Wednesday 13 October 2010
Georgia on my mind
What follows is a piece I wrote over a year ago when I had Georgia on my mind. I’m reviving it here, slightly adapted, for Jeremy Janson, a student at Georgia Tech, a friend, a scholar, a fellow blogger, and a Southern Gentleman, by adoption if not by origin. :-)
I’ve mentioned before that mother and father have very good friends in Georgia, a place called Moultrie, really nice people, Old South, I suppose. We have been visiting them and they have been visiting us on and off for as long as I can remember. I was told that with a name like mine I really should have been born in the antebellum period, of grand ladies and even grander houses. Yes, I think I could envisage myself as the mistress of Tara.
I love Moultrie and I love rural Georgia. The town itself is really pleasant, a survival, I suspect, of a gentler and older America. It’s where I learned to shoot, amongst other things. The people in question own a lot of land around the town, some of it cotton-growing country. I was taken out one Sunday afternoon with a .22 rifle to a place where there is a large body of water. A little water was put in the some balloons which were tied and then set off to float. Our task was to hit these targets in motion. What fun it truly was. I was also given the opportunity to try a .30 hand gun, but that was beyond me. It seemed to come alive in my hand; I could not hit a thing!
What surprised and interested me in getting to know the local people as I have is how strong respect and reverence for the Confederacy still is. Oh, not for slavery and everything that culture represented, just respect for simple courage and settled tradition. I’ve continually heard the struggle of the 1860s referred to the ‘war of northern aggression’. We once went to a function, with lots of people in attendance, where the band played Dixie. Everyone, but everyone, stood up without being prompted. We did too, carried off by the force of the moment. Oh, yes, I wish I was in Dixie. :-)