Monday, April 17, 2017

"There are Places I Remember" , Number One

there are places I remember…”  (link to the Beatles' song, "In My Life")

I’m mining my photo banks and travel diaries to celebrate places I remember.  Two years ago we hit the road for Birmingham, Alabama. We were going to celebrate a wedding, but decided to stop off at places we’ve only heard of, not necessarily favorably. 

The first afternoon we visited Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.  It was on Bill’s bucket list. Who knew? Less than enthusiastic, I tried to find something unique in their high quality sacred art museum which was full of old Masters. But having been to cathedrals in Europe I'd seen enough Virgin Mary paintings and cavorting angels to last a life time. 

Bill was disappointed to discover that the college book store is only online, no browsing text books.

Our glimpse into campus culture was interesting. When my daughter was eight, she played with a friend from a devout Christian family. I asked her what games they had played and she answered “humble girls.”  I’m not sure what she meant then, but BJU had a whole campus full of them! Girls are still required to wear skirts. Some could have stepped out of the set from Little House on the Prairie, others chose modest versions of current styles.

The student dining hall had a wide range of nationalities, and coed groups shared the tables. I did not see many African Americans, but again, I don’t see them at my white church either. 

I much preferred our time downtown at an outdoor cafe sipping locally brewed beer. No BJU students there. 

The next day took us through Atlanta for their reputation for "stop and groan" traffic. 

Once in Birmingham we went downtown to Kelly Ingram Park, the civil rights site where police hosed protestors and brought in the attack dogs. The art in the park recreates the scene with metal scupture.  It’s arranged so you have to sidle between life sized metal snarling dogs, frightening in their realism.

the four girls killed in church bombing across the street

Across the street is the Civil Rights Institute, a compelling collection of media—video, audio, recreated rooms, statues which tell the story of the 1960s in the South. I wish my grandchildren and former students could have accompanied me to experience this well-executed collection of artifacts. 

In total contrast, in the afternoon we visited Antebellum House near downtown. While the landholdings are much smaller than they were, it is a lovely home still. It’s good sized, but not grand. In fact, many architectural details reminded me of our century old home in Denver. The front door is glass with small panels on each side. The entrance runs through the center of the house creating a commodious foyer. Living room to the right, dining and kitchen to the left, just like our house. (sigh)

The rehearsal dinner was held in the Birmingham Botanic Gardens, small but lovely. The tulips and other bulbs were finished blooming due to a warm spring, but the temperatures made for lovely outdoor mingling. I’d love to go back and hit the gardens for the spring flowers.

Of course the wedding was wonderful too. And as the Beatles conclude in their song,"I'll never lose affection for people and things that went before." Here's a late toast to Andrew and Jenna on their second anniversary.

While my wanderlust hasn’t dimmed, my opportunities have slimmed. 

It’s best to recall the affections this trip stimulated. 

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