Tullie Smith Farm Log Cabin
Atlanta History Center, 2008
View On White
Atlanta History Center, Tullie Smith Farm Area
View On White
Little log cabins and farm houses don’t exactly thrill me. Before H.o.p. was born, these are not scenes I would generally elect to go seek out, but if they were THERE right before my face then I would leap into the fray and go, “Oh, wow!” because hell why not learn something. And I tend to want to have fun even though I’m forever boiling over with angst.
Then came along H.o.p. and that means now I do all kinds of things I wouldn’t have done before…
…like getting a membership at the Atlanta History Center and taking him down to look at the Tullie Smith farm house and its auxiliary buildings. As I said above, not that I wouldn’t have appreciated these things before, but I wouldn’t have gone seeking them out and electing to spend my money on them.
But now the world has become an educational opportunity.
H.o.p. is somewhat like me in this regard. He is generally eager to have a good time just because he’s alive. He’s got his own angsty side as well. In fact, he’s a lot like me. He’s 3/3rds angst and 3/3rds eager to take part in the ride of a lifetime. Like me. He can be wholly one or the other in the matter of a second or two, but always in the angst is the eagerness for the ride of a lifetime, and always within the enjoying the ride of a lifetime is the question mark of angst. So pitch a farm house at him and his eyes light up because that is the ride of the moment.
H.o.p. asked some great questions on the tour. He was so excited that he couldn’t stand still to save his life and was boppity bopping as he stood there but he was very attentive and asked great questions and I wrapped my arms gently around H.o.p.’s shoulders and he stopped boppity bopping after all, and the tour guide, who knew his stuff, was able to answer all H.o.p.’s questions. We all really did learn a good deal yesterday, in a brief amount of time.
When the Tullie-Smith farm was built, Atlanta didn’t even exist yet. The Cherokee had only recently been removed on the Trail of Tears. Much about the Tullie Smith farm, in fact, was reminiscent of what we saw at New Echota.
We’ve done two tours now of different things at the Atlanta History Center and the guides are great. They know how to tell a story, and they know their stuff. A good guide is like a well-scripted history show. As questions arise in your mind, the next moment the guide is relating what you’re wondering about.
The guides also have personality, which is nice. The Atlanta History Center opted to not leave personality out of their guides.
Another woman and her boy were also taking the tour. As this particular tour yesterday was only of the Tullie Smith house and didn’t include the back buildings, they roamed those with us and related to us some of the things they’d learned on previous tours. The boy, perhaps a year or two older than H.o.p., explained why one of the jugs in the kitchen had a grotesque face on it. This was because the jug would have held alcohol and the scowling face was a warning to children.
H.o.p., of course, decided now was the time to relate the story of the Megaroon
I made up the Megaroon one night when he was about five or six years of age.
The Megaroon was a bird that came and picked up children and carried them away.
I based the story on Amerian Indian tales of giant birds carrying away people.
I made the story seem very real.
I’m a great fan of Thunderbird tales, by the way. I’m a believer in Thunderbirds. But we needn’t get into that.
So, there’s H.o.p. and you never can tell what’s going to come out of his mouth when he opens it (and when it’s not shut it tends to be open and running), and what came out of it yesterday, inspired by the jug intended to scare the kiddies, was “GUESS WHAT?! MY MOM TOLD ME THIS STORY ABOUT THE FEARSOME MEGAROON AND…”
And I took a step into the background and started taking pictures of the back buildings of this farm in the middle of Buckhead.
H.o.p. happily and excitedly went ahead with the boy telling him I don’t know all what but at one point he came running back to me and said, “That boy says buffalo are stupid.”
How they started talking about buffalo I don’t know. But then I don’t know why H.o.p. opted to crow about his being American Indian yesterday either.
“You have Ioway and Cherokee ancestry,” I corrected.
It was a few minutes after this that H.o.p. came running over to inform me that the other boy thought buffalo were stupid. “They’re not stupid, are they?” H.o.p. said, greatly affronted because as far as he’s concerned buffalo are wonderful, remarkable, incredible beasts. He’s been raised to respect the buffalo and he believes them to be his brothers.
“No, they’re not stupid,” I said.
H.o.p. goes running back to the boy and I hear him good naturedly crow, “My mom says buffalo aren’t stupid!”
I took pictures of buildings.
Atlanta History Center, Tullie Smith Farm Area
Atlanta History Center, Tullie Smith Farm
What had happened was the boy had apparently told H.o.p. about American Indians running buffalo over cliffs, which the boy had decided made buffalo stupid.
“Mom, he says that Indians run buffalo over cliffs!” H.o.p. said, disbelieving.
“They did,” I said. H.o.p.’s been told these stories but he’s been told a lot of stories about the buffalo and these apparently sank to the bottom of the heap and weren’t quite absorbed.
H.o.p. stared, mouth agape, but pulled himself together in a couple of seconds.
“But they’re not stupid,” he said.
“No, they’re not stupid.”
Before we were done, H.o.p of course had related, “I’m an artist!” Because everyone must know.
The other boy turned out to be an artist as well and his brother in art school.
H.o.p. loved that.
He brought up again today what the boy said about buffalo being stupid. So we talked at length about the buffalo again and read a story on how coyote tricked the buffalo into racing over the edge of a cliff.
That he won’t forget because it involves coyote.
There’s nothing H.o.p. likes so much as a good coyote story. In fact, he related two of his favorite coyote stories yesterday to the other boy and the woman.
H.o.p. sees coyote at work everywhere, I think.