The Banks County News
October 8, 2003
a sister marries ...
Saturday my little sister married her sweetheart
after seven years together. The event was over a year in the
planning yet the last month was still filled with last minute
harey carey. But there seemed to be something different about
this particular wedding, at least to me. My last hurried word
from my sister was Friday morning as she was setting up things
for her rehearsal dinner and wedding. She was quite panicked
and wanted me to run over, though I regret to say I didn't. I
figured I would hear about it Friday night. But she was a completely
different bride than the one I had talked down from the edge
of insanity throughout the summer. She was so in love. Whats
more, and this is the unbelievable part, she was so unconcerned
with how things would turn out the next day. She didn't fret
about rain or the florist. She just held hands with her fiancé,
grinning from ear to ear in a sleeveless dress, offering her
shawl to her bridesmaids who were freezing in the cold October
evening. She glowed in a way I can remember warmly. That catch
in the pit of your belly which makes you feel as though you could
laugh and laugh until happiness consumes your entire body. The
way you feel when you just want to hug harder and harder until
you realize you can't squeeze as hard as you can love. It is
joy just to be around that kind of happiness.
And she floated from the rehearsal effortlessly into her wedding
day. Taking no time to sit and fret. She was there and Bucky
was there and those were all the details she really cared about.
The time for pictures came and went with none of us ready, but
it didn't matter to her and we walked down the aisle on time.
The event was perfect; in retrospect, details that didn't quite
cement are forgotten. The whole thing reeked of my sister and
new brother. They married at The Lodge on Apple Pie Ridge Road
in Alto, which is a large log home with breathtaking views of
the North Georgia mountains from its balconies and porches. Everything
is open and fresh, both in the lodge and out. And while a log
lodge is rustic by the very definition, it was also elegant.
The mountains and Georgia are both important to them so it was
an ideal location. The Georgia game was on discreetly in one
of the bedrooms so people could walk in and out, checking the
score, while eating all of Bucky and April's favorite foods.
And she danced the leather right off the soles of her shoes.
But my frame of mind was different at this wedding-I expected
joy, but also sorrow. It's a big point you measure your life
by: before you married and after; and it's a wake-up call to
anyone who watched the last 20 or so years pass by without realizing
how grown-up and different someone has become. But I felt no
sadness at my sister's wedding and I think I know why. She will
always be my baby sister, the one I laughed with, dreamed with
and loved. The one who would knock timidly on my door to ask
if she could sleep with me in the bed we had shared for 10 years
before my parents bought the bigger house. There are a thousand
late nights and crazy days when it was us against the world or
just one pesky little brother. And that will never change. To
many we will always be collectively named The Girls despite having
grown up and married.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for
By: Jana Mitcham
The Banks County News
October 8, 2003
The Great Bear, Jack Frost and chlorophyll
Hints of fall color are just becoming visible
in this area, with a tree here and there dotted with some red,
orange or yellow.
Is it the early work of Jack Frost, tiptoeing through the forest
with paintbrush in hand?
Or maybe it's the Great Bear's blood dripping down from the heavens.
Or possibly Mother Nature has been gliding through the woods
again, gathering up her green cloth and tossing a dash of yellow
here, a sprinkling of red there and a purple way over there.
Of course, a chemical reaction is what really causes leaves to
change colors in the fall - very simply put, less sunlight and
cooler weather means less chlorophyll, means less green, means
other colors show up more....
But some of the legends and folklore about the fall of the year
are interesting, I think.
A Native American legend has it that celestial hunters and their
dogs chased the magical Great Bear across the sky. When the hunters
caught the bear, its blood fell to the earth, covering some of
the trees with red. As the hunters cooked the bear, some of its
fat splashed from the kettle and fell to earth, covering other
trees in yellow. (A different version has it that the fat fell
to earth, covering the ground in white.)
The Great Bear comes back to life each year and the hunt is on
again in the fall.
The constellation Ursa Major (The Great Bear) includes the stars
commonly known as the Big Dipper. Some say the Great Bear's shape
is the bowl of the dipper, while the hunters and their dogs make
up the line of the dipper's handle.
In a somewhat similar vein, another story has it that Ursa Major
comes down from the sky to walk through the forests, leaving
a trail of color behind.
A Cherokee legend tells of the early days of the world, when
only plants and animals lived on earth. The Great Spirit promised
eternal color and "power of the night" to those able
to stay awake for seven days and seven nights.
Only a few succeeded and those trees, like the pine and cedar,
remain green year-round as others shed their leaves and sleep
through winter. Owls and mountain lions were among those given
"power of the night" and allowed to prowl and wander
in the dark.
Other stories of the fall describe Jack Frost painting the leaves,
or Mother Nature scattering color about.
Whatever the reason, we are now at the turning point - the month
of October - before the time changes and darkness arrives early,
when the days are beautifully blue-skied and the trees are beginning
to be dappled with color.
According to a "fall forecast," this year's color may
be pretty spectacular because of the rainier than usual summer
and the less frequent rainfall and cooler temperatures of early
While the leaves have probably already passed their peak or are
there now in New England, the "peak weeks" for north
Georgia are still ahead. The fall foliage forecast calls for
the third week of October to be peak in the Clayton area and
surroundings; for the leaf color to be strongest the last week
in October from Clayton down nearly to Gainesville and across
toward Chattanooga; and for the prime colors to reach their peak
in early November from Gainesville and west; and for Athens to
Atlanta to Rome to see brightest color in November.
Maybe it's time to plan an excursion to the mountains - or, if
you wait a couple of weeks, to sit back and enjoy fall's colors
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor
of The Jackson Herald and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers,