A Mentor, A Neighbor, A Friend

It has been way too long since I last posted on Christmas Lights the Soul! Coming home to Savannah opened up so many opportunities for me to get things done, accomplish tasks, see old friends, and relax! I got out of the fantastic habit that I had kept for the past couple of months. But, seeing as how I was on the go, go, go, go, go, I am a bit thankful for the respite.

That being said, I have an enormous list of things to blog about in my journal, and I hope to write satisfactory articles within the next couple of days. I hate to think of years down the road looking back on my blog and forgetting to include some incredible memories and pictures!

Now back in the United States and no longer in Europe, I must break the log of my travels in Italy up to my departure and begin blogging once again about more random things that come to mind or daily experiences that I find uniquely intriguing and worthy of posting. However, don’t go away just yet because there will be future blog articles about the final adventures that I had in Italy including the subjects listed below.

- The Amalfi Coast, Ravello, and the Art of Ceramiche

- Views of Naples and the Bay of Napoli

- The Rim of Vesuvius and the Minute I Turned 21

- New Year’s Eve at the Colosseum

- The Catacombs of Rome and the Via Appia Antica

- Pizzeria del Pasquale

and finally, The Flight Home

In addition to these articles, I am looking forward to writing about the experience of flying into Savannah, Georgia’s “International” Airport and what expectations to have once you board the plane from any domestic airport flying to Savannah.

And finally, listed as my number one priority in my journal as a blog article to be, I come to speak about the enchanting music of Norah Jones, my friends and family, and finally, my mentor, my neighbor (just one door down on the shores of Lower Baker Pond), and most importantly, my friend, Deb Pannell.

Currently a school teacher for fifth grade students in a suburb of San Fransisco, California, Deb Pannell has to be one of the most enthusiastic, most morally conscious, and most outgoing and warm people I know. But don’t get me wrong. This post is not merely meant to boost her ego. Let me tell you that I only speak the truth that I know everyone part of the 2011 Pemi season could, and would, attest to. You want fantastic? Your answer is Deb. Taking on the Art program down in Junior camp is no easy task. But Deb made it seem so easy that the Arts and Crafts of summer camp were quickly one of the biggest hits of the summer.

There are many people in this world who do a wonderful job at encouraging creativity and teaching skills, and I have no doubt that many art teachers would have made a great impact at Pemi. However, I must tell you that Deb Pannell is so entirely different in so many inspiring ways that I could not imagine a more perfect person for the job at Pemi. Mixing a wonderful combination of maturity and mindless fun through a myriad of activities, Deb made it her job to find something interesting for every boy who walked through the door of the Arts building. She took simple skills and turned them into learning opportunities with real life applications. For example, the simple act of sewing with a needle and thread: “Guys, you realize that now you’ll be able to go off to college one day and sew your own buttons back on your shirts and pants, without a problem at all while your friends who have never been taught these kinds of things struggle to keep up!” Perhaps it seems a bit ridiculous to say something like this to eight and nine year olds, but to me it makes perfect sense! Let’s not patronize these campers by assuming they can’t think about the future!

Deb brought new occupations to Pemi last summer that revolutionized the Art program. Teaching the art of graffiti, sewing ugly dolls, weaving hats and scarves, and simple techniques with construction paper and colored pencils were all part of the artsy menu, and the kids, no matter their age, kept coming back for more. It was so enormously heart-warming to see such genuine enthusiasm for so much more than just Art and Crafts.

I was the counselor of Junior 1, the youngest cabin in camp home to eight and nine year olds. Junior 1 is situated right next to the Arts and Crafts building down in Juniorville, and as neighbors, Deb and I became very good friends. Though the kids were obviously always our frist priority, Deb and I forged a fantastic friendship, and I am thoroughly looking forward to another summer with the same neighbor this summer!

Deb and I love the same music: The Wailin’ Jenny’s and Norah Jones seems to sum it up pretty nicely in my opinion. Even now, I am listening to Norah Jones’ album Come Away with Me and I can’t help but think about Deb and the peacefulness of the New Hampshire summers. Listening to these songs, I remember the breeze blowing through the open Art building windows, laughter of the boys in the distance, the feeling of the wood floor that has seen many, many summers, a fresh cup of tea in Deb’s blue or green mug, and pure happiness and joy.

Deb, thank you for your honesty, your smile, your concern, your cheerfulness, and most importantly of all, your friendship. May we have many, many, many years of friendship ahead of us.

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