Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 11 August 2006

Noon in the Garden of Good and Evil

Savannah, Georgia - 11 August, 2006

The settlement was established in 1733 by James Oglethorpe. He had a utopian vision of no rum and no slaves for his colony. The King hoped the colony would serve as a check on the Spanish settlements in north Florida. By 1738, the Savannah citizens began a revolt caused by economic woes from a lack of slaves and by dry throats. Oglethorpe banished the most vocal protesters to South Carolina. Late in 1739, The War of Jenkin's Ear broke out between English Georgia and Spanish Florida. Somehow this also ignited the larger War of Austrian Succession in Europe.

All this resulted in the creation of Savannah’s Beacon Park tennis complex, where Mrs. Phred beats me like a gong, 6-0, 6-3 as the temperature rises at 7 AM. Oglethorpe allowed a shipload of Jewish immigrants to join the colony. Mrs. Phred claims to be descended from the first Euorpean baby born in Savannah. I’ll take her to visit the temple later today.

The 21 beautiful town squares of Savannah were, as it turns out, laid out by Oglethorpe for training the militias, rather than for esthetic purposes as I had first imagined. We visit the Telfair Art Museum (mostly to se the Birdgirl statue shown on the book cover of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.

By noon the temperature nears 100 F. Savannah is a good place to spend a day walking and looking at old mansions on the squares, but not in this heat. We are followed by a shouting man holding a neatly printed hand-lettered sign with a message about Satan and America. I want to take his picture, but Mrs. Phred feels it would be like staring at someone with a disability.

Later we visit Fort Pulaski National Monument on an Island at the mouth of the Oceefee River. Laid our by young Robert E. Lee, it took 25 million bricks and 18 years to construct after the humiliating English invasion of 1812. In 1862, it was destroyed in 30 hours by large caliber rifled Union artillery from two miles away on Tybee Island. This caused a world-wide rethinking about the invincibility of eight-foot thick brick fortifications. There’s a lot of history here: ironclads, the cotton gin, slavery and the first Atlantic crossing by a steamboat.

We check out the National temperature map and wish we were further north, but I decide to linger, play more tennis and see the temple and the Bonaventure Cemetery later today. Mrs. Phred refuses to try another halibut recipe so I make myself an egg sandwich for dinner.

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