Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Community

Resaca is a small town in northwest Georgia between Dalton and Calhoun. When we first moved here there was an old general store and a small post office and an old house used for council meetings. Resaca has an elementary school and numerous churches of different denominations. For a while the Calhoun Times printed stories about Resaca's council in power struggles and clashes between members. I enjoyed their antics and wished many times I could have voted in the elections. Unfortunately since I live outside of the city limits I could only watch on the sidelines. One of my favorite council members was Miss Julia Baker who lived to be 94 years old. She passed away last April.

Miss Julia stopped by the house one time when we were selling honey. She pulled up into our driveway and started honking the horn until I went outside to see what she wanted. She told me that she wanted to buy some honey and started telling me who she was. She said that she was on the Resaca council and she had even carried the torch in the Olympics when they came through Georgia on the way to Atlanta. Miss Julia had been a very tall woman when she was young but she was stooped over with osteoperosis and used a cane when I saw her. I thought she was delightful and seemed like a jolly old soul but I didn't believe a word she said until I started reading her name in the paper when there was an article about all the fighting between the councilmen. Miss Julia wasn't afraid to stand up to the men in the council and fight for what she believed in.

Today we have a Dollar General Store and the new Gordon County Jail was built next to the new Gordon County Fire Department on Highway 41 in Resaca. The Resaca Council voted to create a police department and even hired a chief and several deputies but when the Sheriff's department was relocated so close to Resaca they voted to abolish it and contract the Sheriff's department to patrol Resaca for them.

I haven't seen a lot of crime in Resaca but I have witnessed several high speed chases up and down the highway in front of our house. Sometimes the chase would be coming from Whitfield County and other times the chase would come from Gordon County. I have seen one high speed chase go in one direction and later they came flying back down the road in the other direction. I'd still like to know how they were able to turn around and go in the other direction without being stopped. I'd also like to know what happened to them but it seems I never see anything about them in our local paper.

When we moved to Resaca from Whitfield County I felt like I had stepped back in time. The first time I noticed a difference was when I went to the Gordon County Courthouse. I had become jaded to the rude and impersonal clerks at the Dalton courthouse who made you feel like you was wasting their time. When I had to go to the courthouse in Gordon County everyone was helpful and friendly.

Resaca is a nice place to live. It is a slow paced little community that is steeped in history and beautiful countryside. Over the years we have seen some strange and incredible and funny things. Resaca means "dry river bed" or "drunk". But I prefer to believe the story of the man waiting for the train who ordered the mail order bride and when he saw how ugly she was he said "Resack 'er, boys, and send her back!" Now that sounds like something that would happen in Resaca.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

We are all the same . . .

I think about all the differences between us all and think that there is no way for us all to get along but then I think about the things that are most important to me and I realize that everyone wants the things I want. I want to be healthy. I want to have plenty of food. I want to have clean water. I want sanitary plumbing. I want to have a home. I want to know my family and friends are well and have the things they need also. I don't think it matters what country you come from or what religion you worship or how much money or education you have, we all need the same things. That is why it is so important to try to find the things we all have in common if we are ever going to be able to learn to get along.

Resaca is rich in history. One of the first Confederate Cemeteries in Georgia is off of Highway 41 in Resaca. It is mind boggling to try to imagine six thousand soldiers dying in a three day battle in Resaca. Ever since we moved here I have tried to imagine how the people who lived here over 145 years ago must have felt. I can't imagine that anybody had a choice about how they felt about the civil war. When soldiers started marching and pillaging and burning everything in sight, I imagine, everybody was ready to fight . . . not for slavery, but for their homes and their families and their animals and any food they may have had. Most people probably didn't have slaves. There were lots of poor white people that lived in the south who scratched out a living from the soil and didn't want to watch their homes being destroyed and didn't see it in the clear light of 20-20 hind sight.

There has been plenty of bloodshed on this land that was sacred and belonged to the American Indians long before Europeans discovered America. Resaca is also close to the Cherokee Indian Capitol, New Echota, where Sequoyah wrote the Cherokee Indian Alphabet. The Indians in Northwest Georgia were rounded up and forced from their native home lands and marched to Oklahoma in the Trail of Tears. They were displaced from every place that became of value to the white man. The Indians were forced to move where the white men thought they should be. They were put on reservations and forced to abandon their native culture. When gold was discovered in Dahlonega the white prospectors rushed in and the Indians were displaced. They were forced farther and farther away. Every time we wanted the Indians property, treaties have been broken. There are not many Indians around here anymore.

America has had a bloody history but America is better and greater for the struggles that we have endured. We are a united country and believe in freedom for all. We now struggle to honor history while learning lessons from the past. We can never erase our past but we must also never forget the past so as not to repeat it.

We must remember that America is not one group of people but many different people from many different parts of the world who came to live in a country in which we are all free. We may not always agree with our fellow men but we recognize their right to express their opinions and voice their concerns without fear of oppression from the government.

America is one of the greatest democracies in the world. In America everyone is free. When America was founded the constitution applied to all white men as being free. Black men were entitled to vote after the Civil War but were not always free to vote until after the Civil Rights movement. Women, white and black, didn't earn the right to vote until long after black men were legally allowed to vote. American immigrants were confined during World War II. But in those and any other struggles and fights we have grown and evolved to include everyone under the law.

I am so thankful that I was born in the United States in the 20th century. Women are free to live their lives and make their own choices. Women are as free as men are in America. Women can aspire to become doctors or lawyers on anything else. Women can meet and marry anyone they love, without fear. Women can own and inherit property.

America is a melting pot. You can be American and you can be Native American, English, Irish, Dutch, German, French, Asian, African, Indian, Latino, Jewish, etcettera or any combination but you are still an American. I think America is the greatest democracy in the world because it it the only country in the world that has evolved from Europeans and Asians and Africans and people from all over the world. That is why we have to endure to guarantee every person the right to live freely without fear of persecution because of race, creed, or religion.


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