Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Georgia Memories, Past and Present

The mountains of North Georgia are beautiful. My parents have a house up there and the best thing in the world to do is just get in the porch swing and be quiet.
My mom's family came from Georgia. Her mother was one of 13 kids. I remember the first family reunion I went to when I was about 10 or 11. Mom's cousin owned a restaurant in the tiny town of Sparta, where he served excellent bar-be-cue and brunswick stew. Now, this was the first time I'd ever been to the "country." I'd lived in the suburbs and don't think I'd really ever seen giant bales of hay up close. That's the first thing I noticed when we pulled into the driveway of mom's cousin and his wife's house. To me it was very strange. It was also the first time I remember meeting any of her cousins. Charles and Jean were very kind and gracious. What I didn't realize at the time was that when mom and her siblings were growing up and went to visit their maternal grandmother, all of her cousins were there. They were all really close. They played together there out in the middle of nowhere, where her Grandmaw Stewart lived.
Now, the day of the reunion, the small restaurant was full up to the brim. We all dined on great food and I met many many 2nd and 3rd and 4th cousins that I never knew existed. It was pretty overwhelming, being that some of them remembered me from when I was really little, but I didn't remember them.
The daughter of one of mom's cousins and I went out to her grandmother's old house which had been turned into a hunting lodge and all that was in it was a whole lot of beds. We saw the steps going up to the attic and started to go up them but I think we were both afraid of what might be up there. So we ran back down. I remember that to this day.
That's a fun memory.
Getting back to the mountains of North Georgia, mom's cousin who used to own the restaurant and his wife live there. Their house is right down the road from my parent's. They live there year round. The closest city is Blairsville, which is a nice place with a historic center of town with a large town hall. It is quickly becoming a tourist site, but still has a wonderful homey and comfortable feeling. I feel closest to family and God when we go up to the mountain house.
It's always good to come back home to Alabama, but we just can't wait until the next time we can go back.