I was born and raised in The South - New Orleans, Louisiana; Jacksonville, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia. So I take a certain offense to the use of the phrase "going south" to convey the message that things are getting worse. Just thought I should get that straightened out, as I am, in just a few hours, going south. To Atlanta today, visiting with family. Then, on Sunday afternoon, I meet up with several co-workers at the Atlanta airport from which we will drive to Augusta, Georgia. Monday and Tuesday will be working at an office in Louisville, Georgia.
Several years ago, I made this same trip. A few things stand out in my memory, but the most vivid image is one of chickens. To get to Louisville from Augusta, you have to drive on US Highway 1. It was on this drive, as we got out into rural east-central Georgia, that we went by a white chicken in the road. Now that would not have been so noteworthy had we not, at pretty regular intervals, encountered more white chickens in the road... one every mile or so. Eventually, we caught up with a truck. A poultry truck. Leaking chickens. Ahh, the south.
So things were going south for the chickens. But not so for one enterprising gentleman (we're all gentlemen in the south. In case you didn't know). We went by a lone house, set back from the road and connected to it by a red dirt driveway. Quintessential rural Georgia. And there, walking back towards the house, was this man. Carrying a white chicken. Lunch. Sometimes things just work out right.
The offer letters (see To My Would Be Benefactors...) just keep coming. The latest had a twist I haven't seen before. For the most part, it was pretty typical. Some heretofore unknown-to-me relative in Africa has died and left me a bunch of money - $3.5 million this time (note to this would be benefactor: $3.5 million is a pretty paltry sum; I'm regularly offered amounts in the range of $20 to $50 million). But, instead of asking me for my contact or bank account information, I was to write them and let them know if I was dead or alive.
Alive, I'm glad to report. I might be headed south, but not that far. Yet.
"What about riding?" you ask. Well, I rode 46 miles last Sunday, but winter-like (OK, late fall) weather kept me in this week. And now that we are getting perfect conditions for biking, I'm leaving town. I know, a pretty lame excuse. REAL riders always find a way. Consider this determined young man in Uganda:
Guess that takes care of any excuses I may have for not getting in a ride. Oh well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm heading south...