Livin’ in Georgia

_MG_8653Suppose that you went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar place. You get cleaned up, get dressed and go outside only to find that you don’t recognize a thing. The people sound funny when they talk – oh, it’s English – but it sure doesn’t sound quite right! You stop at a corner cafe to alleviate your hunger but there’s strange stuff on the menu: fried green tomatoes, grits, fried okra, fried pickles, collard greens and kale…  What would all this tell you? Precisely this: you have somehow (perhaps through the use of a Star Trek-like transporter) been moved from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

Now, I have to tell you that there’s not much further you could go in the United States that to make a transition from California to a place like Georgia. Both have advantages…and disadvantages. Which do I prefer? I’m not going there because I can’t. There are things I prefer about California and things I prefer about Georgia. I guess that’s how it should be, though.

Recently, in Dahlonega, I saw these signs in the front of a store window and I thought that they captured part of what it is like living here in Georgia. Fishing is big. Hunting is big. Beer is big. Firearms are BIG. Hippies are NOT big and you take your life in your hands if you look like one.

Ah, diversity!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1789, 69 members of Congress cast their ballots to elect George Washington the first president of the United States.

As the former leader of the Continental Army and chairman of the Continental Congress, Washington possessed the necessary credentials for the presidency, if not the enthusiasm. For months he tried to avoid it, even outright rejecting the idea of assuming the presidency, but he finally succumbed to Congress’ decision and the runner-up, John Adams became Washington’s vice president.

Washington’s reluctance stemmed in part from the fact that becoming president would place him squarely in the middle of a raging legislative debate regarding the character of the new government, a conflict that persisted to the end of his second term. Washington dreaded presiding over a fragile young nation that already appeared to be dividing along partisan lines. (Sound familiar?) He also expressed concern over his age. Later he wrote that on the eve of his inauguration he felt someone going to the place of his execution than a national hero.

Washington’s humility meshed well with the new nation’s democratic sensibilities. Fearing any comparison to the monarchal government from which American had just been liberated, an aging Washington took care to avoid any physical or symbolic references to European monarchs from the beginning of his term, including ordering his tailor to make his inauguration suit out of simple broadcloth. (Later on, as he settled in to the presidency, Washington took to wearing slightly more presidential black velvet.) When the Senate proposed that he be called by the official title His Highness the President of the United States of America and the Protector of Their Liberties, an embarrassed Washington opted for the more modest address of Mr. President.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Hammerhead sharks’ heads are soft at birth so they won’t jam the mothers’ birth canals.


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