Helen Carter

Helen Carter

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God’s GraceGod’s Grace

The island is awash in wild flowers now, splashes of color line the road, displaying their palette even in the piney woods on the bay.  No one plants these seeds, no one tends them; they must endure drought and cold, surviving intense heat and salt spray, super-heated summer winds.  They are a gift, these lovely flowers, a gift given freely and generously.  I think of them as a reminder of God’s grace, free for the taking, available to all, a gift that exists under the most severe and extreme conditions, outlasting any other gift possibly conceived.  Thank you, Lord, for these blooms that sweeten my days, and thank you for the gift of your grace that promises me an eternity shared with you. Amen.

Tom Loughridge Delighted Audiences with His Direction of The Time of Your LifeTom Loughridge Delighted Audiences with His Direction of The Time of Your Life

Tom Loughridge and Liz Sisung at rehearsals for The Time of Your Life

 Our own Tom Loughridge directed The Panhandle Players of the Forgotten Coast in the classic Pulitzer Prize winning drama The Time of Your Life, by William Saroyan, at the historic Chapman Auditorium in Apalachicola, at Hwy 98 and 12th Street on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, Feb. 12 at 3:00 pm.

An article in the Apalachicola Times offered a perfect description for the play:

Set in a run down, Depression-era waterfront cabaret, namely the “Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant, and Entertainment Palace,” the action offers juke box music, dancing, and a piano player tickling the ivories for the down-and-out denizens, working stiffs, and slumming upper-crust of San Francisco who come through its doors to find hope, love and second chances along with their beer, wine, and double Scotches. They each have a tale to tell. They each are uplifted by, and find solace in one another. The play’s theme is best expressed by William Saroyan himself, “In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

Tom wanted to direct The Time of Your Life for a very long time. At Ohio’s Denison Summer Theatre in 1949, Tom saw The Time of Your Life staged in a tent theater where “June bugs flew in front of the lights and crickets could be heard outside.” At age 15, it was his first experience seeing a stage play and he was hooked. Twenty-six years later, he appeared as the Kit Carson character in The Colorado West Players production of the play.

Tom Loughridge (left) played Kit Carson in a 1975 production

And now, in 2017, with the assistance of Liz Sisung, he gathered an ensemble cast from Franklin and Gulf Counties to play 23 idiosyncratic characters in this Panhandle Players production.

The production was met with a very positive response. Tom’s hard work and determination paid off as audiences and critics alike were delighted at each performance of The Time of Your Life. We can’t wait to see what Tom has in store for us next!