Georgia Country Road

Mystery

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted. What have I been doing? Lots. Where has the time gone? I don’t know. But, I have shot some photos in the meantime and will try to get back on track and be a bit more regular again with posting, so you have my apologies for barging into your cyberspace once again!

You know, there is something about the south that just seems to have a warm, inviting feel to it. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s there. It’s not just me that senses it – I know others have said the same thing to us. There is a lot of history here – not all of it good by any stretch of the imagination – but also a lot of a sense of youthful mystery and wonder

When my wife and I recently took a trip on a Saturday, we drove through the hamlet of Marble Hill and came back via the same route. There was an old structure by the side of the road that I noticed so on the way back we stopped so I could take some pictures of it. What I’d not noticed the first time I saw it was this gravel road that disappeared off into the woods “just down yonder a bit” where the gravel turned to the right.

As I stood there taking this photo, I almost could see two young kids, sorta like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, in overalls with straw hats on their heads, cane poles stuck over their shoulder walking away from me toward a creek where they were going to go fishing. It took me back to the days of my own youth as a farm kid in Iowa. I remembered walking down some gravel roads not too dissimilar to this one in the photo, with my friend Jimmy or my dad as we were heading out to fish.

Alas, this time there was no Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, but they were there – at least in my imagination. And even though my years have mounted up and some of the memories fade, my imagination can stay young if I let it. I hope you let yours stay young, too. Who knows? Maybe next time Huck Finn will be there!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1990, a stampede of religious pilgrims in a pedestrian tunnel in Mecca left more than 1,400 people dead. This was the most deadly of a series of incidents over 20 years affecting Muslims making the trip to Mecca.

To the followers of Islam, traveling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is known as performing the Hajj. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of the religion and must be done at least once in a follower’s lifetime, if personal circumstances permit. More than 2 million people make the journey every year. Typically, pilgrims celebrate the feast of Al-Adha and visit the area’s many holy sites during their stay.

The large number of people involved in the hajj has often led to tragedy. In 1987, a confrontation between Iranians and Saudis during an anti-American demonstration resulted in 400 deaths. In addition, a ritual in Mina has been the scene of several tragic incidents. There, in a valley near the birthplace of Mohammed, there is a giant pillar representing the devil. The pilgrims throw stones at the pillar over a three-day period. In 1994, 270 people died when too many rushed forward for the stoning. In 1998, at least 110 people were killed in a similar situation and another 180 were seriously injured. In both 2001 and 2002, more than 30 people died at Mina and, in 2003, another 244 pilgrims were killed in a stampede there. In 2006, 363 were killed.

Stampedes have not been the only source of tragedy–a fire in a tent in Mina killed 340 people and injured more than 1,400 more in 1997. Two separate plane crashes carrying pilgrims back home from Saudi Arabia in 1991 killed 261 and 91 people respectively.

In the 1990 tragedy, organizational failures by law enforcement officials combined with the enormous size of the crowd resulted in 1,426 people being crushed or suffocated to death in a long tunnel. Safety measures were taken in the aftermath, but with only limited success.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Over 83,000 Americans are missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the 1991 Gulf War.

 

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