Quick, what is the state song of Georgia? Hint: it has nothing to do with peaches, but I’m glad you asked.
“Georgia on My Mind” is the correct answer. Hoagy Carmichael wrote it in 1930. He made a fabulous recording featuring one of my musical idols, Bix Beiderbecke, on the coronet.
You might recall a giant hit version done by Ga. native Ray Charles in 1960. I’m a sentimental slob and cry tears of joy each time I hear it. Willie Nelson is no slouch, either, when he intones those famous words and notes.
Kaye and I have vacationed often in Georgia, mostly with our friend Gloria, who grew up right here in our neck of the woods. Last month, we journeyed to the peach state and spent a couple weeks there.
It’s too bad I can’t accompany this column with photos. I took hundreds, and they are part of forever memories. Conyers is a historic community and we spent time walking around the old parts of town. A new movie called “Prisoners” was partially filmed there, and we viewed it in a Conyers theater. Well done, but too much blood and guts for my taste.
Sadly, one of our favorite restaurants, Michaelangelo’s, is closed. I have written some neat ghost stories about it and the wonderful Irish owner. Nearby, is the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, a place that we found amazing and moving. Attending a 7 a.m. celebration of Mass and listening to the chanting monks was inspirational.
We traveled to Dillard, Ga., and enjoyed the famous Dillard House, a local favorite since 1917. The 1972 movie “Deliverance” was filmed throughout the area, and many locals were hired as extras.
We stopped at the largest antiques store I have ever seen and spent hours going from room to room and saying things like, “Hey, we have one of those.” With thousands of items in every nook and cranny, Gloria managed to spot a tiny glass bottle that was formerly used for coffee cream. The logo proclaimed that it had come from the former Rosebud Creamery here in Plattsburgh. I took a picture and later regretted not having bought it. I’d love to hear the story of how it made its way south.
I noticed that a woman at the counter was left-handed, like me, and struck up a conversation about the little bottle. “I suppose you’ve never heard of Massena,” she said. I told her I lived there for almost six years as a young lad. She showed me a children’s book she had written, and I told her of my own children’s books. She explained that she had majored in radio, and I spoke about my own radio career. She said she writes for magazines, and I told her that I do as well. And so it goes. All this serves to reinforce my contention that there are no coincidences.
We drove up to Cherokee, N.C., and attended a celebration of Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. They mix Cherokee prayers with the Roman Catholic liturgy, and we love it there.
We spent several days in a rental home on Rabun Lake, near the historic Tallulah River and Gorge. We are grateful for good health in our advancing years and walked many miles on the trails, snapping photos and viewing the old rusty towers that held a cable strung across the 1,000-foot-deep gorge and walked by the late Karl Wallenda in 1970 at age 65.
We attended the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival near Hiawassee and were thrilled to meet many old-time artisans, record our favorite mountain music and attend a terrific concert by Lynn Anderson, whose country classics we know and love.
We toured Babyland General in Cleveland, Ga., where Cabbage Patch Dolls have been “born” for decades. We had a fine time at the Blue Willow Restaurant in Social Circle, Ga., where Margaret Mitchell wrote parts of “Gone With the Wind.”
Home is where the heart is, and we’re glad to be back in Morrisonville, but we still have Georgia on our minds.
Have a great day and please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at email@example.com.