning that they were on the path I was traveling so it was just a matter of time. Ahead of moving from the east coast to Cincinnati five years ago, I did as much online research as possible about activities I could explore in that new-to-me city. Topping my list was the Civic Garden Center (CGC), a non-profit environmental education facility. Everything about this place intrigues me. It’s on the former estate of Cornelius Hauck who willed it to the city in 1967. During his lifetime, Hauck collected tree specimens for an arboretum he called “Sooty Acres” and opened his property to the public as a respite from hot summers and dirty city air. Now as the CGC, the property showcases various garden rooms – herb garden, vegetable garden, rain garden, shade garden, and community garden. It also features a modest building with a library and classroom spaces where instruction and activities take place throughout the year. And there’s an environmentally self-sustainable building fashioned out of an old gas station that was on property adjacent to Sooty Acres. It now has a rooftop garden and a “green learning station” that demonstrates how solar panels work and how rainwater is captured and used. As a long-time gardener, I immediately loved the very idea of this place. For one thing, I used to fantasize that if I ever had enough money when I died, I’d want to leave it to create something exactly like this. When I discovered it for real, I just knew that anyone associated with the CGC would be someone with whom I had a lot in common. 12 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
I’ve been an avid environmentalist since even before the term was invented. As a child, I was disturbed by the amount of trash casually tossed on the ground everywhere, to the extent that in sixth grade I wrote a short story called “Ban the Litterbug,” about a scientist who invented an electronic gun-like device that could disintegrate litter on the street. To show you my quaint perception about the way things got done, the inventor gave his Zapper to the police department so that cops could go around and point it at litter that would then dematerialize. I learned the word “ecology” during the spring of my freshman year in college, while attending an event leading up to the first Earth Day. With my new knowledge, I was dismayed by a Boston Globe opinion column weighing the goals of Earth Day against those of businesses that needed to dirty the environment in order to turn a profit. So, I wrote a response that the Globe published. In my twenties, someone gave me her How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method by J. I. Rodale, a book that became my tutorial. Soon thereafter, someone in my neighborhood offered me space I could use to garden, where my lifelong love affair with plants began. So, finding the CGC felt like finding a soulmate. Our relationship just had to be. As soon as possible after unpacking and getting settled in our new home, I visited CGC which, to my delight, is only two miles away. Upon entering the building with the classrooms and bookstore, I told the woman who greeted me that I was interested in volunteering. Without hesitation, she said, “Oh, you’ll want to join the Dirt Crew. They meet on Wednesday mornings at nine. Bring your lunch!” When I showed up the following Wednesday, I was warmly welcomed and quickly integrated into the group as they moved throughout the acres weeding, pruning, planting, talking, and laughing, guided by a chief horticulturalist. At the end of the morning, we all – dirty and sweaty as we were – gathered indoors for lunch (there’s a fully equipped kitchen where we could store or even cook our lunches). The Dirt Crew women also like to gather for additional parties and field trips. Two of them live in my new neighborhood, so we also meet up on other occasions.
The Dirt Crew creates wreaths and “porch pots” to sell in December and works on the CGC’s annual plant sale, their biggest fund-raiser. Even that’s a blast. During my first season, Alice invited me to co-chair the Sun Perennials booth with her. For this, we get together each January to choose the best plant varieties from the wholesale nurseries, staying within our allotted budget. Then in May after the trucks arrive and we set up our plants, we’re at our table greeting the public, helping them choose flowering plants suitable for the conditions in their yards. While we’re outside, other Dirt Crew members are indoors preparing a delicious lunch for us. Although it’s true that I got my first case of chiggers there – as well as a mean case of poison ivy and am sometimes working in too much heat and sunshine – I’m among friends suffering through the same things. If you’re not a gardener, this might all sound like a huge bore. But for me, gardening is a passion, the CGC is like a big playground, and being among people who feel the same way is one of my greatest joys.
Deborah Clark Vance retired from academia to revisit her writing career. She authored “Sylvie Denied,” a semi-autobiographical novel that explores finding one’s true self during turbulent times. www.deborahclarkvance.com
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Sasee.com :: September 2021 :: 13
Martine Nash Williams: The Journey to Successfully Enjoying Life
by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson Born and raised in Myrtle Beach, Martine made her way down the Grand Strand to Murrells Inlet eight years ago. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in exercise science, she spent seven years working in the cardiac rehab at Grand Strand until her first son was born. Some important facts to know about Martine upfront is that she married an amazing, outgoing man named Shaw, and although she has always loved her family, she was once in a phase of being incredibly lost with herself. Both Martine and her husband are from the area, but most of Martine’s friends did not come back to the Grand Strand after college as Shaw’s did. Shaw had lots of friends and hobbies, but Martine spent all of her weekdays (and weekends) at home simply being a mom and wife. She explained, “I was lost, lonely, and truly turned into that bitter wife for not having the connections and social life like my husband had. I expected him to be everything for me so that I wasn’t lonely, and I was tired of feeling that way and putting that pressure on him. As much as I loved being a wife and mom, I felt like I didn’t have an identity or purpose
outside of those roles.” Martine decided to call a good friend and mentor to ask her for advice and the wise woman replied, “He’s not wrong for enjoying his life, Martine, you need to figure out how to enjoy life too.” Shortly after, Martine’s sister-in-law introduced her to a company, Thirty-One. Martine’s mom sold Mary Kay and she had been to a few direct selling parties before, but never connected with any of the products, until she learned about Thirty-One. This was fifteen years ago when the company was only three years old. Martine was not looking for some huge business opportunity, but she did want an opportunity to get out of the house and to connect with other women. Thirty-One turned out to be a great business opportunity and Martine became very successful. Before Thirty-One, Martine feared public speaking and had zero experience in starting a business but along her journey, her confidence grew, and she made her way to the top as one of the first to reach National Executive Director. At Martine’s highest success, there came a pivot point for her, which occurred during a time when she was getting ready for a training session with her team. She was doing an assignment by herself before she had her team complete it, which involved a book by Jack Canfield, “The Success Principals.” The idea behind the assignment was to write down your top goals for the ten most important areas of your life such as family, finances, business, personal health, etc. A majority of the answers came easily but there was one section Martine kept skipping because she could not think of one single answer, “hobbies and recreation.” She remembered so vividly how she was sitting on the couch and immediately started crying because she realized that after all of this time, she still didn’t even know what she liked to do for fun. She shook her head and
said, “how is it that I did so much during my journey to success that I lost myself in the process? I was so focused on growing my business, taking care of my family, and taking care of everybody else, but myself. I was not on my plate; I was not even on the back burner. I still love what I do, but the hobby that I originally started it to be, turned into a full-time job. I couldn’t believe I still didn’t know who I was as just Martine.” Because of this career choice, Martine was in the homes of other women every week, and she had a team of women she would train and support for their businesses. She began to notice similar patterns as she was surrounded by women who had lost their identity, who seemed to be on the hamster wheel of life, who were burnt out on being everything to everyone else and nothing to themselves. So, since Martine had this new self-discovery, she wanted to help these women with these obstacles too. Martine declared, “I believe our past struggles become our present purposes to help others. I was ‘her,’ and now I want to help ‘her.’” Martine did not want to be a traveling speaker and be away from her family, so she invested in a course that taught her about building and reaching an audience from her home. She decided to do group coaching, and this is how her business “Choose You” was created, four years ago. A lot of the women Martine helps are wives and moms, (but a few men too). Mompreneurs are who she relates to the most, but some of the women are just ones who have experienced the same issues along the road to success of sacrificing themselves and their relationships with others. She would ask them, “What’s the point of being successful if you have no one to enjoy it with?” The big answer was always “one day” but then she would explain, “Why wait when you can be a great wife, mom, and business owner right now without burning yourself
continue to keep their marriage and love for one another a priority, which they have been doing for a decade now. She treasures quality time with her sons who are thirteen and sixteen and having real conversations with them as they mature. She loves spending time out on the water and the boat with family and friends. She loves girl’s nights and how they have transformed from going out and dancing to cozy, peaceful getaways where they stay in, share wine and charcuterie boards, play games, and openly talk about life – as we all should be able to do with one another.
out? Society declares that self-care is ‘selfish,’ but it’s really not. You shouldn’t have to choose. There is a way, but it’s against our culture which is ‘hustle hustle hustle’ and women have bought into this lifestyle. We wear the mask and suffer in silence. I was so willing to share my ‘mess’ before my ‘success’ because the ‘mess’ is what people relate to. The more women who learn to take off the mask and admit they are not okay, the better off we will all be because it gives other women the permission and the comfort to do the same. Being vulnerable is a superpower. When my mentor said what she said to me, I had a choice to make. I could’ve continued to be the person I was, but I chose to be better instead of bitter.” Along the journey of successfully enjoying life, Martine has learned many things about herself which help her to continue to love and prioritize herself. She loves to spend time at the gym where it’s just Martine and her music, along with her supportive gym family. She loves to laugh as she now understands laughter is so good for her soul (and living in a house full of boys, well, she gets tickled pretty often). She loves comedies and her absolute favorite movie is “Liar Liar.” She actually made Shaw watch the movie so many times that he had her sign a hand-written contract stating that she would never make him watch again. She adores having date night every Friday with her husband so that they can 16 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
Martine thoroughly enjoys and feels blessed to have the flexibility to be her own boss, to be available for her kids when they need her, and to travel with her family as they make long-lasting memories. She loves and knows without a doubt that encouraging others is her superpower - It fires her up! She recently started a podcast called “The Mompreneur Life Remixed” which can be found on Apple and Spotify. She is excited to feature other women on her “turquoise talks” where her listeners will learn about other women’s personal journeys as well. Martine’s office is full of books (and turquoise) because she loves to feed her positive mindset with literature and use her knowledge to help others. Martine now understands and believes wholeheartedly that: “being stuck is a mindset, not a position” and “if you’re not growing, you’re dying.” The raw and real woman Martine has become is highly commendable and her mission is so valuable. Martine hopes that every woman reading this learns to take off their mask, ask for help, and make positive life-altering changes. Every woman (and man) deserves the chance to truly enjoy their life.
PruittHealth – Committed to Caring since 1969. For fifty years, PruittHealth has been providing professional health care services throughout the Southeast. Our focus is and always will be to provide quality care, stateof-the-art programs, skilled services and committed people. We, the PruittHealth family of providers, recognize the inherent value of our clients. Whether they are patients, residents, families, friends, volunteers, partners, or the communities in which we are located. We are committed to serving health care needs, gaining customer loyalty and maintaining satisfaction at the highest level. At every PruittHealth location, you will always find a smiling face and a helping hand, backed by the highest medical standards and treatments.
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PAW L E Y S I S L A N D F E S T I VA L of music & art 2021 OCTOBER 8 ORLANDO TRANSIT AUTHORITY A CHICAGO TRIBUTE OCTOBER 9 THE MIRACLES OCTOBER 13 LAO TIZER FEATURING ERIC MARIENTHAL OCTOBER 14 BLACK MARKET TRUST OCTOBER 15 ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION OCTOBER 16 TAVARES OCTOBER 21 THE TEXAS TENORS OCTOBER 22 BEST OF THE EAGLES OCTOBER 23 DESTINATION MOTOWN All events held at The Reserve Golf Club of Pawleys Island.
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Sasee.com :: September 2021 :: 19
Gets Personal with
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Food and Love by Erika Hoffman
Marcel Proust eloquently described the flood of memories linked to the sip of a cup of tea and some scalloped, French cookies called Madeleines. He wrote about things remembered from the “lost past” that resurged to his conscious mind through the senses of taste and smell. These “déjà vu” moments are already seen events that are intrinsically embedded in a flavor, an aroma, or a sound. The first moment of a sensory touch – a whiff of a fragrance, a tang of a soup, a note of a song- evokes the past. Subsequent bites do not enhance the memory. An initial surprise at the remembrance of yesteryear is triggered by certain foods, Proust explained. For me, the spreading of smooth Boursin on a fresh baguette and the subsequent savoring of the garlicky cream cheese on my tongue take me back to the sights and sounds of Aix-en Provence, my semester abroad, 1971, when I first drank a café au lait, slurped down escargots en plein air, and dodged velos on the boulevard circling the giant La Rotunde Fountain. I remember the wind- Le Mistral, the clay santons sold installs for Christmas crèches, and the view out my window of Mont Sainte Victoire, the same vista Cezanne painted. Yet, food doesn’t need to be exotic to evoke happy memories. When my daughter and I assembled S’mores for her Brownie troop, the gooey, oozing campfire delight reminded me of my own Girl Scout days of hiking and best buddies and sneaking out of pup tents in the middle of the night in a dark forest. Give me a Good Humor éclair bar, and I once more hear the chimes of the truck at Cedarbrook Park in Plainfield, NJ, where I’d jump for hours on the in-ground trampolines of the ’60s: those days before insurance claims and lawsuits became the stuff of city council’s nightmares. Mid leap, I’d run to the jangle of the ice cream truck and watch the man in white brake for us with our shiny quarters extended in dirty palms. I like to serve my 91-year-old dad bratwurst and German Potato Salad, the same recipe my late mom made decades ago. The vinegary tartness remains me of pool parties and grilling outdoors in our backyard for many pre-AC gettogethers. I see my mom’s effervescent smile and feel her 22 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
energy as she proudly carries out her potato salad with the bacon still warm, glistening, and garnishing the top. I gaze at Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post Cover of Thanksgiving Day, replete with shimmering turkey, and I recall my mom’s stuffing. She cooked it inside the bird. The night of Thanksgiving always found us stooped, insides-out ill, convulsing, and tremulously incapacitated. Years later, I learned Mom’s modus operandi of fixing the dressing within the cavity of the fowl allowed bacteria to grow. Nowadays, as I smell onion and celery and poultry seasoning simmering and sautéing, I recollect those childhood days – all the glory and the guts – but I prepare my fixin’s in a separate corning ware dish as did my Southern mother-in-law. Memories wash over me of my courtship with a boy from the Deep South when I plop the first forkful of pecan pie in my watering mouth. The first time I touched foot in Georgia and discovered that highly caloric dessert was at his mom’s house, 1971, July. Southern barbecue, DQ delights, syrupy Southern tea – all hold stores of treasured times within. Years as a young mother cooking for my family well up in my cerebellum whenever we dine at a pasta cafe where I glimpse red saucy noodles. Instantly I remember how my kids called spaghetti “getti” till their teens. I spy a plastic container of bacon bits on a salad bar, and I smile recalling that my tots named them “meaties.” All of a sudden, my grown offspring fade away, and I see in my mind’s eye toddlers around our kitchen table with the youngest of the four in a highchair slinging banana pudding at the giggly insistence of the others. I order lasagna, and I am a co-ed back in the Ratskeller on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. I ask for a Johnson Cheeseburger at the famous joint in Siler City, NC, and I feel eight months pregnant with my second child when all I craved to consume each day was a salty Velveeta-laden burger or maybe two! A Bellini cocktail takes me back to St Mark’s Square in Venice al fresco in the evening with my girl pals on a gal spree mid-life. A cold cheap can of beer at any beach with the sand between my toes makes decades slip away; I’m 19
again at Lavallette, NJ, bronzing in a black bikini, and the world is my oyster! Oysters! I’m in New Orleans, eating them fried and raw and with spinach, and it’s New Year’s Eve 1974, and I’m clutching in one hand my souvenir hurricane glass from Pat O Brien’s, while jazz music fills the air. Food is synonymous with comfort, fellowship, and good times. To me, the smell, the texture on my tongue and lips, and the flavor resemble opening a scrapbook or a never-ending photo album of all I ever did and loved in my life, again remembered. Some eat to live; some live to eat. Me, I eat to re-live. I relish the sights and sounds stirred up by meals. I savor the food for the sensations it causes. Some foods I eat the way some folks fondle keepsakes from a treasure box. People consume their victuals for sustenance, or zest, or the dining experience, but I often eat certain treats just to remember! I munch on candy corn, and I’m time traveling. I’m a giddy ten again! Better than Botox, a lot cheaper, and no pain!
Erika Hoffman collects her essays and stories after they’ve been published once and puts them in collections one can find on Amazon. She hopes readers who like her essays will purchase her books.
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Aunt Dorothy and the Outdoor Concert by Glenda Ferguson
My mom and I invited her sister, Dorothy, to the county fair for an outdoor country music concert. Aunt Dorothy loved everything about that genre of music – her record collection, the TV shows, and the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. Several months ago, when she stopped humming and whistling her favorite country tunes, my mom and I wondered if she was having health issues. That’s when she was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. On the night of the concert, Mom and I let Aunt Dorothy know that the star of the show was Eddie Rabbitt, who was in Dorothy’s Top Five of entertainers with his great voice, hit songwriting ability, and good looks. Eddie was performing in the evening on an outdoor stage at the fairgrounds, where everyone brought lawn chairs. My mom set up Dorothy’s chair between hers and mine. Even though our chairs were quite a distance from the stage, that did not dampen Aunt Dorothy’s excitement one bit. She was ready to see and hear one of her favorite country singers in person. The entire crowd was clapping, chanting “Ed-die! Ed-die!” and cheering in anticipation. When Eddie finally came on stage, he immediately went into singing and moving to his first song. The expression of delight on Dorothy’s face could have illuminated the entire evening fairgrounds. During Eddie’s second song, Aunt Dorothy started making comments. “He’s looking right at me,” she said. “Who?” I said, thinking she meant someone in the chair by us. “Eddie.” “Dorothy, there is no way Eddie can see us here in the dark and this far away,” I said. “Oh, yes, he can,” she quickly disagreed with me. A little later she commented, “He’s pointing at me!” “Who?” “Eddie.” “No, there is no way he can see us.” 24 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
Aunt Dorothy’s comments (and my eye-rolling) continued into the next song. That’s when my mom jokingly said, “He’s winking at me.” Aunt Dorothy argued, “No, he’s winking at me.” All three of us ended up laughing, making up comments, and thoroughly enjoying Eddie’s music. To end his concert, Eddie sang his 1980 hit “I Love a Rainy Night.” Aunt Dorothy sang along with the familiar song and clapped with the tempo. Eddie sang the lines: “I love to hear the thunder, watch the lightning when it lights up the sky.” Just then, lightning flashed in the sky some distance away! The entire crowd gasped. My mom and I looked at each other and laughed in disbelief. Eddie’s response to the lightning was, “How about that light show!” I glanced at Aunt Dorothy, just to see her reaction. She was looking at Eddie, not up at the lightning. I was thinking she hadn’t seen the flash of lightning at all. In the distance, the lightning continued during Eddie’s song, but no thunder and no rainy night. At the end of the song and concert, we folded up our chairs and walked back to the car. I asked Aunt Dorothy, “Did you like Eddie and his concert?” Aunt Dorothy said, “He sure puts on a great light show.” I had to agree with her on that one. Glenda Ferguson is published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and numerous publications. She volunteers with Indiana Landmarks. Tim and Glenda have been married for 35 years.
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No Dancing! by Michelle Goering
I come from a non-dancing culture, an anti-dancing culture, actually. Until recently, dancing was a forbidden activity in the Mennonite faith community. It was certainly so in my parents’ growing-up years. When I was a child, my mother would sometimes pretend-dance in the kitchen, mimicking the act of dancing, making fun. She looked ashamed to even do that; to move her body in anything other than a strictly utilitarian way made her blush. I never saw my father do anything that even approached dancing, with my mother or by himself. Granted, dancing was easy to avoid. Approved music was not very danceable. Church hymns and classical music made up the bulk of what we listened to at home and in the community. Music got no catchier than barbershop quartets or religious singing groups. Dad had an album of Czech polka music he loved, and one of sailor’s shanties, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, but he didn’t dance to them. Certainly, nothing with drums, nothing electric, and nothing with a twang was allowed in the house. My parents turned up their noses; that wasn’t music, it was low-class garbage! I had a musical ear and loved all kinds of music, always. I sang, played the piano, the oboe, and the clarinet. I found it hard not to move to the music. I jiggled a lot when I sang in my church’s junior choir starting in fourth grade; I felt music deeply and wanted to experience it fully, but I didn’t have a model for moving to music. When I entered the ninth grade in 1979, our high school had just begun holding dances. Our Kansas town of 500 had been predominantly Mennonite since its founding, and still was, but the wider culture was slowly seeping in; my generation became more integrated, expanded our experiences in urban settings, watched more TV, listened to top 40 radio. 26 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
I was excited to go to a dance, but terrified. How could I dance when I’d never done it before? But since none of us really knew how to dance, it was actually okay not to know. We experimented together in the stuffy gymnasium. I felt fabulous out there stiffly moving my feet to the classic rock tunes: step right, bring the left over, step left, bring the right over. I’m sure I looked like I was made of wood, but I was cooperating with the music! I was letting myself respond, and it felt right. This was what everyone was scared of, I guess: the body’s sensual cooperation with the rhythm, allowing ourselves to respond. Such impulses must be managed, or they might lead to other inappropriate behavior. We had a joke in our community: Why don’t Mennonites have sex standing up? Because it might lead to dancing! What more dangerous gateway drug could there be than feeling an elemental beat and moving our body to it? We might lose control completely. When I met my college boyfriend, now my husband of more than 30 years, at the Mennonite college down the road from our farm, he had come there from California. His parents were lapsed Mennonites who had graduated from this college, but he wore clothes I’d never seen in this community where most people dressed in Wranglers and button-down shirts. He had three-quarter length concert tee shirts from the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, tan flared-leg corduroys and Jordache jeans, a Members-Only jacket, Vans shoes, and cool sunglasses. He had abundant shoulder-length curly hair, a casual slouch, and smoked cigarettes. I thought he looked like a rock star. And could he dance! He had been to actual clubs in California and knew how to move beyond the left-together, right-together shuffle. How could I not be completely smitten? Along our journey together I began to dance more, and he slowly danced less. Now he doesn’t care much for
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Serve One Another in Love dancing, while I dance around the house for absolutely no reason. I love to turn on some music and move for the sheer joy of it. I have lost my self-consciousness, to the chagrin of my teenage sons. Their eye-rolling amuses me. In my mind, I look good! I don’t require a partner to enjoy dancing. Many of my women friends feel the same way. They love to dance. The men I know, not so much. Perhaps they think they’re above such “silliness.” They’d be right at home where I come from. Meanwhile, I put on something catchy, step to the center of the kitchen, close my eyes, and breathe M PA S S I O N AT E C A R E in the beat, then step, shake, bow, and boogie to my heart’s content, hair and feet flying free.
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Michelle Goering is a writer, musician, and homemaker with a background in publishing. She is a married mother of twins from San Diego and grew up on a Kansas farm.
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The Road Not Taken by Caroline Chirichella
Eight years ago, I was training to be an opera singer. I was living in New York City, where I was born and raised. My days consisted of vocal lessons, coaching, rehearsals, and auditions. I had already had my big break when I was just 20 and was invited to sing as a soloist at the launch of the foundation of Marcello Giordano-The Metropolitan Opera’s leading tenor. To put it somewhat humbly, I was headed in the right direction. But then something changed. And it led me to think about the road not taken. The path that I chose not to go down. What happens when we change our plan? From that big break, I got my next. I was invited to be a student of a top operatic vocal coach who coached many singers at the Metropolitan Opera. He invited me to join an opera festival the following summer that would take place in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples in Italy. I was always terrified of flying and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go because of my fear, but I did. From that experience, my outlook changed. Traveling to Italy; the land of my ancestors, changed me. My great grandfather was born in Italy and my mother grew up surrounded by a beautiful, loving Italian family. I had always felt a deep connection to my Italian heritage. Being in Italy and experiencing the culture, history, people, and food felt like coming back to where I belonged. It felt like I was where I was meant to be. Suddenly, opera started taking a backseat. I no longer felt the love for singing I once had. I was still singing, but it was more like following the motions of something that I just happened to be good at. I started developing my other passion that I had loved since I was a little girl. Cooking. From when I was four years old, my mother began taking me around NYC as we sampled the cuisines of India, Japan, Indonesia, China, Spain, and Greece. Being in Italy made my curiosity about other cultures even stronger. 30 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
After having spent that summer in Italy, I started cooking more, which led me to travel once again to Italy to attend a culinary program. Once back in NYC, I started my own private dining company. I had, for the most part, stopped singing all together (except for the occasional “Libiamo” at private catered events). Opera no longer felt fun, and I no longer felt the same rush I once felt from singing. After traveling back and forth to Italy for more than four years, I realized, that’s it. I need to move here. At first, I was convinced to settle in Florence, but I changed my idea and wanted to be someplace that was the complete opposite of NYC. So, I decided to come and search for a house in a small rural town in the South of Naples called Guardia Sanfamondi. Instantly, I felt connected to the town. I was attracted to the peace, beauty, and sense of community. I wanted to make this my new home, so I did and became a firsttime homeowner. I made friends quickly and I started a private dining business. Within three years of moving, I married the love of my life and we now have a two-anda-half-year-old daughter. Everything, including music, led me to exactly where I am now. Studying music led me to get on a plane and come to Italy. Italy led me to my passion for a new life and cooking. Cooking and travel led me to settle here in Italy. And being here led me to my new life. Had I not taken these steps, I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter. Change can be good. We shouldn’t be afraid of it. I moved to a new country where I didn’t know anyone, had no job and did not speak the language. But that was part of the excitement. What’s more frightening is the unknown. If we stick to something just because it was part of our plan, is it because we really want to go forward with it or because
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we’re scared of not knowing “what if?” What if I changed paths? Would I fail? Would I be a success? You don’t know. Just like you don’t know if you’d succeed with your original plan. If you’re struggling with the idea, maybe just should go for it. Everyone is different, but it could surprise you in the end. Could I have made it as an opera singer? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s the funny thing about the road not taken. Once not taken, its future forever remains a mystery. And that’s okay. What matters is what’s at the end of the road we choose to take.
Caroline Chirichella is originally from NYC and currently lives in Italy. She has written for The New York Times, The Lily by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Daily News, among other publications.
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Fall is in the Air
Class (and The Arts) are Back in Session by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson
Jina with a “J” was born and raised in South Hill, Virginia, where she grew up listening, singing, and dancing along to all sorts of music. Ironically, one of her favorite songs, “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, played on the radio on the way to our interview. It is one of her favorite songs because “it does not matter how rough your day has been or what you are going through, if that song plays, you can’t help but smile!” Her role model has always been Reba McEntire due to her all-around great personality and Reba also ranks first place when it comes to Jina’s favorite concerts. However, Jina’s favorite music memories are of her time spent performing with her father’s band, The Midnight Movers. One moment in particular that stood out to her was when she was eight years old at a huge July 4th gathering as she sang Cyndi Lauper’s part in “We Are The World” in front of thousands of people. Music was Jina’s first love, but her second love came along when she met her husband in 1997. After graduating from James Madison University in 1998, she moved to his hometown, Andrews, South Carolina. Jina immediately started teaching music in the area and has been working at Sampit Elementary since 2000. A few years ago, she became the Fine Arts Liaison for all of the Georgetown County K-12 schools. This role means that Jina is the voice for all of the music and art teachers
and is their connection to the school district. Across the nation, especially in rural areas, the music and arts courses fall behind when it comes to funding and recognition. These areas of education have to constantly prove their importance, so it is certainly fortunate that our county has the passion of Jina Narron to help our fine arts programs thrive. “Thanks to covid-19, I think it has come to light just how important being creative is because the world of arts is what got most of us through the pandemic. We listened to music, watched movies, worked on some arts and crafts and DIY house projects. I think it made more people realize that the fine arts are all around us and that we can’t live without them,” stated Jina. The children of our local Title One schools do not often get the opportunity to participate in enrichment programs, play music, or even see live music. Thanks to the partnership of the Bunnelle Foundation and the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art (PIFMA), Sampit Elementary will have a free, after-school violin program beginning this fall. PIFMA is excited to fund this outreach program for the students and finally bring the Sampit Strings Program to life. Jina explained her enthusiasm, “When you put an instrument in a child’s hands, oh my gosh, the excitement just to see them play around with it – it’s just fabulous. I cannot wait to see what this program has in store for our students at Sampit.” Sasee.com :: September 2021 :: 35
As a teacher, every year being a fresh start excites her. When the teachers return in the fall, the rooms have been wiped clean and they get to unload all of their boxes they packed up as if they were moving it all out, so every year when they walk into the freshly waxed floor on day one, they get to re-invent their classroom again. She enjoys the first couple of weeks the most as she gets to learn about her students and watch them become friends with one another. She is extra excited to get back to school this year and to a new “normal” as the pandemic affected teachers and students in a complicated way. Simple things even became an issue such as not being able to share instruments or supplies and sanitizing everything in between classes. Having to keep her little ones six feet apart was not conducive to bonding and small group learning like they were all used to. Some things that were forced to change were great because it led them to find new, more creative ways to do things that the kids enjoyed, but the kids having a chance to show off what they have learned and worked so hard on all year was not one of them. Christmas time was a little gloomy for the students as they were not able to put on a show for their parents like they have done every year to display their accomplishments. Live performances are an art form that many missed out on last year, but Jina especially missed it. Not only did she miss out on her students performing and directing musicals, but she also missed getting to watch her own children perform who are eleven and sixteen. Similar to their mom, Jina’s two daughters both sing and dance. They even dance competitively with The Studio: Center for the Performing Arts, where Jina is the secretary on the board for their nonprofit, Friends of Dance. Jina’s eldest daughter plays the guitar, ukulele, and piano, and the younger daughter is learning to read music and play the piano. Jina primarily sings 36 :: Sasee.com :: September 2021
and plays the piano but she dabbled with the saxophone when she was younger because her father played it, and it is still her favorite instrument. The Narron ladies love to harmonize. Jina is enjoying life the most when she is performing because when she is on stage, all of life’s stresses simply go away. Even though she does not get to perform as often as she would like, watching her girls perform is just as sweet. As of last year, Jina and her girls get to perform together at their church as the praise band every other Sunday. Their time spent practicing and performing together as a family brings Jina so much happiness. The entire family is musical, even her husband can sing. With the busy lives they lead, Jina’s family does not often go out to eat, so when they do, it is extra special which is another one of Jina’s simple pleasures. Besides performing and family, Jina also enjoys life the most when it involves a girls’ night. She loves catching up, laughing, dancing to live music, or even just having some coffee by a fire with her girlfriends. Jina is able to be the best wife, dance mom, and music teacher because she understands how to keep her priorities straight when it comes to life’s purpose and the art of enjoying it.
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"Enjoying Life" Since 2002 Sasee Magazine has been the PREMIER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE of Sasee women everywhere. Sasee is a SOPHISTICATED, WEL...
Published on Aug 23, 2021
"Enjoying Life" Since 2002 Sasee Magazine has been the PREMIER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE of Sasee women everywhere. Sasee is a SOPHISTICATED, WEL...