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Posts Tagged ‘Neighbors’

More letters from Mom about life in the old days in Suwanee, Georgia…

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June 12, 1965

Dear Rock,

Everything here is wet. It has rained for so many days I lost count. I feel like a swamp creature. We have hopes of clearing skies tomorrow.

Bible school is going on this week. We have all learned to hate each other working together in the church with the rain drumming on the roof. The kids have had to have their Kool-aid and cookies on the table in the back of the sanctuary, and well, you can imagine the crumbs, spilled grape juice and ice melting on the pews.

Brother Charles sat at home on his duff Monday and Tuesday. Claimed he did not know it is the preacher’s job to be at Bible School. Mrs. Gasser and I jumped on him and set him straight. He was there today and says he will continue to come. As I say, we have learned to hate each other, but it will blow over.

Outside of Martha Pierce, who almost wiggled out of it, the only people I could get to teach were Gloria, Mrs. Tate, the two Dianes and Peggy Puckett. Mrs. Tate got sick, so I have Helen DeLay in there now.

Martha and Peggy teach the juniors, Danny’s class. Today they made bookends out of plaster of Paris. Martha said Danny is a riot and keeps them all laughing. I said smart aleck is more the word for Danny.

Smitty took Old Shakey to Robert and had the brakes adjusted and had it oiled and greased. You ought to see the old thing. Daddy just loves it. It is black and looks like it might growl at you.

The other day, he went to Duluth to pick up some stuff at the farmer’s supply, and on the way there, the foot feed stuck. He said he was going wide open and couldn’t slow down. To stop it, he had to turn the ignition key off.

He would start up again, and it would go full blast, which really isn’t that much, then off with the key again. He finally pulled over and somehow fixed it.

Mrs. Hutchison spent the afternoon with me yesterday. She said that when Joe Jr. was 16, his dad put him to work with the construction gang, digging ditches. It was in the summer, and he had never done any hard work before.

One day he climbed out of the ditch and told the foreman, “When I get to be president of this company, I’m gonna fire you.” The foreman said, “Well until you do, you get back down in that ditch and dig.”

Joe Jr. was furious. That night, he told his daddy about it and said the foreman ought to be fired. The next day, Mr. H. called the foreman into his office and raised his salary.

Lee is on a date, Smitty is reading the paper, Dan is painting the bookends he made today, and Betty is asleep. I must get to the ironing board, as it is already after nine. I love you very much.

Mom

Betty and a struggling cat pose with Old Shakey.

Betty and a struggling cat pose with Old Shakey.

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July 21, 1965

Dear Rocky,

Your letter was most welcome yesterday and gave me more than my share of chuckles. I laughed heartily all by myself.

There has been quite a lot of tragedy around Suwanee this summer. Remember Winnie Burnett, James’s wife? They lived on the corner of Level Creek Road and Main on the left, where they always had a pretty garden. Two boys, 13 and 9.

She had a breast removed a year ago. Then some knots appeared on her neck several months back. They operated, but the cancer had gone too far. I never saw anybody deteriorate so fast. Saturday a week ago, she was taken to the hospital and died Sunday morning.

Doyle Moulder also died. He was Bonnie Moulder’s son, 28, asst. principal at Lawrenceville Elementary. He was at a lake near Madison with his family, had his little girl on his back in waist deep water, and he just suddenly went under.

The lifeguard saw the child floundering and brought her back to shore. Poor Doyle was stone dead at the bottom of the lake. They said he had no water in his lungs, so they think it was a heart attack.

Dan Brown took Rogers to the hospital in Buford in pretty bad shape. The doc said he needs an operation that involves going into his head, a four-hour thing. Dan thinks it’s just a sinus condition, but I heard that Rogers went berserk last week and was out of his head. Poor thing and poor Dan.

Rock, you know how we’re always discovering wonderful characters around these parts. I have discovered a simply marvelous one that is hard to beat. And the funny thing is, I’ve been hearing about him all my life.

His name is Forrest Turner, and he was a great pal of Leland Harvey. The two of them probably spent most of their adult lives in prison, and they were famous escape artists, especially Harvey, although Turner had a pretty good reputation, too. They never murdered anybody. Just pulled robberies.

Anyway, while in prison, Turner learned a trade. He learned to make false teeth. Now he is out for good, barring future misdeeds, and he makes false teeth.

He goes to the homes to do the work. For some reason, he always goes at night. He charges $55 for a set, uppers and lowers, whereas if you get them done at a dentist, it runs $250 or more.

It seems that most of the rural population of Gwinnett County goes around wearing teeth by Turner. Everyone says he makes beautiful, good quality teeth. Frank lost his teeth on his trip to Florida, so he is going to call Turner to come out.

Last year, Margie Tallant got wind of it and went to the judge in Lawrenceville and tried to get Turner stopped. But so far, he is still making teeth. He lives in Decatur. He must be an old man, because I remember hearing about him when I was a child. He was always escaping and would stay on the outside, the object of a manhunt.

I’ll bet many a poor devil is going around with teeth who otherwise would be gumming it, if not for this guy. When you think about it, he has no middle man and probably makes a good living at it. For example, say the materials cost him $10 and he charges $55. Not bad.

Well, I need to go to bed. This new typewriter ribbon makes more mistakes than the old one did. Daddy’s vacation starts Monday for two weeks. He can hardly wait. We are not going anywhere. Will vacation at home.

I love you,

Mom

Mom and Aunt Betty check the progress of Dad's beard.

Mom and Aunt Betty check the progress of Dad’s beard.

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More letters from home in my next post.

 

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More letters from Mom reporting on family life back home…

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Mon. night Oct. 26, 1964

Dear Rocky,

We have been having such beautiful weather for the past couple of weeks that I almost hate to mention it. Last Saturday, Smitty, Lee, Betty and I walked down to the river.

The trees all along the river bank were just gorgeous. Honestly, we didn’t see any prettier color when we drove up to the North Ga. mountains. Just more of it up there.

Agnes’ puppies are fat little butterballs. All they do is eat, sleep, squirm and holler. She takes good care of them. She is thin, but looks good. Her appetite is huge.

It was very hard on her since it was her first litter, and six big ones was quite a task. She had the pups in the storage room, and I could not get near them or her for two days. I wanted to get them all to the basement, but she was determined that I would not touch a thing.

Finally, she decided to come in the house. We had fixed up a nice bed in the basement with a clean, soft blanket. Dan took the puppies around to the basement door, and then we let Agnes down there with them. She was all upset for a while but is fine now.

We finally got the hogs butchered. They are now resting peacefully in packages in the freezer. We thought we had lockers reserved at Gann’s, but not so. Daddy had to scout around for a used freezer on the very day the meat was due to be picked up.

He found one at Goodwill Industries for $70 and had to rent a trailer to get it home. We used Danny’s roller skates under one end to maneuver it into the basement. You should have seen us.

Guess there is no more news. Mama and Frank are fine. Write when you can.

I love you,

Mom

In those days, the Suwanee Smiths lived on eight acres of pine trees and pastures.

In those days, the Suwanee Smiths lived on eight acres of pine trees and pastures.

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Thursday night, Feb. 4, 1965

Dear Rocky,

Before I forget, be sure to watch the next Jonathan Winters Show because his guests will be Bob and Ray. It’s bound to be hysterical.

Here is the news from Suwanee and outlying areas. Earl English’s wife had an accident and tore her new car asunder. She was in the hospital for a few days but is home and on the mend.

Faye Roberts’ husband has a new company car, a Chevy with all the trimmings. He gave Faye a mink stole which she hesitates to wear to church for fear people will make derogatory remarks either within her hearing or otherwise.

Ann Smith has a new permanent. She also just finished making a tan jumper and a tan and white checked blouse. She drinks too much coffee and smokes too many cigarettes. She still weighs only 100 pounds.

Donald is going into the Marines right after he graduates. If he graduates. I know Clifford will be relieved for the Marines to get hold of that boy.

The Hutchisons are going to Europe for three weeks. Margaret is going to have a baby in June. Fred Tallant had to oust a bunch of drunks from the apartments last Sunday. Margie Tallant’s mother is now a housemother at the U of Ga. Cute-Face is pregnant again.

Camel breezed into Mama’s kitchen last Sunday morning when the temperature was about 9 degrees, wearing shorts and sandals. Mama said he did it just for the pure hell of hearing her fuss at him. Anyway, she said he was three sheets to the wind and probably didn’t feel anything.

The Titshaws moved over near Lawrenceville and rented their house out to some logger. He parks his truck full of pulp wood half on the front lawn and half in the road. When you drive by, you get the feeling it is in the process of backing into you.

During the last siege of snow and ice, the preacher drove into a ditch and hit a tree. Dented his pretty black car, but nobody hurt. Hardy DeLay swapped his Valiant for a Dodge pickup. Anita Payne was in a beauty contest at her school recently, but I don’t know how she came out.

The Manns, who moved into the house where the McElwreaths used to live, have a daughter who rides the bus with Danny. She asked Danny if there is a whiskey still in the woods on the Browns’ property. She said Mr. Brown is always going into the woods at night with a flashlight, and one morning they woke up and everything smelled like wine. How about that?

Well, tonight is school night, and it is about time for Daddy to get home. I have to get his supper going. Take care. Write when you can.

Much, much love,

Mom

Relaxing at the Smith place. Left to right: Nuisance the Beagle, Mom, Betty, Lightning the Dalmatian, Lee, his girlfriend Sherry, and Danny. Danny is holding Dora, a Beagle pup. Dora's sister Doris is peeking out from behind Danny's shoe.

Relaxing at the Smith place. Left to right: Nuisance the Beagle, Mom, Betty, Lightning the Dalmatian, Lee, his girlfriend Sherry, and Danny. Danny is holding Dora, a Beagle pup. Dora’s sister Doris is peeking out from behind Danny’s shoe.

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More Chronicles in my next post.

 

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A few weeks ago, I hauled out of the closet a box of old cards and letters that hadn’t seen the light of day in 50 years. Literally.

I received the correspondence from various family members and friends in the 1960s, when I was in college and the Air Force. Fully half the letters in the box are from my mother, bless her.

Back then, people didn’t communicate the way we do today. Cell phones, email, instant messaging, social media — they didn’t exist.

The land-line telephone system reached more or less everywhere, but it was unreliable. Long distance voice quality was never good. It was sort of like the dial-up internet of its day.

For most people, letter-writing was a much bigger thing than it is today. And we Smiths were prolific letter-writers.

Soon after I went away to college, the family moved to Suwanee, Georgia, population 400, where my grandparents Leila and Frank Byrd lived. Suwanee was Frank’s hometown.

As it turned out, the town was a lively and interesting place with a cast of characters worthy of Faulkner. Suwanee had plenty of upstanding citizens. It also had scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells.

Virtually everyone in town went to church. But for years, the proprietor of one of the downtown stores sold moonshine from the back door of his establishment. Clearly, the demand was there.

Half of the town’s phone lines were party lines. Everyone knew everyone else’s business. Gossip was the sport of choice.

What made Suwanee different from any other community in the land? Nothing whatsoever.

Mom was a natural writer who clearly enjoyed sitting down at the typewriter, and her letters are delightful to read. They’re funny, entertaining, and certainly revealing of her character.

Which, of course, is the point of presenting them. I’m deeply biased on this subject, but I assure you, Ann Smith was a person well worth knowing.

In the letters presented below, she refers to local people you don’t know. For the most part, it doesn’t matter.

But there is one exception. The “Camel” she mentions is Campbell “Camel” Hamilton, Frank’s cousin and next-door neighbor. Camel was a jovial, middle-aged country fellow, a bachelor living comfortably with no visible means of support. He was one of the more colorful characters in town.

Here are two of Mom’s letters. Welcome to Suwanee.

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Aug. 25, 1964

Dear Rocky,

Lee just crept off to football practice. He had entertained the thought briefly that he might skip practice this morning, but the coach announced that anyone who didn’t show up would run laps equivalent to 10 miles.

Lee thought the coach would mellow out after he got married. He didn’t.

I wish Lee wouldn’t play football. He isn’t big enough. He eats like a horse but still only weighs about 140.

I ought to have my head examined. I have never learned to say “no.” The chairman of the Retarded Children’s Drive called and buttered me up, saying what a wonderful job I did last year, taking charge of the drive in Suwanee, and would I do it again this year. I was so blinded by flattery I agreed instantly and have hated myself ever since.

The drive is less than a week away, I have to go to an executive PTA meeting tonight, help with choir practice on Friday, have to get Betty a shot before Thurs., have peas to shell and freeze, the house is dirty, my ironing is piled up to the ceiling, my hair needs attention, I’m behind about two years on mending and sewing, all the closets need cleaning. I could go on and on. What a rat race, and I take on something else.

Cute-Face had five kittens this week. They look just like the other batch except two of them are black as the ace of spades. I’ve threatened many times to cause Cute-Face to disappear, but it won’t happen. Danny keeps tabs on her too closely.

Joe at the Post Office is still imbibing. Last count was that he has been inebriated going on three weeks. I noticed we were getting more of other people’s mail than usual. Poor Joe. Wish I could help him.

Frank is off from work for a week, orders from the doctor. He was having trouble with his leg. Mama seems fine. Liz Hutchison is coming to play with Betty this afternoon.

Last week at church, I didn’t stay for the service after Sunday School, and the preacher sent word by Danny that I was missed. Subtle, eh?

So that is the state of affairs here. Already I can feel the Fall of the year creeping in. Either that, or it is old age.

I love you, sweetie,

Mom

The Suwanee Smiths, left to right: Betty, Dad, Mom, Danny, and Lee. The pets are Susan Cute-Face, Blacksmith, and Agnes.

The Suwanee Smiths, left to right: Betty, Dad, Mom, Danny, and Lee. The pets are Susan Cute-Face, Blacksmith, and Agnes.

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Oct. 1, 1964

Dear Rocky,

Tonight is Daddy’s school night. He goes on Tues. and Thurs. and gets home around 8:15. Betty and Danny are watching “The Munsters” on TV. Lee is doing homework. Agnes is asleep in my chair. She thinks I don’t know she is up there.

Big news in Suwanee. They moved into the new Post Office today, and you will be amazed at what a nice-looking thing it is. Joe and Frank are as proud as new papas. Frank is going to be working there permanently. At least that is what I gather.

Rock, those two black kittens are just darling. They have the longest white whiskers and are little devils! The kids named them Peggy and Tiger. Tiger, after Tiger Hutchison, who ran away and never returned. He jumped out of the car at the 1-Stop one day and took off like a striped ape.

Actually, I was not surprised. The treatment he got from Liz was rough. He probably was just waiting for his chance.

Buck Buice came rambling by late yesterday afternoon. Hardy DeLay was walking the cattle back over here, and Buck saw him and came over. Buck was about three sheets to the wind. I couldn’t help but get tickled.

Every time I see Buck, I think about the time he came to take Lord Ashley to the slaughterhouse, and he was backing up his truck so fast, with you hanging onto the back end. You said it was like being strapped to the front of a speeding locomotive.

Camel took Mama down to Statesboro on Sunday. When he got back the next day, he was pretty well snockered on his home brew. He complained that he “couldn’t get that sorry-ass Ford past 90.” Pardon my French.

The place is real pretty now with a lot of Fall color. We have a blazing fire every night. We always have good frozen veggies from the garden, plus a nice beef roast or some pork chops, thanks to critters like Lord Ashley who sacrificed their all. Do you see how terrible I’ve become?

Rock, we enjoy your letters so much. Keep them coming.

I love you.

Mom

Mom at the lake, summer 1964.

Mom at the lake, summer 1964.

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More of the Suwanee Chronicles in my next post.

 

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Okay, I know — I live in a small, rural Southern town, and I can’t expect life here to be the same as in, say, Malibu or Brooklyn.

But really, chickens roaming loose is a bit much.

I got new neighbors a couple of months ago, and shortly after they moved in, I began to hear the crowing of a rooster at dawn.

I assume it crows daily, but I wouldn’t know; I get up with the chickens very rarely these days.

I don’t know how many chickens live next door, and frankly, I don’t care. Nor do I care if the neighbors raise chickens. The crowing and clucking sounds are pleasant enough, and the whole idea is rather amusing.

But yesterday, one of the birds paid me a visit. I was not amused.

Just before lunch, I grabbed my car keys, told Paco goodbye, and walked out the back door into the garage. I tapped the buttons and stood waiting for the garage doors to open.

As the doors went up, I did a double-take as two scrawny chicken feet, and slowly the rest of a chicken, came into view.

The bird stood unmoving and looked at me in that glassy-eyed way chickens have. I think I then addressed it — probably said something like, “What the –?”

It was clear what had happened. The chicken somehow got loose from its enclosure and wandered the 50 yards through the woods to my house.

Well, I was on my way to Athens, and I had no time for niceties. Advancing and waving, I shouted, “Get lost, chicken! Go home!”

The chicken clucked in alarm, flapped its wings, and, instead of fleeing away from the house, ran inside the garage.

I muttered a profanity and glanced up the hill toward my neighbor’s house. No cars were in the driveway. The chicken and I were on our own.

The chicken stood at the end of the car peering sideways at me. Being a normal American, I fished out my cell phone and took a picture.

With the formalities out of the way, I turned to the task of rousting the chicken from the garage so I could leave.

It was no easy task. First, I attempted a flanking maneuver. I went quietly to the front of the vehicle, so the chicken would run outward instead of inward, and with much stamping of feet, I charged.

Instead of exiting the garage, the chicken ran squawking under the car.

I muttered a profanity again and walked around to the passenger side of the car. I leaned down and looked under the vehicle. There was the chicken, cowering out of reach, squawking rhythmically in alarm. This was not turning out as I expected.

With no small amount of irritation building, I grabbed a broom and began probing beneath the car. I knew by the squawks when I located the chicken.

The bird retreated from under the car on the driver’s side and stumbled a few steps along the wall, vocalizing wildly. It finally stopped behind a stepladder.

So far, the chicken was winning. Having minimal experience with barnyard fowl, I wasn’t sure how best to gain the upper hand.

If I rushed it or used the broom, the bird probably would go back under the car. I decided to take advantage of my opposable thumbs — to grab it barehanded by its scrawny neck.

Up to that point, the chicken was alarmed, but no more than the average chicken.

However, when I reached down and attempted to catch it, the chicken came unhinged.

Until that moment, I had never heard a chicken in full-out panic mode. It was awful.

The squawking became a terrible, steady screeching. The chicken ran forward, reached the corner of the garage, and thrust its head against the wall. It stayed there, shaking and making guttural sounds.

Damn, I thought, this chicken is utterly terrified. Who knew chickens had the brains to be so afraid?

For a moment, I thought about driving away and leaving the garage door open. The chicken would collect its wits in time and go elsewhere.

It was a nice thought, but not a very smart one. Especially in these hard economic times, one shouldn’t drive away and leave one’s garage door open. By so doing, one could lose a lot of tools.

So that left me with a chicken problem. I didn’t want the poor thing to die of heart failure, but on the other hand, I wanted to go to Athens. For both of our sakes, I needed to act quickly.

So I did.

The chicken was standing defeated and defenseless in the corner of the garage. Using the business end of the broom, I pinned the bird to the floor. Then I reached forward and grabbed it, firmly but carefully, by the neck.

The chicken went bonkers, of course, flailing crazily and vocalizing like a mad fiend, but the battle was over.

In triumph, I walked out of the garage carrying the struggling bird. In a cloud of feathers, I released it onto the lawn.

As soon as I let it go, the chicken stopped squawking that terrible hellish screech and resumed an ordinary cluck. In a nanosecond, it disappeared to safety under the shrubbery.

Quickly, before birdbrain somehow blundered back inside the garage, I leapt into the car, backed out, and closed the garage doors. The chicken was still under the shrubbery when I drove away.

Chances are, I will never again in my life encounter a runaway chicken. But I know I’ll be peering into the shrubbery for weeks to come.

The fugitive fowl.

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Setting the Bar

Now and then, when I get especially exasperated because the Democrats and Republicans refuse to work together on anything, I think about the little South Georgia town of Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald is a truly unique place that could teach us all a lesson.

In the early 1890s, an economic depression swept across the United States. At the same time, a terrible drought ravaged the farmlands of the Midwest. Once-fertile farms became dusty wastelands, leaving thousands hungry and desperate. A call went out for help.

The State of Georgia, which was still recovering from being thoroughly devastated during the Civil War, responded with notable generosity. Numerous trainloads of food and feed were shipped into the devastated areas.

In Indianapolis, Philander H. Fitzgerald, who was both editor of the American Tribune and an attorney specializing in Civil War veterans’ affairs, was deeply moved by these acts of mercy and kindness.

For years, Fitzgerald had dreamed of establishing a colony in a warm climate for aging Union soldiers. He worked with veterans and knew their problems. He wanted to give them relief from the bitter Northern winters and the unrelenting droughts of the time.

Georgia’s display of charity convinced him it was the right place for his colony.

Through editorials in his newspaper, Fitzgerald detailed his plan to veterans. At the same time, he appealed to Georgia Governor William Northern, a Confederate veteran, for assistance in locating a site.

Governor Northern responded with a promise to help. Fitzgerald was flooded with inquiries from veterans.

Fitzgerald organized the American Tribune Soldiers’ Colony Company. He sold sufficient stock to enable the purchase of 50,000 acres of virgin pine forest in the heart of south Georgia.

The name of the new colony came naturally: Fitzgerald.

By the summer of 1895, before surveys of the town could be completed, people began arriving — by wagon, by train, and on horseback.

Although the colony was open to “all good people,” Union veterans, 2,700 of them, were in the majority.

Among them were survivors of every major Civil War battle, of Sherman’s March to the Sea, and of Andersonville Prison.

One stockholder was a member of the contingent that captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Ironically, Davis had been captured less than 15 miles from the site of the new colony.

As surveyors worked and the town took shape, colonists set up housekeeping in shacks, tents, and covered wagons.

When the streets were laid out, seven were named for Union generals and seven for Confederate generals. A wooden bandstand soon became the social focus of the community. The music ranged from Yankee Doodle to Dixie.

Seeking to provide local employment and attract tourists, the Colony Company constructed an impressive wood-framed hotel.

Its name was to be the Hotel Grant-Lee. But in deference to the town’s location, it was christened the Lee-Grant.

The town opened its first school in the fall of 1896. Children from 38 states and two territories attended. Of the 12 teachers, only one, the superintendent, was a Southerner. The Colony Company provided free textbooks.

With the first year’s hardships behind them, the colonists planned a Thanksgiving celebration festival. Invitations went out to the surrounding area.

Many of the locals were skeptical of their new Yankee neighbors, but hundreds attended the festival to see for themselves.

As part of the festivities, the town wanted to stage a parade, but they feared it might be asking for trouble. Out of caution, they decided to have two parades: one for Union veterans and one for Confederate.

Their plan didn’t work. Witnesses reported what happened:

“When the band struck up a march, veterans in gray, recognizing the accomplishments of the colonists, stepped into formation with veterans in blue, and all marched as one beneath the Stars and Stripes.”

A news article said, “The stage was set for the future of Fitzgerald by men who, having met once on the field of battle, determined on that day to meet again on the field of life and forge a unique and enduring city where North and South reunited.”

I don’t know what Fitzgerald is like today. I suspect it’s an ordinary place, not much different from any other small town in Georgia — or, for that matter, in any other state.

If it doesn’t measure up to the high bar it established long ago, that would be understandable.

But Fitzgerald says something important about our potential. It proves that, regardless of the circumstances, we can choose to do the right thing.

So, when the shallow, carping politicians test your patience, or when you encounter pettiness, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, or outright bigotry, take a deep breath and think about Fitzgerald, Georgia.

Today, the town’s motto is “History, Harmony, Heritage.”

Philander H. Fitzgerald would approve of that.

Architect's rendering of Fitzgerald, Georgia, 1895.

Architect's rendering of Fitzgerald, Georgia, 1895.

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I live at the back of my subdivision, so I drive past all the neighbors’ houses on my way in and out. They, on the other hand, don’t drive past mine. But I digress.

One house near the front of the subdivision seems to be the home of people unable to deprive themselves of anything.

The house is just a small ranch, so the headcount of residents can’t be too high. Yet, parked in the garage, and at various angles around the yard, are a Hummer, a Mustang, a Chevy Suburban, a GMC Sierra, and a Ford Contour.

They also have a white Chevy work truck, the kind with compartments and braided electrical cords; a trampoline; a mammoth redwood deck; and an above-ground pool.

For a while, an Avalanche and a pontoon boat sat out there, but both are gone.

These folks are on my mind because just recently, they added a Jeep to the collection.

I can’t help but wonder what goodies are inside the house.

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Captain Morgan

Before I retired and moved to Jefferson, I lived in the little town of Between, Georgia — so named because it is between two larger towns.

One balmy evening, I was sitting on my back patio, watching the moon come up, when my next-door neighbor Paul stopped by. He said a cheery hello and presented me with a bottle of raspberry wine.

In actuality, the bottle contained only about three fingers of wine. The rest of it was in Paul’s Styrofoam Chic-Fil-A cup.

There’s something very “Captain Morgan” about a man who drinks raspberry wine from a Styrofoam Chic-Fil-A cup.

I love the South.

Captain Morgan

 

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When I moved into my house in Jefferson in 2006, I discovered that the neighborhood had a goat problem. One of our neighbors was a free spirit who believed that one’s goats (and one’s female dogs in heat) should run free.

The realtor didn’t tell me anything about goats.

What we had was a herd of four adult goats, a guy and three gals. Technically, they lived in a backyard pen. But the pen, was, well, a technicality. Most days, the goats were loose, ranging free, munching on whatever greenery they encountered.

I was obliged to chase them away almost daily. When I charged them, shouting and waving, they quickly retreated — although occasionally, the male would stand his ground for a moment before turning tail.

Being new to the neighborhood, I was reluctant to complain. Better to let someone else handle it.

Finally, someone did. The goats especially enjoyed the planting beds that my neighbor Paul so carefully cultivated, and Paul was in a constant state of huff about the situation.

He complained to the Goat People, to no avail. He complained to Animal Control, and they issued a string of warnings. Still, the goat problem persisted.

And persisted. And persisted.

Then at last, the Animal Control guys appeared again. This time, they apprehended the goats and hauled them away. Word was, all four had been found on the front porch of a neighbor up the street, eating potted plants. Apparently, that neighbor had better connections than Paul.

Not long after that, a “For Sale By Owner” sign appeared in the yard of the goat owners. My guess: they wanted to find a place far from the city, where goats and people can live unfettered and unbothered.

The house sold quickly. The goats and their free-spirit owners are now gone.

Godspeed, Goat People.

    “Car 11, this is Dispatch. Nuisance animals at large. Proceed to Forest Street and impound.”

“Car 11, this is Dispatch. Nuisance animals at large. Proceed to Forest Street and impound.”

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