Kennesaw State: its in Georgia

Kennesaw State has come a long way in a short time, and you can see it.dorm towers

It is located in a suburb just northwest of Atlanta and it looks it. No collegiate gothic arches and stone work, lots of vinyl siding.ampitheatre

My wife attended KSU for her first two college years, hardly any of what you see there now, was there then.

The doors opened in 1963, then it changed names, then it changed names again. It was, and a little bit still is, local. Not bad but not exceptionally rigorous.  But they are working hard to change cart

KSU has an ace up its sleeve regarding its continual makeover. Ty Pennington, host of Extreme Home Makeover Home Edition, tops the school’s alumni list.

Mission Stories

Bankhead Hwy, Atlanta Georgia, circ 1995

Planks asked how we were received.

Missionaries are always in pairs, sometimes in threes.  They do not choose to whom they are paired, nor do they stay with that person for the entire two years.  The rule book says these “companions” are to be within sight and sound of each other at all times, the restroom being the sole exemption.

There is scriptural basis for this practice “in the mouths of two or three witnesses shall every word  be established”, (2 Cor. 13:1) but there are also reasons practical.  When sending 19 year old males out into the world it is safer for all concerned that they have another with them.  It is also wise to have another set of eyes to witness what goes on; to later defend or quite often mock, the players in events that transpire.

Doorsteps were usually safe.  If large dogs were present and angry, we went elsewhere.  If inhabitants were present and angry, they would usually just curse us and our cause, and then we would go elsewhere.  The thing that was probably least safe was the commute to elsewhere.

While riding my bike along city streets I dodged three beer bottles (that I can recall) but was unable to avoid a bagel, two donuts, and one motorcyclist.

I was riding a good 50 yards in front of my companion, he was slow.  I was well over on the shoulder, a good five feet from the lanes of traffic.  It was a busy highway so I did not think to be alarmed at the motorcycle swerving over toward me.  I never saw it.  No, I take that back, I did see it as it sped away.  There was a passenger riding on the back, twisting around to watch me.  I could not see, but I’m sure the passenger was smiling.  There was no way not to see my companion’s smile when he finally came skidding to a halt beside me.

“Dude, that was the funniest thing I have ever seen!” He exclaimed as I stared up at him from the ditch.  “I totally saw it coming too.  That guy was riding the yellow line and the passenger leaned way over to get a good shove on your backpack.”  I asked him why he didn’t warn me.  He said there may not have been time but more importantly, he wanted to watch it happen.

I was luckier than another missionary we knew.  He was in a more rural part of Georgia with a different demographic.  Rather than a motorcycle his assailants were in a pickup, with a bat, and he received two broken arms.  He healed just fine.  I have no idea if his companion warned him.

I’m smiling as I type this.  I’m remembering Elder Reese and me walking down Campbellton Road.  We were on the sidewalk, he between me and the road.  A large town car, built before either of us were born, honked as it went by, the passenger leaning out the window screaming.  This was normal, I just kept walking.  Elder Reese didn’t.  He stood frozen and silent.  As I turned to look at him I saw he was completely wet from head to foot.  “It’s warm.  Is it…?” He couldn’t finish his question.  I sniffed him.  “It’s just beer, maybe Schlitz’s, I’m not sure.”  Relieved, he simply swiveled about and began walking back home to change.  I just chuckled as I caught up to him, taking my turn to walk on the side facing the street.

Oh Sweet Savannah

Savannah was not on my planned route, but a place about ten miles away, was.  Through my life I have heard and read so much about that majestic southern jewel that I had go and see.

Stately State St. with its mossy oaks and fine homes makes the perfect backdrop while I consult the guidebook.

Savannah was first and foremost a port city.  In colonial times right through the civil war the shining city on the river hosted vessels and voyagers moving people, rice, tobacco, indigo, and king cotton.  As I walked down Dayton St. toward the waterfront I passed a majestic colonial graveyard boasting continental congress attendees, revolutionary generals, and poets.  I suppose there is something about the sails of ships, moss hung oaks, and stifling humidity that breeds writers.; the heart of Savannah.

walking down Dayton.

Not on the map, but anchored at the waterfront was the three masted ship “Peacemaker”.  There was no signage, just a secured walkway with a steady stream of tourists filing on and off.  I, being a tourist, joined them.

If the "Peacemaker"has a motor it is hidden, and the captain would not spill the beans.

The ship was beautiful inside and out.  I know nothing of sailing other than the sense of both style and adventure that wind born ocean goers inspire.  As I browsed the decks I spotted a silver haired man with a well trimmed beard and tied back pony tail sitting casually sipping a cup of tea.  I asked if I could sit and rest for a while and he allowed it.  “You look far too at home not be employed on this ship in some capacity”, I stated, making sure it sounded like a question.

With a small grin he told me he was the captain.  The peacemaker sails up and down the coast with several captains taking turns during different times of year.  It isn’t a job, its more of a hobby.  In other words there is no money in it.  This was his first time in Savannah and as we discussed his travel schedule I brought to his attention Philadelphia’s all-you-can-eat ice cream tent and he soon promised to be docked at Penn’s Landing this fourth of July.

The captain wouldn't let me take his picture but insisted on taking mine. I could get comfortable for a three hour tour on this ship.

Two blocks back off of the waterfront the city sports two parallel streets that alternate houses and parks for a length of a half mile or so.  The homes are ivy hung and romantic while the parks host statues and fountains.  At one end sits the Telfair mansion and academy.  The once palatial home of an aristocratic family is now a very fine art museum and school.

The inside is even better, as is the security which actually enforces the "no pictures" policy.

Further down the street is the Owens mansion.  This home is touted as the product of an architectural genius and the one time resting place of Lafayette.  I toured the house and a very proper southern woman told me all about the indoor plumbing, the symmetry of the windows and doors, and the tale of a family (Richardsons) who travelled to London and found both love and a young architect, William Jay, to build this masterpiece.

"Lafayette slept here" signs make me feel right at home.

I asked what the Richardson’s did to become so wealthy post Revolution and was politely told he was a banker and merchant.  My thoughts leaned towards the familiar Wall St. trader who works with numbers and commodities.  A more accurate picture of the Richardson’s employ was given inadvertently as the tour ended in the small gift shop out back. 

Up stairs from the gift shop is where the people lived who actually built the architectural masterpiece, cooked and cared for the Richardson’s, and in more than one way backed the “securities” bankers of the day traded in.

Slave quarters for the Owen's mansion; up stairs from the gift shop.

The crown jewel of the old south is surely worth a visit.  Gone With the Wind may have been about Terah, but it still lives in Savannah.