Sunday, April 27, 2014

What?! No Ludacris Museum? Oh well, A-T-L still earns a second look

Editor's Note: Wow have we been busy. Between DC and NYC, we have been doing everything except blogging. This post was started long ago, and it's time to finish!

After one day with big ol' mosquitoes and another with cold weather in the Okefenokee swamp, we were thrilled to roll into the city of Atlanta. We had spent only two nights there in our first visit. This time we got a little time with the Greens (Sarah's cousin's family) but less than we would have liked. They were off to Mexico so we dog-sat for them. Wow, did our boys love JoJo. Fastest dog I have ever seen. We walked him a lot, and to burn off his (ample) remaining energy we revved him up to run circles in the street. He was like black lightning. So of course he needed his rest. Can't believe I didn't film him running. This totally non-posed shot will have to do:

Suburban Atlanta was a nice slice of everyday life. The stuff people who aren't on walkabout might not realize they'd miss. We watched cousins play Little League and high school lacrosse, we took a walk to the park. Simple pleasures. 

As for "stuff we did," three deserve your attention. One was a reunion with our old friend Scott, who we volunteer-mentored with, more than 15 years ago. He moved from Portland many years ago, and we hadn't seem him since. So we invited ourselves over for brunch and got to meet his wonderful wife and kids. Two girls and little redhead twin boys who LOOK JUST LIKE SCOTT. We ate great latkes and bagels (oh how we have missed thee). The kids put on several short plays for our entertainment.

What a pile of humanity!

That's Emmett in the Big Bird suit

Scott remains a mellow dude, even with four kids scampering around. We enjoyed meeting Amy and wish them all the best as they approach the post-diaper phase. (Not much longer!)

Next big stop was the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Even though we went on an overcast day, it was gorgeous. Sarah loves these places, and we 3 boys learn to love them. Especially when there are carnivorous plants and humongous flowers to see.

E shows off the apple trees trained to the trellis. There's a word for it, but I forget.

A cocoa tree, I believe


More Chihuly! Just like the one in Indianapolis, only smaller.

Hardy Oregonians, braving the damp. 

Ahhhh.... [photo credit: Emmett]

Nature can be crazy looking


Last, but certainly not least, in our tour of Atlanta was our Sunday in the city. A city trip, when you're staying out in the 'burbs, requires a 40 minute drive and you risk getting stuck in traffic. How bad can traffic get in Atlanta? Bad enough that when Atlanta was NOT on a list of ten worst cities for traffic, that itself was a news item. But what we did that Sunday was worth it. 

We knew that Martin Luther King Jr. had been the co-pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. (Loyal readers will remember that we learned that during our tour of Dexter Ave. Baptist in Montgomery.) So I thought we could combine a little religious education with some social studies by attending Sunday services at Ebenezer Baptist. It turns out that the old church is now used mostly as a tourist site. So the service was in the new building:

And what a service it was. I was nervous beforehand. We didn't have our most formal clothes, I wasn't sure if we would be the only White people there, it wasn't clear how long the service would be, would there be a lot of religious references we might not understand? All our concerns melted quickly when we saw the program. Turns out that weekend was the Hymns and Hip Hop conference. The youth pastor organized it to bridge the gap between the church and "kids these days." So the service was full of hip hop songs (like Kanye's "Jesus Walks") and skits with half the youth choir dressed up like stuffy adults. Very engaging and thought-provoking. 

The guest pastor was a woman from the Bronx who went to Stanford and Yale. She discussed the struggle to reconcile loving hip hop music and being Christian. As the songs got rougher in the early 90s, she boxed up her CDs and chose religion over music. Now she wonders if the two can coexist. Not anything Sarah or I had ever struggled with (music wins!) but fascinating to hear about.

The boys were patient, and even clapped at the right times. The big payoff came right afterward, when we hit Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles for a late lunch. Emmett had been hankering for it for months, ever since we saw it on Man Vs. Food. It was worth the wait, especially since standing outside for an hour is easier when it's 70 degrees and sunny.

By the way, we followed the rules.

[Leaving NYC in an hour. To Rhode Island for camping and hiking. State #30! Will try to catch up on blogging NC soon!]