Many Americans are traveling again, though we’re a bit out of practice.

I recently visited Savannah, Georgia, because of a book that was selected by the McGaffer’s Book Club. We read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” by John Berendt. His images of Savannah made the city irresistible. “Midnight” inspired a fellow club member to book her trip to Savannah in October.

My son, Mark, was my traveling companion. I vowed I would not yell during the trip. I once believed that yelling was the appropriate response to any difficult situation, but my family convinced me it makes things worse. 

Besides, Mark would be a great asset. He works for TSA at O’Hare Airport and no one can navigate an airport better than Mark. He expertly printed our boarding passes and checked our luggage. His co-workers treated us kindly at the security checkpoint.

We didn’t get a direct flight to Savannah but flew to Atlanta instead. We thought a four-hour drive to Savannah would be more fun than a four-hour layover. Since I was doing the driving, I gave Mark the most important responsibilities. He was in charge of giving me directions and finding good stations on the radio. After we escaped the airport, I made a wrong turn and ended up back at the terminal.

There was some brief yelling. 

Pouring rain made driving more difficult and the rain worsened as we approached Savannah. I was driving a strange car in blinding rain and construction made it more confusing. Despite Mark’s directions, I got off at the wrong exit.

There was some more yelling.

We were grateful to reach our hotel but found the room was freezing. Mark was responsible for room temperature and cranked it up to 84 degrees. After drinks and appetizers at the hotel bar, we found the “heater” was blowing cold air. I called the front desk and they promised to send an engineer the next morning. I went to bed fully dressed, with covers to the chin. The next morning, the desk clerk refunded us $100 for sleeping in Siberia. 

Mark was also in charge of restaurant selection and found a charming place that served green grits. Everything in Savannah is quaint and charming. It was founded in 1733 and the architecture transports you back to that time.

Savannah is very walkable, as well, and has a large selection of bars and restaurants. There was music everywhere, including a U.S. Navy band playing Dixieland jazz. 

But we had come primarily for Savannah’s legendary St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it didn’t disappoint. For three hours, we basked in sunshine as floats, marching bands, bagpipers and rock bands passed by. The crowd was boisterous but well-behaved. 

Afterwards, we strolled down a street, where bands were playing and there was much drinking and celebrating. 

Savannah has so many wonderful sights to see but we had to leave the next day. We were so rushed at the Atlanta airport that I left my copy of “Midnight” in the rental car.

There was no yelling, but can someone tell me how the book ends?

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.