Thursday, August 30, 2012

Southern Travel: Day 3

                I am always amazed at how well my children keep me busy distracting me from my chores and writing. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind getting my oldest into an apartment in a town 120 miles from where I live after his coming back from military training and my middle child set for his senior year of football after being back only a couple of days from his military training.  The daughter also has started a brand new school.  Wow, busy, busy, busy.  With a quiet house, I can now sit down and do a little work, so, back to the Southern Travel with day three.
                We packed up and left the hotel room.  Both of us were tired and a little grumpy after a ton of touring and staying up late meeting some really nice guys from the United Kingdom.  After a little breakfast, we jumped on the interstate headed to Florida.  My husband, though trying at times as we all are, is fun to travel with.  He saw a sign with Scarlet O’Hara on the big billboard and asked if I wanted to go to the museum.  Ah, yes! Our detour took us about twenty miles out of our way to the Road to Tara Museum in Jonesboro, Georgia.  Just a small little depot with a ton of items from the movie, I loved it.  I took a ton of pictures of the dresses which I believe where only replicas, but I adored them just the same.  I also took pictures of Margaret Michener pictures along with the house she based the book after and all the Hollywood pictures.  I also went shopping in the gift store.  After a year, I have finally figured out how I am going to decorate my craft room.  I bought four black and white prints and a key ring holder wall mount.  Jerry actually bought a cookbook all about grits.  Yum.  There were also some cool artifacts at the museum.

A Sherman Necktie: Gen Sherman disabled the railroads by
heating the iron and twisting it.


A bail of cotton.


Once on the road again, the drive to our next destination seemed to take forever.  After being disappointed at the pecan grove (the store was closed until October), we finally pulled into Andersonville Prison.  Before going to Georgia, I read the book Andersonville Journey, very powerful.  In some respects, the author prepared me for the visit.  Seeing the cemetery didn’t overwhelm me of which I am thankful.  The prison area though gave me pause.  Twenty-six acres is huge.  I couldn’t get over the enormity of the land mass and realizing every inch of it was filled with Union soldiers living off of practically nothing but small amounts of corn, occasional pork, and dirty water.  As typical, I took a lot of photos, but they don’t do the area any justice.  How do you capture the past, especially an atrocious past, in a picture with beautiful green grass on a beautiful sunny day?  Here are a few that may shed a little light on the area.

The North Gate
This is where the prisoners would enter the prison.

Providence Springs:  Sight where lightning struck
giving the prisons much needed fresh water when
the spring revealed itself.

The wall of the prison is where the Stockade
sign stands.  A railing stood where the
deadline sign stands.  If the prisoners
crossed the deadline, they were shot.


Civilians (women too) would climb up the
guard tower to take a look at the prisoners.
I can't imagine climbing up the ladder
in a dress.
                Some figures connected to Andersonville, captured the best and worst of our nation.  Some of the Union soldiers took to stealing and beating their fellow comrades.  Five of them were convicted of these crimes and murder.  They were sentenced to hang.  I find it quite fitting they were not buried among the other soldiers who died in the prison by other causes.

Raiders Graves set apart from the rest.
                Dorence Atwater lived in the prison and worked with the lists of dead.  He went through many trials defended the list both before and after the war.  Due to him and Clara Barton, they were able to rebury the dead and make a beautiful resting place for the souls lost at Andersonville Prison. 

The last numbered marker
I could find.  This is about how
many men died in about one
year at Andersonville.
This is the only marker to have a
dove carved on top.  There is
no record why this is the only one.
                The trip from the prison to Columbus really did take forever.  We were both very tired and couldn’t find a place for lunch.  Once we finally reached our final destination, we checked into our new hotel and went to an early dinner.  As the day came to a close, we walked along the Chattahoochee River and across the bridge to Alabama.  My thoughts went to the next day when I would finally get to see my son.
                Blessings to you all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Southern Travel: Day 2

                During our trip down South, I took hundreds of pictures.  Once home, I started going through them and unfortunately I didn’t have many that needed to be deleted.  I am at a loss of how I am going to organize them for a scrapbook and just including a couple for the blog is tougher yet.  Tuesday (day 2) I believe is the hardest day of all to write about.  This is the day I saw my first Civil War battlefield, saw strategic positions the North fought hard for, and saw the area one of my ancestors died in during a battle.  But here I go giving it a try.
                The Battle of Chickamauga in the West happened September 19-20, 1863 just a couple months after Gettysburg in the East.  The location is right near the Georgia, Tennessee border.  The South won the battle driving the North back to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In the two days, 34,000 Soldiers died.  We browsed the tourist center where I took a picture of my favorite generals.
General U.S. Grant and General William T. Sherman
                The entire experience at Chickamauga was overwhelming and exhausting for me.  Our first stop, there were a number of monuments, cannons, and plaques.  I took pictures of all of them, pretty simple until the next stop.  I took about ten pictures when Jerry finally explained to me the battle line extended for a mile and a half with all these items extending the entire distance.  I would venture a guess of 100 or more monuments and plaques.   

A few memorials.
Many monuments pictured the acorn to
repressent the units toughness.


Jerry checking out the position.
My favorite monument.


                Civilians were affected by the battle.  The Brotherton family took cover with other families from the area a mile from their home to escape the fighting with no food or shelter.  The youngest daughter came back in search of food to find four cows hadn’t been taken.  She planned to give the milk to the families, but instead shared it with the wounded soldiers surrounding her home, Adaline’s journey to holiness.
Brotherton Home
                Here is where Hans Heg was mortally wounded.  I would like to find out more about him.  He led the Scandinavian immigrants into battle.  In this area of the battlefield, the ground was covered with the dead, dying, and wounded.  A person could not cross this field without stepping on bodies.
Site of COL Heg's fall.
                An area Jerry and I would both like to study is the “Lightning Brigade.”  This monument to them is a tower.  We of course went to the top.
Monument of the Lightning Brigade
At the top of the monument.
The view from the top of the monument.
              Lookout Mountain stands Southwest of Chattanooga.  The city and Tennessee River were a strategic area for supply lines and crucial to the war.  The Confederates wanted it back and surrounded it to the south.  The Union army scaled the steep mountain pushing the South back into Georgia.  They did the same at Missionary Ridge which is to the Southeast of town.
View from Lookout Mountain
              Missionary Ridge holds family history for me.  One of my ancestors (a great, great, great uncle died in these woods.  The city has grown up around the woods.  We tried to find where he might have been, but this is not an area that has been saved for tourists like Chickamauga; thus, I had to take a picture from the car.
Small section of Missionary Ridge
                After being in Chattanooga, we wanted to explore General Sherman’s march down to Atlanta.  Unfortunately, the sun began to set.  Another time we will have to go back to do this.  It was nice to see how wooded the terrain is that the armies had to travel through.  All those men who sacrificed on both sides for what they thought right is amazing.  Looking back, it is easy to see the side of good, but I imagine God worked hard to support both sides because they were all His children.
                 Blessings to you all.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Southern Travel: Day 1

                My journey to holiness always includes history and travel.  God instilled in me a love of things old and to go look at those old items.  I get transferred to a romanticized idea of what life must have been like for my ancestors and the great people who forged the world.  Reluctantly, I do delve into the bad as well and morn how the human race fails to learn from the past.  This year I have done a lot of travel around the state.  Virginia City, Butte, Fort Benton, Deer Lodge, and Kalispell, Montana have been fun places to hear new stories, but my real passion finds me in the South.  I thought I would share with you my journey with some fun or not so fun stories of both mine and the past.
                My husband and I flew to Atlanta, Georgia on August 13.  I was giddy with anticipation.  This turned to irritation when we couldn’t check our bags because we were late.  Jerry thought an hour would be fine; they say an hour is late.  Not letting him live this down especially after having to throw away shampoo, condition, lotion, and I don’t remember what else, I finally admitted it was nice not to have to wait for our luggage at baggage claim and we saved $50.00.  We will be earlier next time!!!
I would see the dreaded Peachtree Street again.  Years ago I traveled to Atlanta for a work conference.  Being a good steward of the government, I spent the night about ten miles from my conference site to stay within the government rate.  Being from a tiny town, I thought I left well before the morning rush, but found myself in seven lanes of massive traffic.  I came about two inches of hitting the car in front of me when we went from 70 miles per hour to 0 in five seconds flat.  Once I hit the exit I needed, I had finally quit shaking. 
Next, I spent an hour in the middle of downtown Atlanta trying to find my next hotel which was supposed to be on a Peachtree something.  I don’t remember how many times I drove into the bad side of town scared to death, praying like crazy.  To top it off, Atlanta has a million roads with Peachtree as their name: W Peachtree Pl NW, Peachtree St. NW, Peachtree Center Ave NE and these are just the ones I find on Google quickly!  I stopped twice for directions and called the hotel twice.  Finally on the second call, I realized the name of the hotel the receptionist said was different than the one I booked.  She sweetly told me they had just changed names.  I looked up from the parking lot I was in and there was the hotel with a different name.  I had driven by it a ton of times.  Needless to say, I didn’t drive the rest of my stay unless I had a co driver!  Thus, I had to take a couple of pictures of the name.
After checking into the hotel, we talked to one of the hotel staff who gave us a map of the twenty block area telling us the good places to go for food and entertainment.  We walked around and stopped for a drink at an Irish Pub.  Finally it was time to go to Pitty Pat’s Porch for some good Southern cooking.  Well, it wasn’t just good, it was to die for.  Oh my.  I had the best watermelon punch, fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, fried chicken, and pecan pie.  I also enjoyed the décor.  Photos and pictures of Gone With the Wind (my favorite movie and book of all time) hung everywhere.  The best dinner we couldn’t have found anywhere else.
We finished our first day with watching some preseason football at Hooters.  Yes, Hooters.  I have to say, they have the best setup for a sports bar.
 Blessings to you all.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Psalm 13

                A couple of months ago I sat in church listening to the readings.  As is usually my tendency, I blanked out during the reading of Psalms only really paying attention to the music.  Every Mass, Psalms is read and I never take anything away from the text.  Through the years, I have read a chapter here and a chapter there, but I have never read the whole book or studied the words.  The time was now.  I talked with my mother-in-law.  She suggested I read along with the daily church schedule.  I liked the thought, but this would take me forever to get through the entire book.  Instead, I went to our local Catholic store.  They ordered a book.  Unfortunately, the book only studies bits and pieces.  I decided to do the study guide, but in between the chapters I would read the chapters they left out.
                While reading the Bible daily, I don’t always connect with the passages.  For the last three readings, the words have danced across the page in beautiful visual poetic style.  I have learned but not connected.  Last night I finally did bond with a chapter.  The section is entitled “Prayer in Time of Illness.”  The other day when I blogged, I talked about the bad day I had due to my illness.  What a fitting psalm for me that I will turn to many times from now on.
                “How long, Lord?  Will you utterly forget me?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I carry sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day?  How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13: 2-3.  I want to note the word enemy that is used in this passage.  For me the enemy at the moment is my back pain.  Replace the word with the suffering you have to overcome.  In our dark days of dealing with sickness, loss of a loved one, or any number of struggles/sufferings, we can feel so far away from God.  We call out in pain.  We are lost and alone.  I can relate to this feeling just like I felt it earlier this week. 
                We need to keep talking to God though he seems hidden.  “Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God!  Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed,’ lest my foes rejoice at my downfall” verses 4-5.  Keep the dialog open with Him.  I know it demands His attention and sounds like a two-year-old; yet, God knows we feel this way why not give voice to our feelings.  I have prayed like this many times.  “I need help NOW God.”  “I want you here NOW.”  I know; who am I to be so insistent?  I am His daughter.  Instead of waiting around feeling sorry for myself, I am going to take action.  “Look upon me, answer me, Lord, my God!”  This is heartfelt.
                Verse 6 wraps up the prayer.  “I trust in your faithfulness.  Grant my heart joy in your help, that I may sing of the Lord, ‘How good our God has been to me!’”  Notice, the illness hasn’t been removed.  In fact nowhere does the text ask to be cured.  Instead, we are trusting God will stand beside us.  He will show us joy if we are faithful to Him.  He will lift us out of our despair and give us strength to carry on with our job of living which includes suffering here on Earth.  He can show us that there is much to be thankful for.
                Blessings to you all.