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The thing about writing for a living is deadlines must be met. Unfortunately, the thing about Mary is that she is a notorious procrastinator. I do meet deadlines, but it’s never a leisurely walk to the finish line when I’m writing. I tend to round the corner on two wheels with the stereo on blast and the brakes squealing. I’ve always worked best under pressure, and for once, my “pokiness” paid off because I’m able to write about one of the most gratifying football victories I’ve ever witnessed.

I’m of course referring to the Georgia Bulldogs’ National Championship victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide (33-18) in Indianapolis on Jan. 10. It didn’t look good for the Dawgs for the first three quarters, but when it was time to shine, Stetson Bennett IV, from just up the road in Blackshear, delivered, as did the rest of his team, including Glynn Academy alum Jack Podlesny, and Brunswick High grad Warren McClendon. I feel like Mr. Bennett and I might have one thing in common – we thrive under pressure. The game was full of special moments – Coach Kirby Smart’s leap into the air when Georgia scored the final touchdown, retired coach Vince Dooley on the sidelines, grinning from ear to ear when Georgia took the lead and finally, that tender exchange between Smart and Dooley at the end of the game.

Another characteristic that was clearly visible during Monday night’s game was that all of the young people are in amazing physical shape. If you’re like me and you could use some help getting back on track, our Coastal Illustrated feature has some delicious, healthy recipes from local chefs for you to enjoy. We can’t guarantee that you’ll return to your college-age physique, but you will feel better, and whatever diet you’ve adopted as your New Year’s resolution will be more flavorful thanks to these globally influenced dishes made with ingredients available at your grocer. And, since you’ll need a fabulous spot in which to cook all that good food, check out our Coastal Home feature and get some great tips about how to upgrade the heart of your home (your kitchen) – from cabinetry to lighting and beyond.

Our Q+As feature two St. Simons Island natives. In our Local Q+A you’ll meet Jingle Davis, a retired journalist who is still actively writing books about the history and natural wonder of Coastal Georgia. Melanie Barger, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate, the focus of our Realtor Q+A, also has deep roots on St. Simons. Both of these ladies discuss their love for our area, their families, and how they enjoy spending their spare time.

Literary columnist Cary Knapp returns with a review of Amor Towles’ newest novel, “The Lincoln Highway,” with its disparate band of characters who embark on an odyssey. Cary says it’s as much about the literary history of the American road as it is about the journey itself, and ranks right up there with the very best of the genre including Kerouac’s “On the Road” and others.

Anne Ditmer, our horticulture columnist, has some common-sense advice about how to care for our gardens prior to the upcoming planting season. And food and beverage expert Jim Henderson has sage advice about how to find some relief from hangovers. The holidays may have passed, but we have the Super Bowl to look forward to, so his words are not ill-timed.

We will be celebrating all things Georgia for quite some time, and in Shore Things, Cheri Leavy has some fabulous recs for shops owned by UGA alums on St. Simons Island and merchandise that will really let you show off your Bulldog pride. A good place to start is Maggie’s Boutique – they have the 2021 National Championship flag in stock!

Finally, give our Events calendar a good perusal. There are tons of fun, community-minded events on the horizon.

In the meantime, enjoy the issue!