The Russell Sabbatical travel blog

Bernice Sims, Folk Artist


I'm feeling much better. Thanks, everybody, for your concern and thoughts. It was a stomach virus (flu), likely. I'm not sworn off oysters, yet! It felt good to relax in relative luxury for a couple of days. We used this down day to take a side trip up to Brewton, Alabama to visit another artist, Bernice Sims. We had been there on our trip 4 years ago, and on that trip, we had eaten the best bbq in the deep South at Hog Heaven in Brewton. It was still there, and Dave and Leah said it was still the best (I'm on a bland diet, wouldn't you know). From there, we found Bernice. She has been recognized for her contributions (through art) to the civil rights movement and southern culture, and has had postage stamps commemorating her art. She doesn't have any art just now - she sold out at Kentuck Fest - the huge folk art show - last month. Right now, she's painting special requests for people. So we visited about family, about health, about art. She's had a very trying life. After the recent death of her son, she stopped painting. But she recently started again, and realizes how painting brings spirit back to her life. We took a few minutes to dash out and get her some lunch. She had been talking about her favorite bbq place, "out on 31 by that hotel." I love directions from people in the south and in the country. We went off in search - and found it! After we returned with some lunch for her, we requested a painting, - quilts hanging outside on the line while the kids and dog play in the yard - said we'd check back in about a week, and said good-bye. Tomorrow, we finally leave Florida, I think.



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