Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Drive Through the North Georgia Mountains

Today I went on a drive to and through the north Georgia mountains.

Except for Suches, I'm not even sure where I went. I missed a turn in Gainesville and from that point on I used my cell phone's GPS for navigation, but it routed me around rather than through Dahlonega (which my printed directions, the ones I was following until I realized I should have gotten off I-985 a few miles back, would have taken me through; I had intended to make Dahlonega one of my stops). Google Maps doesn't show the names of towns on the cell phone screen as you go through them, just road names, so for quite a while during my drive I didn't know where I was.

Well, I knew where I was, of course; I was right there in the car with me. I mean, wherever you go, there you are, as Buckaroo Banzai said (or whoever it really was), but that doesn't mean you always know where there is.

But regardless of whatever there I was driving through, I had a good time in the mountains. I really love them. I need to spend more time up there.

Most of the pictures I took don't look that great, but here are three that are okay:

(That's my little white car parked at the Chestatee Overlook.)



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, much to my own amazement, I turned fifty years old!

Which means that forty-nine years ago, I turned one:


and forty-six years ago, I turned four:


Monday, April 10, 2017

Chris and Jeff in Pa's Attic with Trains, Tucker, GA, 1975


My grandfather had a train in his attic.

It was a toy electric train, of course, and the track was nailed down to the floorboards in a figure 8, with a span of plastic trestles so the tracks went both over and under themselves, as you can see in the picture. I remember climbing the pull-down metal steps to play with the train with my grandfather--"Pa" to me, the same thing my own children call my father--and being captivated not only by the train, but by the other things that lived there: a pink plastic baby crib (whose headboard you can glimpse in this picture, nestled in the floor joists just behind me and to the left), and my uncle Danny's model airplanes (the kind that really fly), and Christmas decorations (except in December, of course), and countless things I know where there but which, try as I might, I just can't quite picture now. There may have been a permanent light fixture attached to the ceiling joists or rafters somewhere, but the light source I remember was a small lamp with a little decorated glass shade that sat on the floor, and which I turned on by rotating a delicate key-like switch.

Pa had a little bottle of magic solution that could be put into the locomotive's smokestack, a couple of drops at a time, to make the engine really smoke! To an eight-year-old boy in 1975, that was pretty impressive.

Though he died when I was only eleven, I have many memories of my grandfather. I remember having a discussion with him up in that attic about the meanings of words--apparently an interest of mine even when I was very young--in which he explained to me that "a few" was just three or four, but "several" could get "way on up there, seventeen or eighteen." Even though I haven't heard his voice in thirty-seven years, I swear I can hear exactly what he sounded like when he told me this.

Attics have fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and this is why.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lenox with Pearl

I met Pearl at Lenox today, and I took some pictures while she was looking in the jewelry stores.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Drive South on 441

Today, the next to the last day of my 2017 Spring Break, I went on a little drive. I wanted to revisit the drive I used to do regularly from 2004 to 2006 when Anna and I lived in Madison and I went to graduate school in Milledgeville; I wanted to see how much had changed in the last decade, and if it was as pleasant a drive as I remembered.

It wasn't.

It wasn't bad, really, but I love the drive north on 441 so much more--up into the mountains, into North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Tennessee--that the drive south through Madison and Eatonton into Milledgeville just seemed like a commute rather than a drive.

I did stop at two different Wal Marts, which says something about what a mundane traveler I can be, but I also stopped at Rock Eagle, and managed to have lunch at a good local barbecue place in Milledgeville. I also went into the new GCSU bookstore in Milledgeville, which has as much floor space devoted to college T-shirts as to books (except for the textbook area downstairs), and debated trying to remember where the English department is but decided not to bother.

The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus is said to have proclaimed that "no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man." Some old rivers, like Twain's Mississippi, are worth returning to because both they and we have grown in new and interesting ways. Some old rivers, however, like my former commute down 441, are perhaps best left in the fondly-remembered past.






Monday, March 13, 2017

Sell's Mill

Today was the first day of my "Spring Break" (even though technically it's still winter), and, even though it was cold and overcast and generally Not Very Nice outside (with thanks to A. A. Milne for the capital letters), I wanted to go somewhere, so I drove almost thirty miles north (with a stop at the Target in Winder/Bethlehem) to Sell's Mill Park in Hoschton.

It's a pretty interesting place, but, not having a meal with me to eat at the picnic tables or kids with me to play on the playground or my wife with me to talk with about what an interesting place it was, there wasn't much for me to do but walk around for fifteen minutes, take some pictures, then go home. (I did, however, stop at the Winder library on the way home to finish up some contract editing.)







Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Domestic Haiku #1


Trash day's sweet relief--
for a few moments each week
we are refuse free.