…of Helen, Georgia

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Do you believe in Santa Claus?  Well, if you’d rather not state your position on that, it’s fine with me.  I understand.  So let me ask a simpler, less convicting question: do you believe in the Grinch?

I never did, not really, until yesterday (11/9/14).  Now I do believe, for I’ve seen the Grinch.  Just so you know, the Grinch doesn’t look anything like you might suspect.  The real Grinch isn’t green with yellow eyes like today’s photo.  No, the real Grinch is a woman (a shop owner, apparently) that has a shop in Helen, Georgia.

My wife and I had been looking forward to heading up in the the “mountains” in northern Georgia for a couple of weeks.  I wanted to see more of the fall color, she wanted to visit Helen, which is a Scandinavian town in the mountains.  (Just for sake of clarity, for those of you who live in the mountains of the west, these would be foothills!)

On the way there, we stopped at an old mill that was still working (pictures from there coming in the next few days!), and it was great because there was a beautiful little river with a log dam behind the mill.  We truly enjoyed the place…my wife for the fascinating little shops and me for the chance to photograph the dam and falls.

Then we went on into Helen and had lunch.  After lunch, we started walking around so my wife could look at some shops.  We went into one shop in particular where I thought there were interesting things to photograph, and so I asked the lady if I could take pictures.  I always try to make it a practice to ask, and I think I’ve only been turned down once before.  In fact, most of the time, they thank me for asking and say, “Sure!”

Well, this lady was NOT accommodating at all!  I asked if I could shoot some pictures while my wife was shopping in the store, and she got a not very pleasant look on her face, and said, “No.  I’d rather you didn’t.”  My wife overheard this statement and the manner in which the owner said it, and my wife said something like, “Well, in that case, let’s leave!”  So we did.  That lady will never know the fabulous sales she might have been if she’d said yes.  Well, okay, maybe not.  But I can tell you this: she didn’t get one penny from us.  After all, what did she think the pictures would hurt?  I suppose she might have thought I’d get ideas for making things and be a competitor, but come on: I don’t need a photo to do that.  Just looking is enough to give ideas.

So, the next store we went in to was a Christmas store, and there we saw…ta da…the Grinch!  And I took a picture and told my wife I was going to write about the Grinch of Helen…and that’s how this post came to be!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1967, while on a mission over Laos, Capt. Lance P. Sijan ejected from his disabled McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom jet near Vinh, North Vietnam. Despite suffering a skull fracture, a mangled right hand, and a compound fracture of the left leg during his ejection, Sijan successfully evaded capture for more than six weeks.

Eventually Sijan’s wounds and lack of sustenance overwhelmed him and he collapsed along a road, where he was found by North Vietnamese troops. After several days of captivity, Sijan gathered his strength and escaped. Still weakened and suffering from his injuries, Sijan was recaptured and tortured, and then transported to the infamous prison known as the Hanoi Hilton. While there, he contracted pneumonia and died. Throughout his ordeal, Captain Sijan never gave up his desire to escape and resisted his captors to the very end. When the American prisoners of war (POWs) were released in 1973, several of Sijan’s fellow POWs immediately initiated a recommendation for Sijan to receive the Medal of Honor. On March 4, 1976, President Gerald Ford presented the medal to Captain Sijan’s father in a ceremony at the White House.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Because whales must rise to the surface often to breathe, only one half of their brain sleeps at a time. This process allows their body to get adequate rest while still providing for the necessary function of breathing to survive.

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