THANK YOU!!! to everyone who has taken me in on my journey. I wake up grateful everyday for everyone making this trip possible!

Friday, March 6, 2009

45 minutes in Atlanta

Georgia, February 18th

Everything was working out pretty well for me and I was excited to drive through the mountains on the way to Georgia. After saying goodbye to the Blocks, who I am again truly grateful for meeting along the trip, I headed to Lake Junaluska. Which is also a United Methodist Retreat and as I was coming over a mountain a huge rainbow caught my eye. I ventured around the lake and then headed through the mountains and into the fog. Hours of fog in fact. It was lovely and in fact I think all the other driving has been on sunny days so far, so why not have to do a little extra concentrating.

On this drive Becca, my godsister, called me from a train in India. I was incredibly amused at the fact from the other side of the world we could be talking and somehow in our sorted locations both had that brief time with service. I enjoyed chugging along. Tried to stop at another Winery to get a Georgia one of my list, but alas they were not open on a Wednesday.

While I enjoyed the stops, I was also trying to make it through so I could get to Atlanta and have time to leave by 3:30pm so I wouldn't be caught in the bad traffic on my way to Columbus for the night. I made a few more detours, including trying to stop and see a powerful waterfall. However due to the fog the only inclination I had that there was a huge waterfall in front of my was the sound.

By the time I got to Atlanta and finally through the fog, it was 2:45. So what does one do with 45 minutes in Atlanta. I decided to go by the MLK memorial, which I had last seen as a kid when in Atlanta for a wedding with my family. The only thing I vividly remember from that trip was seeing the grave in the middle of a pool. This time was striking to me, because as I walked up now Coretta Scott King is also there. And it was actually a very powerful moment for me, being taken by the change and watching a young girl taking photos there.

By the time I left I had about 15-20 minutes left in Atlanta so I headed to the Carter Library located very close by. As i drove up I called my boss from AU, because we had been trying to track down two alumni that work for the Carter Center while I was still working in the Peace and Conflict Resolution Office. I decided I didn't have time to spend money on going into the Library, so asked her if she would look up one of the names and I would try to stop by the Carter Center and see if this alum was there. I also adore Becca (the boss this time, though I also adore my godsister) and enjoyed catching her up on the trip. So armed with the name I started walking into the main lobby of the Carter Center as a group was coming down the main stairs. And all of the sudden I was face to face with Jimmy Carter, who from ten feet away before I could react waved at me. My camera bag was at my side and I really wanted to say something, but as soon as I had waved back a secret service officer also waved at me, with the implication that he didn't want me to come in any further until they had finished walking through.

45 minutes in Atlanta was going pretty well at this point. So I tried to compose myself and went to the receptionist and asked for the AU alum. she called up and he ended up coming down and meeting there with me on the spot. By the end of the meeting I think I had almost convinced him to come up to DC on his own to visit old friends and then while he was there to come talk at the program I had started while I worked in the office. You see we don't exactly have the funds to fly alumni in for the hour and a half long round table sessions. Very nice meeting there though.

So it ended up being a few more minutes than 45, but I don't think I could have asked for much more with 45 minutes in Atlanta. Serendipitous to say the least, Jimmy Carter! I have new appreciation for Phil Davis asking Bob Wallace for 45 minutes all to himself in White Christmas!

The drive to columbus went very well as I was running on excitement and there was finally sunshine. I stayed with one of my moms friends from childhood, her husband daughter and their five dogs. It was an amazing evening and fun to talk more about mom's hometown and learn more about Mikey's family. Also the five dogs, four of which are larger than me, all had quite the personalities! The evening felt like getting in touch with my roots, evening though I have never lived in New York State, it was nice being around someone who knew mom for so long and the rest of the family. And meeting Amanda and learning more about their family. And if you don't know this about me, I can talk stories all night, so these visits after a day of driving are incredibly precious.

Georgia was pretty alright in my book.

I will continue on the southern adventure later this weekend! (I am actually in San Diego now, safe and sound and full of more stories)


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