The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 6 - November 10, 2010


Second volume from Norwood a winner

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryAnna Maria Island Sun Photo

Author Carolyne Norwood poses with her editorial assistant, Lulu.

Carolyne Norwood has done it again. Her second book, “Tales of Three Cities: From Bean Point to Bridge Street” is full of amusing and interesting tales about Anna Maria Island.

Norwood’s first book, “The Early Days” covers the time period of 1893 until 1940. That first book is a wonderful chronology of the settlement and establishment of a community on the Island.

This second book is just as grand.

The book is filled with shots to illustrate the tales Norwood tells. She’s divided up her chapters into subjects.

“I just couldn’t make it work chronologically, so I grouped subjects together and wrote about the ones I thought were most interesting,” she said.

From Chapters One through 10, the reader will encounter tales from the past, wildlife, the evolution of the three cities that comprise the Island, the education life here, wildlife, civic pride, places of interest, businesses and finally, the inevitable changes that are coming to the Island.

This reviewer found herself unexpectedly laughing out loud at the antics of the professional baseball players who lived and played on the Island – guys that Norwood refers to as “the boys of winter.”

Then there was the time the police came to a party looking for George Norwood, because the dog Chester had escaped by digging a huge hole under the fence to accost a femme fatale of a Doberman that was in heat.

“Your dog is oversexed,” the owner yelled as Chester was led away in disgrace.

Readers will enjoy the passage where baited hooks were left out for sharks on the Anna Maria City Pier while pool games were played on the swaying structure. Tin cans were rigged to alert the anglers when they had a strike.

“One night we ran out and saw the bench and a number of planks from the pier heading up the bay,” Norwood quotes a John Adams story. “We never saw the shark, but we knew it was a good one.”

There are stories of herds of raccoons coming to feed, baby sea turtles raised in a nursery, ferrets, snakes, fiddler crabs, mosquitoes and other bugs and birds.

Norwood’s anecdotes and words have a way of making the reader feel a part of each scene. Don’t be surprised if you have to scratch a spot when you read about the clouds of mosquitoes that plagued the Island then. But the reader will soon forget the itch and bust out in guffaws a few lines later.

Norwood culled these stories from old newspapers, old records and from personal experience. She’s lived on the Island since 1956 and was acquainted with all the players from then on.

No question about it, Norwood has created another Island masterpiece and anyone who loves the Island, which is everyone who lives here, has ever lived here or has ever visited here will absolutely love.

It’s a rollicking good read and a treasure chest of tales that have made Anna Maria Island the place it is today.

John Wayne and the wine snobs

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Wine can be classified by bottle shapes
and famous personalities.

There is more BS in wine conversation than there is in teabag politics.

Wine snobs are everywhere. They talk about broccoli fleurets in their cabernet – asparagus in their chardonnay.

So how does a real person who wants to learn more about wine, navigate the sea of wine BS – vintages and tons per acre, sugar measured in brics, late harvest and ice wine, screw caps and corks, French oak and blah, blah, blah.

When lost at sea, it is best to grab a crude compass, make a guess and then proceed. The compass I give young waiters-in-training is a system that classifies wines by bottle shapes and famous personalities.

Wine generally comes in short fat bottles or tall skinny bottles. The wine inside tastes like someone you know.

The bottle shape thing started in France.

In Bordeaux they made tall skinny bottles and filled them with white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes and red wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

In Burgundy they made short fat bottles and filled them with white wine made from Chardonnay grapes and red wine made from Pinot Noir grapes.

Read that last part again and stay with me…

Tall white wine bottles generally still deliver white wines that are made from Sauvignon Blanc. They are dry, lighter in body, and crisp on the finish. Wines like Audrey Hepburn.

Red wines in tall bottles are generally Cabernet Sauvignon. They are deep red in color, are heavier and have big bold flavors.

They are John Wayne. Cabernet swaggers into a bar and orders a big steak.

Shorter rounder Burgundy bottles usually contain white wine made from Chardonnay grapes.

The wines are fatter and richer and fuller than the skinny bottle, Audrey Hepburn wines. They are welcoming, rich, white wines with flavors of oak and cream and fruit. American Chardonnays in particular are fatter and fuller. Think Chardonnays like Mae West. “Come up and see me some time.” “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”

The French Chardonnays are more elegant than Mae West. They are Catherine Deneuve wines. Lighter in color, deicate in flavor and body .

Burgundy-style Pinot Noir reds come in the short fat bottles. They are lighter than the great big reds in the big tall John Wayne bottles. They tend to be more elegant and sophisticated – Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”.

The bottle shape and John Wayne wine guide like most things helpful is only partially truthful. There are exceptions – it doesn't work for Syrahs and Reislings, and the marketng pariahs will put wine in anything that sells.

Remember finally that wine is about fun. Ignore the wine snobs – sip it, slurp it and talk courageously about what you like and what you don’t. To hell with the guy tasting broccoli in his Cabernet. John Wayne would probably slap him.

“In Vino Veritas.” In wine is truth – and the truth will set you free.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper