A second near-perfect day of sunshine, with scenery to match the beautiful weather. Where to start? How to tell it all? No way I can do it justice, so I thought maybe a few lists might help me organize.
Names of Churches
The Baptist churches have the best names, hands down. Many are named for towns in the Holy Land or surrounding area: Antioch, Macedonia, Mt. Zion. There is Grace Primitive Baptist and Ebenezer Primitive Baptist, Consolation Baptist and Open Door Baptist. Above and Beyond turned out to be a hair salon, but wouldn’t that be a great name for a church? Above and Beyond Primitive Baptist sounds good. Heavenly Bound Church of Faith was a real church with a great name.
Names of Roads
Possom Trot Road, Prosperity Church Road, Hog Liver Road, Booze Mountain Road, Turnipseed Road and Three Notch Road. I did not make up any of those names. Many roads and stretches of highway in Georgia are named after people, too, including often their nicknames, such as Ralph “Country” Brown Highway. We left 19 after Griffin, traveled west on 16, and for quite a while today were on 27N, or the Martha Berry Highway, which you can read about here.
Woke in Thomaston, where Sarah and I took an early walk. Dogs barked “Good morning!” to Sarah from their yards, and people in cars waved at me on their way to work.
Next stop, Zebulon. Ruth’s Restaurant, our breakfast stop, reminded me of Barb’s Bakery in Northport, but with grits and sausage, biscuits and gravy, and Southern accents. We got to A Novel Experience bookstore just as Susan was opening for the day. Found and bought some exciting books from her, as we did from Chris in January. Karen, the third owner, is the only one we have not yet met.
Griffin, Georgia, was bigger and prettier than I remembered. Especially nice is that the sidewalks are set back considerably from the road and the houses back again from the sidewalks, so that it’s like driving through a park.
Newnan, Carrollton, Cedartown, Rome (home of Mayfield Dairies, source of ice cream sold at Norfleet’s store in Aripeka, FL) and Summerville (where the newspaper published the column on dogwood linked above). Highway 27 has gone from two lanes to divided four-lane in the years since we were on it last, but it still goes right through Chickamauga Battlefield, and it’s still a beautiful drive, though traffic slowed us down in Rome and Fort Oglethorpe, and we had a bit of confusion before getting onto 75 to make our way to 24W.
Yesterday began with honeysuckle in Aripeka, those bright pink flowers in the median that might have been dianthus, and then, farther north in Florida where there’s been a lot of rain, rain lilies.
This morning brought curtains of wisteria outside Zebulon, bright patches of roses and azaleas in every small town, and countless dogwood trees in bloom, in towns, along the road, and peeking out from the woods—the dogwoods in the woods such pretty, shy surprises--so many that I was thrilled to find this article on dogwood from Summerville, Georgia, a town we went through today. After a while the dogwood began to be mixed with redbud, and finally in Tennessee, in the mountains, the redbud were predominant. What with dogwood, redbud, rock cuts and magnificent mountain scenery, 24W is a painless expressway. It brought us tonight to Murfreesboro, where we have stopped for the night.
Last spring I was enjoying dogwood blossoms in Kalamazoo and Allegan County, Michigan, this year in Georgia and Tennessee. They are a gift, wherever they bloom.
The first song of the day was Gene Autry’s “Back in the Saddle Again,” one of the numbers on the sound track from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” that Susan was playing at A Novel Experience. It seemed appropriate for a day of travel. Also, the song is a classic. Hearing it is like looking at dogwoods in bloom—a person just sighs and smiles.
The second, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” came to mind when I was listing the Baptist church names. I admit I was thinking of the name of this hymn as “Take It To the Lord in Prayer,” the last line of each verse.
When we stopped for lunch, one of the songs that played—just for us, I felt—was the American classic “Stand By Me.”
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall,
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea.
I won't cry, I won't cry,
No I won't shed a tear,
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.
Travelin' through the mountains with the one you love gives this song new meaning.