My Travel Memories: Stone Mountain, DeKalb Georgia

I am really conflicted about this one. Stone Mountain is really a lovely park, and the monumental sculpture on the face of the stone is very impressive, but the entire park (at least the two times I’ve been there) really does glorify the Confederacy, and the Confederacy is sort of the exact opposite of my political leanings.

The centerpiece of Stone Mountain is the stone itself, a quartz monadnock and is a natural landmark. And some of the sculpture on the face is the work of the same man who created Mount Rushmore. It is also the location where the current Ku Klux Klan was formed, back in 1915. But I didn’t know about this part when I developed my fondness for the park.

Okay, now I’m having a memory of something that happened on my now-ex’s and my 1992 Florida trip and I’m pretty sure it was at Stone Mountain. There was a bobcat in an enclosure of some sort and it was looking at something very intently. My now-ex and I followed the cat’s line of sight and saw a frog. The frog seemed to be twitching strangely and as we were puzzling it out, one of the workers there came by and pointed out that the frog’s leg was inside the mouth (and, of course, the, you know, esophagus and probably stomach) of a garter snake. The employee said that no one was going to win this one, the frog leg was too big for the snake to actually eat, and so he put his hand on the back of the snake’s head somehow, making it let go of the frog, which hopped off. Then the employee picked up the snake and handed it to my ex. We took turns holding it for a while and watched people reacting to us holding it. The best one was a family with a little girl and the girl wanted to stop to pet the snake. Her parents were horrified. If you’re still out there, little girl (you’d probably be in your mid-30s right now), you made a fantastic impression on us. You rock, as it were.

We did the laser light show at dusk both times I went to Stone Mountain and it was very “the South shall rise again,” and all, but I was very impressed with the way that they made the carvings on the mountain seem to actually move.

After the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, there was quite a bit of discussion of whether the South Carolina flag should still have the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia on it and whether that flag, or any other sign of pride in the Confederacy should be displayed on government property. And while I agree that they should be removed from governmental buildings where people have to go to do business (courthouses, the DMV, and so on), I get hung up on things like Stone Mountain, because it has actual artistic value. Aside from being the largest sculpture of its kind in the world (a title that it may someday lose), the initial carvings were done by Gutzon Borglum, who is famous for being the man who made the monument on Mount Rushmore. Those carvings were later erased, I guess, though I swear that I read something about how some of his carving is still there. I’ll publish this now, but come back and edit it later if I can ever find that reference.

As a result, I expanded my idea so that areas that have Confederate memorabilia that has genuine artistic and/or historical value can move them to a park or parks where those who want to see them can, but those who don’t want to see them can avoid them.

Jimmy Carter Has Cancer

Jimmy Carter is my favorite person who has ever held the office of President of the United States.  Just about everything I have heard about him tells what an awesome person he is.  And he is also the only President I have ever met (and he was a sitting President at the time).  Not that he’d remember the meeting.  We were on another trip to Florida (1979, this time, so I haven’t covered the trip in my My Travel Memories topics yet) and we decided to take a side trip to Plains, Georgia, which is President Carter’s home town.  President Carter was in town at the time and we stood with a crowd of gawkers waiting for him to come out of church, of all things.

President Carter came out and my mom grabbed my hand and pushed it through the crowd, yelling for President Carter to shake my hand, which he did.

And now he has metastatic cancer.  All of our heroes have to die eventually, I guess.  90 years is a good run.  He raised his children to adulthood and saw most of his grandchildren grow up.  But I am still distressed by this news. I can only pray that President Carter and his physicians have the wisdom to make the best possible choices for his care.

My Travel Memories: Savannah, Georgia

I really thought that I had visited Savannah both before and after 1977, but apparently my two visits were in 1972 and in 1977.  As a result, much like Mammoth Cave National Park, my memories of Savannah are sketchy.

Our trips to Savannah, to some extent, suffered from the same things our visits to South Florida did.  We were visiting family, so, as one of the kids of the family, we spent a lot of time watching television and eating in.  I do remember that while we were in Savannah we ate at three restaurants — The Pirates House (in 1972), a boarding-house-themed restaurant that must have been Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, and Krystal Hamburgers (both in 1977). Continue reading “My Travel Memories: Savannah, Georgia”

My Travel Memories: Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

I have divided my travel into two eras:  Before 1977 and Starting with 1977.  The Before 1977 era is the era when my family and I traveled pretty much exclusively to South Florida and North Carolina, nearly always by car, rather than by plane.  Even though we started traveling other places starting with 1977, I still have traveled between my home and South Florida many times since then.  Four of these trips were by car, and the others were by plane.

I am currently trying (going from memory and with very little documentation) to stick to destinations that I first visited in the Before 1977 era. I may be mistaken about this next one, which is Rock City.  Rock City, is apparently technically “Rock City Gardens,” though I have never heard anyone use that term.  Rock City is both on and in Lookout Mountain, since Lookout Mountain is both a mountain and a town on the mountain.  The town is on the Georgia side of the border between Georgia and Tennessee, but it looks to me like the actual park is on the Tennessee side of the line. Continue reading “My Travel Memories: Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Georgia”