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Speaking with History - Part 2

So now that you've read the background
of what my father takes us to do each summer from my post
you will understand this post much more easily. 

A few weeks ago, my family packed into a van 
and began a slow but steady drive up the East Coast. 

Along the way they met up with 
Mr. Winbush
(the grandson of a black Confederate soldier)
 and Mr. Cunningham
(the grandson of a slave who became a free man and a wealthy land owner). 

I couldn't make it up for the entire three weeks trip, 
so I settled for two days.

I am friends with Mr. Winbush and wished I could've visited again, 
but I was very sad to have missed meeting Mr. Cunningham. 
The last time my family went out of their way on a trip to meet he and his family, 
he told them that they were the first white people to ever have dinner at their table. 

Since then, 
my father has become fast friends with Mr. Cunningham. 
At least even if I couldn't get my daughter there to meet him this time, 
my siblings all saw the photo of her that my father had sent him, 
framed in his home. 
He told them how cute she was and how he loved the photo. 
I couldn't be more excited about that.
I cannot wait for the next chance to meet him 
and I truly hope it comes. 

Lance unfortunately had to work, 
but Svea and I made in out in time to join the trip in Georgia. 
The night the we arrived on the plane, 
my family picked us up and
we drove right over to Stone Mountain to catch the late night laser show. 
Let me just say that it was amazing!
I highly recommend it if you are ever near Atlanta, Georgia. 

The next day we headed out to Elberton, Georgia to meet a man named H.V. Booth. 
He is the son of a Confederate veteran and a WW II veteran himself. 
He lives in a nursing home there and was excited for us to take him out to lunch. 
We gave him his choice of where to eat and he chose good ole Bojangles. 

Off to get some fried chicken we went. 
Over lunch we chatted with him about his memories of his father
and he told us about the rest of his family. 

Mr. Booth held and kissed and loved on Svea saying over and over, 
"You just a lil sweetie. Yeah you are. Just a lil sweetie pah."
She thought he was hilarious and smiled up a storm. 
I got chills just thinking about telling Svea about this experience someday. 

It was one of those flawless memories that I'll always treasure -
good food, great company, and lots of laughter.

After lunch we had originally planned to go back to the nursing home and chat some more, 
but Mr. Booth told us he could give us directions to see the Confederate memorial.
We got there, hopped out to check it out, and snapped a few phone photos. 

When we got back into the car, Mr. Booth began to give directions to somewhere else. 
He talked and my dad listened. 
We ended up spending a few hours driving around the the entire small town 
and visiting many places where he had made memories. 
I could sense the joy he was feeling at having the freedom to go where he wanted
and breath the fresh air. 

We would have kept driving around with him, 
had it not been for the fact that we had another veteran to meet the next day. 
So after visiting the grave of Mr. Booth's father, 
we reluctantly headed back to the nursing home.

Back at the nursing home, 
my sisters interviewed Mr. Booth as a part of a national project to compile a history of veterans. 
Then we took some photos and let Svea stretch her legs with Mr. Booth while we chatted. 

Suddenly from across the room we heard, 
"Oh ma lawd! Look at that cahyootee! Oh let me jus give her some luvin!"
Another elderly lady who's daughter had wheeled her into the room
was thrilled to see my Little Muppet. 
Her daughter asked how old Svea was and I told her that she was only a few months old. 
She then told me that in that case, her mother was officially 104 years older than Svea. 

you read that correctly. 


She held Svea and kissed her and Svea talked happily to her. 
I could't believe the history that was surrounding my daughter 
and I was overwhelmed to see all the joy that she was bringing. 

 We were so blessed to be able to stop there for the day and spend time with such amazing people.
Svea is the best thing that I have ever done
and it was surreal to see the light she brought to the many people we met in the nursing home, 
including Mr. Booth. 

We finally said goodbye and headed out on our way again. ,
stopping only for a minute on the way out of town for me to snap some photos of the neat scenery. 
The backgrounds of the photos give a pretty accurate feel of the place. 

By the next day we had made our way to Virginia to meet Mr. Hamm. 
(He is the son of a Confederate Veteran and a WW II veteran as well.)
Svea was such a trooper in her carseat this whole time that we were driving. 

Everytime we stopped for gas or food, 
she clung to me, 
begging to not go back into the carseat, 
but she was so good even though she had to. 

We made it to a Cracker Barrel for breakfast with Mr. Hamm 
and I was thrilled for more discussion and interviewing. 
Over a delicious Southern breakfast, 
Mr. Hamm told us about his philosophies about life, 
and some of his own experiences. 

He told us that everyone has things that bother them to the point where they won't tolerate them. 
He said, 
"Mine is when people mistreat young children. I don't stand for it."
He told us about stopping a mother from beating her young son in a store 
for wanting to use the men's room. 
His eyes were in a far off place as he described cleaning the blood off the boy, 
washing away his tears, 
and hugging him to calm him down. 
He then told the boy's mother that she was never to treat her boy like that again, 
especially not in his presence. 
She left in a huff with the young boy looking back at Mr. Hamm. 

This is why I flew across the country with my baby for a one and a half day stay.
To sit on a porch in a rocking chair
and hear stories like this. 
To see emotion literally pouring out of a person. 
It was inspiring. 
All the time I looked down at Svea napping in my arms, 
and I thanked God that there were people in the world like Mr. Hamm,
to make it better for people like my baby.

After he finished his interview with my sisters, 
and he told us many stories, 
we snapped some photos with him, 
and he held Svea. 

When I put her in his arms, his face lit up, like I hadn't seen it do all morning. 
He talked to her and she cooed at him, 
and they were in their own little world for a bit. 
I like to think that all of the love she got from the people we met on this trip, 
are a part of her that she will carry with her forever. 

It was again time for us to hop on a plane and get back home, 
so we headed for the airport and said goodbye to my family. 
As we hugged goodbye, 
my father mentioned how much it meant to him that I had come. 
Sometimes that's just something people say, 
but I could see it in his eyes, 
and I could feel it in my heart. 
I was glad that I could sacrifice the time and get out there for this small, 
but memorable trip. 
What a blessing I have had to be able to speak with history. 

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