Tag Archives: Georgia

The Spark of Something Greater, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Often it was the most unlikely people who found within themselves a spark of something greater. It probably was always there, but most people are never tested, and they go through their whole lives without ever knowing that when things are at their worst, they are at their best.” ~ Jonathan Maberry, Rot and Ruin ~

Old Wrought Iron in Savannah 2011

I have a thing for old iron work. Especially old wrought iron. It could be because I’m a Southern girl and wrought iron ruled the day a couple of hundreds years or so ago here in the South. Wrought iron was king in places like New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah.

In April of 2011 Tall & Handsome and I found ourselves in Savannah, GA. The event we were participating in was a catered dinner for the cancer survivors for the Relay for Life that was to be held the next day. The dinner was held in one of Savannah’s lovely downtown parks full of stately old Southern Oak trees which provided a canopy of shade in an already balmy spring weather. It was a perfect setting for Gone with the Wind.

T & H had dropped me off at the park, then parked our vehicle and walked back to join me. So, after the dinner was over, I had my first chance to see where he was parked. I was stunned to say the least.

There just yards off major city blocks and stately parks were old Southern buildings in various stages of dilapidation and ruin. How sad, I thought. One thing in particular caught my eye, and that was the old wrought iron still on many of the buildings (and some that had been added as forms of security).

I wondered what stories this buildings could tell…what history they had seen. Regardless, there was some kind of spark there and they had persevered…they were still standing.

I shared a common trait with these old Savannah buildings and their rusty wrought iron. The very reason I was there spoke to that fact. I was there to participate in the Relay for Life run/walk as a cancer survivor.

In 1982 at a very young age I was diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer in my right lung. I had never smoked nor had any of the other risk factors that would have pegged me as a candidate for lung cancer. My son was 18 months old at the time.

This was one of my first big tests…

I prayed to God for the strength to survive and live as normally as possible to see my baby graduate from high school. And, I did…

In the ensuing years I raised a son, developed multiple autoimmune disorders, osteoarthritis; I was stalked for many years and then, in 1995 was told I had an aggressive form of cancer in my left lung. Sixty percent of my left lung was removed.

Not too many years later my husband walked out on me after 28 years of marriage saying he was tired of taking care of me…

There were times I didn’t think I would survive…

When I met T & H he told me I was one of the strongest women he had ever met. I’m such an unlikely person to be placed in that category. I  found it hard to believe that such a “cosmopolitan” man like him who has travel all over the world and worked with and met so many people…both men and women would think of me in that fashion. But, he does. He also says I’m a survivor as do many other people who hear my story…the entire story.

Life still tries to throw me curves…us curves, tests and trials. And, we get through them…and keep standing much like this old building with the rusty wrought iron.

Today’s quote even reminds me of what James said: “Consider it all joy, my brethern, when you encounter various trials, knowing that testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3

So, yep, I’ve been tested…a lot, and my wrought iron is rusty, but I want to let that testing find the spark of something greater in me…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Georgia, James 1:2-3, Lung Cancer, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Savannah, Tall & Handsome, Wrought Iron

The Wolves of Insignificance From the Door, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” ~ Saul Bellow ~

If Walls could Talk

I was going through my portable hard drive this morning and rediscovered this image. It’s one of my favorites…I love doors, they hold mysteries behind their closed portals in my opinion. I apologize if you have seen this previously, but I wanted an opportunity to share it with my newer readers.

About five years ago I had business that took me on a drive from my home in August, GA where we were living at that time to Savannah, GA. For any of you familiar with that drive, you know it’s not a particularly long one (two and half hour or so), but it’s not necessarily an easy one.

For most of the trip you are traveling back in time to the very old, very Deep South and doing so sans nice multi-lanes interstates. Yes, the way to the past is paved mostly with two lane roads. And, the time of year I took the trip, July, the weather was…well the In the Heat of the Night or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof hot. That would be hot, humid and sultry…just a typical Southern summer day.

On my drive back to Augusta, the sun was beginning the track low on the horizon making its way to sunset. I was hoping for a chance to capture some interesting photographs, but, nothing was catching my “fancy”…until I stopped at a four way stop sign in the middle of nowhere Georgia…

As I sat at the stop sign, I glanced to my left and there she sat, this quite, aged relic of the past. My photograph I’d been waiting for. She was sitting right at the edge of the road, just waiting for me.

Any good Southern girl could see the good “bones” she had: a huge overhanging eave that would offer much needed shade from the unforgiving Southern summer sun, and not one, but two double doors that had a one time lead out onto large porches. (The old remnants of where the porches and their supports had been are still visible.)

My first reaction was, “Oh, if those walls could talk!” My imagination was out of the gate and went wild. Had a “Big Daddy” lived there, or a “Scout”, a latter day Scarlett or even a Zelda.

But, then I thought why does it have to be people like that to be interesting? It could have been someone just like me…or my wonderful Papaw Hicks or one of his sisters like Aunt Ruthy who lived in a big old house on the side of a mountain in Kinzel Springs, TN in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Or My Momma’s people from Middle Tennessee. They were all wonderful, talented people who lead interesting lives and created memories for their families to pass down.

Those memories do keep the wolf of insignificance from the door…for those gone and those still here…we have a sense of who we are and where we come from.

I hope the families that lived in this wonderful old house were also keeping the wolves from the door…their families deserved it and so does this proud old relic still standing, quietly telling a memory of significance…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Doors, East Tennessee Heritage, Georgia, Hicks, Middle Tennessee Heritage, Old South, Old Southern Buildings, Photography, Picture of the Day, Travel

I Saw Life and it was Something Real…and it was Something Private, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“There it was before her – life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private…” ~ To the Lighthouse, Virginia Wolfe ~

Some of you may recognize this spot. Yes, it was taken at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, GA.

Jekyll Island is a beautiful and unique place and Driftwood Beach is even more so. It’s called Driftwood Beach because the “driftwood” that lines the beach is the carcasses of ancient Southern Oak Trees who have given up the ghost to time, wind and erosion. You can see another view in the photo I took and use in the header of my blog. The foreground of this photograph is another example of the “driftwood” littering the beach.

This particular view has special meaning to me. If you look just close enough you can see in the background, just left of center, the St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse. I have a great fondness and love for lighthouses around the world and the stories they tell and represent.

Standing there looking out across the driftwood laden beach, across the water and upon the lighthouse was a surreal experience. Like Virginia Wolfe, I saw life…it was something real, it was something bittersweet and…it was something private…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Driftwood, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Photography, Picture of the Day, St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse, St. Simons Island GA, Travel

And, Now the Rest of the Story…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Yesterday I shared with you my feelings on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

I also mentioned that as a whole 2001 was a turning point…a seminal year for me personally. In May of that year, on our son’s 21st birthday, my husband of 27 years walked out to start a new life with a woman who was a co-worker.

But, there’s more to that year, a turning point if you will and as Paul Harvey would have said, this is the rest of the story…

Little did I know that in the burning rubble of 9/11 and the crumbled decay of a 30 year relationship something new would rise up out of that and would be a new start for me. It’s almost cliché to use the Phoenix rising from the flame, but in a way that’s almost what it was like.

At the time it seemed pretty hopeless. I had been a stay at home mom for about 21 years.

But, I had kept up certain skills and developed new ones. I had worked part time here and there, done some civic work, aided my ex in some home-based businesses, homeschooled our son, co-founded a quilt guild, served as President for the guild for several years, launched the guild newsletter and served as editor for several years and then served on the board of the state at-large quilt guild.

But, there was one very important thing I had done that paid off in spades. I had begun developing computer skills. Yes, I was mainly self taught, but it is truly amazing what you can learn on your own and you can be underestimated by others when you are self-taught which can lead to a big advantage.

I originally began my journey through the would of tech when I began publishing the guild newsletter, using it for quilt design, home-school purposes and the real hook was genealogy research.

Those computer skills helped me snag an amazing job I really enjoyed, but unfortunately my health could not hold up under the stress of the job and over time my health began to be harmed in ways I never knew imaginable.

It was also those under estimated computer skills that cracked the caper of Gomez and Morticia, yes the ex and his new gal’s code names for their computer communications. It was all just an elementary matter of following simple internet cookies and temp files which he didn’t realize I knew about. When he finally realized I did know how to do that, ashen faced he said, “I knew I should have done a better job of cleaning up that computer.”

But the rest of the story is this…

After all of that, the turmoil in the country, the dashed hopes of a life and family, it was time to start looking forward.

Statistics told me the outlook was dismal for me. For someone with my health challenges and my age finding a mate would be about like finding a chicken with lips…

I prayed for a knight is shining armor…any girl’s dream…young, middle aged and yes, based on what I had seen in the media, yes, even the dream of blessed women of a certain age beyond middle age…we all want our knight in shining armor.

Statistics told me that in todays less chivalrous society they (knights) are about as rare as reptiles that walk on two feet, especially if you’re looking for a man who knows how to deal with chronic illness.

Years ago I read a study with statistics that related some stunning information. In relationships when a female becomes chronically ill, overtime about 97% of the men eventually leave. When a male becomes chronically ill about 94% of the women stay in the relationship. I was stunned and just didn’t know if I really believed those stats. I guess the truth was I didn’t want to believe them…

But, now I was faced with the fact of “what now” and the unknown.

Little did I know that just weeks after the turmoil of 9/11 I would meet my knight in shining armor. He would be a Southwestern cowboy who sometimes wore a Stetson and cowboys boots and had strong, deep Southern roots like mine. And even though I was upfront with every health situation he didn’t run the other way. He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever known in my life.

So, why do I tell you this with today’s picture?

Well, this picture was taken on Sept. 11, 2010. We happened to be on Jekyll Island, GA that day and we wanted to be somewhere that took our minds off the past tragedy of the day. We were approaching Driftwood Beach, my Tall & Handsome was a little ahead of me because I had stopped and taken a picture of two. I looked up and saw him right at this time and I caught my breath. It was the perfect time, the perfect place and a perfect picture.

There was my lone knight, my Tall & Handsome who’s long arms have comforted me many times. Even in his ball cap and his Alabama T-shirt, he was still my knight in shining armor.

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Loa Tzu ~

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under 9/11, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Gomez, Jekyll Island (GA), Loa Tzu, Love, Morticia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Accidental Tourists, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Walk in the park

This past summer Tall & Handsome and I had an occasion to make a trip to Savannah, GA.

Savannah is a lovely city and there are reminders of the truly old, deep South every where. It is a city of living history.

It is also a city of parks…old parks, many built on squares. This lovely park is on the square just across from Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady & Sons on Congress Street.

As I stood in this location I noticed these old Southern oak trees highlighted by the black street lamps formed a nice shady tunnel through the park and made a lovely stroll from one end to the next. It was a captivating scene that could almost take you back 200 years.

I stood there for some time waiting for the right moment for the right shot…waiting for cars, cabs and etc. to pass by so I could snap that shutter.

Just as I snapped my picture these two little Southern ladies stroll into the park, making them my accidental tourists for the day…

Bless their hearts…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

 

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Filed under Georgia, Old South, Parks, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

When Ignorance Can Be Bliss, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A couple of years ago I spent some time with Tall & Handsome in a condo on St. Simons Island, GA. The space behind the condo was like a little mini jungle…absolutely thick with palmetto palms, vines, pines and undergrowth.

One afternoon I decided to step out back and snap a few pictures. I was intrigued with the fan shape of the palms. I snapped several pictures capturing several views and settings.

When I went back in I realized I was “seeing the forest, but not the trees” so to speak because as I reviewed each picture I came to the picture of the day and I was speechless. Yes, smack dab in the center I saw that little critter in the picture clinging tightly to the palm for dear life.

Now, as the old saying goes, “Innocence is bliss” and in my case that worked to my advantage. Because you see when it comes to reptiles I am a typical girlie girl. Had I see Waldo holding on for dear life there (I’m sure as terrified of me as I would have been of him) I would have run screaming like a little girl. Yes, I admit it. I resemble that description.

But, because I was so blissfully unaware of the smaller picture and was concentrating on the “forest” I was able to catch my camouflaged, terrified little friend.

Yes, behold…ignorance can indeed sometimes be bliss…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Georgia, Palms, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, St Simons Island, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Ancient Bodies on Driftwood Beach, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A few days ago, I changed the header on my blog and started using a potion of a  picture I took at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island (GA). (I had been using a picture I took in East Tennessee.) I’ve also changed the format of my blog just a tad to give it some freshness and crispness. Hope everyone is enjoying it!

Today I thought I’d share the entire picture the header was taken from. A couple of years ago, if memory serves me it was on Sept. 11, 2010 Tall & Handsome and I were in the Brunswick/St. Simon Island/Jekyll Island, GA area. That day (9/11) is always a sad one to mark so we decided to go somewhere new to take our mind of off the pain of the past.

Jekyll Island is considered one of the Golden Isles off the Atlantic coast of Georgia. It’s a barrier island with a varied wildlife and a history that goes back to US Colonial days. You can tour a historic district, old cemeteries and plantation ruins on the islands.

Driftwood Beach is one of the most notable features. The “driftwood” on the beach is actually the remains of ancients Southern Oak Trees that have fallen to time, wind and erosion. Their bodies create an amazing gnarled maze on the beach of trunk, branches and limbs for a beachcomber to weave in and out of while enjoying the wind, sun and sound of the surf. It’s not uncommon to find little crab skittering across the sand.

It can be a magical place and it was a place that gave T & H and me a moment in time…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Beach Pictures, Driftwood, Driftwood Beach (Jekyll Island GA), Georgia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Where the Elite Eat in Their Bare Feet…and Watch Those Toes!, by Beverly Hicks Burch

reggie the new swamp person

Recently when we were in the Savannah, GA/Hilton Head, SC area there was an eating experience I wanted to share with Tall & Handsome.

A few years back when I had been in Savannah I had ventured out to Tybee Island on recommendation to The Crab Shack. The Crab Shack’s slogan is “where the elite eat in their bare feet”. I did say it was an experience. Most seating is outdoors and there is water-side seating and view.

Since this is in the Deep South you would expect it to be intolerably humid and uncomfortable, but the folks have rigged up a cooling system involving misting water and fans. (Kinda makes you feel like a rutabaga in the produce section…just joking!) I was told by T & H this cooling system is very similar to the outdoor cooling used in the high desert of New Mexico. The end result is you stay remarkably cool and pleasant.

The tables are equipped with everything you need to eat a good seafood dinner, including a hole in the center of the table you can toss your shrimp and crab shells and the copious amount of napkins you’ll need enjoying the boiled shrimp, Low Country boil, crab and other seafood served up at The Crab Shack.

Talking T & H into going to The Crab Shack wasn’t too hard. The optimal word was CRAB. That one word is a Pavlovian trigger for T & H, so when I said crab, well, that’s all he needed to know.

Another unique feature at The Crab Shack is the alligator pond. Yes, honest to goodness, living breathing alligators. Not quite sure how it came about, but these are gators are not born in the wild…and it’s about as close as I personally want to get to one…

The big one T & H is leaning up against is there to view on your way in…and out of The Crab Shack. I call that look on T & H’s face “bringing home the bacon crab” look…

T & H thoroughly enjoyed his meal and the experience. It was like he was at Disney World. He looked at me, face beaming and said, “Thank you, honey. This is my kind of place.”

Of course, he was high on crab…

reggie at the crab shack

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alligators, Georgia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Restaurant, Tall & Handsome, The Crab Shack, The South, Travel, Tybee Island GA

Pink Oleander, by Beverly Hicks Burch

pink olender B

I love Oleander, although it is poisonous if ingested. So, I certainly don’t plan on creating a meal using oleander. It’s purely a feast for the eyes.

This lovely pink oleander is found growing on Tybee Island, GA.

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

 

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Filed under Flowers, Georgia, Horticulture, Oleander, Photography, Picture of the Day, Plants, Tybee Island GA

The Gate of Final Haven, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A few years ago I was in Savannah, GA on business. I was there by myself so I did a little wandering. I didn’t have much time. I was only there for a day.

Savannah is the quintessential Southern city. You can still feel the Old South there, especially downtown.

This picture was taken on “lawyer’s row”. The street is line with old brownstone after brownstone that now serves as the offices of pricy law firms.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was parked  by Colonial Park Cemetery!

This cemetery if the second oldest in Savannah and was established in 1750 by British colonist. It served as a major cemetery in Savannah for a little over 100 years, closing for interments in 1853.

The cemetery covers six acres and there are 9,000 souls laid at rest at Colonial.

The cemetery is not without renown. Over 700 souls who lost their lives to Yellow Fever are buried here. There is a “Duelist” section dedicated to the burial of the fallen participants in duels that took place in and around the cemetery.

Several very distinguished people are buried here including Button Gwinette who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ironically Gwinette was killed in a duel by Lachlan McIntosh, a Revolutionary War hero. Both men are buried in Colonial Cemetery and both men have counties in Georgia named after them. Go figure…

And, what respectable Southern cemetery doesn’t have its fair share of resident ghosts? It’s fair to say Colonial isn’t to be out done in this category either…the most famous of which is a disfigured child murderer.

You have to hand it to us Southerners…nobody can turn out angst like we can. That’s why we’ve given you the likes of Tennessee Williams, Zelda Fitzgerald and Truman Copote just to name a few…

Today’s picture is one of the gates from Colonial Cemetery Park. I’m standing inside the cemetery looking outwards through the gate onto Oglethrope Street. As I took the picture my first thought was, “that is truly the gate of final haven”.

Some time later I kind of found it ironic and wondered what the poor souls on that side of the cemetery did to deserve to have their resting place next to “lawyer’s row”…for eternity…

Bummer…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Button Gwinette, Cemeteries, Colonial Cemetery Park, Georgia, History, Lachlan McIntosh, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, Travel