Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gum Branch

I was worried that Gum Branch was gone. Because in the eyes of the wizards running the state of Georgia Department of Transportation, lots of little towns and communities needed to be removed for the map.

You see, they've released a new official map for the state of Georgia, and lots of little towns and communities are not there. And, depending on the news source you check, they've deleted from 488 to 519 places from the map.

And it looks like they actually did this back in June. At least, that's when the DOT announced [PDF] the new maps were produced. But, the electronic (online) versions of the maps are dated December 6, and the June announcement mentioned nothing about the deletions.

Why does this matter?

Well, it depends on where you live. If you live in one of the larger cities in Georgia ... or in another state ... it might not mean much to you at all.

But if you live in a small town, it might make a difference to you.

For example, let's consider Gum Branch.

You can still find it on Yahoo! Maps. And on Mapquest. And, despite some news reports, it's still on the state map. Unlike Midland, Upatoi, Ellerslie, Po Biddy Crossing, Westville, and others. Different news reports listed different places that are gone from the map.

I'm glad Gum Branch made the cut. That area has some memories for me.

For instance, my great-grandparents lived in the Gum Branch area. In a little log cabin. We used to go there about once a month on Sunday after church.

Ma and Pa -- that's what we called our mother's mother's parents -- would have the family over. Or much of the family. I don't think everyone showed but a time or two. But we'd make the trip to Gum Branch to the little log cabin and eat Sunday dinner.

Ma cooked it on her wood-burning stove. And we sat in the dining room that was built on to the back of the cabin, and ate until we were full ... or tired.

I don't recall what all we had, but there was usually chicken involved. Sometimes, we children would sneak a peek at the cooks (Ma, or one of her three daughters, or one of the other women in the family, usually) chasing a chicken around the yard, then doing the whole wringing of the neck and using of the hatchet and such, that was necessary to put a chicken dinner on the table.

We'd have sausage, too. But we never snuck a peek at that process.

Ma would cook biscuits. And we'd have "Happy Young'Uns" syrup. Actually, the brand was "Happy Kids" but Pa wouldn't call it that, because "a kid is a goat, not a young'un." And we'd eat syrup and biscuits.

And whatever vegetables Ma had cooked. And cornbread. And all the southern cooking we could eat.

The cabin's no longer there. But the memories remain.

And so does Gum Branch.

But for some people, the places that hold memories no longer exist.

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