Quote of the Day:
“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” —Dwight Eisenhower
First of all, sorry about the crummy picture of Stone Mountain. Long, boring story, but suffice to say the picture posting feature of the new and improved TBU is still in beta testing.
That aside, TB, Flyin’ J and the gang o’ girls had a big time over Memorial Day weekend. For years I held Atlanta in contempt due to several factors, chief among them the legendary rudeness of its service industry including personnel from the CEO down to the bathroom attendants. The Atlanta airport is the worst I have seen, not because it is huge, but because it is dominated by Delta Airlines and their awful employees. (There are plenty of exceptions, but as a rule, that company is terrible.) Beyond the airport I have had some of the worst experiences of my life in Atlanta’s restaurants and hotels. Because Atlanta is a halfway point for my gang and Flyin’ J’s though, I have spent a lot of time there over the last few years. In that time I’ve come to soften my regard for the city after discovering places of refuge scattered all around. Though the hotels are still almost always are staffed by mo-rons. Atlanta locals aren’t much different than any place else, but man, where they find these people for the hotels and the airport….I don’t know.
All that to say that my trip to Stone Mountain blew all that bad experience to smithereens. Stone Mountain is famous for the Confederate relief etched on its face. There is also a train ride, a cable car, a sky hike and a glass blowing shop, among a few other “c” level attractions. There’s also a pretty good laser/fireworks show in the evenings. For an adult trip, I wouldn’t invest my time there. But with kids, I have to say Stone Mountain is an excellent weekend getaway from both a value and entertainment perspective. More than all of that though, and I am still in shock that this was the case, the people we interacted with at the restaurants, in the park and, yes, even the hotel were undoubtedly the friendliest, most helpful service industry folks, as a group, I have ever seen. Atlantan’s all. They honestly transformed a slightly above average getaway into a fantastic one.
Shifting gears, I noticed in the comments that Smily J is going to Graceland. He said it was a little cheesy, but should be fun. Hell, when ain’t cheesy fun? Anyway, it got me thinking about the slightly cheesy must see destinations around the South. You know, the places we all either go or want to go see, but can’t bring ourselves to admit the trip rises to the level of a “vacation.” Graceland definitely qualifies. One of these days I’ll have to go. Stone Mountain is in that category. So too are Rock City and Ruby Falls which I love and probably Dollywood. Not sure if I’ll ever hit that one or not. (heh heh) I know there are more but I can’t think of them. Anybody else want to add to this list?
Finally, I was reminded at least a hundred times on Facebook this weekend to focus on what Memorial Day is all about, to teach my child about “freedom,” and its cost. I know all those messages came from a good place in people’s hearts and I completely agree with their sentiments. I AM thankful for all the people who have died to protect our American freedoms. I’m equally thankful and sad for the many servicemen and women who died in causes that had nothing to do with my freedom but rather were sacrificed only in furtherance of politicians’ interests or multi-national corporations’ profits. As I continued to think about our war dead, as they’d asked, my mind kept travellin’ back to the books I’ve read about men on the front lines in wars from 1776 all the way up through Afghanistan. As a group, how would those men want me to spend my Memorial Day weekend? No one can speak for the dead and TB won’t try. Still my sense of their collective intent is that they would want us to spend the day doing whatever in the hell we’d like. That’s freedom after all. And a lot of them died for it.