Sam Burnham, Curator
i left out from the house early on Sunday morning. Never mind why as that’s not the point. When I exited the front door I was hit by the stillness and silence in the air. The ground was wet from the rain overnight and in the early morning hours. The sky was overcast and more rain was expected but it wasn’t raining in that moment. There was a bit of misty fog here and there. It was cool but not cold - a fairly typical late December morning in Georgia.
As as I gazed up toward the sky I noticed the hardwoods - oaks mostly, but with a stray pecan, ash, or hickory here and there - were all bare. That’s not a new development but seeing them cast against the backdrop of the incoming rain clouds provoked some gloom just a a crow flew overhead, it’s loud calls, five or six that seemed more like a repetitive echo of one, jarred my ears. It was like stepping into a wasteland. I was one lonesome soul walking in a world of death.
That’s no no way to start the morning.
Beginnings have beginnings themselves. How you start a day could be how you start a week, a month, or even a year. Such a bleak start to a day could be a bleak start to something bigger. It doesn’t have to be. Let me stop long enough to say I hate the “New Year, New Me” approach to the new year. It is typically a hollow approach that rarely sees February and never sees March. But beginnings are important. So my goal is to not let the gloom of a bleak season overwhelm me and drag down the start of the new year. There’s much to look forward to.
Christmas and college football are about to abandon us but I have a Navy boot camp graduation to attend. We’ve got A.H. Stephens’s birthday to celebrate. Springtime is coming. Vidalia season. Garden fresh tomatoes. This list could go on and on.
But we also have goals and dreams for ABG. We want to grow this year, both in audience and in content. We want to grow not just for greed or the sake of growth but rather to publish things that matter, that make a difference, that celebrate and encourage the people and land we love. Y’all have been so gracious and I can’t believe how many people stop by to see what’s on this site. I’m thankful for each one. And I ask that if you enjoy what you find here, share it with a friend or two. I’d appreciate it.
Now we turn the page on the calendar. This begins our fifth year since branching out from a Blogger site. I see the rain clouds. I hear that pesky crow. And yes, it might even snow before this winter is over. While our resolutions won’t make it to March, that at least means March is coming. So begin these bleak mornings with the knowledge that they pass and that they don’t have to dictate how the whole year goes. We have a say.
2019 better be ready. Here we come.
I'd like to invite you to ponder this guest contributor article. John has followed our Twitter for some time and offers some good food for thought, even when we don't agree. His thoughts here really resonate with my desire to see us, as a society, place less emphasis on money and things. He was gracious enough to share his thoughts with us on the blog. - Sam
John Ballard, Guest Contributor
This Axios link is a hand-wringing response to the reluctance of people to pursue "better jobs" by relocating from poor areas to more prosperous environments. Presumably more prosperity for some means more prosperity for all.
Economic opportunity isn't enough to get people moving anymore. And less mobility could mean the wealthy areas of the U.S. continue to accumulate wealth, while the poorer areas will remain poor because people are less likely to move for better jobs and companies are less likely to move for cheaper labor. (emphasis added.)
Three years ago, I thought it would be a low point and I thought we would turn the corner," Yun said. We haven't — and it's clear that we don't know all the reasons yet.
The economy is booming, but Americans still aren't moving.
Think about it. When your only tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail. For economic analysts the only measure of assets is finance. However, other variables such as family, friends, customs, history, faith and ethnicity figure in any decision to relocate from one place to another. Non-financial factors are also part of that decision.
The most compelling drivers are
Money is an inescapable part of the decision, but what is the price of leaving family members needing personal care, transportation to medical appointments and just occasional contact with others? How much is it worth for children to escape bullying, discrimination or unsafe trips to and from school? When a baby comes, how will daycare (or staying home) affect the family lifestyle?
The list is endless, but the greater point is Jefferson's point that "mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by altering the forms to which they are accustomed." The decision to relocate to a more prosperous place is literally a revolutionary idea.
Migration within the borders of any country is interesting but not revolutionary. Populations all over the world are essentially the same. Most people want to stay where they are born and reared, even in places others consider dreadful environments -- temperature/climate extremes of arctic or tropical places, promises of mass disaster (volcanoes, floods, earthquakes or "tornado alleys"), areas long dominated by corruption or political conditions too powerful to resist.
Reading this link I am reminded, once again, of the false promises of money and financial security. Part of happiness is knowing when enough is better than more.
John Ballard was born and raised in The South . He’s a veteran, a retired cafeteria manager and non-medical caregiver, and a blogger. He’s a self-identified ‘old fashioned liberal’ but he has offered this piece for publication as common ground to stir some thought and conversation across the political spectrum. This article also appears at his blog, Hootsbuddy’s New Place John resides in Canton.
If standing elbow to elbow with a mass of humanity at Underground isn’t your cup of tea, we have some other options available.
Dropping of the Edelweiss - Helen
Georgia’s Alpine Helen, a sample of Bavaria tucked away in the mountains of White County, hosts a fitting celebration. Revelers will gather at the Festhalle for a family friendly celebration. This 6th annual event features live music, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast at midnight. Admission is $20/person $35/couple Kids 6-12 are half price & kids under 6 are free
The Possum Drop - Tallapoosa
No live possums are harmed in this event. The good people in Haralson County took that controversy off the table and now they drop a stuffed possum.
This event is outdoors in downtown Tallapoosa. Entertainment includes an Elvis performer, an Eagles tribute band, and country music entertainers. There’s also a kid’s zone and lots of food vendors. Check this link for more details.
New Year's Ghosts & Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation
For a quieter celebration, head down around Brunswick for ghost stories, history, and literally ringing in the new year with the old plantation bell. As the bell rings annoy sparkling cider. Reservations are required. More information here.
We’ll be celebrating this year with a private party, a small event. There’s plenty of other events to choose from or you can host your own. Regardless of how you celebrate, stay safe and we’ll see you in 2019!
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire