The sights of Fall are all around us in Georgia, at long last. Our collegians are in the swing of things, or at least they should be—midterm is drawing close at Georgia College. (On that score, I am pleased to say that several of my own students are electing to write about Flannery for their first literary assignments.) Up the road in Athens, their Saturdays are growing crowded and, as usual, hypertensive; another game like last week’s vs. Tennessee and all of Clarke County may suffer a coronary. The mountains of north Georgia are seeing ever so slight hints of gold on their foliage. Around my hometown of Woodbury, we’ve got arts and crafts fairs filling up our weekends. Needless to say, after a long, hot, dry summer, October has been a long time coming.
Out here at the farm, my preferred office, the porch, has a cool breeze all day, when we can find the time to sit for a second. Pretty weather brings tour groups of all sorts, from busloads of high schoolers to Sunday school classes. (To that end, if you want your group to visit us at the farm, give us a call at 478-454-4029.) I often say that I get the fun gigs here at Andalusia, and tour groups are invariably a hoot, even if the attendees haven’t read much of the fiction; there is, after all, a lot to talk about out here. That recent group of 10th graders looked at me with jaws agape when I told them just what had happened in the hayloft in “Good Country People” and just what the tractor ended up doing in “The Displaced Person.” I like to think that look is what Flannery had in mind when she wrote of having to shock folks in order to get her vision across in “The Fiction Writer and His Country.”
The big event of the Fall will be our 12th Annual Bluegrass Festival. This will be the third Festival I’ve had the privilege to participate in as Master of Ceremonies, and I’d love to see the backyard full of folks once again. Bluegrass music is one of those art forms best enjoyed in person. Recordings are fine as far as they go, but bluegrass is the music of home, of the front porch, and so it’s a perfect fit for Andalusia. It’s stuff best enjoyed among friends and neighbors, and we’ll make some new ones on November 5 as we enjoy the sounds Good Country People (Flannery fans, of course), The Skilletlickers, and the Packway Handle Band.
Thus, the activity of the farm picks up when the temperatures go down,
and I can’t say I’m opposed to meeting our guests in a less “perspirous”
environment. Manley’s feathers may be put away for the season, but the
property itself is just beginning to look its best. I’ll save you a
chair out here in the “office”!
--Daniel Wilkinson is the Bon Vivant and a Visitor Services Assistant at
Andalusia, caretaker of the 1825 Brown-Stetson-Sanford House for the Old
Capital Museum, and an Instructor of English at Georgia College.