Keep Calm and Elton John (Savannah, GA)

Everything happens for a reason. Really. And I’ve learned never to be disappointed when things don’t go according to plan.

It was in fall and we were enjoying Savannah, GA – which had been on our bucket list to visit for some time. We ended up doing a whole ‘tour of the deep south’ on that trip, but Savannah was indeed the highlight. It was every bit as beautiful as I’d imagined! Natural beauty, really friendly people, great food, great history, the best cemetery in the country (yes I love visiting cemeteries) and lots of ghosts. And we had done our homework! We’d watched Gone With the Wind and I had read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That was a crazy book! It was all about Savannah and the one-of-a-kind real characters that had lived there (and ones that still do). A definite recommendation, but don’t rent the movie…it’s terrible.

We had spent the day prior seeing Ft Pulaski and Ft Jackson (where we’d learned to load and fire a musket) and eating seafood on Tybee Island. On this day we had walked the Riverwalk and were making our way around the 24 Savannah Squares. We learned that each of the Savannah Squares, designed by Utopian James Oglethorpe while he was governor of the colony of Georgia between 1733 and 1743, was an independent little town able to be duplicated as the colony grew. It was all fascinating but Eddie seemed preoccupied.

Eddie’s problem was this. That morning as we were getting ready to leave for our ‘day among the Squares’ we noticed that there was a large hole near the entrance to the horse-farm-turned-campground where we were staying. We were not sure how it got there, but Eddie was determined not to make it our truck’s final resting place. He had done a great job maneuvering around the crater, but somehow managed to drive right over the (giant) fallen metal sign that had been warning about the hole. We had successfully driven to the Savannah visitor’s center and had parked there, but Eddie was seriously stressed about whether he’d popped a tire on our truck.

To put his mind at ease, we decided to walk back to the visitor’s center and check the tire before any tire shop that might be available would be closed.

We took a shortcut which led us past the Savannah Convention Center where there was a lot of commotion going on. We stopped to ask a young man who was guarding the caravan of buses and trucks what was going on, and he answered with a nonchalant, “Uh…somebody named Elton John.”

ELTON JOHN!

I lost my mind a little……or may be a lot…. (yes, I have been a crazed fan since the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album came out when I was 13). Eddie knew that our plans for the evening had just changed.

We went inside to inquire about any remaining tickets. Finding out that although the concert was sold out, they were adding a few more chairs on the floor (THE FLOOR!!!). I was jumping around like a little kid while Eddie was trying to explain (ok, excuse) my behavior to the two ladies in the ticket booth. These ladies were somewhat listening but mostly glancing at each other with their eyes rolled back into their heads. One of our new friends finally responded with, “Uh Huh…”. Apparently in the Deep South, it takes about 16 syllables to pronounce the word, ‘Uh huh’. I made a note of that new piece of information and we were off.

We finished our time seeing Forsythe Park and checking the truck tires and we were off to McDonald’s for a quick bite before the concert. While we were there, a couple (who were also Elton fans) joined us at our table. After some time of visiting, our new friend shared with us that she was a cousin to Joe Odom. Joe was one of the real-life, crazy characters from the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. ‘Of course you are’, I thought. ‘You and everyone else in Savannah’. Her husband finally (at least nearly) convinced us of her story and we had a great time talking, laughing and telling tales.

The concert was fantastic! We sang really loud, and as the Convention Center is small and informal, we knew everyone who was sitting anywhere near us by the end of the night.  It was the most fun I’d had seeing Elton to date.

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We turned in that night well after midnight, tired, happy and knowing that if Eddie hadn’t run over that sign, we’d have never seen Elton or met Joe Odom’s cousin. Yep, everything happens for a reason and the truck tires were just fine………..

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