Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Great Birthday Present

Of course the actual reason that so many of my family came together today was the earliest Easter of our lifetimes. Gathered here in Rome were my mother, my sisters Joan and Debi, their husbands, in-town nephews Jonathan and Andrew, my wife, my youngest daughter, out-of-town-but-soon-to-be-homefolks niece Lyn and her hubby, son and two daughters -- AND our illustrious Auburn aeronautics professor nephew Gil with his vivacious wife and two precocious sons Lewis and Mark --- AND Gil's airplane!!!

Gil long ago earned the love and admiration of his uncle, but today!! He took me -- and Lillian -- up for an aerial photography session in his little Cessna. What a thrill!

I am so pleased to have lots of aerial shots of our school woods. If you look carefully at the triangle of wood in the top right corner you can make out our little brook flowing more or less along the hypotenuse and glinting in the sun.

Our school sits among the long Armuchee Ridges wrinkling up along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The farthest ridge is probably Lookout Mountain along the Georgia-Alabama border. The next would be Taylors Ridge that runs all the way to Tennessee. The foreground is Rocky Mountain with its strange manmade lake that is drained and recreated daily as water is pumped up to the reservoir during low-electrical-demand hours, only to plummet down tunnels to drive electrical turbines during the peak hours.

The heart of Rome is between the rivers. The Etowah on the right and the Oostanaula on the left bound our downtown. The great symbol of Rome, perched atop a hill toward the left side of the picture and visible from just about anywhere in town, is our famous clocktower. Built in 1870 by the Noble brothers, it was the primary storage tank for the city's water system for many years. Now it houses a wonderful little museum inside what was once a water tank. You can take the spiral stairs between the brick outer wall and the tank to the observation deck. Our vantage point today was even better.

Our tour covered our fair city. Here you see the Shaw homeplace along the Oostanaula River. The big red roof is the hotel down the street. Count the houses to the seventh left of that roof. It's easy to see the Riverwalk on both sides of river and Ridge Ferry Park across the Oostanaula.

Here's a little closer look. Our big black roof and the black shadow of our huge magnolia make our lot one of the darkest looking from the air. It is directly across the street from the middle of the three red-roofed buildings.

Our pilot patiently explained all his manuevers to his neophyte flyers, and passed a mint to Lillian who was feeling a little queasy in the back. Gil had warned us that the ride would be a bit bumpy because of the active air currents on this cool but clear day.

Our welcoming committee, and crew for the immediately following flight to Auburn, Alabama, greeted us on our return to Rome's Richard B. Russell Airport.

Thanks Gil. What a hoot!! When can we do it again?


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

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