Even though I did most of my growing up in Chattanooga, which sits on the southern border of Tennessee, I have never really explored the adjacent state of Georgia. In 1985, I attended my first Barry Manilow concert in Atlanta, and last year, I spent several weekends visiting in Marietta. Other than that, Georgia has never really been on my travel radar. But this past week, a couple of girlfriends and I headed down to the lovely, and haunted, city of Savannah.
The three of us have known each other since 1983ish when we were in our church’s youth group together. Incidentally, that church was located just across the Tennessee border in Rossville, Georgia, so I guess I have actually been to Georgia a few thousand times. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night for seven years.
Originally from Seattle, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, we were tossed together in this little Baptist church because our fathers all attended the local Christian university. The more I think about it, the more remarkable it seems that thirty-five years later we embarked on a road trip together.
We didn’t have a plan, and we didn’t research the city ahead of time. We just showed up and played it by ear. The history is fascinating (if not a little scary), and the antebellum architecture is beautiful, but the food won the weekend. We found ourselves basically just trying to fill time between meals.
Immediately after a massive lunch of southern cuisine, “How long should we wait until dinner? Does anyone think they’ll be ready to eat again in four hours?”
Four hours was just enough time to hit a couple of art galleries, snack on some still-warm pralines from the candy shop, and get a psychic reading.
I never thought I would go to a psychic. Even though I am no longer in the church, my strict Baptist upbringing had engrained in my mind that all such things were evil and should be studiously avoided. But the sign was compelling, and the alcohol that I was openly consuming in the street was taking affect.
Friend: “Do you want to get a psychic reading?”
Me: “I don’t know. Will I go to hell?”
Friend: “You could ask the psychic.”
We climbed a steep set of historic steps, and then seated ourselves on a red velvet couch in the waiting area. While we waited, I set my drink down.
Friend: “You just set a beer on an altar!”
Me: “Oh crap! Now I really am going to hell!”
I just thought it was a table of stuff she was selling. My only exposure to altars were the kind where I would kneel to pray on Sunday mornings so my dad wouldn’t be too suspicious about what had taken place on Saturday night.
Fortunately, the psychic didn’t get mad about the beer. When I went in for my reading, she let me plug my phone in to charge, and didn’t mind at all that I wanted to handle the crystal ball. We talked extensively about my past, present, and future, and by the end of the session I was referring to her as my therapist.
Later, as we dug into a big platter of crawfish, oysters, and shrimp, accompanied by a big ol’ side of cheesy grits, my girlfriends and I, along with the Uber driver we had invited, hashed over the psychic readings. We discussed the details, and helped each other see the best way to apply the psychic’s advice to our lives.
They say the devil went down to Georgia, but really it was three little girls originally from Seattle, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. I am grateful for the experiences we shared, and the mountains of delicious food we ate, but most of all, I am grateful that our paths entwined all those years ago, and led us down to Georgia.
Ginger Lumpkin is an author, motivational speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web: www.gingeretta.com, or contact ginger.columnist@gmail.com.