We had a nice week, although we only had one warm day for the kids to play in the water before it turned freezing. So, to keep from getting bored and cabin feverish, we tried to stay busy. We did some “fishing” – Fishing with kids rarely means you catch anything. It just consists of sitting around talking and trying to keep the kids from throwing the rods in the water, or falling in themselves. We went to the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, the birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris. We walked around fabulous downtown Eatonton. “Sleepy” describes the area to a T. Tiller and Lisa and I checked out the flea market in downtown Milledgeville. We also ate cake and had coffee at Blackbird Coffee, which is a surprisingly nice coffee shop for middle Georgia. They even have free wi-fi; I did not partake of that.
On Saturday, we bundled up the kids and went to Andalusia, the farm that was the home of Flannery O’Connor and where she lived while writing all of her novels. I have been meaning to go there for years, but the weather never cooperated. (Read: It was always too nice, and I chose to float on an inner tube drinking cheap beer out of the can, rather than following my literary desires.) The farm is on over 500 acres, and has, in addition to the antebellum farmhouse, numerous outbuildings, a pond, and they are creating some nature trails. Did I mention they have a resident donkey pony? Flossie. She is cute.
The kids just loved running around willy-nilly on the property, and seeing Flossie. Tiller and I spoke with the old woman who feeds Flossie every day, rain or shine. She drove up in a Honda CRV-type vehicle, and when she got out, I almost laughed out loud. She was wearing a long dress coat, the kind your Grandma would wear to church on Sunday, complete with a black dress hat with big red flowers on it. She and her dog, Champ, a spastic lab mix came out and fed Flossie, and Tiller and I watched the picture of this woman, her young dog, and the donkey. The woman, with her dress clothes on, tossed out a bale of hay for Flossie, the dog frolicking around the barn, and Flossie nuzzling the woman’s pockets for treats. It was perfect, just like a character out of O’Connor’s novels.
It was pretty cool to see the bedroom where Flannery wrote. (She lived in a downstairs room, since she couldn’t walk upstairs.) They still have the room as she kept it, with her desk and typewriter placed facing away from the front windows, so that she wouldn’t be distracted by the view of the pond (the equivalent to the Internet distraction of writers today?) I tried to imagine her sitting there, typing out Wise Blood on the typewriter, but it was easier imagining her stories when you walk the grounds and see how her environment played such a huge part in the settings of her writings. Andalusia is at once beautiful, especially in early spring, with everything blooming and coming alive, and still eerie as hell, as if you can hear the echoes of her characters voices emanating from the dilapidated outbuildings. I was inspired.
Sunday was Easter. We woke up and ate a buttload of candy. Tiller accidentally ate peanut butter. I am a shitty parent. Then we dressed them in their Easter outfits (note that Tiller’s included leggings, rather than tights, which is so, like, something I would wear in 1990, except that hers didn’t have holes in them.) My Mom and Dad were coming up that morning. Mom made a ham and homemade potato salad, which were really good, but kind of weird because I don’t think of them as a meal you eat when it is 30 degrees out. Then Dad and I bundled up and hid the Easter eggs.
We froze our asses off while the kids ran around the yard finding eggs. Then we attempted to get a few good shots of the kids all dressed up. Basically, it was one big windburned, snot-nosed mess. Then we went inside, stuffed our faces, and headed home.