25 December 2013

Merry Christmas From The Piedmont Chronicles

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here are a few of my past Christmas columns from About Covington to Madison magazine. The first is from 2009 and the second one is a short-story that was published in 2010, and the third is my Christmas Column from 2011. Hope everyone is having a joyous Christmas celebration. Until next time...


Christmas Time’s A Comin’
~from the December 2009 issue of About Covington to Madison~


Hey everyone. So glad to be back with you again. Wow, December already! It’s hard to believe. Time really does seem to speed up as we get older. But the Holidays are upon us once again and that makes me very happy. Christmas…man, it just doesn’t get much better. A celebration of faith, love, and fellowship—it’s obviously a very special time of the year.

What is Christmas exactly? That answer can be as varied as the people you ask. For a lot of us, Christmas is a celebration of the Lord Savior Jesus Christ as we remember his entrance to our earthly world. But Christmas is also simply about love. Love of our fellow man. Love of our families and friends. And love of the things we hold most dear. While Thanksgiving is certainly about giving thanks, Christmas, for me, is just as much about gratitude. It is also about the spirit of giving. But what about the history of Christmas?

The roots of Christmas go back to the Romans. They had a festival called Saturnalia that celebrated Saturn, the god of agriculture, marking the end of the fall harvest and honoring the winter solstice. During the heyday of Rome , this was the festival and was considered the most important time of the year. Other cultures and other peoples in other parts of the old continent also had celebrations around this time of the year. In the early years of Christianity, church leaders were looking for ways to help spread the Good Word, so in the 4th century A.D., they adopted the time of Saturnalia as the “Feast of the Nativity.” Within a couple of centuries, it had stuck and December 25 to this day remains the celebration of Christmas.

For many of us, Christmas always brings back memories of being young and anxiously awaiting Santa. The origins of Santa Claus are as interesting as the origins of Christmas itself. It starts with St. Nicholas, a monk born in the 3rd century who gave away all of his wealth to help the poor and sick. He was known as “Sinter Klass” by the Dutch and this would turn into Santa Claus by the 18th century. The image of Santa that most of us have with his red suit, large belly, and white beard can be traced back to the drawings of Thomas Nast in the 19th century and further reinforced with ads from the Coca-Cola Co. in the 1930’s.


There are many wonderful Christmas stories throughout the annals of history but perhaps there is none better than the story of the WWI Christmas truce. In 1914, on the fields of Flanders  German and British troops were squared off in their trenches fighting a terrible war. Then on Christmas Eve, German troops lit candles and started singing Christmas carols. The British followed suit and in no time, a truce had been called and the fighting stopped. Germans and Brits exchanged gifts, spent time together, and even played soccer. This phenomenon occurred in several other places along the battle lines and in some cases lasted all the way until New Year’s Eve. To me, that is a story that truly captures the Christmas spirit.

One of the key aspects of Christmas also has to be the music! There are so many wonderful Christmas songs. “Silent Night” is probably one of the better known and ingrained of all Christmas songs; it was written in the early 1800’s by a couple of Austrians. Originally written in German, it was later translated to English with a slightly different melody and that version is the one we know today. “White Christmas” has been ranked as the number one Christmas song of all time by several groups and publications. Written by Irving Berlin, the original recording was done by Bing Crosby. Speaking of Bing Crosby, if you want a real treat—search Youtube with the key words: Bing Crosby, David Bowie, and Little Drummer Boy. You will find a magnificent version of that song by two of the greatest artists of the 20th century. The title of this column is a new favorite of mine. I had never heard this song until I played it a while back with the Biggers Family Band—a country, bluegrass-gospel band that I play with from time to time with my wife and her family. But probably my all-time favorite Christmas song has got to be—“Come Home for Christmas” also known as “Bells Will Be Ringing.” Released by the Eagles as a Christmas single in 1978, it is such a great tune.

As I write this column, the calendar still reads November but I am starting to feel an almost child-like excitement for Christmas that I haven’t felt in years. It will be the first Christmas for my little baby girl and I am so very excited. From my family to yours—Merry Christmas &  Happy New Year.


A Good Christmas Indeed

A Christmas Novella by Marshall McCart
~My column (and my first published work of fiction) from the 2010 Christmas issue of About Covington to Madison Magazine including an online-only epilogue~

*****************

Walter was a helluva guy. An old-timer, no doubt, he was pushing eighty and looked and got around about as one would expect. He lived in a little shotgun house just down the way. From about late September until April or so, he would have a fire going in his fireplace just about everyday. And every time you would see him out and about, he'd have a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He'd been smoking a good sixty years and he'd always say with pride - “No breathin' or ticker troubles at all...Ha!!! Shows what them quacks know!”

For years you wouldn't see Walter out in the neighborhood unless you also saw Trigger, his little mutt-of-a-dog that he would walk at least twice a day pretty much year round. Trigger was a darn, good dog--loyal, attentive, and eager to please. He was a fine watchdog as well and was solely responsible for foiling a robbery attempt once a few years back. My God, I tell you, it was a sad day in the neighborhood when good ole Trigger broke his earthly chains and took his reward up in doggie Heaven. Walter was devastated. He told more than once that he “was definitely ready to die now.”

That's just crazy talk”, I'd tell him. “What about your son...your grand kids? I know you don't mean that Walter.”

Hell...you know how many times I've seen 'em in the last couple years?”

It started to dawn on me that I hadn't seen their minivan come down the road in quite a while.

Once! One time dammit! Seems like the prodigal son thinks I ruined his life, that I didn't do a good job raisin' him. Well, I could say the same thing about him and the job he's doin' with his kids, but I don't, you know...I don't do it! It's so easy to judge...”

I really felt for him during that time. I was fond of the old man, you see. I never got a chance to know either of my grandfathers and I kinda adopted him so to speak. We had some great, great times. A few years back, when things we're still good, me and Walter had a few too many one night out by my tool shed...we were basically just getting silly and out of control! When it was all said and done, the cops had gotten called! As my wife said at the time—it wasn't one of my finer moments...but yeah, we had some good times.

After Trigger died, I really kept a keen eye on the old man...I was worried about him, you know? At that age and with that type of loss...you just don't know. So I usually talked to him almost daily there for awhile. But then, and you know how this is, days turn to into weeks and then into months and then you just don't stay in steady touch like you'd originally planned. Things start to revert back to how they were.

I'd like to have Walter over for Christmas dinner,” I told my wife one night in early December of last year. “I feel like I haven't spent enough time with him lately.” My wife totally understood and thought it to be a fine idea. In fact, she insisted that we do it even though we were having most of her family over and even though Walter, in her words, was “rough around the edges.” She was really great about it. You might say that my wife is a darn, good woman!

At first, Walter absolutely refused, then he came around, then refused again, and this went on for about a week or so. Finally, I threatened to send some volunteers from one of the local churches to “elderly-sit” for him and he broke.

Nah...I can't handle that.”, he said. “I'll come to your [expletive deleted] dinner.”

So it was my wife, her folks, a couple of her cousins, my sister, a few friends...and Walter. You know, it's funny how a group of folks can come together and you just know that on that particular day, with those particular people, there just isn't another place on Earth that would be better. Football on the T.V., board games, playing old vinyl records, drinking, great conversation, great food, and more drinking! We all had such a fine time! In particular, everybody would get so entranced every time we could get Walter talking about his many interesting life stories especially his service in the Korean conflict.

Towards the end of the evening, my wife and I gave Walter his present. It was a framed picture of him and Trigger that I had taken a few years back. Walter thanked us profusely and I could see his eyes tearing up a bit as he took a sip of his scotch. You could have called it a “moment.”

Around eleven that night, Walter decided it was time to go home. Despite his objections, I insisted on walking him home. When we got to his front door he turned around and before I knew it, the old fella had given me a big hug. I was honestly taken aback. After the embrace, I realized that he had tears streaming down his his face.

You know Lev, I sure as hell don't know if I'd made it the last few years without you and that wonderful woman of yours.” He was really starting to bawl now.

Walter...hey man, it was truly our pleasure, you're like family to us.”

I know, I know...I feel the same way about y'all.”

We just stood there awhile until Walter, in pure Walter fashion, finally blurted out - “Well Alright! Get the hell outta here! You're startin' to wear on my nerves kid!”

I just laughed and started strolling on back to the house, but then I yelled back at him - “Oh yeah! At least I'm not old!”

Walter just kind of chuckled and said, “Hey, you're getting' older every day, buddy boy!”

Yeah...I'll give you that. So, hey! It was a pretty good Christmas , huh?”

For the first time in the almost ten years I'd known him, Walter looked completely content.
“Yessir”, he said, “it was a good Christmas indeed.”


Epilogue

Yes...it was a good Christmas indeed. It was a very special time and it's a Christmas that I'll never forget.

It was about 3 months later, in March of this year, that we learned that Walter had advanced colon cancer and was terminal. He had known for almost a year and while the doctors had only given him 6 months back in June of last year, he actually made it to August of this year. I'm happy to report that Walter and his son reconciled. He and his family were with Walter for the last several months. Of course, my wife and I were there as were several of the other neighbors. And while things got pretty bad the last couple of weeks, Walter was well cared for with Hospice and didn't really have to deal with any pain. In the end, it was really a blessing for him to pass on. I'd like to believe in Heaven...I really would. And if that is so the case, I'd like to believe that the first thing Walter experienced when he got there was Trigger running up to him and jumping in his arms. That thought always puts a smile on my face. I tell you—I really loved that old man. I think of him often and miss him terribly, but I'll always have the memories of that Christmas evening. 

 
 Merry Christmas
~from the December 2011 issue of About Covington to Madison~


It's that time of year again. Man, that is so hard to believe. How could we possibly be in December already? Well, Christmas is upon us once again, and I'm so excited! Although my wife and I have been blessed to share this wonderful holiday with our precious daughter for a couple of years now, this will be the first time that our little girl is able to kind of realize what's going on. We got our tree a couple of days ago and she was so excited. Once we got all of the lights and ornaments on, she just went, “Ooooohhhh!” She really likes it. She is also really excited about “Ho Ho,” her term for Santa. We'll see how excited she is when she actually sees him in person in the next week or so. I think she'll probably freak out a little bit...but we'll see. As I said in my Christmas article a couple of years ago, “while Thanksgiving is certainly about giving thanks, Christmas, for me, is just as much about gratitude.” I'm definitely a very grateful man.


As I also mentioned in that previous Christmas column, one of my favorite parts of the holiday is the music. I had written that the Eagles tune, “Please Come Home for Christmas,” was one of my favorites. There's another version of that tune that I've come across that I really like. It's a bluesy cover by Johnny Winter and can be found on Youtube. Use the key words: Johnny Winter Please Come Home for Christmas. It's a fantastic rendition by the Texas blues legend. Check out the guitar solo at the 2:40 mark. I've just recently found another version that absolutely blew me away. I saw it a couple of nights ago on the CMA Christmas special. Martina McBride performed that song and just killed it! That lady can sure enough sing!


Another aspect of Christmas that I really enjoy are the movies. Obviously there are so many great ones: “Miracle on 34th Street”; “It's a Wonderful Life”; “A Christmas Story” and many others. I have to admit, I'm partial to “Scrooged.” It's a comic take on “A Christmas Carol” starring Bill Murray. I'm sure many of you have seen it, but I really do love that movie. I particularly like when Murray's character “gets it” after the visit by the ghost of Christmas future and proceeds to take over the television show he's producing and shares his revelation with the world: “It's Christmas Eve! It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!” Great line...great movie!




I hope everyone has a safe, joyous and wonderful holiday season. From my family to yours: Merry Christmas!

26 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving From The Piedmont Chronicles!

The History of Thanksgiving
By Marshall McCart
*From the November 2010 edition of "About Covington to Madison" Magazine




Hello everyone! Good to be back with you once again. November already! Hard to believe, isn't it? Fall is in full force; college football is hitting the homestretch (and as a UGA man, I'll be “giving thanks” once this season is finally behind us); and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.



Many people consider Thanksgiving their favorite holiday—myself included. It's all about the gratitude we feel for the things we have and the people we love. Also, the traditional feast of turkey, dressing, and the rest of the fixins is pretty darned good. Some would also argue that while Thanksgiving has the food, family, and fellowship of Christmas, it doesn't have the stress and hustle and bustle that sometimes leads up to the December holiday. Of course, I think the people who say that usually aren't the ones doing the cooking! But what about the history of this wonderful holiday?

We all remember the story we learned in elementary school about the Pilgrims and Indians coming together for the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock. And while it wasn't quite so simple (and maybe not quite completely accurate either), that basic story is pretty much true. In 1621, the Pilgrims, led by William Bradford, had a three day feast to give thanks for their first successful harvest and invited several of the local Wampanoag Indians including their leader Massasoit. Also in attendance was Squanto--the Indian who translated for the Pilgrims and who also taught them how to fish the local rivers and to grow and harvest the corn and other crops that they were celebrating. It was quite a feast and included turkey, deer, lobster, fish, fowl, corn, squash, and cranberries. This type of celebration as well as its Autumnal timing was similar to the harvest festivals that many parts of Europe had been celebrating for centuries.



Going back to the line about the first Thanksgiving not being completely accurate, I say that because most historians agree that it wasn't truly the first one in the new continent. In 1619, English settlers in Berkley Hundred, near Jamestown in the Virginia colony, had a “day of thanksgiving” which was actually more or less a religious ceremony but did not include a feast. However, that still might not truly be the first one either as it has been documented that the Spanish had a thanksgiving celebration starting in the mid 1500's in modern day Florida. Also, in modern day Canada, settlers there started celebrating a “thanksgiving” in the late 16th century. So while the basic story behind the Pilgrims is true, it would be inaccurate to label it as the very first Thanksgiving in what is now America. As an aside, Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving but does so in September.



Another inaccuracy with this holiday is the popular misconception that it disappeared for over two centuries and was brought back to life by Lincoln during the Civil War. While Lincoln did issue a proclamation to make the final Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, several earlier presidents had done the exact same thing including George Washington and John Adams. Also, many states, particularly in the North, had officially been celebrating the holiday decades before Lincoln.



Thanksgiving did not become an official national holiday until FDR and Congress did so in 1941. They specifically made the fourth Thursday in November (rather than the last) as the date for the holiday. A couple of years earlier, FDR had tried to move the holiday up a week to help spur Christmas sales during the lean times of the Depression. His idea flopped and many people, especially in the South, still celebrated on the last Thursday and jokingly referred to the earlier celebration as “Franksgiving” while some parts of the country simply celebrated both holidays. So after two years and “four” Thanksgivings, FDR and Congress made the change and it has been that way ever since.





There have been some recent trends with Thanksgiving particularly relating to the preparation of the turkey. The big thing lately has been deep frying the bird in peanut oil. Unfortunately, this has also led to Thanksgiving day becoming the number one day of the year for home cooking fires in our country. The experts stress three things. Make sure you're outside. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed out. And make sure you slowly submerse it—don't just drop it in there.
And finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one other thing...just in case there is anyone out there who hasn't heard about it yet. In Louisiana, they eat what they call a “turducken”, in which a chicken is stuffed into a duck which is then stuffed into a turkey and then cooked. That's just crazy! Although, I must admit, I really want to try it sometime. There is also a variation called a “gooducken” in which a goose is substituted for the turkey. Strange but true...



Well folks...that's all I got for this one. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and maybe some of us will be dining on turducken this year!



Marshall McCart can be reached at marshmanslim@yahoo.com. Previous columns and additional writings can be found at his blog: www.thepiedmontchronicles.blogspot.com

31 October 2013

The Piedmont Chronicles as seen in the pages of About Covington to Madison: November 2013

*From the November 2013 edition of About Covington to Madison magazine.
Greetings! I hope this column finds everybody well. And welcome back to another installment of The Piedmont Chronicles in the pages of About Covington to Madison magazine. I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone for all of the kind comments and feedback on last month’s column on Newborn, GA. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed writing it and am glad that so many of you enjoyed reading it. And I know at least a few of you also enjoyed reading the expanded version with some of my personal recollections of living in Newborn that I posted on my web page. I’ve recently come across a self-published book by a Mr. J.G. Stowe that recounts his experiences and memories of growing up in Newborn in the early 1900’s. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. I’m planning on getting some excerpts of that up on the online version of the Chronicles, so keep an eye out for that.

As I mentioned last time, my second column ever in this “little book” was about Newborn, but what I didn’t mention was the other town I covered in that original column was Mansfield. Just down the road from Newborn, it is also a fine Southern town with some beautiful homes and lots of history. I’m planning on doing a full write-up on the town formerly known as Bob Lee (and also Carmel Junction) in the very near future.
Also, I’d like to give a big thanks to The Historical Society of Newton Co. for having me as the featured speaker at their latest meeting. As I’ve told a few folks, I consider myself an amateur historian and maybe a semi-decent writer at best, and that’s really about it. It was truly a pleasure to be asked to do that. The Society is a great organization and I would urge anyone who considers themselves enthusiasts of local history to join. I’d also like to give a shout-out to the Morehouse family for hosting the Society meeting out at Burge Plantation. I tell you what - Burge is truly a Newton Co. treasure. That place is amazing, and just beautiful. I always love going down there.


Well…there’s one more thing I’d like to address in the column. And for us UGA fans, this is kind of a sore subject. As I type this, our Dawgs have just fallen to 4-3 on the season and are licking their wounds after a loss to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt! Man, this season has really taken a turn on us, hasn’t it? Remember how we all felt after that LSU game? We were on top of the world – the sky was the limit. Now, just a few weeks later, and we’re seriously wondering if going 8-4 on the season might be considered a minor miracle. As several of you may know, my column before the Newborn one discussed UGA and I had made the prediction that we would go 11-1 in the regular season, win the SEC, and have a shot to play for the BCS championship. As a few folks who have gotten their digs in have let me know, I sure blew that one.

So, what happened? It ain’t rocket science. You just can’t lose your top 2 running backs and 3 of your top 4 receivers and expect to just keep rolling along. This season, to me, has been reminiscent of the 1965 edition of the Georgia Bulldogs. After huge wins over Alabama with the infamous flea-flicker play and Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Dawgs found themselves as highly ranked as number 4 in the country until injuries ripped the team apart and they limped to a 6-4 finish losing four of their final six games.

But as many of us know, it’s not just the injuries. Our special teams play has been especially horrid while our defense just hasn’t jelled like so many of us thought they would. Add to that offensive line play that has gone back and forth between brilliant and awful, and you’ve got a recipe for some tough times. With all that said, there’s something to keep in mind – one win can go a long way towards making things better. After a bye this weekend, the Dawgs head to Jacksonville to take on the Florida Gators. A win in that one would be huge. Hopefully we can get some folks healthy, regroup, work some things out, and finish strong. I sure hope so…

Alright, that’s all I got for this one. Like I said, a write-up on Mansfield is in the works, as is the long-awaited interview and corresponding column with a local musical legend. Stay tuned and definitely check out the online version of the Chronicles when you get a chance. Until next time.

02 October 2013

Newborn, GA

From the October 2013 edition of About Covington to Madison magazine. Additional online-only content can be found below at the end of the original article. Thanks for reading!
The Lovely City of Newborn, GA
Lots of Exciting Things Going On...

Howdy folks! Hope all is well out there. I'm glad so many of you enjoyed my 2013 UGA Football Preview in the last edition of About Covington to Madison. Looks like my prediction for the Clemson game missed the mark, but what a win against South Carolina! Hopefully we'll continue to improve and grow as a team and achieve the results that we all desire. Go Dawgs! 

This month I'd like to write about one of my favorite places in all of Georgia – good ole Newborn, GA. As a few of you might remember, my second column ever in this magazine published back in the Spring of 2009, covered this fine town. As I said then, “Newborn holds a special place in my heart as I lived there for four years after my Athens days. And I must say - I think of my time in Newborn often and fondly.” It's true. There's just something about that place. I still feel it now when I visit.

Originally named Sandtown (or maybe Cross Road), the Newborn area was first settled in 1819 making it the oldest settlement in Newton Co. with the exception of Winton (Brick Store). Newborn’s history is full and ups and downs. There was a time when there was a bank, hotels, multiple stores, a theater, and a thriving train depot. As was the case with many old, small towns in Georgia, the railroad was its lifeblood, and like so many southern towns, the boll weevil was its biggest detriment. And naturally the Depression did no favors for the area, either. And there were other tragedies as well. But through it all, Newborn survived, which is not always the case. Just look at towns we’ve covered like Webbville (Factory Shoals) or New Berlin (North Oxford) here in Newton, or Smith's Mill or Leakesville down in Jasper as well as several others in this general vicinity that would end up dying and returning to nature. But not Newborn. There's a resiliency there – you can feel it.

Newborn and her people are also rather unique. Some might say eccentric. Well, their motto is “A Town With Characters,” and that would be an apt description. Maybe there's something in the water. Regardless, it's just a really cool place with some very good people. And there's so much history in Newborn. And that ties in to one of the things I wanted to cover in this piece...

Zeigler-Childs Building (Town Hall)
A new book is being released next month about the history of this town. Newborn, GA — Characters, Places, Tales is a 500+ page book written by 8 different contributors under the name of The Happy History Committee of Newborn. The book has many different stories and accounts of several long-time Newborn residents and families and many historical events. There are upwards of 500 pictures in this book as well. And as I understand it, there's a good bit of stuff about the late Jeanette Zeigler. As anyone who knew her would tell you, Ms. Jeanette was simply a marvelous woman. There is also a lot of content about families like the Pitts, Childs, Epps, Adams, Webbs and others. There is a good bit of information specifically about John Pitts, the Union sympathizer who hosted Sherman during his March to the Sea, and the one person most likely responsible for why Newborn wasn't burned to the ground. A very interesting story that's in the book that I hadn’t heard about deals with a shooting at the Childs Store in 1916 when Ole Man Estes gunned down Clifford Childs over a land dispute. Man, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!

It will be released on October 19th and can be pre-ordered at www.newbornga.com or via mail by sending in a check for $25 for a black and white copy or $60 for a color copy to P.O. Box 160, Newborn, GA, 30056. After talking with both Julia Wilson and Beth Scarbrough about the book, it seems like there's a definite theme: despite the ebb and flow and the tough times over the years, Newborn has always maintained a strength and vitality and an appreciation of its value and what it has to offer. 

Also on the 19th of October is the much anticipated Newborn Tour of Homes and Landmarks. Set to begin at 10AM and put on by the Newborn Garden Club, the tour will showcase 6 homes: the Porter Manor House and Gardens, the Burge/Bolton House, the Burge Plantation Cottage and Grounds, the Sandtown/Hodges Home, the Plott Home, and the Dobbs Home. Also included are four historic landmarks: the Newborn Schoolhouse & Cemetery, Newborn United Methodist Church, the Pitts General Store, and the Zeigler-Childs Building (the current site of the Newborn Town Hall and Library).

Porter Manor Home and Gardens
One of the featured homes, the Porter Manor House and Gardens, is owned by a local couple, Susan Oliveto and Chris Dapkus. These two have done a remarkable job renovating this beautiful home. Built in the 1890's, it has a traditional shotgun-style dogtrot bordered by same-sized rooms, but the exterior, however, is rather unique. For starters, it's the tallest building in Newborn and it has something you won't find much in the South – a mansard roof, flat on top with curves coming off the sides in a English Manor style with a bit of a Second Empire feel. And Chris, a horticulturist by trade, has by all accounts done an outstanding job with the grounds and landscaping. They bought the house in 2008 and have loved living in Newborn ever since. “This town is so special,” according to Susan, adding that there's very much a sense of pride in Newborn and they are happy to be a part of it.

There is also a reunion for alumni of the old Newborn Schoolhouse on the 19th. That will be taking place at the Schoolhouse at 11AM. Lunch will be served and any and all alumni as well as their families are invited to attend.

Bigger Family Band at the Newborn Jubilee
And last but not least – the 19th is the third Saturday of the month so that means it's another installment of the Newborn Dixie Jubilee at the Newborn Schoolhouse. Hosted by Mr. Steve Biggers, my father-in-law, the Jubilee is a always a big event. Joined by his house band, the Dixie Gentlemen, they play old-timey country and gospel music and always have a good time. Music starts up at 6. Doors open at 5:30. Food and Refreshments available. 


So there you have it. Lots of exciting stuff going down in Sandtown! Hope you enjoyed that. I'm really excited about next month's article, so keep an eye out for that. And definitely check the online version of the Chronicles as I'm writing a good bit over there these days. I will also be posting an expanded version of this column with some additional content and some of my personal recollections of Newborn. Until next time. 
 
Online-only additional content for my latest edition of The Piedmont Chronicles as seen in the pages of About Covington to Madison magazine

As I mentioned in the original write-up, I lived in Newborn for about four years after I graduated from the University. I moved to Newborn in September of 1998 and moved back to Covington in October of 2002. It was a really cool time for me. I was sort of “finding myself,” you might say, but was very much enjoying the ride. Even though I had just gotten a college degree in real estate about 8 months prior, I was really just looking for a job to be able to pay the bills. That job turned out to be at Bess's Place working for Andy and Julia Wilson. I would work there for about two years and absolutely loved it! I still think about those days a good bit. More on that in a minute...

The house I used to live in no longer stands, but I'll have you know that it had a front porch that was voted the best beer-drinking porch in the great state of Georgia for several years running. I've had folks jokingly ask me if I was the reason why the house was demolished. I don't think so as it was torn down many years after I left and moved back to C-town. Some of you might remember it. It was the turn-of-the-century white house with the big porch right next to the RR tracks on 142. We had some big times in that place! A few parties, lots of “yard golf,” and maybe the occasional ruckus. Squirrels lived in the attic and would often play “squirrel soccer,” in which they would seemingly kick and pass pecans all across the attic floor.

One time I made some muscadine wine in a dark closet just off of the kitchen. I got a recipe with the right amounts of sugar, yeast, and muscadines. After a month, and that stuff was pretty damn good! What I failed to realize was this: after it hits the right point, then you need to properly bottle it or refrigirate it. I just left it in the big jar I made it in with some cloth over the top of it. After a couple of months, it kinda turned but I neglegted to mention that to a buddy of mine who wanted to try it. Let's just say that it didn't agree with him...
Bess's Place

As I mentioned, I often think back to my days working at the “Pecan Grove,” AKA Bess's Place, putting out some great food and making some great memories with the likes of Andy, Ms. Julia, Bobby D, Ms. Virginia, Patty, Chris and Chris, the rest of the crew, and of course, Mr. Bobby Savage - God rest his soul. Thinking about Bess's also makes me think of Ms. Alice Adams. She was Ms. Julia's mother and would always eat lunch at the restaurant. She was such a great lady. Super nice and sweet, but not without a bit of spunk and a keen sense of humor. For months I would always make the mistake of telling her, after my daily visit to ask her how her food was, to have a nice day. She'd always shoot back, “don't you tell me what to do!” Ha! I loved that woman.

I'll also never forget September 15, 2001. I had planned and promoted a big show out on the new deck at Bess's called, “The All-Star, Feelin' Good Newborn Music Revue.” I had five different acts lined up for a big, four hour show. A couple of my groups at the time were playing, St. Moore's Fear and The Cosmic Rednecks. I even had a pretty well-known singer-songwriter out of Atlanta, Brian Ashley Jones, lined up as well. We all know what happened on the Tuesday before this show, that Tuesday being September 11th. There was some definite discussion as to whether or not we should cancel. It seemed like it was about 50/50 from most folks involved – musicians, Bess's people, friends, and fans. In the end, as promoter, it was my call. I felt like we had to do it. A good buddy of mine's parents had this huge American flag. We got it up on the side of the building right behind where we were playing. It was perfect. As it turns out, I think most folks were glad we did it as we had a huge crowd with more people than space on the deck. Most of the show there were dozens of people out if the parking lot or in the field next to the restaurant who couldn't get on the deck. I had many folks tell me the highlight of the night is when I did an electric, Hendrix-style rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. A few folks said they cried. So many people came together to make that show happen. It was a very special night.

I could probably write a book about my four years in Newborn. So many characters. So many interesting events, people, and things. There's really no other place on Earth like Newborn. But I do love that little town.

04 September 2013

Blog Laud: Georgia On My Mind

Greetings! Hope all is well out there. As some of you may know, I've started up a series here at the Chronicles where I give some love to some of my fellow bloggers. This edition of Blog Laud features one of my favorite Georgia/history blogs, Georgia On My Mind.

Operating since 2006, this blog is a treasure trove of information about the great state of Georgia and her rich and interesting history. Be prepared to invest a pretty good amount of time - the subject material is fascinating and Lisa Cooper, the blog's owner and operator, is an outstanding writer.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:


There are many other wonderful posts as well. Take a few minutes and possibly learn a few new things about Georgia's geography, history, and people. 

My next print column from About Covington to Madison should be out near the first of October. I'm very excited about that one, and I hope you will too. In the meantime, I'm planning on rolling out a couple of online-only posts here over the next few weeks.

Also, I've had a few folks ask me why I've never allowed comments on the Chronicles. Mainly, it was because I didn't want to deal with spam comments, but I understand that blogger does a pretty good job of keeping those out. As of a few days ago, comments are open. So...comment, if you feel so inclined. 

Until next time.

22 August 2013

2013 UGA Football Preview

 * From the September 2013 edition of About Covington to Madison magazine. Click here to see the column as it appears in the magazine.
 
It's that time of the year again. College Football is just around the corner and that makes me a very happy man. For many of us, this is the best time of the year. Autumn is always so nice – the temperature starts dropping, the leaves start turning, and the Georgia Bulldogs hit the field. And for my readers who might pull for that North Avenue school or somebody else, what can I say – I'm a Dawg. You might just have to skip this one.

Five yards. Five lousy yards are what separated our beloved Dawgs from a shot at our first national championship since 1980. A fingertip on the ball, and an instinctual catch by one of our best players just short of the goal line sealed our fate that December night in Atlanta. Now, almost nine months later and with a new season about to begin, and the expectations couldn't be higher. Even with some key losses on the defensive side of the ball, UGA is currently ranked #5 in both the AP and USA Today pre-season polls. There will be lots of pressure, not to mention a grueling September schedule. With that said, these Dawgs - our Dawgs - have a real and legitimate opportunity to do something very special this year. Let's break it down:

Offense: Enough can not be said about how good and explosive of an offense we might have this year. Many experts agree that UGA may very well have the best combination in the country of the offensive skill positions: quarterback, running back and receiver. Add to that a deep and experienced O-line and two of the best tight ends in the conference, and this 2013 edition seems poised to knock off the 2012 UGA offense as the school's most prolific in history. QB Aaron Murray is on everybody's Heisman short list, and he will almost surely leave UGA as its greatest all-time passer. The running back tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall is second to none and we've got a couple of killer fullbacks as well. Add to that a receiving corps that is just absolutely stacked. Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Conley, two of last year's leading receivers, will benefit from the return of Mr. Hands, Michael Bennett. Look for Rantavious Wooten to really break out and expect to see our tight ends get in the mix as well. There is not a school anywhere in America that has two tight ends as good as Artie Lynch and Jay Rome in my opinion. And while many in the Dawg Nation have had their gripes about offensive coordinator and play-caller Mike Bobo, it really seems to me that he has turned the corner the last two seasons. His past borderline obsession with equally mixing run and pass and a tendency for scripted play-calling has dissipated. To me, he now calls as good a game as anybody in college football.

Defense and Special Teams: There has been much consternation and hand wringing in the Bulldog Nation about our defense. So we lost 8 starters to graduation and the NFL draft. So what? When you recruit like UGA does, you simply reload. The way I see it, from top to bottom, the 2013 defense will be much better than the 2012 edition. Really, go back and look at the stats – last year's defense wasn't all that. Not even close to the 2011 D. Yes, we had some unbelievable talent, but we lacked depth...and maybe even some cohesiveness as well. I expect to see our guys really get after it this year and to very much play as a unit. Jordan Jenkins, the phenom sophomore LB, will set the tone. Defensive end Garrison Smith will be the unit's leader and will be second only to Jenkins in terms of big play ability. I'm really not concerned about our front 7. I'm optimistic about the line and our linebackers. The secondary does have some question marks. No doubt about it. But in terms of pure talent, the two-deep for all four positions are as good as any program in America. But, with the exception of CB Damion Swann, they're all pretty young and untested. I think by the month of October, we will have one of the premier defenses in the SEC. It would be nice if we had an easy run in September, but we don't. More on that later. Also, look for the Georgia D to play out of the 4-2-5 alignment against pass-heavy teams in addition to its usual 3-4-4 formation.

In addition to defense anxiety, there are many who are nervous about our special teams' play. Vince Dooley once said that the keys to winning in the SEC were being able to run the ball, strong defense, and a solid kicking game. By kicking game, he was referring to special teams, and I think the key word there is “solid.” We will have solid, not great, special teams play. Colin Barber returns as our punter and he will do a fine job. We're not sure who our kicker is going to be the first game of the season, but there are reports that walk-on Adam Erickson is more than capable if Marshall Morgan can't play. Kick-off coverage has greatly improved since Coach Richt has realized that you've got to have your best talent on the field in that situation. I truly think we're fine in this phase of the game.

Overview: Obviously September is just a crazy grind. Three top-12 teams in our first four games. It's going to be tough. The big question is this: will the offense be good enough to carry the load until the defense gets
their legs under them? I think the short answer on that is yes. It all starts August 31st in Clemson. That's going to be one heck of a ball game. And by the first of October, we'll know if we're legit or not. I feel pretty darn good about it. Don't overlook LSU – they are as good as anyone in the country. And I have this sneaking suspicion that Tennessee is going to play us tough as nails up in Knoxville that sixth week of the season. And naturally Jacksonville will be huge. A win against the Gators will give UGA a three game winning streak and four of the last seven. My prediction for the 2013 Dawgs: UGA will trip up against LSU after impressing everybody with strong wins against Clemson and South Carolina. A smack down of Florida in Jacksonville and later, a great win against Alabama in the SEC championship game, help the Dawgs leapfrog an undefeated Louisville team to play in Pasadena for the national championship against Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

GO DAWGS! G.A.T.A!

31 July 2013

The Piedmont Chronicles: July 31, 2013 Edition

Greetings! Hope everyone is well. Some of my About Covington to Madison readers may be checking in to make sure that they didn't miss the latest edition of the aforementioned magazine. No, you haven't. As I was recently informed by my esteemed editor, the August edition was cancelled due to a variety of reasons, namely the fact that many advertisers were on vacation and unable to get their Ads in. Not to fear, good readers, the September edition is in the works and will be hitting mailboxes and points of circulation the 3rd or 4th week of August. So keep an eye out for that.

My next installment in About Covington to Madison will be a little different from my past works. As some of you may know, I am a very big fan of UGA football. In this next edition I'll be doing a preseason write-up of the 2013 Georgia Bulldogs complete with an overview of the team; analysis of offense, defense and special teams; and my prediction for this year's version of the Dawgs. I'm pretty excited about it and hope you will be too. GO DAWGS!!! G.A.T.A!

I suppose I should have put a "gone fishing" sign up at the ole webpage or something. Between work, going on vacation, and getting ready for a music show (our first in several months), I haven't posted here since the first part of the month. I'm looking forward to getting back on track. 

Requiescat in Pace

Buster Chadwick

Some of you may remember my write-up of the life and times of Mr. Buster Chadwick. For those of you  who haven't read it, please do so here. We lost Mr. Buster back in June of this year. He was good man, and I was very saddened to hear of his passing. My thoughts and prayers are still with his widow, Ms. Linda, and the rest of his family. I think what I posted on my Facebook page after I heard the news sums it up pretty good:


Heaven just got a great guitar player and singer. RIP, Mr. Buster Chadwick. It was a distinct privilege to get to know you and have the opportunity to write about your very interesting life story last year. You were a great man and musician and the world will be poorer without you. Thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Linda and the rest of the family.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Buster. I'm a better man for having gotten to know you. And it was a distinct honor and privilege to be able to write about your life story. 

Charles Wilborn 

The city of Covington, GA, and the entire world for that matter, lost a great one with the passing of Charles Wilborn. Mr. Charles, as he was referred to by many, was a good, Christian man who loved people and loved to serve. A Covington Councilman for 14 years, he also served on various other boards and authorities in Newton Co in addition to working as a substitute teacher for many years. I'll never forget the first time I met Mr. Charles. Even though I knew who he was, I had never actually met him until my brother introduced me to him sometime around the year 2000 or 2001. I was completely taken by his kindness and humility. He was very special - as good as they come in this world. I wish I would have gotten to know him better, and even though I didn't really know him all that well, I sure will miss him.

Talkin' Southern

A article came out awhile back that highlighted something that we all know - different people in different parts of the country talk differently.  This is a really good read, though. And we can all take an opportunity to laugh at how silly people talk in other parts of the country (here's looking at you Northeast and Midwest). A
Businessinsider.com
lot of this we already know, but it's still a lot of fun to read. Here's a sampling:
  • In the south we say the word caramel with three syllables, pretty much the rest of the country says with two. 
  • In the South we call it slaw. The rest of the country only uses the word coleslaw. 
  • We all know about this one: We say "y'all" when referring to a group of people here in the South. There's a buffer around the South in which they say "you all." Up North and in other far away places, they say actually say "you guys." Wow...they're so strange and funny.
  • What sounds sillier? Saying "soda" like the Northeast, or "pop" like they do in the Midwest? We'll just call it a draw. And contrary to popular belief, most Southerners I know don't call all soft drinks "coke." We just call them soft drinks... 
  • And we all know that when the sun shines while it's raining out then it means that the devil is beating his wife, right? Well, apparently the rest of the country doesn't say that. Most places don't have a term for it all. But in the upper Midwest, Northeast, and South Florida, they call it a "sunshower." Is that not the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard? 
And there's several other good ones as well. But I must admit, I was a little disappointed that they didn't cover the phenomenon known as the "pin-pen merger." That one is so cool because the entire South says both words the same way except for Savannah, New Orleans, and South Florida. The rest of the country pronounces the two words differently except for a small area around Bakersfield, CA. Pretty neat stuff.  

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

A new book is out that every Damn Good Dog will want to own. From the "Mayor of Dawgtown" and one of the Godfathers of UGA football blogging, T. Kyle King has released his first book, Fighting Like Cats and Dogs. This book gives a detailed history of one of the greatest non-conference rivalries in college football,
Georgia vs. Clemson. From the book's Facebook page:
Fighting Like Cats and Dogs is T. Kyle King's definitive game-by-game account of the historic college football rivalry between the Clemson Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs.
I would give more information but I don't have a copy yet. That will all change in a couple of weeks when Kyle will be doing a book signing at Dawg-Eared Books over in McDonough, GA on August 17th from 1-3PM. It'll be a great way to pick up a copy and to have the author sign it.

Kyle is a true UGA football historian, a superb writer, and I don't know if there is a more loyal and passionate Dawg anywhere in the great state of Georgia. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. It should be a fantastic read.

Well, that will about do it. So keep an eye out for my next column in About Covington to Madison in about three weeks or so. And check back here often as I'm planning on rolling out a good bit of online-only content. Until next time.




04 July 2013

Independence Day

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

An Appeal to Heaven ^
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
Columbia *
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

^ An Appeal to Heaven: “What is my Remedy against a Robber, that so broke into my House? Appeal to the Law for Justice. But perhaps Justice is denied, or I am crippled and cannot stir, robbed and have not the means to do it. If God has taken away all means of seeking remedy, there is nothing left but patience. But my Son, when able, may seek the Relief of the Law, which I am denied: He or his Son may renew his Appeal, till he recover his Right. But the Conquered, or their Children, have no Court, no Arbitrator on Earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephtha did, to Heaven, and repeat their Appeal, till they have recovered the native Right of their Ancestors, which was to have such a Legislative over them, as the Majority should approve, and freely acquiesce in.”

Columbia - the feminine personification of the Republic. Also, the symbol for Libertas, the goddess of freedom and liberty.

27 June 2013

Thoughts on Gettysburg

 *Online-only

As we approach the first of July, I tend to turn my thoughts, like probably a lot of folks, towards Independence Day - its history and all that it entails. But, I also start to think about the all-too-important Battle of Gettysburg, the clear tipping point of the War Between the States.

I just recently came across a fantastic article from The Imaginative Conservative that details the events and issues surrounding the Battle of Gettysburg, and Pickett's Charge in particular. This article basically reinforces the generally accepted theory that Gen. Robert E. Lee made a major mistake in terms of his strategy and planning of this key battle especially regarding the events of July 3rd that culminated with the disastrous, aformentioned charge led by Major General George Pickett.

Right quick, in case if anyone is wondering, while there is no direct connection between the battle of Gettysburg and the Georgia Piedmont,  there were several men from Georgia that fought in this epic battle, including  General James Longstreet, who for years erroneously received the blame for the events of July 3 even though he vehemently argued to Lee against it. And while Longstreet wasn't born in Georgia, he moved to Georgia when he was nine and remained there until he went to West Point. Later in life he would move back to Georgia where he lived until he died in 1904.
Gen. James Longstreet, CSA


As I mentioned, Longstreet was wrongly given the blame for this major blunder. In fact, for the better part of a century, it was basically accepted as fact that Longstreet was the culprit behind the ill-fated charge on that third day of July, 1863. That probably had as much to do with Lee being held in an almost God-like stature, but also because Longstreet was considered by many to be a scalawag after the war. He was, after all, the only senior commander of the CSA to join the GOP and he would later endorse Ulysses S. Grant for President in 1868. He was rewarded for that with an appointment for a Federal position in New Orleans where he lived for many years.Regardless, it has now become common knowledge that Longstreet was carrying out Lee's orders, as badly thought out as those may have been.

Many historians have now come to the belief that the real cause of Lee's blunder may have been his heart. Many historians and medical experts believe that Lee was suffering from major heart issues in the Spring and Summer of 1863 and may very well have had a heart attack during the period of the Gettysburg campaign. That might help to explain some of his head-scratching decisions during those fateful days.

 "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."
-Robert E. Lee, 1862

Read more about the Battle of Gettysburg:





19 June 2013

What Exactly is The Georgia Piedmont?

This is a blog post I've wanted to do for sometime. Some of my readers in the Georgia area probably already know the basics behind this question, but I'm sure there might be others who don't really know what exactly makes the Piedmont the Piedmont. Since this geographic region is the namesake of this blog, I thought I'd do a little primer. Hope you enjoy...

From Natural History at www.uga.edu
First off, one must remember that the great state of Georgia is fairly unique in that it has five different, defined geographic regions: Appalachian Plateau, Ridge and Valley, Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain. And in actuality, you could say we have six regions if you separate the Coastal Plain into upper and lower as many do. Very few states in the Union share this much physiographical diversity.

The Georgia Encyclopedia has a very good write -up on the Georgia Piedmont so check that out when you can. Basically, this region is characterized by rolling hills and gentle valleys. Most of the region lies on large pieces of rock and granite (think Stone Mountain) but with a thick layer of saprolite on top. Saprolite is the famous Georgia red clay that many of us here are quite familiar with.  The Piedmont region begins up north at the edge of the Appalachian mountains and goes down to the fall line that separates it from the Upper Coastal Plain.

Cities like Atlanta and Athens are in the upper part of the Piedmont region while Macon and Augusta are right at the edge to the South. Many of the counties I've written about in the past such as Newton, Morgan, Jasper, and Walton are pretty much right in the middle.

For many folks, what makes the Georgia Piedmont such a beautiful place are the trees and vegetation. Thick with Oak and Hickory varietals, the woods of our area are truly sights to behold. For more information on this aspect of the Georgia Piedmont, please visit the Georgia Nature Blog and read specifically about the trees and flowers that are indigenous to this area.

For more information on the Georgia Piedmont, visit these following sites:
 Hope you enjoyed that. I will have some historical stuff up very soon as well as another "Blog Laud" post. Until next time. 

13 June 2013

A Trip Around The Dawgosphere

There are many great websites and blogs out there that cover UGA athletics and football in particular. I once read where it was thought that there may be more UGA-centric blogs and sites than any other school in collegiate sports. Maybe at one time, but I'm not 100% sure about that now. But if UGA doesn't have the most, they've got to be pretty darn close. There are literally dozens and dozens of pages out there dedicated to all things UGA. There are several that are now defunct, or only post sparingly (not that I could really say much about that). There are those that seem to be followed by a ton of people, and those that don't seem to really get much traffic. But they are all parts of the entity that is the Dawgosphere.

With apologies to any who were excluded, here is my personal list for the best of the best: 


Get The Picture - The Senator

The UGA football blog. It's the best of a very good group. From the name of the site referencing Larry Munson's famous way of describing what UGA and their opponent were wearing on the field right before kickoff, to the aura and mystique of The Senator himself (ESPN did a piece where they actually gave his real name...I immediately blocked it out - to me, he's the Senator). His posts can be short and sweet, or long and involved, but they are almost always just about right. His insights are sharp - he can always cut right through to the heart of the matter. His snark is beyond comparison, but he never comes across as a jerk. Add to that a very strong understanding of the game, and you've got yourself one hell of a blog. Simply put, Get the Picture (GTP) is the cream of the crop. From the moment you first pull up the page and see that picture of Dooley and James Brown at the top and begin to read a few posts,  you think to yourself - "Yes! This is it. This is what I've been looking for. This is what I've been waiting for." At least, that's what I thought about five years ago when I first visited. I've been, pretty much literally, an everyday reader since.With a very large, loyal, and eager readership, you can count on a ton of comments and discussion. Morning buffets are always a much anticipated happening, and his musical palate cleansers are great as well. In addition to everything else, the man has superb musical tastes - he once played a Jo Jo Gunne tune! What else needs to be said?

Dawgsports

A fairly close number two that might be closer if this page's founder, T. Kyle King, was still involved. As I mentioned, Kyle is no longer there, but page manager MaconDawg still is and that means a lot. MD has great football knowledge and just the right combination of snark and humor to make him the 2nd best UGA blogger currently out there (and he also has very nice musical tastes). In addition to him, there are several other great contributors including vineyarddawg, Mr. Sanchez, Chuckdawg and others. One key difference between this page and GTP is that Dawgsports covers all UGA sports heavily, not just football. And I'm not only talking basketball and baseball here: tennis, gymnastics, golf, and pretty much everything else get the full treatment. Also, more than probably any other site, Dawgsports is very much a community. There is nothing quite like an open comment thread with dozens of your fellow Dawg fans online for a UGA football game that you couldn't attend in person. These guys do a really good job, and it's a fine page. The commenting is smart and savvy, just like the blogging. Great discussions, and occasional arguments, will happen. Just have you're grammar and syntax in order (ha, ha - see what I did there), although that might not be as much a prerequisite now that the Mayor is gone... 

Bernie's Dawg Blog

This is a fun page. Whereas GTP and Dawgsports are everyday stops for me, Bernie's Dawg Blawg is more like an almost everyday stop for me, but I usually visit at least 3 or 4 times a week. Like other UGA blogs, this started out as a weekly email back in the day and officially launched as a blog in 2008. Bernie brings a good sense of humor and a strong understanding of the game to the table. And you can usually count on a good bit of posting. With a decent amount of regular readers, you will see some pretty good discussions from time to time. A really good page.

The Grit Tree 

This is one that holds a special place in my heart being that I'm a huge enthusiast of the following things: UGA football, Lewis Grizzard, and Southern BBQ (is there any other kind?). I'll just let their intro page sum it up:
Welcome to The Grit Tree, where it is all things Georgia and all things Southern.  With all the other options out there in the blogosphere, we are glad that you have chosen our blog to read.
We are just four friends who have a passion for the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, southern food, peaches and Lewis Grizzard.  Though we come from all different parts of Georgia, we now reside in Middle Georgia.
We have decided to take our passions and turn them into a blog.
 There are principles on which we stand by, and will guide any future posts:
  1. The Georgia Bulldogs are one of the premier teams in not only the SEC but the entire country during the first decade of the new millennium.  We are led by a great man and equally great coach in Mark Richt, and Coach Mark Richt will bring a MNC to Athens.
  2. There is no better place to live in the world than the American South, specifically the great state of Georgia. 
  3. We prefer pulled BBQ pork, homemade soft serve peach ice cream, and sweet tea with a lemon.
  4. It will always be “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”   
  5. It is appropriate to wear a collared shirt to a football game, regardless of what Florida fans in their number 15 jerseys say.
 The Grit Tree will look something like this:
 July-January:  Heavy Georgia Bulldogs football
 January-July: Georgia Bulldogs football and other topics such as the BBQ restaurant of the       month or anything else.
These guys post a good bit and you won't want to miss their Thursday BBQ or Lewis Grizzard Wednesdays. Great stuff! 

About Them Dawgs! Blog

This is one I have a particular fondness of since I am, after all, a history enthusiast. This is the online blog of one, Patrick Garbin, a UGA football historian of some note. I have literally spent hours at this site. It's really great. According to the page, it is "the only blog primarily focused on the rich history and tradition of University of Georgia Football." And that would be an apt description. While other pages, including some mentioned here, will from time to time cover the history of UGA football, Patrick's is the only one that is pretty much dedicated to it. Seriously, if you haven't visited this page yet, be prepared to invest some time. If you're a DGD, you'll be there for awhile.

The Lady Sportswriter

This is a page I've recently become aware of. Listed on several blogrolls throughout the Dawgosphere, Kimberly Nash, owner and administrator, obviously has the street cred to be considered one of the top Dog Bloggers out there. And after having visited her site several times, I can wholly attest to her skills. This lady knows football, and she's a helluva writer.  Here is her personal description from the page:
I am not a 'journalist' by trade, nor do I present myself as such. I am just a wife, mother, and Georgia Bulldog fan who likes to write about two of her favorite things: the Georgia Bulldogs and college football. I write. You read...it's a give and take experience.
A superb site, albeit maybe a bit Ad-cluttered, it's becoming a regular stop for me.

Georgia Sports Blog

This is Tyler Dawgden's blog, and it's a nice one. A good writer with a good sense of humor, I don't make it over there as much as I should. He posts pretty regularly and has, I think, at least one other contributor. Whereas some of the other Dog Blogs will end up covering a lot of the same things, Tyler seems to do a good job of mixing it up and keeping things fresh.

Sic 'em Dawgs

This might be considered more of a news site as opposed to a blog, but I just really like it. Plus, they've got a link that has the results from every season since 1980 which, I believe, is the only page in the Dawgosphere that does. Now...if he gets every season since 1892 up, I'll be real impressed. LOL!...just kidding. This is a really great page and I check it quite often, especially during football season.

News: 

One more site I would have to recommend would be The Dawgbone. It posts links daily from every blog and news site in the Dawgosphere. And speaking of news resources, here are the following places to go to get good solid UGA sports news without having to fool with the goddam AJC:

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
The Macon Telegraph
The Athens Banner-Herald
 
 
And that, in my opinion, is the best of the Dawgosphere. So...how long until that Clemson game?

G.A.T.A.! 
GO DAWGS!!!


Postscript:

Here are a handful of blogs that haven't posted recently but may reactivate for football season:

Jack's Bulldog Blog: A cool site. This guy does a pretty good job.
Bubba 'n Earl Sittin on the 50: Wish this page posted more...
A Bulldawg in Exile: See above. Unfortunately, I think this one might be done.
Hunker Down Dawg Blog: See above.

Update, 6/28/13:

Here's an In Memoriam: Catfish and Cornbread. And here's one of their best posts.