Leila Case: All the better to see you with

Published 2:30 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

When I was a child growing up in Atlanta my doting aunts told me if you find a penny on the street, and pick it up, it brings you good luck. I’ve picked up pennies since.
Perhaps the penny I picked up in the parking lot the other day brought me good luck, or just that I’m blessed. I tend to believe it is the latter — not the found penny.
I am very grateful to have a new pair of eyes — all the better to see you with, my dear — and I’m looking forward to seeing more of you now. For the first time in my life objects at a distance are vivid and in focus without the aid of eyewear, thanks to successful cataract surgery.
During the interim I’ve been away from these pages while all this was going on, I celebrated my birthday with family from near and far as well as their pets they brought along. But that is another story all unto itself. Leaving the canines at home, we celebrated the occasion with dinner at Cordelia’s at Lake Blackshear Resort and the experience was wonderful. If I were a food critic, Cordelia’s would get a five-star rating. We enjoyed an absolutely delicious, beautifully presented meal and served with a smile. On a very busy Friday night, the service was perfect and the dining room was full. If you haven’t dined at Cordelia’s or even if it has been a while, I highly recommend it. By the way, we were told their new menu debuted this week. I look forward to returning and soon.
My birthday continued the following evening with a splendid, delicious dinner hosted by Mark and Anne at their lovely home in Leslie. There was even a 15-layer caramel cake glowing with a bonfire of candles. Yes, I was spoiled.
Another special event this week was the installation of Gaynor Cheokas as the 2017-2018 president of the Americus Rotary Club at the organization’s luncheon-meeting Tuesday at Georgia Southwestern State University’s faculty dining room. With her husband, Mike Cheokas, standing by her side, Gaynor was inducted into office by Sybil Smith, a former president. There were smiles all around as Mike pinned the Rotary president’s pin on Gaynor’s lapel. It was a privilege for me to be there for Gaynor, a long-time and dear friend, and sit by my sweet husband Rotarian Bruce. My other luncheon partner, Diane Fletcher of Albany, a guest of Dr. Lou Riccardi, and chief executive officer of the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, announced this year’s Night for Hope, a benefit for the organization, begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Lee Council House. And she pointed out that Riccardi and his wife Candy will be honored as cancer survivors. We look forward to being there.
Gaynor is an enthusiastic, energetic person with great leadership skills, who sets goals and accomplishes mission. She will lead the local Rotarians to shine even more so. And congratulations to Reda Rowell, immediate past president, who did an outstanding job.
There was even more on the agenda. The District 6900 board of directors-at-large, Americus Rotary Club’s board of directors and committee chairman were installed. They are Jimmy Whaley, president-elect; Reda Rowell, immediate past president; Jay Anderson, secretary; Rene Smith, secretary; Susan Ruckman, treasurer and business manager; service project committees, Hank Hart and Reda Rowell; foundation, Steve Stanfield; program coordinator, Russ Childers; membership, Lou Riccardi; retention/ fellowship Cindy Pryor; public relations, Nichole Buchanan and Brandon Vann; bulletin, Nicole Buchanan and Courtney Brown. The district board-at-large board includes Thurston Clary, Jim Covington, Sybil Smith and Don Smith.
Additionally, I was Bruce’s guest at the club’s annual summer picnic several weeks ago at the lakeside home of Sybil and Don Smith. Fried chicken, tomato sandwiches and other southern fare was served alfresco to guests seated at tables for eight on the back lawn overlooking Lake Collins. The Smiths were assisted by Rene and Angela Smith, Cindy Pryor, and Thurston and Gail Clary. Everyone had so much fun. Thanks for including me.
Elsewhere, Grace Wooten and her mom Carey Wooten returned earlier this week after 10 days, which included the Fourth of July, touring London and other places, especially gardens, in the English countryside. This was Grace’s first-time trip to Europe, a graduation gift from her grandmother Joni Woolf. Grace is a December graduate of the University of Georgia with the bachelor of science degree in landscape architecture. She is employed by the Craig Design Group in Chattanooga.
Carey says on the Fourth, they went to a Benjamin Booker concert, a new, rising star in the blues/rock genre, who grew up in Florida, but now lives in New Orleans. He was exciting, a really fine musician and talented young guitarist and singer. As many of us are aware the British make jokes about the Fourth, calling it Happy Treason Day and Thanksgiving Day (because they got rid of us) and such, but Carey says they were actually very nice, some even wishing them a “Happy 4th!”
Thankfully, they didn’t encounter any terrorist alerts and they never felt afraid except for riding the underground system in London. They visited Borough Market, an international market of fresh foods and international restaurants that had just re-opened after the attack in early June. They dined in the restaurant where patrons wrestled one of the attackers to the ground. However, Carey says you wouldn’t know it and the people there were lovely. Life just went on.
Other points of interest in London they visited were Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.
Carey and Grace traveled with friends from Goring-by-Sea, on the west coast of England and visited Canterbury Cathedral; Whitstable, a nearby village on the east coast on the North Sea where they stayed in a renovated old fisherman’s hut right on the shore — very quaint; Sissinghurst Castle and garden, the former home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, in the beautiful Wealden countryside that Carey says is beautiful and formal, yet very free English gardens; Brighton, just south of Goring, on the southern coast, and Arundle Castle and Garden in Arundle, England, also on the east coast, another lovely castle with formal gardens.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.