Spring in Savannah, new and improved

OH, spring, welcome back, you sexy thing!

The vernal equinox graces our planet once again this week, arousing the azaleas out of their spiraled slumber and signaling to the birds and bees that it’s time to get busy.

‘Tis the season of the fertility goddess Persephone, who saunters out from the underworld to drape the Northern Hemisphere in a lusty glow. Cheeks flush, eyelashes bat, clothing dwindles. Even the trees take on sensuous overtones, wagging their leaves at all that bared skin in the sunshine.

Until you try to breathe through your nose, in which case life becomes a snot-encrusted headache spawned by Hades.

Gorgeous as y’all are with your handsome haberdashery and sleeveless frocks, spring in Savannah is also marked by the golden shimmer of pollen floating off the pines and the oaks, that kryptonite pixie dust that puts sinus cavities on lockdown.

After years as a springtime mouthbreather, I think I’ve finally found a solution to this annual misery. But it’s not so sexy.

“Why is there a tea pot in the shower?” my husband wants to know.

“I’ve invited the Queen Mother for a group spongebath,” I tell him. “She’s bringing the soap and crumpets.”

“Sounds hot,” he says. For some people, amorousness knows no season.

I confess that the little ceramic jar with the nozzle is not a party accoutrement. It’s a neti pot, an ancient remedy for clearing the sinuses that entails pouring warm salty water into one nostril until it comes out the other.

“Ew,” grimaces my mate. “Not hot.”

No, schnozz holes are not generally considered erogenous zones. But I swear the addition of the neti pot to my daily ablutions has greatly enhanced my appreciation for the conspicuous concupiscence going on out there.

The salacious second quarter of 2015 has also been greatly improved by other developments. Let’s begin with the renovation of the Forsyth Park Bandshell, currently underway. When it was first unveiled in 2009, the concrete fountain in front of the stage was mistaken for a kiddie pool by many members of the juice box set, probably because, well, it looked like a kiddie pool.

Official barriers and scolding signs followed, to no avail. In order to curb temptation and prevent accidents (not to mention unsanctioned nasal flushing,) the City shut off the water and removed the nozzles last year.

The local toddler union must have put up quite a fuss, because the City took the design back to the drawing board, reaching out to citizens and local production crews to collaborate on a water feature that would help keep everyone keep cool.

“We were going to put up a bigger boundary, but it was too difficult to keep people out,” concedes Joe Shearouse, Bureau Chief of the City of Savannah’s Public Facilities and Leisure Services.

“So we just decided to start over.”

Last week jackhammers and bulldozers reduced the old not-a-pool to rubble, clearing the way for an expanded splash-and-spray area that uses reclaimed water and will keep children of all ages shrieking with delight for many seasons to come.

The area will also double as an orchestra pit, providing better access to sound crews and bringing audiences closer to the stage.

In a city where civic complaints often outnumber the blossoms, it’s refreshing to see a problem recognized and resolved with community input. The do-over will cost $48,000 of sales tax revenue, which could be swiftly recouped if Leisure Services set up a lemonade stand near the giant xylophone next to the playground.

Since I had Mr. Shearouse on the phone, it seemed like a prudent time to bring up the xylophone, which could be a wonderful interactive park attraction—if it had a mallet.

“It didn’t come with one,” he relayed.

“But you’re welcome to make music on it with anything reasonable as long as you don’t tear it up.”

Sticks at the ready, children! But careful not to violate any noise ordinances; the neighbors downtown can be cranky.

Persephone and the zoning gods have also seen fit to return to us American Legion Post 135, which has lain fallow since an electrical fire smoked out the building last May. Thankfully, the Legion hasn’t changed much at all: The beer’s still cheap, the lights are still low, the grizzled charm intact.

But next door at Betty Bombers, owner/chef Seth Musler used the downtime to implement a very important addition to the mess hall’s menu: Milkshakes. I’m not really sure how we survived the Spicy Buffalo chili cheese fries without them, but Spring 2015 will be forever marked as the date this girl fell in love with grape soda vanilla floats.

Also look for a new-and-improved to-go experience, as Betty B’s has banished Styrofoam clamshell containers, thanks to a bit of pestering from house graphic designer Lacy Counts. With her pincurls and red lipstick, Lacy embodies Betty’s retro vibe as she trumpets 21st -century sustainability.

She and her and equally swell sister, Cailyn Blair, recently launched Ginger + Olive, a line of handmade, biodegradable products for bath and home that are perfect for when the spring cleaning bug bites.

“There’s nothing more eco-friendly than local,” surmises Lacy with a Rosie the Riveter-esque commitment to helping folks return to the simple wisdom that helped us win WWII and unify as a country.

“Cleaning without chemicals, recycling, victory gardens...we did it once in America. We can do it again!”

Speaking of Victory Gardens, thanks to this homegrown landscaping company, my own postage stamp-sized farm is ready for spring planting. Reid Archer, Cary Shay and David Hislop replaced our tuckered-out garden beds with new steel-sided planter boxes and a truckload of organic soil from Longwood Plantation, and my guy is already out there shirtless in the sunshine, filling it up with seedlings. Kale yeah!

Nothing sexier than a man growing his own food. If the neti pot keeps working, there might be some frolic in the flowers behind the privacy fence.


About The Author

Jessica Leigh Lebos

Community Editor Jessica Leigh Lebos has been writing about interesting people, vexing issues and anything involving free food for more than 20 years. She introduces herself at cocktail parties as southern by marriage.
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