Where have I been?
At a baby shower given by my darlin’ Georgia Belles, tearing glittering paper off of swaddling blankets so plush and soft that I wonder how I’ll ever let It’ll drool on them.
Sliding a well honed knife through my Grandma Betty’s Italian Cream Cake, and letting the cream cheese icing melt on my tongue, leaving behind the salty pecans and creamy coconut for individual enjoyment.
And walking under the ancient shade of the Birdsville oaks.
Just as photographs can’t do the grandeur of my home mountains, Glacier National Park’s Rockies, justice, neither can I adequately capture the primeval sight of this double row of live oaks, swathed in gray-green Spanish moss, marking the way towards Birdsville, one of Georgia’s oldest and most celebrated Greek revival antebellum homes. As it happens, the Big Farm, where Grandma Betty lives, is located just down the road from these oaks, and so they are an indelible part of my childhood memories, as I cheered in the back seat of the station wagon as Mom navigated that last right hand turn through the double oaks.
If you are respectful and reserved as you pass under their gnarled branches, you might hear the whispers of all these particular oaks have seen – the rise of the Old South, and of the plantation at Birdsville. The fall of the Old South, as Yankee soldiers paused to rest under the oaks’ shade, en route to burn Birdsville, which they ended up sparing due to a grieving mother who would not leave, despite their threats.
Outsiders hear these stories about the South, woven with Spanish moss and the branches of live oaks. Some, like the story of Birdsville, are actually true.
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