The beautiful capitol building has been erected on a commanding hill in Atlanta.
—First Lessons in Georgia History, 1913
I got up this morning with that Monday-back-to-teaching-school-after-two-weeks-off feeling of extreme wonderment, knowing today that I’ll be taking sixteen 7th and eighth grade history lovers down to the state capitol building in Atlanta for a tour.
That’s formally what’s on the agenda for today, and for the next two weeks we’re planning to see first-hand as much dang history in Georgia as we can. We’re starting a few days of what’s Lurlene calls “Winter Wonderment,” a real Lurlene tradition.
During the two weeks right after we get back from Christmas break kids can go to a cooking school Coco’s cooked up or go to Old Burrell’s sci-fi movie symposium or Mamie and Sally’s science extravaganza and they can even go on a scuba diving trip to Florida.
Spike is in my group. We got to meet and talk with the governor in his ceremonial office which is crammed with all kinds of artifacts and gifts to the state.
Spike asked the nice governor who all that stuff belongs to.
The governor said the people of Georgia.
Spike said since he was a resident of Georgia he’d like to take some of the stuff home with him.
The governor looked at me for some reassurance. I really couldn’t give him any.
Outside, Confederate general John Gordon Brown was still on top of his horse. I gathered the kids around me and asked them if anybody knew what the various meanings of horse and rider statues meant … in regards to what the horse’s legs and feet are doing. Or hooves. Fetlocks. Whatever.
Tempest said she guessed it meant that the person wasn’t allergic to horses.
It was a breezy twenty-nine degrees where we were standing on our two feet. I said there are some meanings which may or may not be totally agreed on by everybody … but if the horse has one leg in the air it means the fellow, a military commander of some sort, was wounded in battle.
Some of them said, Oh.
If the horse has both front feet in the air it means the fellow was killed in battle … and if the horse has all four feet … or hooves … on the ground then that means the fellow was not killed in battle but that he’s still real important. Isn’t that interesting? Did any of y’all know that?
Spike raised his hand and asked … What if all four hooves are off the ground?
We hoof it down the street.
Before Christmas break I had worked the phone and found a nice lady in the Georgia Building Authority who this afternoon could get us into that little building on old Wall Street, deep and dark under a viaduct, where they keep the zero mile post on display for no one to ever see. The nice lady had us meet a worker fellow named Darrell and he lets us in. The moment we see the physical symbol for the existence of Atlanta, Spike places his wiggling ass right on the top of it.
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