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Dr. Kemp Mabry

View the world through others

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Posted: March 2, 2007 5:35 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    More on the travels of Bertie Mae Garrett. Just look over the list of places she has been. Among them was Lebanon, mentioned in the Old Testament and prized for the wood, “Cedars of Lebanon”. Guatemala City, Guatemala, and London, England, all seemed mysterious to a small town boy. Dan Good has been to Guatemala, but not to Guatemala City. The language spoken there is Spanish. They have their own dialect.
    She went to Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea and onto Honduras where our great-niece, Ashlie Darley, and young daughter,  Hope, went to the Episcopalian orphanage. Hope quickly bonded with the girls there. They both worked on mission projects. They also went out into the bush a couple of times.
    Brazil is where the people speak Portuguese and make no mistake about it. Portuguese is the national language, not Spanish.
    I have visited Switzerland after World War II. I learned they speak several official languages, among them German, French, Italian and another language in addition to their beautiful Swiss Alps Mountains. Their country is the cleanest I saw in the Western countries of Europe.
    Bertie Mae visited West Africa, Senegal and Gambia, Africa. She has been in the Near East in Jordan where Christians are allowed, but culturally they are always under fire. She visited Kenya and French Guiana. She has been to Thailand and in the Orient she went to Urumoqi, North China. In Europe she went to Germany, France, and Russia as well as Macau, originally a Portuguese colony along the coast of China. Although there are many more, I want to mention Katmandu, located in Nepal which borders on China, which has been visited by many Americans in recent years. Several people from Statesboro have visited Katmandu, among them Michael Braz who wishes to return to Nepal and Kenneth Smith, who sells hiking equipment.
    Indeed her book title, “Gathering Jewels: Personal Reflections on Near and Far Away Places,” is a most appropriate title.
    It seems that Bertie Mae has managed to see largely by coincidence and many others who are visiting far away places.
    More than 60 years ago my parents and I visited many places in north Georgia and North Carolina. They included me in their weekend trips. We usually stayed in the old-fashioned tourist cottages. As I lay in my bed before going to sleep I would hear the moan of a train in some far off mountain pass. This allowed me to let my imagination run wild as I thought about going to strange lands with changing customs and strange people. Many places we saw were strange to me. Long before I was grown and married I had visited all lower 48 states. Now I can only visit from the recliner in our den with wife Evelyn jogging my memory.
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