Posted on May 3, 2019 in John's Current Blog

The back yard in 2014 after I spent a week clearing it of weeds, vines, and second growth. I didn’t even know that there was a palmetto tree underneath it all.

Savannah, Georgia; May 3, 2019:  Time, Bowie sung, is waiting in the wings. Some days it rushes by so quickly; more often it lingers relentlessly. (“You just scream with boredom. You are not evicting time,” Bowie continued.) For four and half years, my husband and I have lived mostly apart. It has been very difficult, but I have filled my days with gardening chores. Those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen the photos. The yard has been both my curse and my salvation: it has kept me occupied. It has seen many iterations and is now mostly mature, a never-ending showcase of blooming plants.

But now we are moving again to the other side of the world — this time to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where Mikel will be the Peace Corps Country Director. Folks keep telling me how much I will miss my garden, but, honestly, I am getting too old and arthritic for yard work… and I so look forward to living with my husband again and learning about a new culture — and tropical plants!

In 1986 I opened Hoppin’ John’s®, my culinary bookstore in Charleston. I closed it in 1999 as online retailers began pushing independent booksellers out, but mostly so that Mikel could pursue his career. (He’s the one with the degrees from Yale and Columbia!) It has been an amazing two decades, with 7 years in Washington — a city I love in spite of the cesspool on the hill — and several years in Bulgaria and China, where Mikel was Peace Corps Country Director.  We are so excited to be living abroad again — especially with the presidential election cycle already in full swing!

With my niece Sarah Taylor Ferrell who will be taking over Hoppin’ John’s in June 2019.

And so, I have been downsizing. In 2018, I donated my papers  to the College of Charleston Special Collections and my culinary library to the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach. You can read about it here. My niece, Sarah Taylor Ferrell , who owns RCF, a restaurant supply and consulting business in Durham, North Carolina, will take over the business beginning in June.  Nothing will change for customers except that Sarah will be answering the phone and processing orders for our stone ground corn products, which will still be ground and shipped directly from the mill. My books will be available through my “son” Scot Hinson’s shop, P W SHORT. Scot strives to keep signed copies available — even of the books that are out-of-print. Stone ground corn products can be ordered directly from the website at

We have sold our house and car. We have several trips lined up to say our goodbyes to family and friends. And of course we have to get a world of vaccinations. But we are ready to embark on this new adventure! I can still be reached by email at Stay in touch!