Friday, August 12, 2016

A Word of Welcome

Milledgeville, as it does each August, welcomed its newest residents en masse this week. The class of 2020 and their parents blanketed the downtown area in the course of move-in day at Georgia College, and I know our merchants are happy to see them. Summer is fairly peaceful around here, but there is such a thing as too quiet. Ours is a very O’Connor sense of normal: several hundred teenage strangers make the place feel like home. While it was nice to have an array of parking spaces to choose from in downtown Milledgeville, it’s time to get back to the usual order of things. Both students and parents are eager to start a new chapter, and as a teacher I share in their enthusiasm. 

At Andalusia, this time of year offers us several opportunities to educate as well, and in ways that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the garden variety “visit to the museum.” Creative writers, naturally, have an affinity for the inspiration that Andalusia offers, and I hope that the stories and poems they read at Thursdalusia have been crafted with a little bit of the farm therein. Student organizations frequently join us to put on special events (the 12th Annual Bluegrass Festival on November 5!) and to maintain our grounds and trails. Students from the hard sciences are some of our most frequent visitors as they sample our pond water and survey the wildlife on the property. And, while it’s not necessarily an effort to educate on our part, especially enjoyable are our teacher friends who use the porch as a second office to plan and grade.

It may be a bit of tall order for someone who’s out to test our pond water to become a dyed-in-the-wool Flannery fan. It happens, of course, and that’s a pleasant bonus, if for nothing else to give the English teacher greeting them something to talk about. But beyond giving our volunteers someone interesting to read, I hope their service to Andalusia gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride in preserving a place that is so vital to Milledgeville. That dedication to service and to causes greater than oneself gets at the ultimate purpose of education, and those of us at the farm, educators in our own right after a fashion, are privileged to provide an outlet. Thus, we thank our volunteers already in the fold, and invite the newest “Milledgevillians” to join our cause.

Daniel Wilkinson is, when not greeting guests at Andalusia and the Old Capital Museum, an Instructor of English at Georgia College. 

No comments: