Monday, April 27, 2009

Tolstoy Park

WHEN? Monday · April 27

WHERE? Montrose, Alabama · find us on the map

Recently I sent a video on Turkey (the country) to a member of Wells United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Earl Hill, Jr. replied, thanking me, and added this: "Be sure you read The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer and see his little house in Fairhope."

Tolstoy Park

I purchased the book and read it and then started trying to find the little round house referred to in the book. It took a second day of searching with more specific directions to finally locate the house.

I recommend the book to you if you are one who likes to read books of a spiritual nature and about philosophy. It's very much like a journal of sorts and is based on a real person, Henry Stuart.

Excerpt from an interview with author Sonny Brewer:

THE POET OF TOLSTOY PARK is based on the true story of a 62-year old man, Henry Stuart, whose doctor in Idaho in 1923 told him he was dying of consumption. He moved here to Fairhope, left his shoes out west, and lived barefooted in a round concrete house he built by himself with his own two hands for twenty-two years! He had a divinity degree from Mount Union College and listed his occupation in the 1920 Census as “weaver of rugs.” Clarence Darrow befriended him and visited Henry a number of times in Fairhope. He was a writer and poet, a gardener, and a self-reliant man Thoreau would have loved.

That's probably enough to grab your interest without giving away the plot. The little round house was not easy to find, even though I had some photos of it from the internet. I think the house had become "bigger than life" in my mind by the time I finished the book because I was really surprised at how small it seemed when I stepped inside of it. It was a pleasure to visit it and take a few photos, which you can see here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Surprise Dance

WHEN? Probably never except by armchair

WHERE? Antwerp, Belgium

Several people have shared this video with me via email, and I think it's too good not to put up on our travelblog. Since I'm Hop-a-long Smith for awhile, real travel is out of the question anyway.

One of the most beautiful buildings of Antwerp is the building where this video took place, which is known as Centraal Statie, Railway Cathedral or simply Antwerp Central Station. One person who posted a video of this on YouTube described it thusly:

"We had a 45 minute gap between two trains and there was a school group performing the Do Re Mi! It took us a while to realize that this was a performace. It seemed like people were randomly joining the dance."