Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Guest is a Gift from God

My friend Deborah Sharp writes the Mace Bauer "Mama" series. She and her husband Kerry Sanders, the NBC reporter, live in a charming Floridian home on a waterway in Fort Lauderdale. Deb asked me if I'd like to stay over at their house so I wouldn't have such a long drive to the Miami Book Festival on Saturday (Nov. 18)--and I eagerly said, "Yes!"

Now, Deb proclaims long and loud that she's not crafty, but believe me, she doth protest too much. She has a terrific eye for decorating--and that's very crafty in its own way. Her home showcases fascinating objects d'art that capture the essence of "old Florida."

In particular, she and Kerry love the art of the Highwaymen, a group of African-American painters whose name came from their sales method, driving up and down Highway I-95 and selling their paintings.

The Royal Poinciana tree is an iconic South Florida image, and a favorite subject of the Highwaymen.

Shoot, I was thrilled to get the invite just so I could nose around her house and neighborhood, which goes by the delightful name "Sailboat Bend." It's Fort Lauderdale's only Historically Registered neighborhood.

That's Deb's yacht. (Kidding!)
Friday night we walked to dinner, going past the impressive Broward Center for the Performing Arts and through the Riverfront area. I loved the walk, the company and the sights. Even though it was growing dark, I enjoyed seeing the local architecture, which is uniquely Floridian.

A typical Florida sunrise. How cool is this?
The next morning we were up at dawn. Then we drove into Miami for the Miami Book Festival.

Our host Jose, Bob Williamson our moderator, Deb Sharp and me. Deb loaned me one of "Mama's" boas so I would be appropriately dressed.
Our panel was fun, probably because we know and enjoy each other so much. I left right afterwards because I needed to get home to take care of my dogs.

I hope to go back and spend a day with Deb, poking around. I really enjoyed my visit to her home--and I loved learning about the Highwaymen.

What about you? Is there a friend whose house you enjoy visiting? A place you'd like to go back to? The Muslims have a saying: A guest is a gift from God. So I think that being welcomed into someone's home is the penultimate of graciousness. For Thanksgiving, we're having twenty people for dinner! Family is coming from all over, and then we'll also have friends that we've "adopted" as family. I think it's going to be a BLAST!

What are your plans?


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a delightful visit and book festival, Joanna. Your sightseeing was obviously a highlight. We spent a little time in Miami's South Beach earlier this year and really enjoyed it.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

It was lovely, Linda. And learning about the Highwaymen was an added bonus.

Liz said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

The picture by The Highwaymen is lovely. Hope we'll get to see more.

Glad the festival was fun.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Liz, I am trying my hand at Zentangle designs that pay homage to the Highwaymen--and I'm on the lookout for other paintings by those talented artists.