Archives For Atlanta

life abides, death awaits

August 23, 2015

lulu abides
Tomorrow marks the tenth week since my personal cat Lucy passed, along with Max. I really don’t constantly dwell on the loss, but Lulu and Ellipse are constant reminders of Lucy, as are Ruby and Annie of Max. The weeks are busy enough and the weekends equally busy with house projects. But in the evening, usually the Sunday evening after a short but intense weekend, the memories all come back and line up in my mind’s eye.

Family Extant

I was born in Atlanta and moved to Orlando 30 some years ago. Most of my family still lives up there, such as my mom and dad. Mom was in the hospital late last week having about one-and-a-half liters of fluid drained from around her heart. Several weeks before she’d been stung by a hornet and had reacted badly to the sting. A doctor proscribed steroids to bring down the swelling. My mother, being 83, had her immune system suppressed and caught a bad case of pneumonia, which led to the trip to the hospital and the massive draining. She went home today to be looked after by the rest of my family.

Mom, as they say, managed to dodge the bullet this time. I think a trip up to Atlanta is called for in the not too distant future.


I’m in a much more retrospective frame of mind these days, far more so than I’ve ever been. Perhaps that’s the product of getting old, like the fear of death. It’s not just my death I think about but death all around touching all I love and care about, leaving its shadow over everything.

on the way home

July 7, 2014

proudly built in georgia

On the way back home I traveled the same route in reverse; my parent’s home to the Doraville station, then cross Atlanta on MARTA to Hartsfield. It was while I was waiting at Hartsfield that I came across this scene that seemed to sum up some of my thoughts and observations on Atlanta.

For example, that Kia sitting in the main part of the airport points out what has changed with regards to auto manufacturing in Georgia. From 1947 to 2008 GM’s Doraville Assembly plant pumped out Olds and Pontiacs, primarily for the southeast region. It made a lot more sense to make them local to the booming Atlanta market than to build them in Detroit and then ship them cross country. The plant, shutdown and empty, sits next to the Doraville MARTA station. The Kia plant is south of Altanta in 85, near the Georgia/Alabama border.

And Doraville itself is no longer “a touch of country in the city,” the way the Atlanta Rhythm Section sang about the community forty years ago in their 1974 album “Third Annual Pipe Dream.” It has instead become part of the vast urban sprawl that covers the entire metro Atlanta area; gray concrete, worn asphalt roads and parking lots, innumerable strip malls, pine power poles strung up with power lines everywhere, punctuated with entrances to old neighborhoods. I miss the Doraville of forty and more years ago, but there’s no going back to it these days. Like they say, you really can’t go home again.

the greenhouse

July 5, 2014
working area

One of two blooming orchids on the workbench.

Today was another quiet day at my parent’s place. I helped my dad fix one of his sprinkler heads. His sprinkler system has heads that sit just above his rhododendrons. Those rhododendrons are taller than I am, which means this particular sprinkler was that tall. While all the azaleas and rhododendrons are green and growing they’re well past the blooming season. If I want to see them in bloom I need to come back and visit next spring.

I also spent a little time with my dad walking through the greenhouse. It’s good to see it still in operation, but it’s nothing like the “glory days” of ten, and even five, years ago. There was a very bad freeze one winter and the thermostat in the greenhouse failed to activate the heater in time. When my dad woke up early the next morning, a lot of the orchids had already been frozen out. All that invaluable time invested in those orchids was wiped out. Since he’d was already retired he couldn’t afford to just buy and replace.

recycled bird frightener

An old MSN CDROM is being used to scare away birds that might come in the greenhouse. Old CDROMs are hung all over. That’s my dad cleaning out a bird’s nest in the background from the greenhouse heater.

in the greenhouse

Even though he still has far more orchids than I have (and will ever have), at the height of his orchid collection both walls would be covered with sitting and hanging orchids, many in bloom. They’d cover both walls as well as hanging down the center. By comparision I have six, down from a dozen I had five years ago. One of them is an orchid he gave me that I haven’t managed to kill yet.

idle pots
orchid in the greenhouseThe best I can say is I have the memories of those times, and he has a lot of Kodachrome slides of his orchids. There is a record, living and fixed.

in the garden

July 5, 2014

Who needs fireworks when nature is so much more beautiful?

While everyone went down to Centennial Olympic Park or Lenox Square to watch fireworks, I spent a quiet evening with my parents. My dad has spent the last 35 years turning the property around the house into a huge forested garden, covered with azaleas and a long orchid greenhouse back behind the house.

The whole property is on a fairly steep slope from the top of a hill down to a private lake. Even when the sun is up, the house and property are in deep shade due primarily to all the native pines and oaks. It’s perfect for growing azaleas and zenning out.