I have a feeling Flannery would have had fun with this word, “itinerary.” She may well have spelt it something like thus: itineraree.
Hey, you can’t blame a girl for pracktising up on what’s comin’ round the bend! I’ve been reading Flannery’s “The Habit of Being” and, well, her habits are becoming habitual to me now, too. My Dad would have melted into the floorboards at the sight of it.
Anyway, oh my goodness (say it Shirley Temple style, if you please), I can’t believe that in just a couple days I will be on a plane bound for the Deep South! First, my Mom and I will land in Kentucky to pay a little visit to my sweet cousin Blenda (isn’t that a cool name?). Then I’ll join up and onward with the rest of the pillgrums. (Okay, maybe I’m overdoing it now.)
Here’s what’s in store for us as we make our way in one little vehicle stuffed to the gills through the land where Flannery once roamed.
Our first stop will be Springfield, KY, where our Southern Belle Beth is going to treat us to some home-grown goods from her garden, and where we’ll stay at a sweet little bed and breakfast just down the road.
From there, we’ll make our way to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY, where Thomas Merton lived and wrote his autobiography, “The Steven Storey Mountain” and other works (see more here).
Next, we’ll drive to and settle into our quarters in Milledgeville — the place Flannery called home the latter part of her life, where some of her finest works were penned. This will constitute the longest part of our stay, and include a visit to her home of Andalusia Farm, a peek at the Flannery O’Conner Collection at Georgia College & State University, a gaze at Sacred Heart Church and Memory Hill Cemetery, and hopefully, a run-in with Manley Pointer, the famous peacock.
Our next stop will be to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA, where we’ll join the good monks for prayer and morning Mass. Also that day, we’re going to be part of what promises to be a really fabulous book event, “Misfits, Mission and Mercy in Southern Fiction.”
This event will feature authors Kaye Park Hinckley and Charles McNair, who will give brief talks on their perspectives and read from their works; Hinkley on Catholic fiction, Catholic imagination and the influence of Flannery O’Connor on her writing, and McNair on southern fiction, fiction in general, and magical realism in his novels.
That all promises to be the perfect way to ease away from our special trip and meander on back to Bowling Green, where we’ll camp out at my cousin’s place before parting ways for our respective villages across the good old U.S. of A.
I wouldn’t mind a few prayers for prosperity. Or is it posterity? Maybe a little of both? Sounds good to me.
Now, with all that said, I do hope you’ll accompany us on our journey, spiritually of course. My hope is to post once a day from the southern lands, even if it’s just a simple photo of a magnolia or some such beautiful (or otherwise) thing.
Wait now, hold on. Before you go, I’d like to direct your attention to Christina’s beautiful post about this same journey. I promise, it will warm your little heart to hear of this adventure the way she’s approaching it. I just love the feelings her words evoke — slow and steady. Oh, I could sure use a little of that right about now. Or, as she puts it, “slowly and widely.”
Lord have mercy, I can taste the mint juleps already!
Okay, then, are we ready? Long Live Flannery!
Roxane, a.k.a., Peace Garden Writer
Q4U: What are your images of the South? What bucket-list item would you tackle on such a trip?