On Friday evening it became apparent that our weekend was to be filled with the same-old-same-old. Laundry, grocery store, picking up, grocery store runs and stolen moments at the playground were all the weekend promised. The most exciting thing the weekend seem to offer was a possible trip to REDBOX. After weeks of hard, hard work and crazy schedules I didn’t want more of the same.
2 hours later we had reservations for a hotel and were running around literally throwing clothes into a big hamper style bag.
Less then 12 hours later we hit the road. Spontaneity is not the normal for us. Every mile I found myself thinking, ‘is this crazy?’ Less then 30 miles down the road I heard, “Mama. I had accident,” and I REALLY began doubting my families ability to be spontaneous. Luckily, even in my efforts to be carefree and free spirited, I had planned ahead. A quick stop, a quick change and we were back on the road.
4 hours later we are greeted to bright sunshine and a city just starting to stretch. Café tables were being set onto sidewalks. Hoses were washing the night storefronts. Notes wafted in the air as saxophone totting street performers were opening their cases and claiming their spots. Shuttered windows were opened. Spanish moss spiraled in curlicues overhead-like even the trees were speaking in the cursive language known as the southern drawl. We had arrived. Savannah, Ga.
Our hotel was a mile away from our destination: the sidewalk chalk festival hosted by SCAD. A friend told me about it and it sounded like a delicious way to spend a day. Plump hand in mine, my toddler ohhed-and-ahhhed as horse drawn carriages circled the squares. She galloped and jumped off curbs-shrieking with laughter all the while. My teenager hobbled along with us (he had hurt his ankle the night before) but didn’t have any of the sullen-video-withdrawn-attitude that sneaks in during most family fun attempts. My oldest daughter took pictures of everything she could see. We were happy. All of us. At the same time.
Sunlight created a kaleidoscope onto the brick paved courtyards of the historic squares as we meandered through. Meandered. It was so nice to not have to rush, not to be in a hurry and not to be on any schedule. We were free to do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. The deliciousness of spontaneity bubbled up until I wanted to giggle. I am not a giggly girl. This was a rare feeling for me.
We arrived at Forsyth Square to a hub-a-baloo of activity. Big balloons bounced off light post that had been covered in colorful crochet koozies. Music played from under a big pavilion. A huge grass expanse lay out with dew glistening and twinkling like daytime starts. Jump houses beckoned to children who obliged. Strollers and dogs were everywhere. Laughter and chatting buzzed all around. It was a Chamber of Commerce moment, the type of event you see posted on a website and think, “I want to go THERE.” How neat to be part of the picture and not just looking at it!
Over 800 sidewalk squares had artists hunched over, opening chalk boxes and laying out templates. Some were groups laughing and talking and creating in teams of buoyant, excited art students. Others were serious artist and were stern and quiet in their art and didn’t glance up to see the crowds nor did they waiver from their craft. Some were alone in their task. Others had folding chairs of fans and family converged around their single square ready to help or to offer supplies or suggestions at any moment. Already the long, lean, bare legs were covered and smudged in chalk dust. I was amazed at the vibrant hues created by simple chalk on one square while next to it was a dark and shadowed silhouette. Some squares were whimsical and fun and full of light and glee. Some were moving tributes to something or someone created by a very light and loving hand. Some squares spoke of pop culture, some of true art. Square after square, block after block, and pieces of art, temporary art, laid side by side. Like a quilt, they all pieced together but yet each square was unique and different. Talent was conveyed in so many different levels. Bold lines, deep colors, broad strokes next to smudged color, colors fading into one another to create new colors that I had never experienced. And it was chalk. Temporary art.
While the artist finished their creations my little troupe and I found ourselves at lunch. But this lunch was picture perfect. We were seated at a large round table in a courtyard. White tents shielded us from the sun but allowed the warmth to seep over us, which made the uh-hmm cold adult beverages so much better. An acoustic duo was on stage singing songs to which I knew every word. If I wasn’t humming along then my toe was tapping. The kids played corn hole by the bandstand. They played until the waitress set down old-fashioned bottles of Nehi soda with bubbles of condensation sliding down the thick glass. Plates piled high with hand-made, hand-cut caramel covered French fries and the biggest hamburgers I’ve ever seen. Thick patties seared and grilled to perfection were hanging over the edge of soft, white hamburger buns made just that morning. There was homemade pimento cheese, vibrant orange and scrumptious, melting onto the plate. Cherry red tomatoes, soft green lettuce and deeper green hand crafter pickles peeking out, purple onion. The hamburger was as colorful as some of the art squares we had just seen. Heaven. It was the kind of lunch you see in the movies or wander by and see others in the setting and thinking, “I wish…” today I didn’t wish. I was part of a perfect moment.
That night my girl and her Poppy bonded over a ghost tour while my son and I watched a marathon of, “Teen Moms 2.” That is a blog for another day but it did allow for some causal yet frank conversations. Any moment that allows frank talk with a teen is okay by me. My little one snuggled up next to me and fell asleep with her arm flung across my face. I held her close while she tucked her thumb into her mouth and faded into sleep. Again, a stolen moment that was perfect and peaceful.
The next day dawned and we headed to the beach. “You are at your happy place,” whispered my husband as I stood in the search and felt the stress and chaos of the weeks melt away. Seagulls cawed, my daughters laughed and squealed with glee. Overhead the start of a kite festival was beginning. My only regret is that I didn’t register and fly my own kite in the festivities. It was a kite-perfect day.
On the way home, in seperate converations both my big littles ones thanked me and commented on what a grand time they had. My toddler heard them and chimed in with her favorite part of the adventure-the boats on River Street. Some were big she said and some were small and some were just like Poppa’s boat. She thought seeing a boat like her Poppa’s was the grandest treat of all….and that was perfect too.