Okay, that's a little harsh. Maybe. I mean, she had heard of Savannah. But, like most folks I've met who don't know Georgia, she probably figured it was near Atlanta. She'd deny this, of course, but she didn't know jack about Georgia. And she was born there.
Most folks have heard of Atlanta. I guess we can thank the Braves, the Falcons, and Ted Turner for that much. But I have discovered what seems to be a great ignorance of Georgia. They think everything's near Atlanta. Well, it's not. It's 246 miles from my hometown to Atlanta. Since it's not a straight shot on the highway, it takes from 4-5 hours of driving, if you drive legal. And, it's still over 100 miles from Atlanta to the Tennessee state line. North to south, Georgia's 350 miles. East to west, it's 250 miles. But most folks who don't know no better think everything's just outside Atlanta.
When I was in the Army, for instance, some of the soldiers I encountered at Ft. Stewart talked about their home state, how great it was, and how much Georgia sucked. I disagreed about their assessment of Georgia, but I understood their state pride. But one New Yorker I spoke with made a comment about how much larger New York is than Georgia. And then wanted to argue when I corrected him.
You see, in case you're not aware, Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi. And, since New York is east of that river, it goes to reason that it's smaller than Georgia. Now, if you're reading this and don't believe me, I'll wait while you go look it up. Go ahead.
See? Told ya. Georgia's a pretty good-size state. Now, there are 20 states west of the Mississippi that are larger than Georgia. So it's not even in the top 40% of all states. But, that's okay. I won my argument with the New Yorker. He's probably still mad.
Anyway, the wife didn't know much about Georgia. And she had never heard of the Okefenokee Swamp. And that surprised me. For some reason, I thought more people would have heard of it. For one thing, a long time ago, there was a comic strip called Pogo. (Yes, I mentioned this earlier.) A guy named Walt Kelly wrote it. And, for a while, it was really popular. A lot of folks read about Pogo, Albert, Churchy, Howland, Porkypine, Beauregard, Miz Beaver, and the others. You know:
Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Anyhow, one day Walt Kelly upped and died. That doesn't exactly help a comic strip, having it's writer die. It continued for a while then stopped. Or all the papers I saw dropped it, I'm not sure which. It came back later (or papers I encounterd picked it back up). But it never regained it's old popularity.
Anyhow, Pogo lived in the Okenfenokee. They still have Pogofest every year in Waycross. It's a big deal to them. There only other option is that Burt Reynolds is from there. But thought it was so bad that Florida State University looked good to him, so that makes the choice of what to celebrate pretty easy, doesn't it.
Anyhow, the Okenfenokee Swamp covers a large area of southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. And it surprised me that the wife had never heard of it. So, I thought it would be a good idea if we went there one day. You see, I had been to the Okefenokee Swamp Park when I was younger. I had enjoyed that visit.
So, the wife would enjoy it, right? Think again. Details in Part III.