How many local residents do you know get to travel during summer on a cruise ship for a week along Alaska’s coast and get paid for it?
That’s exactly what Jeff &Sheri Easter of Lincolnton, Ga., and their traveling family band are doing this week on a Southern gospel music-theme cruise hosted by Gloria and Bill Gaither.
Also performing and traveling along on the Aug. 6-13 cruise are such well known Gaither Homecoming TV series regulars as Russ Taff, The Nelons, Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene, Larnell Harris and the Gaither Vocal Band.
Once they get back into the continental United States, the Easters will return as guest artists on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Their next local appearance close to home will be 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, at the First Assembly of God in Lincolnton.
The Easters are talented and loving folks who made a dream come true for 15-year-old Sam Smith of Mt. Sterling, Ky., at their show on Aug. 1 at the Gallia County Junior Fair in Gallipolis, Ohio, not far from Smith’s home.
Just the week before Smith had won the 2017 NBHA Idol talent competition at the National Barrel Horse Association’s Youth World Championships at the Georgia National Fairgrounds &AgriCenter in Perry. He was selected by judges over nine other extremely talented competitors in performing his spirited rendition of Josh Turner’s Why Don’t We Just Dance before nearly 3,000 people in the massive Miller-Murphy-Walker Hall.
That was a pretty great honor for the ninth-grader who only has been performing publicly outside his church for two years. Second place went to a girl from Panama who performed a Hispanic song a cappella.
Just a couple of days after returning home, he went to see Jeff &Sheri Easter’s touring show that also features their daughter, Morgan, on vocals and keyboards, Jeff’s second cousin, Jared Easter, on steel guitar, mandolin, banjo and acoustic guitar and close friend Landan Smith from Covington, Ga., on drums.
They had been tipped off about Smith’s NBHA Idol win and called Smith up to the stage. He sang another Turner song, Long Black Train, and, according to Jeff Easter “did a great job.”
Smith himself said of the Georgia performing family, “They are just wonderful, down to earth people.”
The Nelons, once they recover from their week on the Alaska cruise ship, will be heading back down this way for a concert on Sunday, Sept. 17, at Langley (S.C.) First Baptist Church, 2841 Augusta Road.
RECALLING THE GREAT WARS: There are many local happenings connected with observances of America’s two great military conflicts: World War I (1917-1918) and World War II (1941-1945).
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, you can find yours truly talking at North Augusta’s Nancy Carson Library, 134 Edgefield Road, across from Captain D’s, about local involvement of civilians and soldiers in World War I.
And from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Augusta Museum of History, Sixth at Reynolds streets, across from St. Paul’s Church, you can buy for $25 a copy of the brand new book In Their Own Words, Augusta and Aiken Veterans Remember World War II. Autographing copies will be Jim Garvey, Douglas Higbee and Hubert van Tuyll, editors of the Augusta-Richmond County Historical Society project.
Stories in the book are recollections of the war years from 147 area veterans culled from more than 800 interviewed. They include such local celebrities as TV news anchor Jim Davis, former Georgia Gov. Carl Sanders Jr., former U.S. Rep. Doug Barnard Jr., multiple terms Augusta Mayor Lewis A. “Pop” Newman, former Georgia House Speaker Pro Tem Jack Connell, Luigi’s restaurant owner Chuck Ballas, Leonard’s Lounge nightclub owner Leonard Lifsey, obstetrician Dr. W.G. “Curley” Watson and Philadelphia Athletics baseball legend Lou Brissie.
Finally, you have only a few days left to see the World War I exhibit at the North Augusta Arts &Heritage Center on the first floor of that city’s Municipal Building, 100 Georgia Ave., before its final showing on Friday, Aug. 18.
Admission is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday but donations are gladly accepted.
FAREWELL TO DOT ASHE: One of the most remarkable people who touched many lives in this area over more than 50 years was Dorothy “Dot” Ashe who died at 91 on July 29.
Many soldiers and civilian employees encountered her wisdom and kindness while she worked for the library on Fort Gordon as a librarian and in other capacities.
And many of us who engage in public speaking often were enlisted by Ashe to speak to the seniors’ club at Hill Baptist Church.
Her obituary noted, “She enjoyed reading any subject especially history.”
In August 1965 she spoke to the Non-Commissioned Officers Wives Club on Fort Gordon and shared these wonderful thoughts about her love of literature:
“Perhaps the greatest impact the literary world has experienced since the printing press is the move from romantic writing to the revolutionary school of realism.
“Realistic writers make no compromise with public taste, and often their work is criticized for being offensive and objectionable while other critics feel they have neither added in nor taken away from the issue of making the reader face life as it is.
“Literature remains a mere collection of printed words until it is read with skill, experience and reflection.”
Her eulogy at Platt’s Funeral Home on Aug. 5, appropriately was given by her good friend and local author Donald C. Hancock.
Mark your calendar:
Third annual Party in the Park, Saturday, Aug. 19, Lady A Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park; hosted by the Columbia County Exchange Club; acoustic music from up-and-coming country artists Ray Fulcher, Tyler Reeve, Cole Taylor, Trea Landon, Faren Rachels and Wyatt Durrette; free
Country Under the Stars, 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, Jessie Carroll Community Center, 5073 Storey Mill Road, Hephzibah, Ga.; Justin Dukes, Luke Combs, Daniel Johnson, Ray Fulcher, $25 advance, $35 at the gate; buy at cityspintickets.com
7 Bridges, The Ultimate Eagles Experience, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, $39.50; Jabez Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans
Ricky Skaggs &Kentucky Thunder, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, Imperial Theatre, $15, $23, $28; first concert of the season for the Morris Museum of Art, Budweiser True Music Southern Soul &Song series
Cody Ray Slaughter, returns with his Elvis ‘56 tribute show at 7:30 pm. Saturday, Sept. 9, Imperial Theatre; $19, $29, $39
Ed Turner &No. 9 Band Rock &Soul Revue, tickets available for third show added for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, at Imperial Theatre ($20, $35, $40, $50) and for their show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Waynesboro-Burke County High School sponsored by the Waynesboro-Burke Concert Series. Visit burkeconcert.org.
Clint Black, Sept. 14, Evans Towne Center Park, tickets range from $25 to $55 at freshtix.com or Security Federal Bank