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Georgia on my Mind

January 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Hoagy Carmichael

[Encyclopedia Brittanica]

I’m writing from Atlanta, where we arrived 4 1/2 hours ago. Neither Gail nor I have been here before, or anywhere in the state of Georgia. I wasn’t sure I’d ever make it here. As of 5 hours ago, I had been to 44 states, but hadn’t been to one in the south in decades, and the six states I had never been to formed a contiguous southern block: South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. So Georgia is my 45th state. Five still to go, but no longer contiguous. Georgia and North Carolina form a barrier, isolating South Carolina from the other four.

With a little more time, we wouldn’t have to go far to slip over the border to Alabama. Or Tennessee. Or South Carolina. But not on this trip. And anyway, I always imagined we’d get to South Carolina when the blessed day came that we attended the Masters. We’d fly into Atlanta, drive down I-20 to Augusta, and then, just for the heck of it, drive over the Savannah River to North Augusta and SC. I’m no longer so sure we’ll ever get to the Masters. But I know we want to see Charleston. So somehow or other, we’ll make it to South Carolina.

I was stalled on 39 states for a long time. Then, in June 1999, Gail and Joel and I joined her father on a trip to Groton, South Dakota for his 60th high school reunion. We also explored Claremont and Langford, the towns near the old family farm, staying in Claremont with his sister-in-law, went over to Aberdeen for a big reunion dinner, and then spent another few days driving across the state, from Sioux Falls to Rapid City and beyond. Beyond included Wyoming, state #41. How could I pass up a visit to Devil’s Tower, which I always think of when I eat mashed potatoes? (If you don’t know the reference, I’ll leave it to you to do the research.) Then came Hawaii and Alaska, thanks to dean conferences in successive years, 2004 and 2005. And New Mexico, #44, in the fall of 2005, when I went down to Sunspot, in the Sacramento Mountains, to visit Apache Point Observatory.

What do you think? Should we make South Carolina #46? Or maybe we should wait until Jim DeMint is no longer one of its senators. Tennessee? Lots to do there.

Well, no matter. For now, we’re in Georgia, and we plan to enjoy it, despite the sub-freezing temperatures.

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Categories: Travel