Leila Case: The places you go and the people you meet through books

Published 7:27 am Sunday, June 11, 2017

The joy of reading has been a major part of my life since childhood.
Delving into fiction or non-fiction, especially well-known historical figures, is pure pleasure. I could spend an entire day reading a good book but I’m not afforded that luxury. Growing up I spent many a happy hour reading in the backyard hammock, the front porch swing or the neighborhood library — a leisurely walk from home.
While I’ve been an avid reader and book lover all my life and belonged to book clubs in the past, it has only been in the last few years that I have had the opportunity to be active in the Ladies Literary Club and Calvary Episcopal Church women’s book club.
The Ladies Literary Club passed a major milestone in Americus’ history, observing its 100th anniversary, while Calvary’s book club, founded 10 years ago by Elizabeth Kuipers, is a mere infant in comparison.
Abbie Dillard, Elizabeth’s mother and retired librarian, and I are in accord that Calvary’s book club is mentally stimulating, creates bonds, and exposes one to read books we otherwise wouldn’t, along with the exchange of lively discussions over a glass of wine and light supper. Expressing one’s opinion is important even though it might not be that of another. Sometimes, the monthly meetings, always held at the church’s Lawrence Parish Hall, are attended by only a dozen or so, while other times more than 30, especially if the reviewer is Betty Levins, an accomplished artist. She goes “over the top.” For example, reviewing “The Paris Apartment” she themed the era in which the book was set to the table décor and gave everyone beautiful impressionistic acrylics on canvas of a French street scene described in the book.  When she reviewed, “The Fifth Avenue Swans,” everyone sat back in delight for the “after supper” style show of winter fashions modeled by Calvary’s own book lovers.
In the past, we’ve enjoyed the added company of interesting and intellectual guests that include visiting scholars from China studying at Georgia Southwestern University in the international exchange program.
And the club has a worthy project: collecting book bags and children’s books to contribute to Georgia’s Department of Family and Children’s Services.
Remember if you’re a book lover you don’t have to be invited. Just show up.
Meanwhile, Americus Rotary Club President Reda Rowell, Gaynor Cheokas, incoming president, Cindy Pryor, Thurston Clary, Steve and Jeannie Stanfield and Angela and Rene Smith are representing the local club at the Rotary International Convention that opens Saturday at Atlanta’s World Congress Center and expecting 35,000 Rotarians from around the world. Americus’s own TePuy Activewear represented by Elena Carne, founder and owner, and Paige Greene, are among the vendors. Incidentally, Rowell will be master of ceremonies at the Indian hospitality-themed reception hosted by Lake Spivey Rotary Club of which she is a former member. The Americus Rotarians have had a number of successful service projects and District 6900 programs this year: the Sheffield Gala, and district workshop that included a SAM Shortline excursion that drew a number of Rotarians to Americus.
We’re grateful our family Mark and Anne Barrett and sons, Beau Barrett of Bluffton, S.C., and John Barrett of Leslie, are back on solid ground after a wonderful week of cruising the Eastern Caribbean aboard the SS Oasis of the Sea where they enjoyed varied onboard activities and the exotic ports of call at Nassau, St. John’s and St. Maarten islands.
Last weekend, Julie Megginson was in Birmingham, Alabama, where she and her sister, Amy Megginson Sponseller, and sister-in-law, Helen Megginson, honored their niece, Emily Wright, summer bride-elect of Reggie Humphrey, at an afternoon tea and bridal shower. Emily is the daughter of Sandy Megginson Wright, and granddaughter of Judy Megginson, all of Birmingham. The wedding is planned in Dalton.
Shirley Reese will blow out the candles on her birthday cake at a “girl’s only weekend” with her daughters Nancy Hayes and Meredith Wilson of Americus and Catherine Holman of Woodstock. The fun foursome will be Catherine’s house guests and combine the occasion that has become a family tradition with antiquing, shopping, dining and browsing throughout metro Atlanta.
Billy Tye enjoyed a weekend of fishing at St. Simons with long-time friend Ed Tharpe of Macon and St. Simons, and several others from Atlanta and Sea Island. While Billy was away his wife Kay Tye and sister, Cynthia Aycock of Charlotte, N.C., enjoyed catching up and traveled to Camilla for Cynthia’s granddaughter’s dance recital.
Nick Owens and James Edgemon spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. First stop was the White House. They also visited the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Memorial, a Segway tour of the city, visited the beautiful National Cathedral and toured the Library of Congress, the U.S. Capitol and visited numerous other sites including Arlington National Cemetery. Of course, they enjoyed delicious meals. Nick says they had a wonderful time.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.