Hands of the Strong: Southern Exposure – Places

Southern Exposure – Places

We traveled south in January.  Logical, if you live in the north.  I will not regale you with the details of our seventeen day trip; unfamiliar as I am with social media, I am enough aware to understand this is not a twitter note or Facebook page.

Suffice it to say that we visited the Presidential Museums/Libraries in Georgia, Texas and Arkansas.  Five in all — and more.  Starting with the Carter museum in Atlanta.  We got our “passport” to the “modern” presidential museums, thirteen in all beginning with Herbert Hoover, right through George W. Bush.  Our hope, of course is to visit all thirteen in the next year or so — and, this will prepare us for the Obama Library/Museum we hope will be located in Chicago.


The presidential museums were fine.  Lots of history — as presented in ways that were generally favorable to the president being honored.  Understandable, of course.  Still, I came away from some of the visits, not all, wondering if there could be any acknowledgement of the mistakes, the shortcomings, the poor decisions of those men — all men at this point.  In fact, I remember leaving one such museum with the feeling that this fella had been dealt an inside straight at birth and lived his whole life thinking he was a great poker player.

Lest I be misunderstood, there were things noteworthy about each of the presidents.  The experience reinforced the sense that we are fortunate — the “American experiment” has continued to provide a remarkable gift to many.  And, it leaves room for us to continually seek improvement!

Among these five libraries – Carter, Bush 41, LBJ, Bush 43 and Clinton, our favorite was the LBJ Library.  One is able to hear tape-recordings of Johnson and many other leaders of his day.  There is no hiding of his greatest failure — the extension of the Vietnam War.  There is also beautiful evidence of his courage and commitments to civil rights and a more just society.  He was a man who knew how to weld power — but who also was able to grow and change.

However, the best of the presidential centers was not in the five we had scheduled.  On the way home from Little Rock to La Porte we decided to stay over in Springfield, Illinois and visit the new Lincoln museum.  It is exceptionally well done.  Don’t miss it. 

In Atlanta we also visited the new Center for Human and Civil Rights.  It too is a spectacular way to spend an afternoon. We were also fortunate to fly out to Scottsdale, AZ for a few days.  Again, we found a museum-you-must-not-miss.  It is the little publicized but increasingly popular Museum of Musical Instruments in Scottsdale.  Not only a remarkable collection of instruments but also forms of music from nations around the world.  You will be amazed and to see/hear everything would take several days.

Museums, Libraries and Centers — all good, some great; however, the real reason for our travels was the people, friends we have known over the years.  Another post will come soon — maybe today — about these people.

This is a rapid overview of our tour.  We got off before the heavy snows came and drove across the south never paying more than $1.90 for a gallon of gasoline.  This in itself was miraculous.  And, we returned just home just in time for the BLIZZARD OF 2015!  Eighteen (18) inches of snow over a two day period in La Porte!  Yes, the new snow blower was great. 

Let me close with this word.  I started writing this blog wondering if it was something I would want to continue.  Now, I find I am thinking of more posts than I dreamed might be tucked away in the corners of my consciousness.  If you would like to hear more about any items mentioned today, just ask.  Here are some of the other things I plan to write about soon:

  • What Contemporary Atheists Get Right,
  • What We Learn from Bees,
  • The Sermon that Pushed Me Over the Edge,
  • Encouragement Even Helps a Rat!
  • Whining Bishops and Other Oddities,
  • Why I Won’t Plant Rutabagas
  • Racism and Other Modern Mysteries

As you can tell, there will be whimsy and challenge, critique and compliment in the postings ahead.  Perhaps you would like to follow this post regularly?  There is now a “tag” along the right edge allowing you to do this.  Perhaps you will share this with friends.  I know that I still owe you a more substantial reflection on the two movies Calvary and The Overnighters.  Soon.

Looking Forward – Phil A