In this space back in August, I wrote about the air of freshness and vitality that permeates Milledgeville when the new class of Freshmen arrive at our local colleges. That sense can only arrive, however, after experiencing a Milledgeville summer.
Graduation at Georgia College was last Saturday, May 7. The influx of friends and relatives for what may be their first visit to our town is a fitting last hurrah for the academic year. Some of my friends at the local restaurants call it “Black Saturday,” for the stream of people in and out will be almost constant over the afternoon. These visitors and their graduates take in what they can of the town’s history, too; visitors to Andalusia, the Old Capital Museum, and the Old Governor’s Mansion last weekend frequently had graduation on their agendas.
But come Monday, the hustle of graduation gives way to the calm of the Summer term and the return home of many of the undergraduates. Some remain, of course, but the summertime population hearkens back to the earlier days of Milledgeville, before the era of large dormitories and apartment complexes. The usual hustle and bustle remains; those of us that remain will often have more on our plates now that there’s fewer workers around. Nevertheless, there’s a relaxation in the summer months that isn’t around during the regular academic year. To a point, I blame the heat; there’s no sense in moving too quickly if it’s 110 degrees in the shade. But even now, as I type this on a wonderful 78-degree afternoon on the front porch at Andalusia, the sense that the town can breathe a little is difficult to ignore. We’ll be ready for our band of Misfits to come back, of course, by August, once the slow pace has become too slow.
The porch here at the farm, never a place at any point in the year for speed of movement, is an especially pleasant shady spot. I like to call it my “office” for behind-the-scenes work here at the farm. Perhaps more than any other place I know, the front porch here can make the summer’s slow pace a habit for all seasons. Those who have been here on recent Thursdays to watch a sunset have certainly understood. And what’s more, a new resident: Leora, a wonderfully talkative and charming black cat who enjoys the nice cool bricks of the front steps when she’s not holding court at the rear landing. (She’s no doubt rehearsing a story for Thursdalusia, our Third-Thursday Microphone-free Open Mic.) We’ve got a chair saved for you each Thursday this Spring and Summer until dusk, in addition to our regular hours. See you soon!
Daniel Wilkinson is a Visitor Services Assistant, Feline Nomenclature Specialist, and Bon Vivant at Andalusia. When not discussing art and world events with Leora, Manley Pointer II, and Joy/Hulga, he can be found likely doing the same at Georgia’s Old Capital Museum and the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House.