Sunday, April 27, 2014

Serendipity Cafe


POETRY AND JAZZ

F
riday night my friend Ginny Padgett and I went to the Serendipity Café in Sumter, SC for a poetry reading. Though I thought we were lost a couple of times, after a strategic turn, we were on Main Street, a two-lane street with shade trees dotting the side walks and buildings from mid-century America. Every block had the charm of small-town USA, recalling an apple pie-and-ice cream lifestyle. Set among other 1950s storefronts was the Serendipity.

Because we were early for the evening’s poetry reading we parked within feet of the front door. Talk about easy! Inside was a room with what must have been a 45 foot ceiling. Deep peach-colored walls; dark wood columns. Lazy fans turning overhead. Low lights. A narrow balcony extended over a sizable bar. What caught my eye were the numerous cakes on the bar counter, right out of an Old South cookbook.

Upon arrival, we were concerned about whether we were in the right place. A jazz combo was playing as if it was the entertainment for the night, but our waitress assured us Len Lawson was scheduled to read his poetry. Len, who attends the Columbia II Writers Workshop, is a friend and fellow writer.

W
e settled down to a marble top table and cushy chairs for dinner and drinks. When Len was introduced, we hooted and whistled. At our workshops, Len is a person of quiet and thoughtful manner (I don’t mean shy). It was a surprise to see him come alive on stage as if he were a toastmaster of long experience. He had the good judgment to ask for lights (the stage was dark). Len’s enthusiasm for his poems was met with enthusiasm. When he finished, the stage went dark again. The jazz combo with a hot sax, so hot it burned my ears, launched into another song.

It was an adventuresome evening with music, food, and poetry. Serendipity Café is an adventure in itself. So is Len’s poetry.

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