Making The Best Of It

In January, my brother, sister, and I went to Alabama to visit our dying father. He suffered from dementia and it was an exhausting visit just trying to convince him that he didn’t need to go put gas in the car. He was ready to go home and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t go. We would explain it to him, he would say okay and then a minute later, tell us again that he was ready to go. For a sick old guy, he sure was in a hurry to get going.

We didn’t have the best of relationships with our father. He was never too pleased with how we live our lives and I think secretly (or not so secretly), he wished we were more like his wife’s or his sister’s families. However, I believe he was truly happy that we came to spend a little time with him. I was extremely proud of how caring and loving my brother and sister were with him despite knowing how he felt about us. I’m glad we were all there together, because they gave him what he wanted. I couldn’t.

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Since it was such a stressful trip, we took a little time for ourselves and went to Sweetwater Creek State Park, right on the outskirts of Atlanta. It’s a beautiful state park with miles of trails along Sweetwater Creek. I find it amusing that they call it a creek, because where I come from, we would call it a river.

The ruins beside the creek date back to the Civil War. New Manchester Manufacturing Company was a textile mill that processed cotton into yarn. It was built solely from the resources surrounding the stream and was powered by the waters of Sweetwater Creek. Toward the end of the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers were forced to retreat and the Union soldiers torched the mill. It has been standing in ruins ever since.

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While you can’t walk around the ruins any more, you can take a boardwalk right down to the fence line for a closer look. My siblings both chose to wear red that day for some reason, perhaps to make my photos more interesting. Thank you, siblings.

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The next photo is me taking a photo of my brother taking a photo of my sister who is taking a photo of him. Pretty clever, I must say.

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It was a rough trip. Dad was semi-lucid the first day we were there, but by the second, he didn’t know who we were or that we were even there. Only two weeks later, we would make the trip again, this time by car with the rest of the family for his funeral.

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2 thoughts on “Making The Best Of It

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this. I never want to forget that day. I loved that day. It’s my happy place. Remember when I stopped and said i need to make this my happy place? Well, it worked and now when I’m feeling bad or a little off, I go there in my mind. The “creek”, the mill and being with the two of you. The pictures we took, the laughs we shared. I think our parents would have loved to see us like that. Or maybe not. It does not matter anymore really, I guess. We have that day and the rest of our lives now.

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