Happy New Year to all of you from the staff at Andalusia. We’ve got all manner of new things on tap for 2016, some of which were in the most recent newsletter, which you can get by subscribing via the contact form at the bottom of the landing page for andalusiafarm.org. 2015 was a banner year indeed, and more is to come in 2016.
First of all, we’re pleased to welcome a new Visitor Services Manager, Ross Sheppard, to the fold after the promotion of April Carlson to Assistant Director. Milledgeville needs to keep the young and talented within its confines, and Ross’s return from a sojourn in Athens is a sign that one can indeed go home again. A promotion to Bon Vivant may well be in the cards if he proves himself after the several years of training requisite of the position.
Not as recent of an arrival but equally as exciting is that of Manley Pointer II, our new peacock in the aviary. Almost exactly a year ago, Manley I succumbed to “January’s arctic blast,” as put by Kay Powell for the Bitter Southerner. Manley II is still a young fellow; those tailfeathers aren’t yet at their full complement. He will strut occasionally, no doubt practicing for springtime. He joins Joy/Hulga, who is no doubt delighted to have some company.
In terms of non-living additions, a new program space is in the backyard. The Nail House Deck now occupies the location of the storage building behind the house. Long a casualty of a fallen tree, the Nail House gave way in the Fall to a proper outdoor stage that will no doubt be well-used when warm weather returns. Keep a sharp eye on our social media pages for these events in the coming months.
During the cooler months, however, the programming remains inside with the February Four Lecture Series. This year’s set will discuss Wise Blood during every Sunday afternoon in February and comes on the heels of last year’s very well-attended series. Those who were unable to attend in person did so in spirit via the podcast, and they will have that same chance this year. These lectures are no doubt a good excuse to give another look at the novel, one that I haven’t revisited as often as I should have over the years. So too, if you’ve not seen the film version of Wise Blood, copies of it are on offer here in the gift shop. The film has grown on me over the years, as Brad Dourif’s image is the one that comes to mind when I think of Hazel Motes. I am further fascinated by Macon as it looked in the early 1970s; one can actually rent out Haze’s apartment to this day in a house not far from Mercer University.
There’s much to anticipate in the coming year. Meeting all the Andalusia “pilgrims” as I like to call them remains a delight each time I come to the farm, and as much as we offer in programming, I find that the visitors keep this place fresh for me. Even if I have to do a little “mission work” as far as Flannery’s fiction goes, welcoming these folks to the farm and to Milledgeville is the central delight that the special programs help to bring about. Thus, Happy New Year, and I’ll see you shortly out here on the farm.
Daniel Wilkinson is a Visitor Services Assistant and Bon Vivant at Andalusia Farm. When not greeting visitors and consulting with peafowl on the important issues of the day, he can be found with still more museum visitors at the Old Capital Museum and Brown-Stetson-Sanford House.