|Lulu - Roslyn - Jimmy - Harry - Mount Rushmore|
Lulu and I decided we would make a holiday visit to Plains to see President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School. He no longer teaches in his boyhood church in downtown Plains. About ½ mile north of town is a small country church where he regularly teaches the Sunday School lesson.
We arrived at our Americus Hotel at 3 PM Saturday - just in time to watch Florida State Seminoles beat Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. After that - we went to The Rylander Theatre just down the street - to see "Miracle on 34th Street." We got 4 row middle seats for $10 each. The Rylander is a really nice old theatre. The town of 17,000 is lucky to have it. After the show - we went right to bed - we had an early show on Sunday morning.
We woke up in our Americus hotel called the Windsor. It was building 1892 and was completely restored in 2009. The rooms are authentic with modern conveniences. The rooms still have high ceilings - oak doors - shutters - period piece oak furnishings. We got up at 5:30 AM - even though the church was only about 10 miles away. We stopped at a McDonalds for "to go" breakfasts. We wanted to get to the church first and get a low number. As we pulled into the parking lot - we were given number 31. Then we sat in our van until 8 AM when the doors opened. We had to line up like grade school kids - the Secret Service searched us - and we were inside and seated by 8:30. People continued to arrived right up until Sunday School at 10:00 AM. Everybody got seats in the main sanctuary.
During the time we were seated - there were several helpers that reviewed protocol with the crowd. We were told what we could do and not do. Cameras were allow up until Jimmy started his lesson. The President asked crowd where they were from - there were many states and countries represented - after that - cameras away.
Carter delivered a very positive and humorous lesson. The crowd was spellbound including me. It was like history playing out before me. The former president talked about the installed array of solar panels on his property - 1.3 megawatts - more than enough to power Plains. It is not a big town. His degree is in nuclear science. He talked about how they removed his solar panels from the White House when he left.
Lulu and I were lucky. Two seats in the front row became available and we quickly jumped to them. Jimmy entered through a side door - and I was not aware he was there until he stood up.
Sunday School started at 10AM - then the regular church service was at 11 AM. For the church service - we were in the front pew directly in front of the pulpit. Jimmy and Roslyn sat one row behind us and to our right. If you wanted a picture taken with the couple - you had to stay for both services. Most did.
It has been a long time since I went to Sunday School - about 50 years. Things have not changed much. I knew all 4 hymns they sang. They collected money during both services - God must need lots of money. It was very comforting seeing the many traditions of my youth still going on. The church is very plain - no pictures - very generic stained glass windows. It had a piano and an organ - each in opposite front corners - sometimes they played together.
President Carter asked many questions of the crowd to keep the people involved. Generally they were leading simple questions. He talked about being on a ship in the Pacific in 1945 - and tuning in to listen to San Francisco radio. He asked the crowd what was the main topic that interested him on that radio. After the longest pregnant pause - no one answered - I had to blurt out "United Nations." He said "correct." The United Nations was founded in San Francisco in 1945. Jimmy was always interested in World Peace. That was the extent of my conversation with him.
President Carter is now 92. He looked trim - had a little of a hearing problem - he stood unsupported for 45 minutes. He still works with Habitat for Humanities which has its headquarters in Americus GA - right by our hotel.
Tonight - we are in Callaway Gardens. They have a light show and trolleys to take you on a tour. We had a late lunch in downtown Pine Mountain - across the highway from the gardens.
|Windsor Hotel - Americus GA|
|Notice the slanted steps going up to our room|
|At one time - it was the only phone|
|Soda fountain off lobby|
|Our room 329 - it reminds me of|
staying at Mom's
|Picture of hotel taken from Hylander Theatre|
|Lulu found the Christmas tree|
|Our hall in the hotel|
|Get me to the church on time - 6:30|
|Portapotties in the church parking lot at sunrise|
|Lulu was number 31 in line as the sun rose|
|That is my Sunday School seat. A full house.|
The church only has 30 active members.
The rest were from all over the globe.
|Jimmy carved the collection plates|
|I thought the "JC" stood for Jesus Christ|
|Sunday School with Jimmy is a must see.|
Will a president ever do something like this again?
It is 40 years since he was elected.
|He was 3 feet away from me. I could smell his peanut breath :-)|
How was just as gracious as one could be.
If Jesus would return to earth - he would be like this man.
|Secret Service was not very secret|