Some of them just visit, and some decide to live here. This past weekend Michael Buble’ was spotted, as was Giada DeLaurentiis. (separately – I think). I’m sure they both tried to call me, but my phone probably wasn’t working!
Fairhope has always been a secret little get-away for creative types. Here, you can blend in with the locals who don’t care (much) about who you are.
Many accomplished people choose to live in Fairhope, and they become regular people we see in the Piggly Wiggly or sit next to in church and never even realize who they are or what escapades have transpired in their previous years.
Here I am last week, sipping raspberry-green tea outside Latte’ Da with my friend Tod Johnson. Tod hosts a local radio show every Thursday on WABF and worked with every star “back in the day” from Doris Day (who also visited Fairhope last year) to Elizabeth Taylor, and oh . . . by the way, after I had known Tod for a while, discovered he has won four Oscars. As in– Academy Awards. They are for work he did years ago on documentaries. Sitting at the table just out of view was my friend I’ve written about, Ron Meszaros, who has written several books and also worked for most of his career in Hollywood, along with his lovely wife, artist Ellen Grigg.
A few nights earlier, I went over to The Venue and heard author Rick Bragg talk about his new book. Oh, in case you didn’t know, he has a Pulitzer Prize Award, but he’s also just a regular Fairhope kind of guy, although he said living in Fairhope made him feel . . . “precious.” Just a little too cutesy for him, I think. He’s hilarious that way.
While I was standing around talking with the Pulitzer Prize winner, someone else introduced me to Judith Richards, who I’ve always wanted to meet. She has written many books, including the popular Thelonious Rising and has received two Alabama Author Awards. Judith was so friendly and I can’t wait to visit with her again soon.
At a recent little soiree’, I chatted with my friend on the left, Dr. Karyn Tunks, who will soon release her new children’s book based on the story of the USS Alabama, and on the right, Clara and Dr. Bill Nuggent, who is probably THE most talented man in town. Very humble, I first knew him as the nice man who would conduct the children’s violin choir at church. “How sweet,” I thought. Come to find out, he’s a world renowned composer, former Chancellor of the Arkansas State University System, was the first band director at Samford University and wrote their fight song. He’s worked with the biggest names in the industry like Dave Brubeck and used to have breakfast with Wal-Mart CEO Sam Walton every week.
The party also had the fabulous mix of an attorney, firefighter, rocket scientist, business owners and an assortment of gorgeous, brilliant, Southern ladies, who always spice up a party. It’s just another regular old group of Fairhope people!
I was thinking about all these amazing folks, plus others like the author of Forest Gump, Winston Groom, and another favorite who pops out stories for The NY Times every now and then, Roy Hoffman, both of whom I see every now and then in Page and Palette Bookstore, and writer John O’Melveny Woods, who also has a Hollywood film background has settled here and jumped right into community events.
I had known George Kirchoff, for years, before I learned he was the inventor of the air bag! As in . . . has saved thousands of lives – POOF! Air Bag! Who knew? (click on George’s name to read a story about him, written by . . . Roy Hoffman!)
I know other towns have famous and accomplished residents, but I find it highly interesting for all of these folks to congregate in a small town in Alabama.
Professional football players, Broadway actors, Food Network Chefs, so many writers and artists (who hang in the Smithsonian – Dean Mosher) we lose track of them all . . . this is just a great town, and the common thread is these people are all so incredibly nice. I guess there’s an official city ordinance that stipulates if you have received recognition for anything great and you want to move here, you have to be nice and normal.
I think there’s something in our water that makes people creative. Actually, now that I think about it, Fairhope’s water was even awarded, “best water in the state.”
Dang. Even our water is famous.
But it’s really nice, down-to-earth water.