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December 28, 2012

Georgia – Saturday, December 22

I drove the rest of the way to Macon, and hoped to get some downtown walking in. But Macon didn’t have quite as many walking possibilities as other cities. There were some empty storefronts, and downtown seemed a little empty and quiet for the Saturday before Christmas. We only walked about a mile and a half, and then I thought I would try one or two of the historic home districts. As I drove toward one of them, I passed a Ronald McDonald House – a big brick building decorated for the holidays. I put that in the back of my mind while I got out and did a little more walking past some old antebellum homes. But I only got another mile and a half in – some sidewalks were closed and we kept coming to busy roads. But I did walk past a post office, and since I had a batch of post cards ready to mail, I drove back there once we returned to the van. I didn’t really expect them to be open on a Saturday afternoon, but to my surprise, they were. While I was in the parking lot, I thought of the Ronald McDonald House again, and got on the computer to see if they had any wish lists or anything. And they had long wish lists in several categories. There was also a Top 10 wish list of items that were most needed at the moment. And stamps were at the top of the list! There I was, sitting in the post office parking lot on a Saturday afternoon, and the post office was unexpectedly open, and the Ronald McDonald House really needed stamps. I knew what I had to do! I called them first to make sure they were indeed open, and of course they were. So I went in and got as many stamps as I could for $56, and then Tula and I just walked over there since it wasn’t far away. They let us come in to the front office, and the place was wonderfully inviting and smelled like homemade soup. It must be incredibly difficult to have children who are so seriously ill, and the families must appreciate having such a welcoming place to stay. I talked with the volunteers who were staying at the house for a couple days to take care of things, and they told me the house has a capacity for 13 families, and they were full with a wait list. Ronald McDonald Houses have become such a large network that McDonald’s cannot support all of the expenses for all of them. They take care of a lot of the expenses, but the homes also rely heavily on donations. Stamps sort of seemed like a weird thing to donate, but it’s one of those things that they always need, and people don’t often think about that. I’m glad I didn’t go with my initial impulse, which was to buy holiday cookies and goodies for the families – the volunteers told me they had been inundated with all sorts of Christmas goodies, and even while I was there, another lady came in to drop off a couple loaves of holiday bread. So they sent me on my way with a cookie and a cupcake. I think I will be seeking out other Ronald McDonald Houses.

On my way out of Macon, I passed Mercer University, and stopped to walk – we got in almost 3 miles walking all around and through the campus – it was quiet since most of the students had left for the holidays, but very pretty to wander around another Civil War era university.

And then I got on the highway toward Savannah, and crossed a bridge over a river where I happened to look down and saw a river trail. I took the next exit, and managed to find an access point, and walked a couple miles along a beautiful curving path with benches and lampposts – one of the prettier river trails I’ve been on. I was happy to stumble across it!

Then I was ready to sit in the car and head to Savannah. My middle daughter Toni was driving up from Florida, and my mom was flying in from Wisconsin ( having been delayed a day due to weather) so we’re having a 3-generation Christmas in Savannah! I arrived first, and took care of my laundry; then Toni and her dog Ella arrived (Tula and Ella are buddies); then a little later, we went and picked my mom up from the airport. We had a late meal at Ruby Tuesday near her hotel, and it was fun to see a big box where the Marine Corps Reserve was collecting new, unwrapped toys. Our server told us the marines were coming tomorrow to pick up the toys, so I knew toy shopping was first on the agenda in the morning!












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