Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Zenith Mill Road

Zenith means the peak, when the sun is directly overhead, high noon, the tip. It is also an old community near me. So much of Georgia has disappeared since the end of World War II. With modern farming techniques, the population has moved to cities where there are jobs with some security, benefits and a pension.

One big problem is that people forget how things have changed for the better. Sometimes these improved lives we have make us forget that things can go backward. Back in the seventies, a senior citizen lamented Roosevelt's new deal which incidentally helped bring the United States out of the depression.

The riots in Baltimore have been sobering for everyone. Especially the African Americans who were protesting. A few rogue elements made civil protest seem something it was not. It did not show the line of African American men forming a line in front of law enforcement for their protection or the folks who spent the day cleaning up. Protesting does not mean you don't support law enforcement.

So in the peak of this turmoil, there is little the average person can do. The one thing we all have control of is how we treat one another. You don't have to agree with someone to listen to them tell their story.

When you drive the back roads of Georgia, you see old homes and farmsteads overgrown.
The change produces a wistfulness in me, but I too left the rural areas for work in an urban area.

Below are pictures of rural Georgia.

Fort Benjamin Hawkins

Gnarled pine tree

Wild Onions

Yodeling and Mouse Ears

There is not as much yodeling in Georgia as you would think. Well really, I only hear a country singer belt out you-dah-lay-hee-hoo every once in a blue moon. I have yodeled using the phrase
little lady as in li-tle-lah-dee-li-tle-lah-dee-li-tle-lah-dee-li-tle-lah-dee-hoo.

What you do see a lot of in Georgia is yellow. Mouse eared coreiopsis is blooming along the side of the road. A field of dandelions is a treat to see. Unless it is in your lawn. Living in the country, there are several varieties of dandelions.

Mouse Eared Coreiopsis

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Xenia in mythology

Xenia in mythology is the concept of hospitality to the travelers.

Does Southern Hospitality exist? Maybe, people don't trust people like they did in the past.

One of the problems with Southern mythology is that it changes and is manufactured as we speak. Don't get me started with Nashville's corruption of country music and southern culture. My particular pet peeve is "Bless your heart." is a sugar-coated insinuation that you are pitifully dumb. "Bless your heart" is an endearment from me. I learned it from my father. He said "Bless your heart" and meant it.

One more corruption is the crudeness romanticized with the "redneck" schtick.

When Jeff Foxworthy broke the ice with redneck jokes, there was a piece of all of us relaxing about uncouth relatives and friends. We love them for and despite their long-winded opinions and quirks.

Then, we got all this characterization of down home folks. One peculiarity of the South is that good manners were practiced by all social classes. We do have social classes that are disappearing some. To be honest, there is a class system throughout the country despite our being a classless society.

In Fort Valley, the teenagers clerking at the gas station are friendly and will converse with you. In other parts, the clerk will ignore anything you say unless it pertains to the order. Society and people change. I'm afraid, Southern hospitality is not as vibrant as it was in the past.

How is hospitality in your area?

A more recent definition of Xenia is the change in a plant's ovum when fertilized with pollen. Talk about being friendly.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Women Writers of Georgia

Robie with Flannery 1947
Cmacauley at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons
Flannery O'Connor was born in Savannah but lived most of her life in Milledgeville. Andalasia, the dairy farm where she lived, has been preserved as a museum to Flannery O'Connor and her work.

O'Connor was diagnosed with lupus in her early twenties. She died as from complications of lupus when she was 39. Her work is influenced by the farm in which she lived and her strong Roman Catholic faith.

Strong satire, intense characters were hallmarks of her genius.

Bailey White

Mary Hood

Friday, April 24, 2015

V as in Victory or why are all the hard letters at the end?

Plus why do some letters have multitudes of topics and others you have to mow grass to get an epiphany.  V is hard. I'm sure there is some Volgan poetry about Georgia; but, I am not that cruel.

A list of people who lived through difficult circumstances, changed how we look at things or stood out in history would be fitting.

V is for Slave Women. Sixty percent of slaves who worked in fields were women. Slavery was not allowed in Georgia the first 50 years and it is nothing but a shame it was allowed. Originally one female slave was required for every three male slaves. The cruelest part of slavery is the fracturing of families and the sale and separation of children from their parents.

I is for William McIntosh who was half Creek Indian and half Scotch. He negotiated for the Creek with the ever encroaching white settlers. His deals were not always the best but were in the tradition of future governors of Georgia.

C is for Elijah Clarke an illiterate frontier soldier who was part of 30 guerilla Revolutionaries who defeated British and Loyalist who were in control of Georgia. His son later became Governor of Georgia.

T is for Grace Towns Hamilton who from 1965 to 1985 expanded the role of African Americans in Georgia politics.

O is for Olaudah Equiano who wrote a slave narrative describing good and bad moments of his life as well as colonial Georgia, the West Indies and seafaring adventures. His memoir was published in 1789 in London which he sold to support himself and the antislavery cause.

R is for Eugene Odom who is the father of modern ecology who first published "Fundamentals of Ecology" in 1953.

Y is for Jane Hurt Yarn who helped in the conservation of thousands of acres of wild land in Georgia.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Unusual Food

I have never eaten possum. I know it is greasy meat and you are supposed to eat it with sweet potatoes. I have heard of people eating road kill. If a deer has just been hit by a car, it is just as dead as if hit by a bullet or arrow. I've only eaten deer one time and that was by accident. I thought it was barbeque. And it was barbeque just not pork barbeque.

One of the most interesting vegetables we eat is okra. It is great boiled, fried, raw or pickled. When boiled, it puts the gum in gumbo. There is a slight, well big, slime element to okra. That is why some people only eat it fried. That takes care of the slime.

Abelmoschus esculentus
By Bill Tarpenning, USDA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The leaves of the plant resemble marijuana. It doesn't happen often; but, a Southern transplant will plant okra and the local police will pull up the plants in area unfamiliar with okra. It is always worth a chuckle but not for the people involved.

Thanksgiving in Georgia

Most people picture a big browned turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. Normally, we have chicken and dressing. Some people eat chitterlings or "chitlins" for Thanksgiving.

The first turkey my mom cooked for our family was the year we got our dog, Bruno, in 1969. It was the year man first landed on the moon.

A miniature poodle that lived on our road had had about 13 mix breed puppies and Mrs. Albert was giving a few away before they were ready to leave their mother. The mother did not have enough milk.

My dad went to an airshow one Friday evening, and mom said, "Go get one of the puppies." My dad had already said, no. Dad came back that Sunday. Bruno loyally followed him all over the yard and won my dad over.

Thanksgiving was the next Thursday.  We begged our mom to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. The highlight of the day was putting the turkey carcass in the backyard. Bruno crawled in. He was a growling, fighting mess. We had the most fun playing with him and laughing. To the end of his days, he liked you to crank him before he ate. His favorite food was spaghetti not turkey.

Today we eat a low fat, healthy version of Chicken and Dressing about once a month. I'll spare you the recipe and furnish a great Italian Cream cake recipe instead.

Italian Cream Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnishes: toasted pecan halves, chopped
Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.
Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of 

Nutty Cream Cheese
Mix 1 stick of softened butter with 8 oz pack of cream cheese. Add 1 pound box of confectioner sugar. Add water until frosting has a good spreading consistency. Add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

I stole the cake recipe from Southern Living.

When it comes to Southern Cooking, Southern Living does have great recipes.

Even thoughI have cooked and ate chitlins. I don't recommend them to the uninitiated.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ferrol Sams

I worked in Fayette County Schools for 19 years. During ten or those, Sara Sams Goza was the principal for the school I worked at. She is Ferrol Sams' sister. They have both passed away.

The family were some of the finest people you could meet. I was mistaken when I thought Mrs. Goza was tough and courageous because she came from a wealthy family and had that to back her up. I learned, she was tough and courageous because she knew she had a choice and that was her choice. I remember mothers in desperate straits come to the school for help. I have never seen that at later schools.

My favorite thing in retrospect that Mrs. Goza did was she would pick a child who was difficult, whiney and not really have a thing going for them and make them her little pet. She was never successful in turning them around. Again, she did make a difference. They did not become great students but they did learn they mattered. That had to have a positive effect on their lives. She understood that.

I read Ferrol Sam's book "Run With The Horseman". My dad said he laid it out like it really happened during those times.  All of his books are good and you really need to start with "Run With The Horseman". I count myself very lucky to have met such good human beings in my life. They did understand for those who are given so much, so much is expected.

Below are interviews with Ferrol Sams.


Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs

Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to Warm Springs for it's curative powers with the problems of polio. In doing so, he had a small home built which was renamed the Little White House. The locals were thrilled to have someone of Roosevelt's stature and would tell stories about who built parts, worked in areas, etc.

GENERAL VIEW - Roosevelt's Little White House, Georgia Highway 85-W, Warm Springs, Meriwether County, GA HABS GA,100-WASP,1-1  The site today is popular for tourists and school groups to visit. Nearby Warm Springs has a main street of fun shops to visit and good places to eat. Many people like to extend their visit to the town of Franklin.

My favorite memory of Warm Springs is going with school groups to tour the site. One year in the early eighties, a school group decided to shoplift the gift store. Instead of finding itself on the 24-hour news cycle with a what is the world coming to, the teachers had the kids to one by one return the merchandise or pay for what they took.

 It was embarrassing for the school. Anyone who works with children understands that they can do some pretty obnoxious things and have that group mentality take over where they think it is OK. I know a lot of parents were contacted.

As a retired teacher, I know that most parents and children are cooperative and easy to work with.  We get caught up in the sensational news we hear and forget that most people are decent.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q as in Barbeque

Many people think barbecuing is cooking meat or vegetables over the flames of a gas grill or a charcoal fire.

Here, it is roasted pork, beef or chicken with a seasoned sauce. Roasting over a wood fire imparts a great flavor, but most cook the meat in a conventional oven.

The smell of meat roasting is always better than the actual eating. Like many, I got to have a little barbeque sauce.

There are vinegar based sauces and tomato-based sauces. My favorite is Jamaican Barbeque sauce which has a little of both.  My mom found this recipe in an article by Dear Abby around 1970? Who would have thought someone from Iowa knew the perfect sauce?

Blend together

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar               1 cup catsup                          4 tsp of lemon juice
2 tsp of brown sugar                    1/2 cup tomato puree            3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp salt                                    1 tsp garlic powder               1 tablespoon of prepared mustard
1 tablespoon of liquid smoke       1 tsp cayenne pepper

Refrigerate until ready to use. Heat sauce to use on pork chops, meat loaf, hamburger, brisket or roasted meats.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I had so many choices for P. But I live in Peach county. Below is some free verse.

It's just an orchard, peaches ripen every year. Commuting each weekday, the orchard seems to flash by. Bare limbs in winter, sometimes nonexistent as I fumble with the radio, adjust the heater, perhaps sneak a look at my cell phone.

I stop each summer to pick a bucket. Wearing protective long sleeves and looking for or perhaps hoping to see a snake, I wander deep. Picking up a soft ripe peach from the ground to bite. Wiping the juices running down my chin, I stand and stare at the limbs drooping from the weight of the with fruit. A small cloud of gnats pass between trees.

I remember as a teenager working at the packing shed, the smell of fresh peaches. I would watch the men who toiled in the fields at the end of the day. Strangely envious, even though the moments I spent picking, no matter how careful, I would rush home to shower off the peach fuzz.

Every spring the field dances from the road. Ribbons of pink-hued trees in contrast to the green grass lay across the fields. I always plan to stop and take pictures. This year I pull my car to the side of the highway, half the trees are just stumps. A sketchy orchard remains for a final harvest. 

Some of the stumps have a branch covered with the familiar pink blooms with a heart of deep red.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ocmulgee National Monument

People don't always know what they have. I would love to go to see the Pyramids of Egypt. But I have seen something as exceptional and they are the Indian Mounds. Three locations have been made into Parks in Georgia. They are Kolomoki, Etowah and Ocmulgee.

There are other undeveloped sites. Many were destroyed because early settlers did not know what they had. The following pictures are of the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, GA.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nuts! Peanuts and Pecans that is.

File:Peanut plant NSRW.jpg
Georgia is best known for peanuts. The fertilized flower grows to the ground and the seed develops in the ground.
 Pecans are also grown in Georgia.

Macon Film Festival

About three years ago, I went to my first film festival. Not knowing what to expect, I was more than pleasantly surprised. With digital filming bringing the price of filmmaking down, there are many filmmakers honing their craft. The films are great and the subject matter can be quite gripping.

I always purchase my ticket early to get the discount, and originally the festival was in February. However, they have changed the dates to coincide with a music festival called Bragg Jam. So the dates are July 16 through July 19. Last year, Matthew Modine was a featured speaker.

Film festivals are springing up all over. Milledgeville Film Festival is this weekend, and they have a surprisingly good line-up. The small film festivals allow more interaction with the audience in panel discussions and speakers.

Search on the internet for film festivals in your area. Many new venues have opened in recent years.

Filmmaker's panel

Cherry Street 567 Center which is headquarters for the Macon Film Festival

Gray, GA filmmaker and guest speaker Mink Stole

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sidney Lanier

Sidney Lanier is a beloved poet of Georgia. His lyrical poetry sings to your soul as if it were written today.

Lanier was born in 1842 in Macon Georgia. He contracted tuberculosis during his time in a prison camp during the American Civil War. He married and had three children after the war. He died prematurely at 39.

He is most famous for the poem "Marshes of Glynn". I am posting "Wedding Hymn" after the pictures of his birthplace in Macon.

Sidney Lanier Portrait
Mary Day Lanier Wedding Dress 

Sidney Lanier Birthplace in Macon, GA

Brick Road in front Sidney Lanier Birthplace

Wedding Hymn

Thou God, whose high, eternal Love
Is the only blue sky of our life,
Clear all the Heaven that bends above
The life-road of this man and wife.
May these two lives be but one note
In the world’s strange-sounding harmony,
Whose sacred music e’er shall float
Through every discord up to Thee.
As when from separate stars two beams
Unite to form one tender ray:
As when two sweet but shadowy dreams
Explain each other in the day:
So may these two dear hearts one light
Emit, and each interpret each.
Let an angel come and dwell tonight
In this dear double-heart, and teach.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The ocean used to cover south Georgia and the shoreline ran roughly from Alabama to Columbus, GA to Macon, GA to Augusta, GA and extending into South Carolina. Silicate minerals such as feldspar washed from the  Appalachian mountains. These minerals mixed with ocean deposits, microscopic sea shells and more minerals to produce layers of Kaolin.

Kaolin is better known as white china clay. The clay is used to create porcelain as well as a drug that treats diarrhea. Kaolin is used to mix with paper fibers to produce glossy paper used for magazines. Kaolin is an ingredient in paint and rubber.

Georgia is a major producer of kaolin. When I was a kid, we would go to what we called the chalk mine to get chalk to draw on the asphalt road. The chalk mine was where kaolin was naturally found on the surface. Below is a picture of a kaolin deposit.

White kaolin and iron stained kaolin

To the right is red clay which is the predominate surface soil. At one time, this soil was covered with black topsoil and that topsoil was eroded and washed away before the 1800's. The land was exhausted and eroded by tobacco and cotton crops.

Friday, April 10, 2015


My dad worked at RAFB as an aircraft mechanic. Whenever we heard the engines rev up in the evening and during the night, my mother said that was probably my dad. Dad enjoyed engines.

One extension of RAFB is the Museum of Aviation. The museum like many other things started humbly and has grown to be a major museum of airplanes and a STEM educational facility.


 Zephyr is a soft, peaceful breeze. And I thought it had to be an imaginary animal. For many of you, we will not meet again until the next A...