First The Wedding 1/1/11 Then Clary's for Breakfast : Southeastern Bound

First The Wedding 1/1/11 Then Clary's for Breakfast

by James Byous on 01/01/11

The new year started out great with Kim and Matt's 1/1/11 elopement.  We met at Calhoun Square for the ceremony.  A few yards away tour trolleys inched past at a slower-than-usual speed so folks from parts-beyond could snap and click pictures on their ipod cameras.  In the past we've had trolleys stop for folks to give small presents to a bride and groom; free tickets, special coins, a flashlight "so they won't get lost in the dark." 

Kim & Matt 1/1/11

Kim and Matt were from out of town too, like most of our brides and grooms.  It was just the four of us, them, Becky and me.  Quite intimate and, though visitors watched at a distance, private as well.  Destination weddings represent about ninety-five percent of our work.  Great folks as usual, having a great time. 

After the ceremony we walked around the square taking in the made-to-order backdrops that make great photos.  The late-1800's homes at the intersections of Abercorn and Wayne Streets are ready-made props for a photographer.  I suppose that's why so many movie companies have chosen the city for a location.  Forrest Gump, The General's Daughter, Bagger Vance and others have selected our town for shoots.

Another film was John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.  It was directed by Clint Eastwood.  While they filmed the movie Eastwood stayed in a town house just one square to the west.  And speaking of the movie, after the wedding Becky and I walked a short half-block north to Clary's Cafe. 

It was featured in the movie.... The guy with the flies tied on strings.... Luther Driggers, he's sitting at Clary's lunch counter.  Based on a real Savannah character I'm told by folks in town.  And again, "speaking of," if you read the book you know who Emma Kelly was... a piano player called "the lady of a thousand songs."  Most of which, I believe, were Johnny Mercer ditties.  She used to date Becky's uncle many years back.  But you had to read the book.  Seems Emma didn't make it past Eastwood's cutting room.  Somewhere on the floor I suppose.

Clary's is great food.  We go there all the time.  But, I don't know what to call it; American, Southern, Jewish.  I guess it's a cosmopolitan blend of down-home-cookin' style with a bit of what I call neuvo-greasy-spoon.  No telling who you'll see sitting in the two-room facility, or maybe outside at their al-fresco tables.  A photo of Clint Eastwood and the mayor hangs on one of the dining area's back walls along with rows of work from local artisans.

Clary's from the inside.

John Berendt and I rubbed elbows there once.  Not on purpose, the hallway to the restrooms is quite narrow.  He's a facebook friend, however.... along with several thousand others he also doesn't know.  Popular guy he is.  The book that he wrote will go down in Savannah's history with major bullet points.  Tourism boomed after the book came out.  In fact folks simply refer to the book as "The Book".  They also refer to the movie about "The Book" as "The movie about The Book." 

You'll hear, "Did you read The Book?"

"Why yes.  My cousin was mentioned in The Book."

"Did you see the movie about The Book?"

"Oh, certainly, dahlin'.  I was IN the movie about The Book.  Watch the scene in the Hamilton-Turner House.  That's my right foot in the second row, forty-five minutes and ten seconds into it." 

Makes me think I was the only resident who didn't make the casting call. 

Years ago, long before Clary's moved from their other location a few blocks down Abercorn, the two-roomed building housed William Harley's grocery store.  He had a couple of stores in Savannah.  If you are old enough to remember Coca-Cola's seventy-fifth anniversary you may have seen his photo.  He was part of their advertising campaign that included an aged photo of a Coke delivery wagon, two young men in the driving seat below a parasol shade wth Harley posing front-and-center. 

William Harley and his Coca Cola delivery wagon.

Arms crossed and stately, Harley stands beside row-line cases of the bottled, soon-to-be-world-dominating drink.  Billboards, posters and belt buckles were a few of the promotion items that carried his likeness.  He, of course, was long gone before all of the Madison-Avenue fuss.  Nope, no royalties.

We still do have horse-drawn vehicles here.  Mostly they carry tourists through the city to show off our architecture and history.  Come on down and take a look.  Maybe take a ghost tour.  Watch for Harley.  He may wave as you go by Clary's.

- Jim

Customer, Cane and Catch-up at Clary's Cafe in Chatham County.


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