From rebels to rainbows

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AGMA loves the Ken Burns documentary, “The Civil War”. Originally broadcast in 1990, it was digitally restored to high definition for it’s 25th anniversary in 2015.

PBS is airing it again.

For the 14 people in the US who haven’t seen it and my friends in other countries, the series is nine 1 hour episodes that documents through still pictures and historian comments, America’s horrific Civil War (1861-1865) that changed the course of the nation and lead to the end of slavery.

At least “officially”.

AGMA was watching episode 1 a few days ago and a quote from Abraham LIncoln startled me out of my Facebook stupor.

You know, you’re allegedly watching something on TV, but you’re also surfing FB to see which member of the Bloated Pumpkin’s family or inner circle committed treason today. The standard stuff.

So you’re sort of watching the show on TV, but sort of not.

Well, this quote snapped AGMA back to the TV.

In a letter to Joshua Speed (who?) in 1855, Abraham LIncoln wrote:

“As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

Sound familiar? Just replace Catholics with “any other religion but bat-sh*t crazy evangelical pseudo-Christians” and it’s a match.

And I’m pretty sure we all know who the Know-Nothings are…

AGMA’s a stranger in a strange land.

I’m a Yankee living in the South.

Raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, Civil War history was rich in my family. The Union side that is. My paternal grandfather’s family all hailed from Mercersburg, a little town in south central PA. My dad’s grandfather was a Union Civil War veteran who fought at the battles of Mercersburg and Gettysburg.

As an adult, I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 30 years. Ohio was part of the Union.

For those who have no idea exactly where Cincinnati is on a map, it’s in the far southwestern part of Ohio, directly on the Ohio River. Kentucky, part of the Confederacy, is across the river.

That made for some interesting, complicated family and business relationships in the 1860’s.

Because of it’s proximity to the Confederacy, Cincinnati became a major stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to become free people in the North.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati is a excellent museum dedicated to not only documenting the history of the Underground Railroad, but “it serves to inspire modern abolition through connecting the lessons of the Underground Railroad with today’s freedom fighters.  The center is also a convener of dialogue on freedom and human rights.”

Then in 2006, AGMA moved to Georgia.

To some folks here in the South, the Civil War is still going on.

A short drive OTP makes that evident.

Side note: Atlanta is divided by the circle highway around it. You are either ITP (inside the perimeter) or OTP (outside the perimeter). ITP tends to lean more blue; OTP more red.

AGMA, of course, lives ITP.

Stone Mountain Park is a beautiful Georgia State Park about 15 miles outside of Atlanta. It was the site of the tennis, archery and track cycling events in the 1996 Olympics. It has a beautiful lake, camp ground, golf course, hiking and biking trails, picnic grounds, and wonderful special events throughout the year.

It’s also the site of the largest piece of exposed granite in the world.

Stone Mountain – get it?

And on that large granite outcrop is carved, 76 feet tall and 158 feet wide, the figures of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Generals Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson on their horses.

Ride ‘em rebels!

The official address of the Park is 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. And the museum in the park that educates visitors and school groups about the geology, ecology and history of the park is in Confederate Hall.

AGMA wonders if they tell the school kids that the land around Stone Mountain, was the site of the rebirth of the KKK in 1915? Or if the docent explains the history behind the different versions of the Confederate flag?. That all still fly on Flag Terrace.

Are you starting to get the picture?

The War ain’t over folks. General William Tecumseh Sherman’s destruction of Atlanta and his devastating (for the Confederacy and Georgia) march to the coast might have as well happened only a few years ago.

I mean, we all saw Gone With The Wind right? It was awful. But at least Tara was saved…

Which brings me to why AGMA loves Atlanta.

During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950‘s and 60’s, Altanta was spared most of the violence that occurred in other southern cities. A combination of progressive policies along with being the center of several major Civil Rights organizations, Atlanta was dubbed “The City too Busy to Hate”.

And it still is.

Although not perfect by any means, Atlanta is pretty chill. Mostly ITP, but some OTP too…

It’s a welcoming and very diverse city.

We are home to the Martin Luther King National Historical site, the Carter Center (gotta love Jimmy!), The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and one of the best Pride parades in the country.

Have you seen our permanent rainbow crosswalks?

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Hubs and I went to breakfast at HIghland Bakery in the city the other day. (OMG they have the BEST cinnamon rolls!) The staff and customers were themselves a rainbow of diversity and, you know, it wasn’t a big deal. To anyone. People were kind and courteous to each other independent of their color, religion or sexual preferences.

Kinda the way Abe envisioned it all working.

And I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude toward my newly adopted home.

AGMA initially didn’t like living here. Too many memories left behind. And while I still long for my home of 30 years in Cincinnati from time to time, I recognize that Atlanta has made me into the woman I am today. A far different woman than I was in 2006 when I moved here. Stronger, more confident, more open, more engaged.

And AGMA crazy. Of course…

So let’s not let the Know-Nothings have the last word. #Resist

Abraham Lincoln. Very smart man.

Let’s Go Krogering!

Kroger

Although the last few years have seen me in Whole Foods every week, I’m really a Kroger girl at heart.  If you aren’t familiar with Kroger, it’s a US grocery store chain headquartered in the city I lived in for most of my adult life, Cincinnati, Ohio.  You pretty much can’t spit in Cincinnati without hitting a Kroger.  They’re everywhere.

OMG – this is going to be a snoozer post…

Since Whole Foods is waaayyyy too expensive to buy food for more than one or two unless you have a trust fund, last weekend I went into my local Kroger to get some goodies to donate to my church for Thanksgiving food baskets.

But a weird thing happened.

After I had checked off all of the boxes on the list of things to get – cans of vegetables, cranberry sauce, evaporated milk, boxes of instant potatoes, stuffing and pasta – I didn’t want to leave.  I just couldn’t bring myself to go to the cashier to check out.  Or to one of the horrid self-service checkout things that are always calling the attendant on me because it didn’t “sense” me putting the 1 oz greeting card into the bag.  I’m convinced they call the attendant just to mess with me.  I hate those things.

But honestly, I didn’t want to leave.  I found myself pushing my cart, aimlessly wandering up and down the aisles.  Thinking about November “Krogering” trips from years gone by.

It’s pretty crazy how and where memories can be triggered.  These were good memories of shopping to feed the seemingly endless appetites of teenage boys, buying turkeys and “fixin’s” for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, getting ingredients for home-made holiday treats for teachers, friends and co-workers   Memories of family and community brought together by the sacred act of sharing food together.  Of spending time and energy in creating a body and soul nurturing meal out of the simple elements of meat, vegetables, bread.  And love.

Like alchemy.

I’ve been running away from some memories for a long time.  Maybe running away is a bit too dramatic.  How about “detouring around”?

The bad ones because they are just pain bad and painful. Understandable.  But I’ve been detouring from some of the good ones too.  Really happy ones in a different time and place and situation.  They tease that life may never be like that again. That the best really isn’t yet to come – that it’s already been.  Total nonsense I know.  Life is a continual adventure with unexpected joys and opportunities presenting themselves all the time if we can find a way to open our hearts to them.  I really try.

Screw Whole Foods…  This year we’re having an all Kroger Thanksgiving!  I have 364 days of the year to eat organic and “locally sourced”.  I want some good old comfort holiday food tomorrow. Food that will make my kitchen smell like it did 20 years ago when I was cooking for my growing family, and having friends and family in and out for the holidays.  Food that makes me smile and remember, and feeds my body and spirit.

Hmmm…

Maybe this means the detouring is winding down.  Maybe it means that I’m finally getting my act together.  Or that the life I’m making for myself now is just as happy as in days gone by, but in a new and different way.  Or none of the above.

I need to not overthink this.  Tomorrow, I just need to dig in, enjoy and be thankful.  For lots and lots and lots of stuff.

Like you, my WordPress friends.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!