Saturday, December 3, 2016

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MIGHTY EIGhTH AIR FORCE

We had a guest this past week and one day we went up to the Mighty Eighth Air Museum in Pooler, Georgia. I had no idea what the Mighty Eighth was, but discovered it comprised our European bombers in World War II. The force was activated at Savannah, Georgia, in January 1942 after Pearl Harbor. Within a few months, troops and bombers set up in English bases and began flying against the Germans. While bombers seem to have made up its main force in the beginning, fighters and support aircraft also came under its command before the war was over.

I knew there was an actual airplane on exhibit there--when we drove up we could see it-- but I had expected a little building with musty artifacts and pictures.

Was I surprised!

The building was huge. They must have worked hard to gather the donations to make such a museum possible. In this photo, you can see the back doors of the museum that let you out into a memorial garden with a reflection pond at its center.


The garden itself is quite large. There are walkways to the left and right, twining through the different markers and benches and statues carved with names of bomber planes and their crews. And over on one side is a replica of an English chapel.


Inside, many of its beautiful stained glass windows feature airmen. Like this one:



And not only were there airplanes outside on the grounds. Inside were more! These are an actual fighter and a training aircraft, restored and hanging in lofty splendor from the ceiling:



This B-17 "Flying Fortress" in the process of renovation, is named to honor the "City of Savannah" which was the name of the 5000th airplane processed through Hunter Air Field in Savannah during WWII.



Whew! And that isn't nearly all to be enjoyed in the museum. For instance, there are films.

One allows you to pretend you're inside a bomber going on a bombing run (the guide said bomber crew members tell him it's so lifelike as to be scary; only the sound of the bombs going off isn't authentic because the planes were too high to hear the blast).

Other sections are devoted to POWs, and the women pilots who ferried planes across the seas, and the Tuskegee airmen, and even the foreigners who risked execution to hide airmen shot down. My favorite part was a reproduction of the inside of a French farmhouse (including wooden floors) that might have harbored a downed airman.

There is also a diorama showing the layout of one of the many English bases where the bombers stayed. Oh, and did I mention the gun turret used in the filming of "Memphis Belle" is there? Great story as to how it got to the museum!

If you're around Pooler, Georgia--just off I-95 at Savannah--make time to see this wonderful place. It will remind you how proud we ought to be of our veterans and how our country once came together in almost perfect unity to battle evil.

Finally, one of the plaques inside held this quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, outlining his belief in a basic four freedoms:

"The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world."

His speech is still valid today, isn't it?

Great museum.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ISLAND SCENES

I hope everyone had as nice a Thanksgiving Day as we did. Tourists were out in force because the day was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too cold. We met several interesting people. One couple had traveled from Colorado to spend the holiday on their sailboat. Once in Charleston SC  where it was docked, they sailed down to our little island and were having turkey and dressing next to us at Barbara Jean's. After overeating, we waddled--er, walked around the island.

A few interesting sights:

This is the highest point on the island. The airport was built on the highest place, but this mountain of ground-up debris from the hurricane aftermath must be a height record. You can tell it's almost as tall as the airplane hangar beside it.



Mounds of the ground-up tree branches, trunks, roots, and other leftover debris are constantly being piled up and moved around by the tiny scraper you see at the bottom right. I'm not sure what the white thing next to it is. It may have something to do with the loading. But even though truckloads of the stuff are constantly being taken away, the pile doesn't seem to get any smaller. And we still have debris to be picked up. The worst part is that the lack of rain dries it up and the winds send the dust swirling through the air. Some people are finding it hard to breathe.

Further on our walk, we came across a tree blown down in the storm and recycled by the imaginative homeowner. For Halloween, a ghost hung from the top branch. This week, it's decorated for Christmas. See the Santa cap on the top ball?


Someone must be an artist to see such potential in felled timber!

And finally, here is our own lovely lemon tree. The lemons look like Christmas ornaments, don't they?


Now if I had an artistic streak in me, I could make this into an outside Christmas tree! Except that we're probably going to pick the lemons and have a pie before Christmas! Yum!



Saturday, November 19, 2016

GALLERY SHOW

The Goodyear Cottage on Jekyll Island, one of the historic summer cottages belonging to millionnaires around the end of the nineteenth century, is used as an art gallery. My guy's photograph was chosen for inclusion in a painting, photograph, and weaving exhibit running this month through the first part of December. It's a lovely old house:


Here is my guy's photograph of sunset on the Jekyll River:


And here is a lady taking a picture with one of the weavers by her fabric:


And here is a-- Hmmm. A yarn tree, maybe? Whatever it was, it was colorful!


Finally, we have the volunteers who are helping with the exhibit opening. Look at all those bottles of wine! Oh. Wait. Looks like she's pointing out something. Maybe trying to divert my attention towards the food tables? Oh, come on!  I really don't drink that much!


If you're down at Jekyll this month or early next month, be sure and visit the Goodyear Cottage . Lots of lovely things there!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

VETERANS DAY PARADE

St. Simons Island celebrated veterans yesterday by a parade and other activities. We went down to the Village for the parade. It wasn't a long parade, but we had several veterans from different wars in it. One was in this car with what looks like his wife and grandkids:



Besides the veterans, we had what I believe is the local high school's military program--is it called Jr. ROTC? Anyway, they made a nice impression:



And one of the county high school's bands came out in full force:



And the whole point was to thank our veterans for their service to our country. This poem sums up what an immense debt we owe them, why we should be thankful to them every day--not just one day a year!


IT IS THE SOLDIER

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.


It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.


It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.


It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.


It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.


It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.


It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.


©Copyright 1970, 2005 by Charles M. Province


Saturday, November 5, 2016

TRAVELS

We've been traveling forever, it seems. We went to north Georgia and Atlanta four times in the past six weeks.

Right before Hurricane Matthew came by, we rushed home from the state capital (where my guy took his photo to be hung), gathered up important papers, washed clothes and packed them up, and went back up to Atlanta to escape the storm (and for an eye doctor appointment). Before those two trips, we had gone up south of Atlanta to housesit/catsit for relatives. And our last trip was up to the foothills north of Atlanta for a family dinner/reunion.

Coming home from the dinner, we stopped at the Taliaferro (pronounced Tolliver) County courthouse so that I could get a copy of my grandfather's death certificate. It is a beautiful old building, with hardwood floors and a minimum of staff. Going inside is like stepping back fifty years into small town Georgia. The people are helpful and so pleasant!


And I can't forget Putnam County, home to authors Alice Walker and Joel Chandler Harris. The courthouse in Eatonton is lovely.


And the people there are just as nice as the ones in Taliaferro County. One of them suggested a cafe across the street for lunch and what did we find on the wall inside?


Yep, a Jack Daniels guitar. And on the corner of the courthouse lawn, we found this statue, a tribute to Br'er Rabbit and the Briarpatch.


What fun we had taking more pictures to add to my courthouse collection!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

SEEN AT THE BEACH

On one of our walks after the hurricane, we found the beach changed but still a repository for the most interesting items. Of course, we always find individual shells. But now we have colonies of them washed up together:


This day, there was also a horseshoe crab shell that its owner had abandoned to grow a better one:


We thought at first this was some kind of sea animal but now we're pretty sure it's a part of a plant or tree or bush. It looks like a woody root. There were several of them, some smaller and some larger:


And though these yucca plants were in the dunes rather than on the beach, they were happily blooming despite the storm recently weathered.


Beautiful day and lovely walk!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

BEACH CHANGES AFTER THE STORM

Once again, our beach has undergone a total repositioning of its sand. As we come out past the dunes, we look southward and see a tidal pool. The ocean is on the left.


When we go north, there is stretches more of sand. There used to be a long and then a short sandbar out in the water not far from shore. The shore has now effectively sucked up the sandbar, making the beach twice as wide or more. Then we get to the amazing part.

Once a wide river flowed between the sandbar and upper beach. Now, as we stand on the new part of the beach, we can see it has become more of a narrow creek, flowing down to what has turned into a tidal pool. You can still see the rip rap (big rocks) on the edge that kept the sea from washing the sands away.



And this pier once jutted out into the river. A river that was way too broad to cross except by swimming and currents made that dangerous.


The houses seen behind the pier are glad of the beach changes, I suppose. For years, they were in danger of being washed away by the ocean. Now it's way out in front of them!