Archive for the ‘Athens-Clarke County Georgia’ Category

Recognizing What One Has   Leave a comment

Above:  My Desk, June 21, 2017

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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To recognize (at least partially) what one has and to give God thanks for it is to pursue a positive course of action.  Too often we human beings become grateful only after the fact and mix gratitude with regret for not having x anymore.  Frequently that regret overshadows our gratitude.

I have been spending perhaps excessive amounts of time with Google Earth recently.  I have been looking up places used to live, examining street views, and stirring up old memories, some of them faint because they come from my early childhood.  (I have consistently clear memories from about seven years of age forward.  I have sporadic memories prior to 1979/1980.)  I spent much of my early life in a series of United Methodist parsonages scattered across the South Georgia Annual Conference.  Often my family and I lived in small, provincial communities–sometimes in small towns, sometimes outside them, in the county.  This annoyed my father, who expressed himself frankly in private, in journal entries, as he complained about how small many minds were.  The experience of having to muzzle himself in public frustrated him.  The lack of intellectual stimulation outside my bookish home certainly frustrated me.

If, for some reason, fate will ever be so cruel as to require me to live in any of these communities again, I will not join any of those congregations, which will have nothing to offer to me.  I am of a particular spiritual type (Anglican-Lutheran-Catholic), which a rural Methodist church cannot satisfy.  Also, I abhor Southern Gospel music.

I am preparing to commence my thirteenth year in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, and at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in early August.  These places are where I belong, at least for the time being.  I acknowledge the possibility that perhaps I should leave both of them one day and pursue opportunity and spiritual fellowship in another location, but I have no desire to relocate needlessly and foolishly.  As of now, grocery stories are plentiful and adjacent to my home, I lack no intellectual stimulation, I get to speak my mind freely in church without anyone accusing me of having committed heresy, and I take communion twice a week.  (I have long felt closest to God in that sacrament.)  I am the parish librarian, presiding over a splendid collection of books in a room I have transformed into a sacred space, complete with Marian iconography.  Also, no longer do I live in a proverbial glass house, living under the expectations of others that I at least appear holier than they.  Life as a layman and just another member of the congregation is wonderful.

I know at least some of what I have and thank God for that of which I am aware.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2017 COMMON ERA

Evening Rainfall   Leave a comment

Above:  Athens, Georgia, May 4, 2017

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Evening rainfall,

continuing watering,

feeds the thirsty earth.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 4, 2017 COMMON ERA

After the Rain   Leave a comment

Above:  Athens, Georgia, May 4, 2017

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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After the rain the

earth, glistening with water,

sits refreshed, renewed.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 4, 2017 COMMON ERA

First Presbyterian Church, Athens, Georgia   Leave a comment

FPC Athens

Above:  First Presbyterian Church, Athens, Georgia, After 1933 and Before 1965

Image Source = Library of Congress

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John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), my paternal grandfather, studied law at The University of Georgia (UGA) in the late 1920s.  He was a lifelong Presbyterian.  Presumably he attended church while in Athens.  He might have worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church, founded in 1820.

The physical plant has expanded since the construction of the present sanctuary in 1855-1856.  I have lived in Athens since August 2005, and I have noticed additions to the structure.  The interior of the sanctuary retains box pews, which families used to rent; I have noticed the names of prominent people on small plaques inside box pews.  The session of the congregation has done much to maintain the historic nature of the sanctuary while updating the physical plant to keep up with the times and the needs of the congregation.  (The elevators in the educational building are quite nice!)

I am an Episcopalian and an active member at St. Gregory the Great Church in town, but I have had occasion to visit the First Presbyterian Church, most recently on a Sunday afternoon for a concert of fine organ music.

Concert Program

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

The historic and active nature of the place impressed me, a fan of old buildings.  As a former priest of mine said, many congregations are functionally memorial societies.  The First Presbyterian Church is not a memorial society, fortunately.  Furthermore, according to the self-appointed rankers of church choirs in Athens, First Presbyterian has the best church choir and St. Gregory the Great has the second best church choir.

One reason for my interest in First Presbyterian is the possible link to family history.  Have I been in the same space in which my grandfather worshiped during his law school days?  Have I perhaps sat in the same box pew?   The UGA School of Law is on North Campus (with the famous arch), which opens up onto downtown Athens, where First Presbyterian is located.  One can walk from UGA’s North Campus to the front doors of the First Presbyterian Church in just a few minutes.  My theory is plausible, if unproven.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

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John D. Taylor, Jr., 1920s   Leave a comment

John D. Taylor, Jr., in College

Image Courtesy of Randolph Fleming Taylor

Here is an image of my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr., at The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, in the late 1920s.

I have walked the North Campus of UGA and looked at the Law School buildings, some of which postdate his time in Athens.  Yet the oldest one would have been familiar to him.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 28, 2013 COMMON ERA

Late Night/Early Morning Rain   Leave a comment

Above:  The Author on November 11, 2012

The rain falls gently,

pitter-pattering in the darkness,

falling off the roof,

flowing downhill as it glistens in street lights.

Tree shadows fall across the ground

carpeted in Autumn leaves

as cool air refreshes those who are outdoors.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 15, 2012 COMMON ERA

A Beautiful Day   Leave a comment

The sun shines on a blue-skied day

with a pleasant, gentle breeze

while I walk through Ben Burton Park

in Athens, Georgia,

and while some turtles sun themselves

on rocks in the river

and other turtles swim.

This is a beautiful day.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 11, 2012, COMMON ERA

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This is post #200 of TAYLOR FAMILY POEMS.

KRT