LYNCHBURG, Va. – History is a good thing. It can satiate the curiosity and lift the emotions, bringing welcomed pause to your day. Few communities are fortunate to be surrounded by more history than this town of 75,568 which was the only major city in Virginia which was not captured by the Union Army before the end of the Civil War.
Monticello, the splendorous home of Thomas Jefferson, is a little more than an hour away. James Madison’s Montpelier is an hour and a half east; Charlottesville is just over an hour’s drive and Staunton about the same—Staunton is birthplace of Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the U. S. His minister father moved the family to Augusta, Ga., where he lived into his teens, bringing about the question of why doesn’t Georgia claim this champion of the League of Nations as a native son who took up residency in the White House?
Before moving on from Lynchburg and local geography—for your information, you can drive to our nation’s capital in a little over three hours (It took Thomas Jefferson four days and three nights to journey from Monticello to Washington.)
I have come here to reach out and touch as many of the aforementioned historical sites as possible on a weekend and to visit with a doctor friend and his wife, who always have Georgia on their minds–to the extent that they often drive to Athens on the weekends when the Bulldogs play at home. “It takes only six and a half hours to make the trip,” says Carl Moore, a cardiologist, who grew up in Warwick in South Georgia and ranks Stripling’s sausage right up there with Virginia ham as a classic mealtime experience.
While there are divided loyalties in Carl’s social circle (family, friends and neighbors who were matriculates at Virginia, among other institutions of higher learning), he suffers emotionally when Athens is not on his agenda often enough. However, when he tailgates—Athens or Charlottesville (or wherever)—you can find his watering hole easily. Just look for the flags.
At the top of the 28 foot flagpole, you will see the Georgia “G,” followed by an Ole Miss banner (wife Nancy’s alma mater) and one saluting Virginia (where his son Davis and daughter Dixon were graduated). Then there are the nautical symbols NCND, identifying his late father’s World War II minesweeper. You can readily conclude that Carl is all about loyalties.
The Moore’s combine work and play about as well as anybody you know. Their inventiveness would impress Mr. Jefferson. Carl settled here after cardiology training at Virginia. Nancy, who was graduated from Ole Miss, remains a working pharmacist. Ashton, the last of their offspring, chose the University of Georgia. “That,” Carl says, “heightens our interest in returning to Athens.”
When they make their sojourns to Sanford’s hedges, they are always in the company of Mike (Georgia) and Leah (Vanderbilt) Sumner, both graduates of the Lumpkin School of law in Athens; both practice law in Newnan. The Moore’s and the Sumner’s become inseparable in the fall. Their tailgate parties start early and the chain of flags gets priority attention. Friends are always welcome. “We have met the nicest people who stop by our tailgate parties,” Nancy says.
The Moore’s get the highest of marks when it comes to their social inclinations. They have to go out of their way to visit and interact with their countless friends. What’s a seven hour drive to have fun with those you enjoy the most? My words, not theirs, but a betting man would wager that they would be in agreement.
What is easy to glean from all this is that campus loyalties should be inclusive and without rancor. Cheer loudly for your team, but embrace those who pay allegiance to other colors. The Moore’s and the Sumner’s display the best in collegiality, friendship and sportsmanship. Let’s all circle up and sing Kumbaya.