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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Georgia Is A Big State (and some folks chat forever!)

Saturday February 23 Quality Inn Room 114 Perry, Georgia

At long last we are finally far enough South and out of poor weather to do what we love best--travel back roads and see small towns with their buildings in various styles and , in some cases, in various stages of decrepitude.  Most of the day was spent in drizzly piney woods and it was chilly---never much above 45.

When we arrived in the town of Eatonton at about 1130 ish we saw a sign for the Brer Rabbit Museum. I said to Bill, oh, let's stop. I loved Joel Chandler Harris' stories and Song of the South. JCH must have been born here. ( We'd passed roads that were labeled various tour routes--one having been a famous author tour--since the weather was so poor we didn't explore any of them. Now, I figured JCH must have been one of the famous authors.) A few miles later there was Brer Rabbit himself almost hopping across the road in front of us so we pulled in. Inside the small wooden building was a gray haired black lady talking to another couple with very strong Southern drawls. They were discussing various implements and tools in the display--this museum being a little eclectic--a corn husk mop, a curry comb, a wooden rake. Interestingly, our guide knew less about the things than did Bill and the other fellow --the couple being of more or less the same vintage as we. Miz Georgia regaled us with stories of her growing up--in the same house on the same street all her life--LOL. Also the fact that she had uncles and cousins and grandfathers and a father named George but alas, though she was supposed to be a boy and be named George also, things turned out differently and so she is named Georgia after her antecedents and not the State of her residence. Well, I think you can see that Miz Georgia was a talker and a pure delight. She called her Dad a trip--she is quite a rig herself. An hour and a half and much history--about JCH, about the Turner family on whose plantation he was hired as an apprentice typesetter for The Countryman--the first newspaper of the area published by a guy named Turner--more about Miz Georgia and her family and their history following the end of slavery and even some about Putnam County in which we were--the dairy center of Georgia, dontcha know--the boll weevil having destroyed the cotton industry which HAD been the source of the County's prosperity---later we were on our way. Heads spinning but laughing at how terrific a lady she is but how a long time with her would be a challenge. She is 2 years older than I and by the time we parted we were old friends and hugged and kissed after she admonished me for now wearing a jacket since this is pneumonia weather!

Down the road apiece we came upon Andalusia--the home of Flannery O'Connor. We'd passed this way last year and hadn't had time to visit and having forgotten this was its location and having spent so much time at the rabbit's , we didn't have time this year either. I guess that famous author tour also includes her.

Despite the weather and weaving from one road to another my navigational skills stood up until we hit Jeffersonville, where every possible route number had a sign except the one I wanted. We took what seemed the logical path only to find that after ascending into incredibly foggy piney woods we had backtracked eastward 11 miles. So we returned to Jeffersonville and tried another road but within minutes I just didn't feel right about its direction. I looked once more at my map and found that our path should cross I 10 so we returned to Jeffersonville and took the road to the Interstate---eureka, we cried, we are on the right path at last. We continued through the foggy and sodden land--this area got 3 inches of rain in a very short time just before our arrival and the water table is so high it cannot absorb any more so the rain stands in pools everywhere. The excess was even in the air as fog. An eerie gray world of appearing and disappearing trees and houses and cars. We pulled into Perry and for the first time were unable to get an upgrade--the rodeo! and some other event were in town. We checked in and then went to Applebee's for dinner.

As I watched the waitress at work, I said to Bill I think she was here two years ago when we were. Indeed, she said we looked familiar for some reason, too. I asked if she had been there 2 years ago and if she had just had a little girl and she said yes--she turned 2 a week ago and I'm pregnant again, due in August. Her name is Colleen and she is just a lovely young woman. We also met Walter, a North Carolinian with an accent so thick, at times I could not understand him. He sells and upgrades some kind of equipment used in peanut processing plants.

Went back to our ordinary but quite comfortable warm room and watched TV for a bit and then retired --looking forward to the promised sun of tomorrow and arrival in Florida.

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