The Pink Chapel

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Any place of history has stories that haunt and delight, that create mystery and raise questions about what really happened there.  The Pink Chapel, located at the north end of St. Simons Island is no exception.

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Hair raising accounts of devil worship and slaves being beaten at the doors of the chapel have been recounted for years.

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But the true story is a sad one.  One of families pitted against one another.  Harsh words and misunderstandings that led to the death of one man, John Wylly, at the young age of 32.  An obelisk marks his final resting place in the cemetery at Christ Church.

The chapel was originally built on the Westpoint Plantation by William Hazzard, whose brother, Thomas, fatally shot John Wylly over a property dispute.  Prior to the event, the Hazzard family worshiped at the famous Christ Church.  But they no longer felt comfortable attending services there after Wylly’s death and Hazzard’s subsequent acquittal.

pink lichen

The pink color of the building, rumored to have been caused by blood from beaten slaves, turned out to be caused by lichen which covered the tabby building giving it a pink cast.

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The red tile roof still graces the top of the building, the pink color has long since vanished due to restoration work done to save the structure.  A lone cross sits atop the roof, pointing toward the sky.

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Deer now wander the property and tourists visit to feel the chill one inevitably experiences when walking on historical ground. Spanish moss drapes over huge oak limbs, swaying in a gentle Spring breeze, sending a shiver up your spine as you approach the chain link fence that now surrounds the little chapel.  The original doors have long since gone, replaced by modern ones.  Haunted or not, ones mind can wander a bit and imagine it is.

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The Pink Chapel is a reminder that people need a place to worship, a place to take their cares and have their spirits healed.

Where The Millionaire’s Roamed

JICH day

Just south of Saint Simons Island is another charming place, Jekyll Island.  Known for the summer cottages that still remain standing gracefully on the grounds, filled with their history as seasonal dwellings for some of the most well known and wealthiest family’s in the early 20th century.

Jekyll Club Hotel

What started out to be a hunting club after the end of the Civil War became the most exclusive social club in the United States.  Names such as Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Morgan and Hyde are just a few of the  rich and famous who maintained membership in the club.historic-telephone-call

Many famous events took place at the Jekyll Island Club, including the first transcontinental telephone call placed by AT&T president Theodore Vail on January 25, 1915.  J.P. Morgan was host to some of the financial world’s most influential members along with Senator Nelson Aldrich and the Assistant Secretary of State in 1907 after a virulent time on Wall Street caused a run on the banks.  The team of financial wizards traveled to the island under assumed names to write The Aldrich Plan, which later became the basis for The Federal Reserve Act that established The Federal Reserve System.

JICH night

Visitors to Jekyll Island can now tour the Club property and the summer cottages which once housed the families of wealthy financier’s from the Northeast.  Trolley’s provide guided tours that enable guests to learn about the island’s rich history while walking in the steps of those who once inhabited these famous grounds.  Family’s such as the Rockefeller’s  passed the time during hot summer days taking part in the lavish splendor of this Southern playground.

Shrimp and.....

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel now offers the finest in accomodations for the discerning traveler.  Dine on five star cuisine in the Grand Dining Room or enjoy a lovely meal at the Crane Cottage, a short walk from the Hotel itself.

crane cottage

Crane Cottage is where Mr. T and I exchanged vows one cold winter day in front of a roaring fire with a private luncheon for our family afterward several years ago.  Also on the hotel grounds is Cafe Solterra where you can enjoy a casual meal while sitting on the balcony that surrounds the inner courtyard.

horseback on Jekyll

This whole facility holds very special memories for me and my family.  The beaches are close by and horseback riding is available if you want to take a ride on the beach.  Bikes can be rented to see  Jekyll the best way with shaded bike paths running around the entire island.   There’s plenty of history, sightseeing and relaxing to be had.  And you can take day trips to visit the other barrier islands in the area!

JICH pool

A trip to The Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a great idea for any couple or family wanting to experience nature and history in an atmosphere of turn of the century grandeur.  A lovely pool awaits as well as golfing on three outstanding courses if that’s your sport of choice.

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You’ll be in for a special treat when the sun begins to set on this historic jewel.  Plan to order a cocktail and watch nature’s display from the westward facing porch…you’ll feel every muscle in your body relaxing as you take in the splendor!

sunset on Jekyll

 

Epworth by the Sea

entrance to Epworth

There is a lovely enclave at Gascoigne Point, Epworth by the Sea.  The minute you drive through the archway that marks the entrance to this peaceful place you feel a shift in energy.  You take a deep breath, gaze on the gigantic oak trees that grace the area, Spanish moss hanging from their massive branches, and feel that you could stay here forever.

wesley monument

This is the site of the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum that houses a vast collection of books and artifacts about the founders of the Methodist Church, John and Charles Wesley.  You can actually walk in the footsteps of John and Charles as they preached the word of God throughout the Coastal Georgia area.

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Both brothers  worked as missionary’s on St. Simons Island.  Charles was appointed chaplain for the settlement at Fort Frederica and John had charge of the religious affairs of the colony.  On the north end of the island now stands the Wesley United Methodist Church, founded by the Wesley brothers, with Bishop Frank Robinson as the first pastor.  The brothers actually began the Methodist movement after returning to their home in England.

wesley United Methodist

Epworth by the Sea is named in commemoration of the birthplace of the Wesley brothers.  In addition to the Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum, visitors will find pathways winding through the property that lead to the Gascoigne River, considered gateway to St. Simons Island.  A conference center is available with facilities to accomodate up to 1,000 people.

Lovely Lane Chapel is the site for many weddings on St. Simons Island.  This is the oldest standing church on the island.

lovely lane church

During Plantation Days, James Hamilton built a large Tabby home at Gascoigne Point where he became a millionaire in the cotton trade.  The home burned in 1890 leaving only the tabby cottage that housed the plantation’s slaves.  The cottage was completely restored in 1995 by Epworth.

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As you walk through the Epworth retreat property you can feel the vast history surrounding you.  Visit Epworth and experience the peace and beauty to be found there.

A Horizontal Perspective

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I love the work of local artist, George Netherton.  I’ve gotten to know George through Albert Fendig’s wonderful Plein Air event each year at the Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation.

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During the month of July you’ve got to make the time to get over to The Horton Gallery at the Southeast Georgia Medical Center in Brunswick.

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You’ll be delight by the scale of the pieces…..

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The lighting that highlights them so well…..

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The subject matter……

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And the brilliance of George’s use of color and composition.  George Netherton possesses a passion for Coastal Georgia that simply cries out from the canvas he works on.  This is a perfect way to while away a hot, summer afternoon!  Beauty heals the soul and calms the spirit…..find the time…..cross the causeway and treat yourself to this awesome talent!

Something From Nothing

I’ve featured several of Bud Hearn’s “Weakly Posts” here, but I think this one is my favorite thus far.  Bud has such a way with words, but I think this post, in particular, gives us a glimpse of the man himself and how deeply he thinks and feels about writing and about life.  I think you’ll enjoy reading “Something From Nothing”!  I know it spoke to me and I will treasure it for years to come!

Something from Nothing

“….the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

Genesis 1:2

Some days are like being inside a cloud of thick fog—all white nothingness. Attempts to mentally find anything of substance are impossible.

It must have been on one of those days the poet wrote, “(V)ague and nebulous is the beginning of all things, but not its end.” Or something similar.  Poets play with vague concepts. Yet, in that white chaos, it’s helpful to realize that haze is full of promise, just waiting to be discovered.

Deadlines for writers hover like death. They sit looking at an empty computer screen or a blank sheet of paper, searching for something to write. In those days ideas are harder to find than hen’s teeth.

For about nine years my Thursdays have begun by staring at an empty sheet of paper, or a set of white computer pixels that make the screen appear blank. This is the genesis of this Absurdity.

Empty is always the beginning. There’s just something about a blank slate that craves input. It calls, “Put something on me ~ words, numbers, drawings ~ or fold me into the shape of an airplane and sail me. Do something with me, now!”

Imagine being a blank sheet of paper. How would it feel if your life went unused, just wadded up and pitched at trash cans? Or run through a shredder to make parade confetti or other such ephemera posing as momentous events. Please! A blank sheet has infinite possibilities.

Everything starts out blank. We did, too ~ some may still be! So did this planet. Think of the untold number of possibilities that existed at the Big Bang of Creation. Imagine what could come from a totally blank universe page. Now look at it. Think of each person’s beginning as a blank sheet of paper. Impossible to comprehend with a finite mind.

All pages begin equal, but some more equal than others. Some become important, like The Bible, The Constitution, or The Gettysburg Address. Some amount to absolutely nothing. Some would be downright frightening ~ like fodder crammed into The New York Times.

I prefer blank computer screens. It eliminates the eraser and wipes the slate clean with no consequence. And ink on paper is better than pencil lead. Imagine a fancy invitation scribbled in pencil. Pencils, like flip phones, are relics of another era. Its devolution is rendered thusly: “Let’s pencil in the appointment instead of ‘ink it in.’”

Blank pages have other possibilities. Suppose someone has trashed you with some malicious gossip ~ why, you can write you several scathing replies, take out your anger and frustrations on paper and then trash them in the nearest shredder. There, don’t you feel better?

Blank bank deposit tickets provide wonderful possibilities. Sometimes when I’m bored I take a blank one and write insanely huge amounts on it. Pretending to be wealthy is better than caffeine. I envision myself presenting it to a bank teller, especially one showing a deposit of $10 billion dollars to my account. Imagine their shock. Sadly, this dream has yet to materialize.

That brings up another subject. Bank accounts. They can begin small with very little written on the deposit ticket, like $10.00.  Yet, a bank account has the capacity to enlarge itself to infinity. It can’t be filled to capacity.

All of which may lead one to the ultimate use of paper ~ to print cash currency. This paper is highly decorative and has the effect of creating more emotional fervor than all the paper in the world. Yet, the irony is that while it starts out as a blank page, its value is based on nothing but a fiat faith ~ a huge blank page.

Many of us may be writing more checks than deposit tickets these days. But may I suggest a superior endeavor? Grab your blank page of faith and write something on it. Perhaps it is nothing more than a short note to a friend, a card to a child or a check to a charity. Your words will make your paper very happy, as well as the recipient.

A blank sheet of paper is a terrible thing to waste.

Bud Hearn

June 12, 2015

 

The Importance of Research

I’ve written about my friend, Holly McClure, a very talented author and storyteller over the past couple of years on this blog.  Holly is sharing a post today in which she writes about the process of doing research for a book.  In this case, “Conjuror”, a soon to be released novel, published my Mercer Press.  I think you’ll enjoy Holly’s writing and I can tell you, having read the story, you’ll want to read it too!  You might also put her book “The Vessel Of Scion” on your summer reading list.  It’s a thriller ala Dan Brown and available on Amazon.com here:  http://www.amazon.com/Vessel-Scion-Holly-McClure/dp/0992657474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433953446&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Vessel+Of+Scion

 

CONJUROR COVER

 

You wont believe where I went to research a book.  With Conjuror scheduled for a September 1st release from Mercer University Press, I’m hard at work on a sequel. I was writing along, like I knew what I was doing, until I hit a complete impasse.  Here’s how it went.
 
Location:  a logging operation on the side of a North Carolina mountain.
Scene:  Yona Copperhead is driving his treasured old Mac Truck, a keepsake from his dead father.  The rear truck weighted down with logs, breaks through the ground and reveals a bio hazard that threatens the life of everybody in the town below.
Mack truck
The scene began:
Yona climbed behind the wheel of the first Mac truck his daddy bought when he started Copperhead Logging, back in the days of chain saws and pulleys. Walker Copperhead sat beside him, looking somber. The crew gathered around the loaded truck like they stood beside a grave.
“Hard to believe, this is the old girl’s last haul,” Yona said.“I was thinking how scared my boy was when he told Kate he took on five years of debt to buy a bulldog,”
 Walker said. “And the celebration we had when Kate took one look at his new truck and told him she had a good feeling about it.
Yona yelled out the window at the crew, “She’ s not dead, just retiring. Get back to work 
 He turned the key in the ignition and the engine roared into action. With skill instilled in him by a father who taught him to drive when he was twelve, he shifted into gear and eased forward…
 
And, that’s as far as I got. Next would come the moment when the rear wheel of the loaded truck went through the ground and got stuck. It would have to be pulled out, but how. With what? What would that look like? What kind of sounds would it make? How would Yona control it? For that matter, what would the site look like? Yona Copperhead and his logging crew play a big part in Covenant, so I needed to understand their world.  I’m dead serious about researching my books. The next week found me roaring through the North Georgia woods in a high speed 4×4 muddy golf cart called a Gator. On the job site, I was surrounded by loggers and the most intimidating collection of machines I’ve ever seen. D&S Logging is the pride and joy of David and his son, Shane.I asked David the question that convinced me I needed to do some research.
“If a truck got stuck, how would you get it out?”
 
Skidder

Skidder

“I’d probably have them bring around the skidder,” David said.So, now I had the next line in the scene. Somebody would say something like, “bring around the skidder.
 But what the heck was a skidder?  Well, it looks like this, only so much bigger than it looks here. I mean, it’s huge. And it looked like it could pick up one of those giant trucks and move it like a twig.
picking up logs
The operator waved, and swept back around to pick up another enormous log, which he fed into another machine that stripped off limbs and bark. In a couple of minutes, that big log was cut in precise lengths and loaded on a truck. The operator must have been listening to music on his earphones. I saw him singing along in his air-conditioned cab.  
loading
Down the hill, a machine like giant mechanical scissors, snipped down great big trees and fed them to the next machine to be stripped clean.
buldozer
Trucks pulled up one after another, stood in line for loading, and drove away. At least one was driven by a young woman, handling that big machine like a boss.  David pointed out the machines that created the roads. That was the second part of every job, coming in with a bulldozer and laying out roads to the loading sites. The foresters came first, to assess the timber and negotiate the deal.
service truck
 A service trucks sits equipped for emergencies,loaded with pumper and water in case of fire.  There’s one at every site.  Safety first.
processing plant
 
Another machine turned underbrush and debris into tiny chips,which it sprayed into something that looked like a box car.  David explained this was why all his job sites looked like parks when he finished. He carefully selected trees for harvesting, leaving trees of differing age and size, then cleaned up the underbrush and trash. The clean-up became bio-mass fuel. The work site I toured would be a hunting preserve.  Others might be cleared for shopping centers or subdivisions.  He had eight crews busy that day, like the one working this site.  David gave me a ride in one of the big trucks so I could see where they delivered the logs.  Good quality logs like these would become floors, cabinets or furniture.  Trucks circled through, unloaded by machines and back to the job site for another load.
sign
I believe in knowing as much as possible about my characters.  The Copperhead family in Conjuror and the sequel, Covenant, own a logging company, and I needed to learn about what they do. I was impressed with the technology involved, and with the careful attention to the environment. No clear cutting, unless the site owners required it for building. David took great pride in leaving strong timber and a clean forest behind.  As the inspiration for Yona Copperhead, he wants to make sure I get it right. I should confess, D&S logging is a family business, founded by my big Brother, David McClure.  Thanks for taking your little sister to work, David.  Can’t  wait for another death defying ride on the gator.
DAVID for blog
I’m proud of you, David. You’re a good man

 

The Good News!

St Simons Pier at Twilight

St Simons Pier at Twilight

 

In several different posts recently I have alluded to the fact that change is in the air.  I am a creature who loves a new challenge.  I always have.  I have featured the wonderful photography and writing of my dear friend, Nancy Kirkpatrick, in several recent posts.  I first met Nancy when she took the now well known picture of me as the “Marsh Island Witch” at the “Witching Hour” party hosted by Donna MacPherson last fall.  Donna asked Nancy to set up her camera and take shots of all of us and the rest is history.

 

 

The Island Marsh Witch

The Island Marsh Witch

 

Nancy is a woman of many talents.  When I first saw her work room on the second floor of her home here on the island I immediately knew we were kindred spirits.  We have so many interests in common, but most of all we believe in living life to the fullest.

 

 

 

Shipping Channel

Shipping Channel

 

With my schedule changing and expanding as my writing career flourishes, I felt it important to make sure The Permanent Tourist is still in action.  So, it is my pleasure to announce that Nancy Kirkpatrick has officially joined the staff of my blog.  I have been loving every minute of this since February 2013, and I know that Nancy will bring a fresh outlook and many wonderful posts for all of my faithful readers to enjoy!

 

Rainbow at Land's End

Rainbow at Land’s End

 

So, Nancy begins her input tomorrow.  I know you’ll love her style and I’ll love having her help and support as we grow our business.  We’re blooming and expanding in so many positive ways!  Stay with us, I can promise you that you will not want to miss one day of the wonderful posts that will be coming your way!

Images of a Golden Isles

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I interviewed Ann Nermoe on this week’s radio show.  Due to technical problems I do not have the actual show to share with you but I did want to let you know about the beautiful book of photographs on St. Simons Island Ann has written, along with her brother.

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Her persepective is so fresh and wonderful!  I highly recommend this book!  Ann is offering a special limited edition as well that comes in a lovely box with a limited edition print of one of her photographs.

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Share this talented artist’s perspective and enjoy one of the most beautifully produced books on our area that I have seen!  This is the perfect gift for anyone who lives or loves St. Simons Island!  “Images of a Golden Isles” by Ann Nermoe……local beauty from one amazing photographer’s point of view!

 

A Way Of Life

 

The publishing company that I am under contract with, Oghma Creative, is working with some of the most talented writers I’ve come across.  Today, I’m featuring a post by Velda Brotherton.  Velda is a wonderful author of fiction!  I think you’ll enjoy her post and her books!  This is a great way to become acquainted with various author’s and their work. You may discover some books for your summer reading list as well!

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Living a life that can be turned into fiction is a good way to write books. For years I didn’t realize that was precisely what I was doing. Up to then I researched and lived in the past. The wild west romanticized. It didn’t dawn on me that my experiences could be turned into another kind of fiction until many years after I retired from my job. What was that? I was a feature reporter and city editor for a rural weekly newspaper in the Arkansas Ozarks. It wasn’t until I decided to try my hand at writing mysteries that I looked back at those nine years at the newspaper and it dawned on me the experiences could be used for a mystery series.

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Thus was born Jessica West, a reporter for a small paper hiding from her failure to succeed in the big time, and sexy Cherokee lawman Dallas Starr, a burnt out narc searching for a peaceful career. Both land in Grace County, Arkansas where all should be crime-free. But that wouldn’t make for good mysteries, so that’s where the fiction begins.

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During all my years on the paper I never covered a crime, and only one murder occurred while I worked there. A State Trooper was shot in his vehicle on the highway near town. The killer was tracked on horseback by deputies and other lawmen till he was cornered in an abandoned shack in the wilderness. The shack caught on fire during the gunfight and he burned to death.

I would never use that in one of my books. So I make up murder and mayhem, in A Twist of Poe mystery series. I write sexy scenes between Dal and Jess and have a lot of fun inserting into my stories characters I’ve met over the years. After all, I have to live up to my brand. Sexy, Dark, and Gritty was conceived by my new publisher, Oghma Creative Media.

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You wouldn’t think that being a reporter for some newspaper in the Ozarks would make for anything terribly exciting. We covered small town city council meetings, school board meetings where the most exciting occurrences were the times one of the members smacked a reporter in the head with her notebook, or the principal showed up drunk.

But guess what? I met and interviewed some fantastic people. America’s first spaceman, Joe Kittinger, who, in 1960 jumped from a balloon at the edge of space and lived to write about it. Later he began flying a stunt plane at airshows. That’s where I met him. He took me up so I could write a good story, and I wrote several stories about him over the years.

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Then there was Apache, Al Houser, who claimed to be the first baby born to Geronimo’s people after they were released from a Florida prison and returned to Oklahoma. The state was then Indian Territory, and today is the home of several tribes including my own ancestors, the Cherokee. Houser was involved in translating and preserving the languages of many tribes before they were lost forever. During World War II he flew a B-24 on night raids over Nazi Germany. Known as The Lone Wolf Raider, this man fought for a country that had imprisoned his people for years. It was an honor to sit down with him. He was a small, soft spoken man, with the strength of the mighty Apache in his soul.

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I walked into a snake house thinking the huge reticulated pythons were in cages only to learn they were lying on shelves, entwined within each other’s embrace. I could hear them breathing, smell the feral wildness of them. It was dark as pitch. The snake man, whom I had come to interview, said, “You can touch them, they like to be touched.” And so I did. Cool, dry, and smooth. Later I, who had an unnatural fear of snakes, sat while one of these exquisite creatures coiled across my lap and into my arms. Looked into his eyes and wondered what he thought of this frail human whom he could crush so easily. Do you want to know what I saw there? I saw the peace of knowing he was all powerful and didn’t have to prove it.

Once I sat in a small enclosure filled with tiger cubs, one in the litter was white. I’ve walked in their compound, taken pictures of these creatures in a preserve where most of the animals were rescued from people who thought they needed an exotic pet until that cute little cub grew into a three- or four-hundred pound tiger. One day when I was focusing the camera, the lens grew dark, and I slowly peered around to see one of the tigers had placed a paw there.

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Funny, isn’t it, that it took years for me to realize that these are experiences that will turn my fiction into something different, something fun and scary and interesting.  Hopefully all at the same time. So I’ve come home to write about what I know, after years of researching a time and place that I can only imagine.  My books include A Twist of Poe mystery series: The Purloined Skull; The Tell-Tale Stone; and coming in 2016 The Pit and the Penance. In October a horror, also set in the Ozarks, A Savage Grace, will be released. In November of last year, my mainstream novel, the book of my heart, Beyond the Moon, came out. I hope to write a sequel next year some time. I still write those western historical romances because I’ll always love tales of the west. Following the release of Wilda’s Outlaw last year, Rowena’s Hellion came out in November and I’m working on Tyra’s Gambler to finish the Victorian Series. See http://www.amazon.com/author/veldabrotherton for my entire publishing history, book at a time.

http://www.veldabrotherton.com

http://www.veldabrotherton.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/authorveldabrotherton

http://www.pinterest.com/veldabrotherton

On The Radio

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The show I taped for this past week was mistakenly not aired.  It was with Dave Olender and we discussed the upcoming Memorial Day events that will be taking place in Brunswick on Monday.  The show will air this evening at 7:05 so that all of you can hear it and plan to attend this very important day of giving thanks and prayers to those who have served our country and lost their lives.  It’s a wonderful show so I hope you’ll listen in!  Have a wonderful weekend!