Where the sky is not cloudy all day

Labor Day weekend was inappropriately named. You get paid *not* to Labor, plus it's a Day, but everyone calls it a Weekend. So it really should be renamed "Labor-Free Three-Day Weekend." People, let's get on this. Write a letter to someone in Congress. I don't think they're busy right now. Certainly not with anything this important. We could have this wrapped up before next year rolls around. Really.

But I digress. After a busy summer, Labor-Free Three-Day Weekend was a chance for the Wyatt family to truly enjoy No Agenda Whatsoever. Unless you count cooking a mess o' ribs for the first Football Saturday, we really didn't do much of anything.

So, when I asked Brian if he wouldn't mind being a tourist in his own town on the holiday, he was pretty easy to please. We traveled down the road a ways to visit a former President's homesite. The 9th President of the US, Andrew Jackson, once lived nearby, and we got a chance to see his place up close.

I've always enjoyed finding new things to do like this, and it turns out this little place was much more than we expected. There's quite a large home that was rebuilt a few times (once due to a fire) and grew into a large stately manor over a period of a few decades. Much of the hardwood floor and even some of the hand-painted wallpaper in the house dates back to 1830's, which was the period of the last major renovation. In addition, several original log cabins on the property have been well-maintained and kept as part of the general tour of the property. There's a tomb with the President and his wife in a beautiful garden next to the home. It was really lovely to see it all and hear stories about General Jackson and his wife Rachel.

One of the funniest stories, though, was about a slave named Alfred. Alfred was born to Betty, the cook. He grew up with his family on Jackson's farm, working his way up to a high position in the household. When the property was sold in the 1880's to the current owners (an historical society), Alfred offered to work for them as a tour guide, if they would agree to give him "a nice funeral" and bury him in the garden near the General. The society quickly agreed to the deal, and Alfred continued to live in his cabin behind the house, giving tours to the public. The story goes that if you showed up at the front door, asked for a tour, and gave Alfred a little tip, he'd show you around the parlors and the library and the upstairs bedrooms, as well as the kitchen and smokehouse. If you didn't tip him, he'd take you in the front door, straight through the front hall to the back door, and let you right back outside.

And in the early 1900's, when Alfred died, he got his "nice funeral" - they held the service in the large front hall of the manor. There's a great picture of the assembled group at the service displayed in Alfred's old cabin. He's buried in the garden near Jackson's tomb.

Now, for the pictures!

Here's Helen under what had to be the biggest magnolia tree I've ever seen. I didn't even attempt to take a picture of the tree, or else you wouldn't have noticed My Doodlebug underneath one of the branches! And most of the leaves are on the ground because of the heat wave.

Here's Helen in the garden, with the flowers (I don't think they worried about the water restrictions!):

Here's the tomb of the President and his wife:

Here's the back porch of the house, where Helen is enjoying running up & down, while Alfred is probably spinning in his grave:

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