Georgia on my mind: Stray thoughts about time, place and events
by Roger Hines
June 08, 2014 12:00 AM | 1912 views | 2 2 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The best time and the best spot to contemplate the place we call Georgia is a summer evening on the bank facing Stone Mountain while waiting for the laser show to start. There one doesn’t even have to wait for Ray Charles to start singing “Georgia on My Mind.” In that spot, Georgia surrounds you.

If you’re from north of the Georgia line, the oppressive heat might “get next to ya,’” as we like to say, but a cold, Georgia “Co-Cola” can take care of that.

And don’t let anybody start arguing about whether or not you should be gazing at the image of Robert E. Lee up there on the mountain. Just let politics be, and ponder time and place instead …

Place shapes all of us. Whether one grew up on the streets of Baltimore or 10 miles outside of Ludowici, place played a part in making us what we are. Even if you rejected where you grew up and couldn’t wait to leave, that place revealed to you what you value.

Georgians, particularly, seem proud of their state. They should be. The largest state east of the Mighty Mississippi, Georgia is as geographically diverse as they come. Have you stood in downtown Hiwassee lately and looked up and all around you? Compare the mountainous beauty there in the extreme north to beauty of a different kind in smack downtown Thomasville in the south. Or consider the stark differences between the beauty of rural, south Georgia pastures and the historical squares of Savannah.

There are many Georgia children who will never enjoy these delights. One way to shape children is to take them somewhere they’ve never been. Books can take us where our bodies may never go, but children need to stretch their dreams and extend their possibilities by leaving their neighborhoods, if only once or twice, to see other different places.

Not just poor children, either. Suburban-raised children need to see rural Georgia. A child’s mind is quite narrow when he or she thinks food actually comes from a grocery store. It would probably surprise most metro-Atlanta children to know that some Georgians still go to their backyards and wring the neck of a chicken in preparation for supper (dinner). Children who find this repulsive reveal just how far from the soil Americans have come.

Luckily, it doesn’t always cost a lot to go somewhere. Our state parks are good places for children and families to retreat to. Georgia is a grand place for inexpensive day trips.

If anyone is looking for a way to be charitable, what better way to help a family (anonymously?) than to present them the means with which to get away somewhere not far from home in Georgia …

Summer is the time for many events, now that graduations are behind us. Speaking of graduations, call the Harrison High School staff if you want to know how to plan and execute a grand graduation ceremony. Harrison’s efforts and excellence shone through even after the barbarians began their hootin’ and hollering …

Graduation events, you realize, aren’t about recognizing or honoring a class of graduates any more. They are about YOU, YOUR graduate and YOUR camera. Philosopher Descartes wrote, “I think; therefore I am.” Many of today’s parents have revised Descartes: “I snap; therefore I am.”

Actually, camera-worship seems to be acceptable, so next spring, hold your cameras high and snap away. If respect and dignity are dead, there’s little use in pretending they are alive …

July Fourth is always special in Georgia. With military installations, parades, and cemeteries all around the state, Georgians are not without reminders of their storied past. It’s easy to forget that Georgia, one of the 13 original colonies, existed before America existed. Perhaps one of those day trips could be a picnic at a venue that takes our minds off the present by teaching us about our past …

Finally, a suggestion I’ve always wanted to make. It’s time for white folks and black folks to get together more. The season of summer is a good time for white congregations and black congregations to switch off their worship services. Friendships would be made, business relationships forged and commonality established. Georgian hospitality and goodwill would spread. Black and white families within neighborhoods could take similar actions. How can we love our neighbor if we don’t know our neighbor …

Whether one prefers Ray Charles’ “moonlight through the pines” or Atlanta sights and sounds, “there’s a summer place…” and Georgia is it.

Happy summer!

Roger Hines is a retired high school English teacher in Kennesaw.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Thax Aplenty
June 08, 2014
Holy cow Mr. Hines! No words about various groups of people who are bringing down the morals of this country in your opinion? Thank you for the break.
Hails from Kennesaw
June 20, 2014
Roger doesn't need to comment on loosening morals. Your abject disrepect for someone who DOES have morals is all that's needed. Why don't you stick with liberal writers of your ilk, like Kevin Foley for example.
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