While driving on U.S. Highway 319 in Thomasville, the second largest city in Southwest Georgia, and not very far from Tallahassee, Florida, my husband and I passed a sign, “Pebble Hill Plantation” that caught our attention. Since we’re both fascinated with history, especially American history, we decided to visit the grounds. As we entered the gates, we realized the tour had ended for the day. What we saw resembled a Southern farm with lots of restored structures. Wanting to know more about the plantation, we searched websites on “touring the Pebble Hill Plantation” and found the following published information:
This timeless Southern plantation home boasts an eclectic collection of fine art, crystal, porcelain, and antique furnishings. Visitors may wander through the pine and magnolia-dotted grounds, which feature a dog kennel/hospital, cow barn, firehouse, historic cemetery, log cabin schoolhouse, and brick horse stables. Prepare to be captivated while touring the South’s premier hunting plantation covering more than 3000 acres. The only one of its kind open to the public stands as testimony to the sporting life during the early 1800’s and is worth the drive.
After reading a lot more, the above glossy depiction was conspicuously missing a reference to the plantation during slavery. Additional information attempted to substantiate the lack of documentation about slavery at the Pebble Hill Plantation as follows: “One reason the slave bit is not mentioned very often at Pebble Hill is because it is restored closer to the early 20th century version of Pebble Hill, which includes a lovely white-column mansion that you can tour for $15.” How convenient! And what a bargain at $15, especially when you think of the price so many slaves paid with their blood, sweat, and tears, at this popular spot that now hosts weddings and other special events, with a magnificent view of magnolias and dripping Spanish moss.
Just finished taking down the Christmas decorations. I will soon be putting the music DVDs back into their envelopes. Later, I’ll replace the table trimmings of poinsettias and holiday place settings with the custom silk arrangement. The house is quiet and I am spending the morning reflecting on the surprises, madness, and loveliness. This is when I pause to read each and every holiday greeting card again. I will take another look at all the gifts that I received from family and friends; appreciating their love during this time of giving and caring. I am truly grateful that others included me in their thoughts (and even their shopping list) during this holiday season. These generous deeds spell l-o-v-e. It is so joyous and festive; filled with happiness, laughter in the air, parties to attend, lots of shopping, and so many acts of kindness. Church bells ring often, people worship and rejoice in the birth of Christ, and all is well in the land. Furthermore, it seems that our celebrations are so numerous and frenzied that we hardly have time to catch our breath before it’s time to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” How wonderful the new year will be if we hold fast to our feelings of benevolence and goodwill towards others.
According to Stevie Wonder, American musician, singer and songwriter, “superstition ain’t the way.” Proponents of superstition might very well base their belief on fear of the unknown and faith in luck. They often feel that certain things or happenings will bring either good fortune or mishap. Growing up I heard anecdotes: a black cat walking by means hardship; no umbrellas allowed inside; and a rabbit’s foot brings good luck. These are just a few examples; the list also includes home health remedies. Often times our families could not afford professional medical attention and opted for the latter. They relied on their religious beliefs and other simple theories. I remember grandma walking through the house singing, “Give me that old-time religion, it’s good enough for me.” These were the times when she was worried about something or someone or just did not feel well. Often times home health remedies worked or so she thought. While I have good medical insurance, my schedule last week was such that I did not want to take the time to consult my primary care physician about a sore throat that seemed to worsen daily. It got to the point where my routine and sleep were affected. Finally, when I was on the verge of going to see the doctor, I thought about what grandma did when I had a sore throat. Her remedy included gargling profusely with Listerine mouth wash and rinsing several times with warm, salty water. Trying to avoid going to see the doctor, I decided to try her home therapy as a last attempt. Voilà, it worked! While I have no fear of “Friday the 13th”, I am just humble enough to put some credence in what grandma believed. After all, my sore throat has abated. That’s good enough for me!
Can we be too busy for our own good? Think about the following examples: 1) Inviting someone to lunch only to have them respond “no” because it was laundry day. 2) Calling a former co-worker simply to “catch up” and have her respond that she had to get home early and would be skipping lunch. 3) Having a relative decline to join you for a movie because the relative had already seen it. 4) You call a former classmate “just because” but instead hear a voice mail saying to leave a message. These are only examples when others do not have time at the moment to indulge you. However, it is quite easy to be presumptuous in situations like the above. You might feel rejected and unloved. But, consider the following: 1) There might be a good reason for choosing laundry over lunch. 2) Perhaps the former co-worker had an important appointment the next day and had to complete some tasks before leaving work. 3) Not everyone likes to see the same movie twice. 4) There could be a future opportunity to visit with a former classmate. While these are only examples, they are instructive that things aren’t always as they seem. These patterns can serve as a life lesson and a pleasant reminder to make time for the ones you love even if it is not at the time someone wants you to. Is love just a number? I don’t think so. It is how we care for relationships; our loved ones – family and friends which count. Make those you love “Number One” in your life!
Have you witnessed a speeding driver hurriedly pass by while you were driving cautiously and at the speed limit, only to arrive at the red light and find the speeding driver sitting impatiently waiting for the red light to change to green? Were the two of you sitting alongside each other and the driver was too embarrassed to look over at you or too preoccupied with the reason for the haste? This happened to me recently. I was quite perplexed when a driver passed several of us on a curvy two-lane residential roadway where the speed limit was 45 mph. The driver, needless to say, was going much faster. He passed a car on the roadway at one of the curviest points only to steer his car back safely before meeting an oncoming car. I believe those of us who observed this irrational behavior let out a simultaneous sigh of relief for this driver – even if he thought he’d “saved some appreciable time getting to his destination” with his reckless driving.
As I exhaled from what seemed like a head-on collision about to happen, I thought about this warm and lovely holiday season upon us. I was enjoying the Christmas carols playing softly from the radio as I thought to myself that it seemed like such a waste of precious time to speed through the days without honoring the joy of being alive! I thought about the driver whose life might have ended that very instant over such a thing called impatience. This incident provoked me to be more vehement to savor each moment. Perhaps we should be more resolved not to hurry through life at a pace that might lead us down a destructive path. There is simply so much to explore and embrace. Why hurry up just to wait? Slow your pace and have the time of your life!
Last week we read and heard a lot about the sheriff who refused the President’s directive to fly the flag at half-staff in honor and remembrance of Nelson Mandela. In his opinion, South Africa should certainly do so, but because Mr. Mandela was not an American citizen, U.S. flags should not be flown in this manner. Even though the President’s request was non-binding, in theory, refusing to fly the flag at half-staff was certainly within the sheriff’s right, but was it the right thing to do? Other U.S. presidents have done likewise in situations where the decedent also was not an American. Viewpoints have been wide-ranging from agreeing with the sheriff to supporting the President. Somewhere in the middle I’d like to think that simply being a member of the human race and being kind to other people matter; that our Country still places the art of humanity in high esteem. This recent conversation about “Old Glory” has been provocative, absorbing, and edifying. Opinions on this matter are as diverse as our Country. What’s yours?