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Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Stone Mountain, Georgia

This is one of those mugs that I just love because it's different. Oh I know it’s not a totally uncommon coffee mg shape, but it's uncommon for a souvenir mug. That’s what caught my eye about it when I bought it.

Stone Mountain is just outside of Atlanta and a State Park. The park has a train, a paddle boat, an old plantation house and a gold course. There is a fabulous restaurant at the Stone Mountain Inn that has large windows that overlook the park’s main attraction, the carving!

The carving was designed by the same man that designed Mount Rushmore. The figures on Stone Mountain are the leaders of the confederacy. From the top of the mountain of granite, you can see the Atlanta skyline clearly on a good day. There are two ways to ge to the top: a narrated cable car ride and a 2 or 3 mile walk up the side of it. I have been on top many times. I’ve always taken the cable car!

Looking at this mug at this time of year, it sparks one very vibrant memory from the trip Mom and I took after Thanksgiving in 1993. After we left Savannah, we traveled to Atlanta for a couple more days of relaxing and a bit of shopping. When we got into town, our first stop was Stone Mountain. We had decided that we were finally going to have lunch at The Inn. We’d been to the park many times and had often thought about stopping at the Inn.

It was the week after Thanksgiving and the park was getting dressed for the holidays! As we were driving in, we saw the platforms floating in the lake with the sculptured frames for the light displays. It was chilly and gray. That’s a relative thing, but even for the deep south, there was a bite in the breeze. We walked into the Inn an they were putting the lights on the huge tree in the lobby. All the workers were buzzing with things to prepare for the holidays, poinsettias, boughs of pine, sprigs of fresh holly. It smelled heavenly and there was such a spited warm glow about the whole place. We went up to the dining room and were seated with a great view of the carving and the lawn before it.

The dining room had already been decked out for the holidays. As it was early lunchtime during the week, there weren’t a lot of people there, but it felt like being early for a holiday party, anticipating other guests. The lighting in the dining room was dim, intensified by the gray day outside. In that dimness, the candles on the tables and the chandeliers twinkled.

Mom and I had a leisurely lunch and lingered over coffee. I mentioned that it felt very Christmas. I hadn’t yet figured out why the visit with Santa on the boat trip in Savannah and lunch at Stone Mountain Inn felt so rich in the holiday spirit without snow. I was really trying to pout my finger on it. True, I had already decided I wanted to move to Georgia at that time, but I wasn’t willing to believe I was brainwashing myself about Christmas!

It was when we were leaving the park that the answer threw its sparkles in my eyes. Driving out, the floating lights had been lit and were reflecting off the lake. The lights! The gray day had intensified the effect of the lights and the earlier sundown on that gray day had the light rafts twinkling off the water early. Mom always loved water and effects you could do with it, bout as a native Michigander herself, said she still wanted a white Christmas. Okay, so I’m not totally my mother! I want a white Christmas too...white lights sparkling off the tinsel on my tree!

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