February 17-22: Our stay in Georgia
While we were in Georgia, we stayed at a motel not far from Leslie's parents, though we made daily (or several times a day) visits over there in and amongst our other activities. The cats stayed with Leslie's parents. Let's see what we were up to while we were there.
Lighthouse Holiness Church
On Wednesday evening we attended church services at the church Leslie went to when she lived there, Lighthouse Holiness Church in Jackson, Georgia. It was dark Wednesday evening, but we took a drive past it on Thursday to see it in daylight. It was especially important for us to be there when we were as Leslie's former pastor, Bro. Kenneth Hawkins, and his wife were moving to Maryville, Tennessee the week after our visit to be closer to family. Bro. Hawkins' name is still on the sign visible here, but the church in Jackson will go on with their new pastor, Bro. George Smith, who blessed us with a good sermon on Wednesday night.
Leslie's growing up years
We spent a good part of Thursday on a sightseeing trip in the area to see places that were significant for Leslie in one way or another. Leslie's sister, Sandy, came with as a tour guide. One of the first highlights was the restaurant where Leslie had her first job, Neely's Restaurant, not far from her parents' house.
Leslie's first elementary school
and not far from there, Newton High School, where Leslie went to high school. Go Rams!
This is Leslie's middle school, in another part of the area not far from the car dealership where her dad works. Either Leslie's mom or dad brought her to school each day.
Dukes of Hazzard
If you're a fan of the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard", you might remember that the first several episodes were shot in the Covington, Georgia area. Part of our driving tour involved seeing some of the places where scenes from the show were filmed. Would you recognize this...
as the Boar's Nest?
It was most recently used as a church.
How about this scene from the show's opening credits?
It was filmed in front of this building on the Oxford College campus of Emory University
This scene, where Bo and Luke are on the run from Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, was filmed on Georgia 81 crossing the former Georgia Railroad (now CSX) tracks next to the train depot in Covington.
Here's that view today. The old 76 gas station in the background is now a Pure station, and the depot now houses a buffet restaurant.
Now the chase is going around the town square in the heart of Covington. The old Newton County Courthouse is visible in the background.
Here is the similar view 31 years later
Here we are on the courthouse steps having our picture taken...thank you to Jackie Smith, County Clerk for Newton County, for offering to take our picture and stopping to chat with us.
Jackson, Georgia area
On Thursday for lunch we went to the Fresh Air Bar-B-Que, a Jackson, Georgia establishment since 1929.
The tell-tale smoker says it must be lunchtime
After lunch, we take the short drive to Indian Springs State Park, the oldest state park in Georgia
My sister-in-law, Sandy, and I at Indian Springs State Park
Leslie and Sandy
Where Baby and Gimli came from
Leslie has had Baby since she was a few months old in 1997. The older of our two cats just passed her 13th birthday. But where did Leslie get Baby from? We passed by the place on our way back from Jackson, along Georgia 162 south of Porterdale. The one-time pet shop is now a Christian book store and is adjacent to this gas station.
Gimli will turn 5 soon--we don't know his exact birthdate, but we think it is a good likelihood of being April 1, same as Jody's--and he is by far the more active of our two cats. Where did Gimli come from? This Petsmart in McDonough, Georgia, about 25 miles south of Atlanta. "We came to take a picture of Petsmart?" was what Sandy asked me in disbelief...we made it up to her by giving her a stop to shop at the Bed Bath & Beyond store in this same strip mall. Thank you, Sandy, for being patient with us and for being a great tour guide that day!
On Friday evening Leslie's mom had quite a few relatives over for dinner. Let's see who came to dinner.
First we have Leslie's parents, Ronald and Joyce Garrett; Gimli enjoying all of the attention from lots of people; and at the edge of the photo on the right, Leslie's step-grandfather, Winfred Powell, and Leslie's cousin, Melissa Powell.
Leslie's aunt Janie
Leslie's grandmother, June Powell
Leslie's uncle Rodney
Leslie's aunt Judy
Leslie's sister Sandy helped cook and is pleased to see everyone having a good time
Leslie and I relax after dinner
At the dinner table: Leslie's dad, Ronald; Leslie's cousin, Jennifer; Leslie's cousin, Melissa; Leslie's step-grandfather, Winfred; Leslie's grandmother, June; and her sister, Sandy.
A day trip to Atlanta
While the area around Covington has now become an outer suburb of Atlanta, it was quite different when Leslie was growing up. The area was rural at that time, and it was a big deal for her to go to Atlanta as it didn't happen that often despite being only about 35 miles away. Leslie and I returned the favor while we were there by bringing her dad and Sandy with us on our day trip to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, the Varsity for lunch, and then the World of Coca-Cola Museum.
We arrived at the Carter Presidential Center not long after it opened on Saturday morning
Jimmy Carter's Vice-President was Walter Mondale from Minnesota, so history has precedent for someone from Georgia teaming up with someone from Minnesota just as Leslie did with me. Maybe we should run for office?
Jody and Leslie at the Carter Presidential Library
Leslie's dad and sister at the Carter Presidential Library
Having left the Carter Presidential Library, we head west along North Avenue in Atlanta toward the Varsity for lunch. The 1,023-foot, 55-story Bank of America Plaza, the tallest building in Atlanta and tallest building in the U.S. outside of Chicago or New York, stands prominently in the distance.
Outside of The Varsity, the world's largest drive-in restaurant, on North Avenue in Atlanta.
At the World of Coca-Cola Museum
Jody on the grounds of the World of Coca-Cola Museum with part of the downtown Atlanta skyline in the background against a clear, 65-degree afternoon sky
Part of the on-site bottling plant
Getting ready to go into the 4-D theater, Jody has on his glasses for the movie
Leslie's dad and sister match Jody
A few more sights
Leslie's dad still owns the house she grew up in. It's on their property adjacent to their current home. It was Leslie's home from the time she was born until 1989 when Leslie's dad purchased their current home. The home is currently vacant, though her dad has rented it out over the years. Here she is standing in her old bedroom.
The front porch Leslie spent many a hot Georgia summer night on
Many times during our stay in the area we drove under this railroad trestle in Covington marked "Georgia Railroad." This is part of the former mainline of the Georgia Railroad which was merged into CSX in 1983. The Georgia Railroad mainline was completed in 1853 from Augusta to Atlanta and was used to haul gun powder for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The line still sees several trains per day on average.
One of Leslie's favorite eats in the area is Krystal. It is the Southern equivalent of the White Castle chain commonly known throughout the Midwest. In fact, a map of the states Krystal is located in very closely resembles a map of the Confederate states; the White Castle map overlaps Krystal only in Kentucky and Tennessee. Leslie says that Krystal is to her as Clyde's Drive-In in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is to me when it comes to good burgers.
One of Jody's favorite places to eat in the South is Chick-Fil-A. The one in Covington had this van parked outside with the chain's well-known slogan "Eat Mor Chikin." The chain is owned by the Truett Cathy family and, in addition to its distinctive advertising, is perhaps best known for being closed on Sundays as the Cathy family is strict Baptist and faithfully observes a day of rest. The chain does more business open six days a week than other comparable sized franchises do that are open seven days.
Alas, before we know it our time in Georgia is up, and it's time to head back home. Follow us as we head back to the great, white North by clicking here.