Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Survivor

On a recent insanely hot day we were tooling around St. Simons Island, one of Georgia's famous Golden Isles, when we happened upon Hazel's Cafe.  Humbly situated on a street overhung with live oaks, the building is circa 1950's, a survivor of that simple time in our history when a Coke was a dime and Hazel knew everyone who came in the door.  On countless sleepy roads throughout the rural South, across endless lazy summer days spanning decades, the screen doors hummed on these places, the ceiling fans worked overtime to keep the bare plank floors cool, and the Hazels of the world kept us going with something cold to drink and that exquisite home cooking that is known these days in high-end food circles as "fresh, local, farm-to-table fare".  I imagine that would have amused Hazel to no end.  She doubtless knew no other way but to serve only the shrimp that came fresh off the boat that morning and the okra and tomatoes picked from her own garden the evening before.  Though Hazel is long gone, her legacy of honest simplicity lives on in the little building, which has passed from her heirs to a new owner who has vowed to leave it alone and protect it, lest none of us forget how wonderful the basics really can be.


  1. often basic is best, huh Beth? We just visited the Coke museum when in Atlanta last month (for the show and my daughter and I then visited with some friends who just moved there).

    And, yes, I learned of Chris Botti through my husband. His music is quite moving.

    Enjoy a wonderful, wonderful day, Beth.

  2. Beth, I remember as a child with my cousins, walking down a country road in the summer, smelling the tar melting on the road, listening to airplanes overhead (prop planes, not jets - the sound is a summer sound!), crickets chirping in the high grasses, passing by old gas stations with a single pump outside, the kind with a round glass sign on top of them...eating a popsicle, taking our pennies to the gumball machines, bare feet hopping across stones as we ambled along... Your photo reminds me of that time and those places...long gone.
    Thanks for the memories!
    Hugs, Diane

  3. I could use some of that sunshine today, another grey and wet August here in the UK.