We’re taking a bit of a road trip today to celebrate what would have been the 99th birthday of Johnny Mercer. Johnny was a Savannah native with an impressive family history. He was the great-grandson of Hugh Weedon Mercer, the Confederate General, and a direct descendant of Revolutionary War hero General Hugh Mercer. Johnny Mercer died in 1976 and is buried in Savannah’s beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery located on the Wilmington River.
My favorite Mercer song was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”. Bette Midler sang that song to Johnny Carson as the last performance of the last guest on his last show. It was a perfect ending. It was one many classics in his inventory of hits.
Johnny Mercer and Bonaventure Cemetery received a lot of publicity after John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was published and later made into a movie. I had to read it to see if any of my Savannah cousins were mentioned. They weren’t, but one of my north Georgia cousins was.
Years later, we visited Bonaventure for the funeral of my great aunt Lillie Barrett Little. I was not surprised to find Aunt Lillie would be buried in Bonaventure Cemetery, but I was surprised to find that she and her husband had a waterfront plot. Even Johnny Mercer didn’t get that!