[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]For a casual country music fan living squarely in the North, the songs I like the most make the least amount of sense. I had no idea what being way down yonder on the Chattahoochee meant until this week, when I drove across the Chattahoochee for a meeting. Turns out it’s a river. I didn’t burn any rubber, but I did drive the wrong way on a one way street in my rental car. So there’s that.
In the last 36 hours, I’ve spent 16 hours in Tennessee, 7 hours in Georgia, and a few hours in airports in Michigan and Illinois. I spoke to a group of eighth graders at a middle school assembly, ate one of the best salads of my life (at a steakhouse, naturally), slept in Chattanooga’s most haunted hotel, was told to have a “blessed day” by a TSA agent, and made a stop at the site of the Civil War’s bloodiest two day battle on my way to the airport.
By the time I made it back to the aforementioned hotbed of paranormal activity, the Sheraton Read House, on Tuesday night, most of the local shops and attractions had closed, so I set my alarm extra early to have time to explore before my flight took off the next morning. I did manage to get decent night’s sleep, despite tossing and turning and wondering if that noise was a…. no…. probably not.
I arrived at the Chichamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park just as the visitor center was opening this morning. The rangers on duty handed me a map and instructions for the park’s cell phone tour (a free service, which offers a lesson at each stop along the seven mile route), before walking me through the visitor center exhibits. I am fairly certain I was their first customer of the day, hence the special treatment. Then again, people are much friendlier down south. It’s both lovely and unnerving.
I haven’t taken a US history class since my sophomore year in high school, but as I stepped onto the battlefield and climbed the steps to the top of Wilder Tower, I could feel all those lessons coming to life.
There was a quote on the wall of the visitor center that described the carnage of the battle and the indecency of war. I wish I had copied it down, because the Google can’t seem to track it down. Regardless, I kept thinking about it as I moved along the tour.
As beautiful as the landscape was, and as well preserved as the area is, being there was overwhelmingly sad. I am not sure why that surprised me. I can be such a dingbat sometimes. The slow moving fog only added to the gravity of it all.
At nearly every stop along the route, deer danced through the high grass, and grazed along the edge of the path. They looked so graceful and serene, so opposite the bloodshed being described on the audio tour.
I’m glad I got to be there this morning. I had plenty to think about on my way back to Boston (which was helpful, because I needed a distraction from the woman behind me who wouldn’t stop talking about bunions).
If I could play the guitar, I’d be writing my own country song right now. It would be about the perils of wearing heels on one of those little planes, the kind that require you to exit down a narrow stairway to the tarmac. Or maybe it’d be about how travel is great and all, but nothing beats coming home.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Contemplating a summer running streak 🙂
- Clark’s therapy dog vest arrived – he’s now totally legit
- Getting schooled on history
What’s the most interesting place you’ve visited this year?