Leila S. Case: Are you ready for some football?

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yes, indeed and the SEC football season kicks off this weekend. However, Americus Sumter County has had a lot of activity everywhere this week.
We’ve had visiting dignitaries and special events, birthday celebrations, the arrival of babies and a “storm watch.”
We were glad to encounter U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), of Marietta, last Tuesday waiting to get on the elevator at the Windsor Hotel as Ross and Charlotte Chambliss, and Bruce and I got off.
We had just said our good-byes following a delightful surprise birthday dinner party honoring our friend Joni Woolf at the hotel’s Rosemary & Thyme, and Isakson was spending the night at the Windsor following a reception in his honor at the home of Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi. He and Lou have been close friends since they were students in high school and roommates at the University of Georgia.
Joni’s birthday celebration, hosted by her daughter Carey Wooten, was a happy event and from her initial reaction, the element of surprise had been well kept. She covered her mouth and opened her eyes wide walking into the room to a chorus of happy birthday sung with gusto by family and friends. Joni is a devoted member and leader at Calvary Episcopal Church and she is my writing “partner in crime.”
Joni’s granddaughter, Grace Wooten, who graduates with a degree in landscape design from the University of Georgia, Athens, in December, told me that she is the first student in her class to land a permanent position. She will begin working for Craig Landscape Design Group in Chattanooga in January, where she completed an internship this past summer. Also attending the party were former resident and friend Betty Hewitt of St. Simons Island, and Terry Holland of Macon.
Our chat with Isakson was brief. Stephanie Jones of Atlanta, who has been on Isakson’s staff for the past 17 years, was among the group of hosts and co-hosts of the event that included her parents Randy and Nancy Jones. Others were Jerry and Henry Crisp, Joe Daniel, Billie and Jim Gatewood. Ann and Bill Harris, Mary Marshall, Carolyn and Cecil Myers, Becky and Charles Pryor, Vernon Warren, Karen and Greg Austin, Diane and Mike Busman, Lucy and Dennis Chastain, Cindy and Gatewood Dudley, Billy Hodges, Janet and Hulme Kinnebrew, Brenda and Ted McMillan, Faith and Lee Pinnell, Diana and Jimmy Skipper, Jeannie and Steve Stanfield, Judy and Carl Tott, Ginny and Rick Whaley and Morgan and Jimmy Whaley. Attending from out of town were Jules and Bonnie Windham of Montezuma and Lou’s sister Nancy Delany of Atlanta.
Elsewhere, Karen Austin was in New York City last week, traveling with Beth Nellis, her sister of Atlanta, and their cousin, Lyle Smith and her daughter, Caroline Smith of Greenville, S.C., a senior at New York University, studying for a degree in drama and acting. They enjoyed visiting with Beth’s older daughter Elizabeth, who lives and works in the Big Apple. Taylor Austin, Karen and Greg’s son, and Ashley Jones of Americus were in NYC and attended a NY Yankee’s game and visited friends in the Hamptons.
We love high school Friday night football at Americus-Sumter High and Southland Academy but the SEC football season opens today. Cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs when they play North Carolina at the Georgia Dome are Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, Dr. Alex Riccardi, Brandon Horne, Jimmy and Morgan Whaley, Rusty Whaley, Mack and Mackenzie Greene, Levi Tuggle and David Still. Traveling to Auburn for the Auburn-Clemson match tonight are Angela and Rene Smith, who will tailgate with former resident Kathy Ray. Others at the game are Maggie McGruther, Angie Kuhlmann, Jay Roberts, and Corey Flegel; Rick and Geni Powell are in Knoxville cheering for the University of Tennessee Volunteers; and Georgia Tech alum Christine Argo flew to Dublin, Ireland, with a group of Tech alumni to cheer the Yellow Jackets when they clash with the Boston College Eagles at Aviva Stadium.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.