Google+ Georgia On My Mind: December 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking Ahead to New Year's Day

Around here we follow that old Southern saying for our traditional New Years Day Meal….

Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. Rice for riches and peas for peace.

Over the years my husband and I have tried to dress up our grandmothers’recipes for Black-Eyed Peas, Corn Bread, and Collard Greens a bit because truthfully I never have liked the soupy kind of collard greens my mother fixed and plain old black-eyed peas were not very appetizing.

So why does my family continue the tradition by serving the staple ingredients when we could just as easily have steak or lobster? I think there is something special about remembering where you came from.

No, the past isn’t always pretty. It’s said Hoppin’ John originated from slave victuals and no one wants to glorify the conditions that slaves lived in, but the past I’m talking about is the extremely dirt poor Georgia that existed for whites and blacks between Reconstruction and the New South era of Henry Grady fame. That is the Georgia of our grandparents and great-grandparents.

Last Saturday I went to my father’s house in Cherokee County. It’s hard to imagine now but at one time his property was a working farm with planted crops and grazing animals. Most of what was eaten was grown or raised right there. There were no fast food trips or daily grocery runs and restaurant meals were out of the question. By today’s standards my grandparents were poor.

Most of the people I know would find it very hard to live the way they did, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask of myself and my children to remember how our forbears celebrated the first day of each year.

However, like I said, my husband and I have managed to find updated recipes for the old standards.

Here are two New Years Day dishes that will be served at my house on January 1st.

Pork Roast With Hopping John Stuffing

1 small onion, chopped
½ medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
2 T. vegetable oil
1 ½ cups cooked long-grain rice
1 ½ cups frozen chopped collard greens, thawed
1 (15 oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (I like the Glory brand)
½ cup diced cooked country ham
½ t. sugar
½ t. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (2 ½-pound) boneless pork loin roast

Saute onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Add rice and next five ingredients; stir in egg. Set stuffing aside.

Butterfly pork loin roast by making a lengthwise cut down center of 1 flat side, cutting to within ½ inch of bottom. From bottom of cut, slice horizontally to ½ inch from left side; repeat procedure to right side. Open roast, and place between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; flatten to ½-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Spoon 1 ½ cups stuffing evenly over roast, leaving a ½-inch border. Roll up; tie with string at 1-inch intervals. Place, seam side down in a lightly greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in center registeres 160 degrees. Reheat remaining Hopping John and serve with roast.
6-8 servings
Prep: 30 minutes, Bake: 1 hour

Hot Water Cornbread

This cornbread needs to be prepared at the last minute so you can serve it hot!

2 cups white cornmeal
¼ t. baking powder
1 ¼ t. salt
1 t. sugar
¼ cup half-and-half
1 T. vegetable oil
¾ cup to 1 ¼ cups boiling water
Vegetable oil
Softened butter

Combine cornmeal and next three ingredients in a bowl; stir in half-and-half and 1 T. oil. Gradually add boiling water, stirring until batter is the consistency of grits.

Pour oil to a depth of ½ inch into a large heavy skillet; place over medium high heat. Scoop batter into a ¼-cup measure; drop into hot oil, and fry, in batches, 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain well on paper towels. Serve immediately with softened butter.
Makes 8 patties
Prep: 5 minutes, Cook 18 minutes

Both of these recipes originated from Southern Living Magazine.

The pictures with this post were taken by my daughter on her grandfather's property. If the first picture didn't load properly click on it to see it all. It's a lovely photo looking up towards a huge oak tree and the old corn crib on the property.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Go Visit the Georgia Blog Carnival....It's Free!

I’ve been in and out all day today helping Santa to complete his list and when I stopped by the house long enough to drop off packages I was pleased to discover the 25th Georgia Blog Carnival has arrived for your reading pleasure over at Marketing Through the Clutter.

Many thanks to Sandi….She’s done a great job of putting together our online magazine for the Georgia Blogosphere and dubbed me the Georgia Carnival Poobah. I like that since I was a huge fan of the Flintstones for many, many years. Isn’t that what the leader of the Imperial Order of the Water Buffalos was called?

I digress…..After spending too much money today I’m glad I have a weekend activity that’s free. Head on over to carnival and relax for a bit.

Don’t forget to link to the carnival to let your readers know it is up.

I plan to pour me a nice cup of eggnogg and curl up with the laptop later on this evening and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One More Thing to Add to the To-Do List

Yes, it’s almost that time again! The Georgia Carnival will post this Friday with lots of news and views from the past two weeks. Marketing Through the Clutter will be our kind host.

Submissions should include your blog name, post url, your name, and your email address. Send your submission to or use the blog carnival submission form here.

So Long Speaker Murphy

The last gavel has sounded for Tom Murphy, long-time Speaker for the Geogia General Assembly. He was wonderfully cast for his role. I don’t think anyone could have played him better. The picture seen here is from 1975 and features Tom Murphy with two other people Georgians would recognize……George Busbee and Zell Miller.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia article for Speaker Murphy can be found here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg: One of My All Time Favorites

During the late 70s when others might have been listening to John Denver or Neil Diamond I was collecting Dan Fogelberg albulms (remember those….they were the shiny, black vinyl disks that made music when you placed them on something called a turn table?). I still have my Fogelberg albulms as as well hundreds of others as well. I just can’t seem to let go of them.

This morning the news of Fogelberg’s passing met my ears and I was instantly sad.

Here's the whole story..... and here is Fogelberg doing what I loved:

Friday, December 14, 2007

History of a Long, Dirt Road

I love dirt roads, and Georgia is simply full of them.

Unfortunately you have to travel further and further from the environs of Atlanta to find them anymore.

When I was 18 and a newbie on the college campus of my parent’s choosing I was a member of the Dirt Road Club. The requirements were simple… had to have enough money to invest in either gas or an appropriate beverage or two for you and your fellow club members, you had to be willing to devote an occaisional Saturday or Sunday to what could be an all day, all night road trip, and if you were the official driver for that trip you had turn off the main highway everytime you came upon a dirt road and follow it until you couldn’t follow it any longer.

Needless to say I’m quite the expert when it comes to private drives and logging roads all over North Georgia.

Just like the explorers of the 1500s and just like those folks who brave the elements to climb Mt. Everest members of The Dirt Road Club ventured forth because they were compelled to.

Our club motto was “Because it’s there!”

Yes, there were some dirt roads that were a bit scary, some that had a Deliverance feel to them, and some were just plain dangerous. Others were pure gems. Once when riding along through a forest the trees suddenly cleared and we found ourselves on a ridge where you could see mountain rise after mountain rise in the distance. Another time we found a mountain stream complete with waterfall and on the hills rising up all around us were hundreds of mountain laurel in full bloom. Those were the moments that kept us going down all those dirt roads.

This week’s wordless image over at History Is Elementary was a dirt road. The image received many comments regarding perspective and the fact that the road in the photo looked like a very long road. It does my heart good when so many take the time to bring out other details like the palmetto, live oaks, and the shell covered road like Shannon and Carmi.

The road seen in my image has the distinction of being the longest and oldest dirt road still in use in America. It is located on Ossabaw Island, a barrier island along Georgia’s coast. Jeremy was the first commenter to place the image in the proper U.S. region so congratulations and enjoy your link. :)

The island contains over 26,000 acreas and archeologists have determined humans haved lived on or used the island for the past 4,000 years.

Thought it had two other prior owners Ossabaw Island was owned by John Morel during Georgia’s colonial years and through the Revolution. He purchased half of the island in 1760 and the other half in 1763. Morel was a Savannah merchant and Council of Safety member who with the help of slave labor used the island for timber cutting and agriculture. Indigo, cotton, and rice were main cash crops cultivated on Ossabaw.

During Morel’s ownership the avenue of oaks that remain today were planted along the long dirt road that traverses the island. To make it easier to manage agricultural operations on the island Morel divided the land into tracts. Following John Morel’s death in 1777 the island was divided among Morel’s three sons with each receiving a particular tract. Bryan Morel received North End Place, Peter Henry Morel received Middle Place, and John Morel II took control of South End. I would venture that they shared the fourth tract known as Buckhead. After the War of 1812 the highly sought Sea Island cotton was raised on Ossabaw because it has stronger filiments than cotton grown on the mainland and it was very desirable by textile manufacturers.

During the Civil War when the Union blockaded the South the Morel family abandoned Ossabaw Island. At one point during Reconstruction a Freedmen’s Bureau location was there. In fact, the Ossabaw Foundation site states that many of the former slaves from Ossabaw eventually relocated to Pin Point, Georgia which is the home of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The remains of three slave cabins can be found at the northern end of the island. One is thought to date from 1820 and the other two date from the 1840s. Archeologists have found alligator teeth and racoon bones in the area surrounding the cabins along with the makings of a mojo bag along with blue beads. It was thought that the color blue would ward off any spirits. It was believed that spirits didn’t like the color blue because it reminded them of heaven.

During the Gilded Age in the late 1800s the island was controlled by the Wannamaker family of Philadelphia. They used Ossabaw as a hunting club.

During the 1920s Dr. H.N. Torrey built a vacation home on the island that in reality is a mansion. The Torrey family had moved to Savannah from Grosse Pointe, Michigan in 1923 and when their Savannah home burned they moved to Ossabaw where they entertained many people. It has been reported that Henry Ford, who had his own Georgia plantation, was the first to sign the Torrey’s guestbook.

Eventually, the island passed to the Torrey’s daughter, Eleanor Torrey West. Along with her husband, Clifford West, the Ossabaw Foundation was created which launched many unique programs on the island, such as the Ossabaw Island Project. This interdisciplinary program supported recommended individuals “of creative thought and purpose in the arts, sciences, industry, education, and religion” to come to the islands to share their ideas with other creatives and pursue their work without interruption.

The island was turned over to the State of Georgia in 1978, and was designated as Georgia’s first Heritage Preserve with the written understanding that Ossabaw would “only be used for natural scientific, and cultural study, research and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation and management of the Island’s ecosystem.” The acquistition was made possible by the generosity of Mrs. West and her family, a personal gift to the State of Georgia from Robert F. Woodruff (Coca-Cola), the assistance of The Nature Conservancy, and the State’s commitment to preservation of the island.

Gee, just think…..all of that a dirt road to boot. Thanks, Mrs. West!

For further reading:

An AJC article from 2006 provides some interesting detail about life on the island for slaves and those that came later.

This Smithsonian article also details slave life on the island.

A Georgia blog, Nature's Harmony Farm, provides some information regarding Ossabaw pigs.

More history bits can be found here, here, and here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lost History: Red Oak Depot

When I was a little girl and before I started to school one of the things I would do each day is follow my mother around. While a nice Mr. Jackson delivered our newspaper each afternoon to a box out at the highway our mail went to a post office box down the road in Red Oak. We received our mail at the same post office box as the business my father worked for. I can’t remember my first address or phone number after I was married, but I still remember PO Box 70 as my mailing address for all of those years.

Anyway we were in downtown Red Oak (if there was such a thing) every day and I often wondered aloud to my mother why Red Oak didn’t have a train depot like the neighboring towns of Fairburn, Palmetto, or even College Park. Of course, mother didn’t know. Over the years I did discover there had been one, but progress had required that it be torn down. How sad….

The above image was found online here, and its one of the closest things I’ve found to an actual photo.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

This Week's New Additions

In case you missed it over the weekend the 24th Carnival for Georgia Bloggers is up over at Drifting Through the Grift. Go give the carousel a whirl.....

The following sites have been added to my blogroll of Georgia bloggers here at Georgia on My Mind:

Decatur Metro – from the site Decatur Metro brings you all the latest news from Decatur, Georgia and its surrounding environs every day. While it may not be the city that never sleeps (all those kids have to be get up in time to make an eco-friendly commute to/from school!), there’s always something going on in Decatur. Be it a development controversy or a rockin’ concert at Eddie’s Attic, Decatur Metro will always have the latest scoop. So sit back with a pint of high-gravity beer from the Brick Store, and a plate of fried chicken from Watershed and enjoy the ride!

Common Sense – Jace hails from Woodstock, Georgia and his girlfriend thinks he’s a nerd for getting so excited about blogging. His place is the one for you if you like commentary on life, liberty, and politics in America.

Dunwoody North Civic Association – this blog supports the 1,250 homes in the Dunwoody North subdivision as well as the subdivisions of Andover Estates, Laurelwood Farms, Dunwoody Trails, Brafferton Square, Briars North, The Madisons, and Chestnut Landing. This is a pretty indepth blog regarding issues important to the people living in the subdivisions mentioned. All areas need a forum like this!

Grouchy Old Cripple in Atlanta – the tagline at this site states, pushing the boundaries of bad taste and political incorrectness. Well, someone has to, don’t they? Lots of opinions on politics and current issues.

Cosmic Persona Designs – From the site, the cosmic archetypal, visionary, mystical, and transpersonal drawings by Jude Cowell

Virus Head – if you like viral themes then this blog is for you…..politics, religion, culture, and daily life

Dixie's Diner – blogging about family, job, and current events

The Sandbox – An Air Force brat and UGA grad now proudly serving his country by attending flight/navigation school at Pensacola Naval Air Station. He hasn’t posted in awhile but who can blame him? He is going to to flight school…..

Stephanie – blogs about her day to day life

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ray Charles and Georgia on My Mind

Albany, the birthplace of Ray Charles, has honored him with a statue.

Wikipedia states: Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia to Bailey Robinson, a railroad repair man, mechanic and handyman, and Aretha Williams, who stacked boards in a sawmill; the two were never married. The family moved to Greenville, Florida, when Ray was an infant. Bailey had two more families, leaving Aretha to raise the family. When Charles was five, he witnessed his younger brother, George, drown in his silverlarge portable laundry tub. He began to go blind at age six and was totally blind by age seven.

You can read the rest of the Wikipedia entry here, and enjoy Ray Charles singing below.

What's he singing? Well, Georgia on My Mind, of course!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The 24th Georgia Carnival

The 24th Georgia Carnival is up over at Drifting Through the Grift. GriftDrift has done an excellent job of putting together a nice panorama of what the Georgia blogosphere has to offer.

The next carnival will post December 21 and will be found over at Marketing Through The Clutter before returning here at the beginning of the year for its one year anniversary.

John Laurens: A Man Before His Time

Laurens County was created in December, 1807 and was named for John Laurens, an aide-de-camp for General George Washington during the American Revolution. (Read a letter from George Washington to John Laurens.) He was appointed to that position after a standout performance at Brandywine. Laurens is also remembered for having his horse shot out from underneath him at Monmouth.

Laurens was not from Georgia, but was from South Carolina. His father, Henry Laurens, served as president of the Continental Congress. Later, after the Revolution Henry Laurens traveled to Europe and was part of the delegation that negotiated settlement terms with the British. He is immortalized in many paintings but the most interesting is Benjamin West’s unfinished work I wrote about over at History Is Elementary today.

Getting back to the namesake for Georgia’s Laurens County……John Laurens lobbied for a Black regiment during the Revolution to help fight for the Patriot cause. He wanted slaves armed and wanted them to have their freedom in exchange for their service. His ideas greatly set him apart from other South Carolina Patriots. Laurens’ innovative idea was portrayed in the movie The Patriot with Mel Gibson.

During the fall of Charleston John Laurens was captured by the British and was shipped to Philadephia where he was granted parole. Later he was recaptured by the British and ended up in the Tower of London. When he was exchanged a few months later Congress appointed him special minister to France. In March, 1781 John Laurens obtained an agreement from the French where they would lend naval support to the Patriots that same year, and he also traveled to the Netherlands for a loan and supplies.

In a plot too interesting to be real life Laurens managed to return to America in time to join the Patriots at Yorktown where he took part in the surrender negotiations. He then traveled back to South Carolina and worked with Nathaniel Greene who had a network of spies reporting on British operations there. Even though there had been a surrender at Yorktown the British remained active elsewhere for a time.

John Laurens’ service to his country ended in August, 1782 at the Battle of Chehaw Neck when he shot. Many historians feel it was a meek ending for such a dynamic man. Laurens is buried at Mepkin, the Laurens’ estate that today contains a Trappist abbey.

The picture with this post is a minature by Charles Wilson Peale. Laurens commissioned it for his wife. Mr. Peale eventually copied the minature and presented to Major William Jackson who served with Laurens during the siege of Charleston. Jackson’s copy also contains a motton written in Latin that states, “Dulce et decorum est propatria mori” which means “It is a sweet and honorable thing to die for one’s country.”

Many historians feel that John Laurens was a man before his time and admire his youthful zeal on the battlefield and off. One interesting bit about Laurens that I would never bring up to my nine year old students is the fact that there is speculation that Laurens and Alexander Hamilton were lovers. This is due to the fact that in some of their letters contain very loving sentiments such as this quote from Hamilton: “I wish, my dear Laurens…it might be in my power, by action rather than words, [to] convince you that I love you.” Hamilton and Laurens are both on the “Surrender of Cornwallis” commemorative U.S. postage stamp released in October of 1981. (Source)

One of the most recent accounts of the life of John Laurens is Gregory D. Massey’s John Laurens and the American Revolution. A volume that I would really like to have in my possession is from 1958 by Sara Bertha Townsend called An American Soldier: The Life and Times of John Laurens. It is based largely on the correspondence between John Laurens and his father, Henry Laurens.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Atlanta Fireman Has to Take Drastic Steps

The deplorable conditions shown tonight on video within a Channel 46 story is inexcusable for city where officials go to work each day in plush conditions… atrium, palm trees, decorated offices….I’m fairly certain that if the tables were turned and Atlanta’s City Council or Mayor Franklin was forced to work each day at this firehouse they would find the money very quickly to provide themselves with a proper environment.

The condition of this firehouse has not occurred overnight. and if I was a taxpayer in Atlanta I would livid….I’m livid anyway.

Click here for the full story and and make sure you watch the video.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Argh! It's Only Tuesday....

Well, at least we know now it wasn’t our computer that was on the fritz……WSB reports that AT&T had some problems last night with Internet connections.

Ok, I’m not really pleased that Channel 2 opted to forgo the rereun of a "Charlie Brown Christmas" (one of my all time favs) for a compliation of several of their recent investigative reports. However, congrats to Jason Pye over at Georgia Porkbusters and for his part in the piece regarding government spending. It’s nice to see some of those faces in the Georgia blogosphere from time to time.

Last night we heard that many of Georgia’s soldiers in the reserve are being called overseas again….this time to Afghanistan. Thanksgiving Day I had a dual experience relating to a soldier's homecoming.

Finally, on to something really different…..a government agency is saying stop sending us money. Gee, I don’t know about you, but they could send a stack of those $5.00 checks my way.

Monday, December 3, 2007

If It's Monday Then It Must Be Additions and A Call for Submissions

This week’s additions are pulled from the most recent edition of the Georgia Carnival over at Facing the Sharks. There were several Georgia blogs I had not previously linked mentioned in the carnival. I’ll finish linking to them next week. If you are a blogger located in Georgia and I haven’t added you to the blogroll here at Georgia On My Mind yet please contact me and I will get to it straight away.

The next edition of the carnival is looming ahead for December 7th. It will be hosted by
Drifting Through the Grift. Submit your posts to or use the handy submission form. Submissions are due Thursday, December 6th by 6:00 p.m.

This week’s additions are:

Running Trails in Atlanta – Dave is enjoying and discovering trails in and around Atlanta as well as around the country during his travels

What's Goin' On? – Wilson is actually an attorney during his free time but keeps the blogosphere up-to-date with political and current issues via his blog posts and podcasts.

Almost in Focus – This is an apt title for an interesting photo blog created by Danny Gilleland. – Brian is the pastor for college students and young adults at Harvest Cathedral in Macon, Georgia plus he’s a systems administrator for a large company. His posts include his thoughts on life, God, and his family.

Kat in Georgia – Kat states her blog is just a collection of aimless ramblings from a wife, mom, and proud member of Soldier’s Angels, Adoptaplatoon, Web of Support, Operation Quiet Comfort, and The Patriot Guard Riders. Can you tell she supports our troops? Stop by and give her a salute! - Damon is a certified Adobe and Apple instructor. His primary focus is video applications. His blog allows him to try out new things and store links to cool finds. Stop by…you might pick up a trick or two. – Shawn is from Savannah and she is currently majoring in Information Technology. Her blog reflects love for the sweetness of life.

Snozzberries - From the site…some sarcasm, a pinch of irony, thoughts, complaints, overshares, self-deprecation, and obscure pop culture knowledge.

Homeschool Journey – Wife of one and mother of five shares her family’s daily adventures.

Garm Howling – Howling into the void about anything and everything…..

Our Journey to Baby Shanahan – So what happens after a couple adopts a baby from China? This is the story about one little girl’s American life.

Journey of a 1000 Words – This blogger is many things including a Baltimoran turned Georgian, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, an aspiring book author, and she even has a link where you can hear her daily newscast.

Common Folk Using Common Sense - Lots of opinions and updates on current issues and politics from a man who describes himself as 46, male, husband, father, and grandfather.

Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff – The tagline at at this site states, “the safe surfing soapbox for the sophisticated surfer of sorts….Lots of different links and thoughts.

GeoSciBlog - This blog’s author, Joe-6-pack, states the blog name stands for GeologicalScienceBlog. Subjects will include climatology, environmental science, NASCAR, beer, property rights, politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian viewpoint, and random thoughts. Check out his other sites too……Beer Can Blog which focuses on beer can collecting and
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...