Yellow bulldog in front of Jittery Joe's

Yellow bulldog in front of Jittery Joe's

There are bulldogs all around this town of Athens, Georgia.  Someone got the smart idea to create wild & crazy bulldogs of every color and design and place them on dozens of street corners.  Why? you might wonder.  It’s because Athens, Georgia, is the home to the University of Georgia and their mascot is…anyone got this figured out already?…the Bulldog.

Now I’m no stranger to Bulldogs.  My hometown of Yale, Michigan, claimed a blue and white bulldog as our high school mascot.  So we sang some cheering song, “Victory for Blue & White!!” claiming superiority for OUR bulldog football, basketball or baseball team. 

But I’ve never seen anything like the Bulldog fever which has inundated this deep southern town.

Bulldog in a dignifed suit and tie

Bulldog in a dignified suit and tie

We opted for a tour around Athens this morning, in the lightly sprinkling rain.  I would jump out from the backseat of the car and go photograph bulldogs and other interesting sights.  (The first stop I begged sported a bulldog in front of Jittery Joe’s coffee shop.  Guess who wanted a cappuccino?  Not the in-laws.  Me.  How I love coffee shops…and bookstores…where we later paused.  What good in-laws I have.)

Arches at the University of Georgia

Arches at the University of Georgia

One of the last times we visited, my favorite brother-in-law Craig took us for a walking tour on the U GA campus.  We enjoyed a great time and a briskly paced walk.  Today, I ventured back into campus only far enough to photograph some more infamous sites.

Here’s the legend about the above arches.  If you walk under the arch as a freshman, you will never graduate.  A UGA alumnus from the class of 1910 has been identified as the originator of this particular legend.  He arrived from Florida with only a trunk, a suitcase and less than $200 in his wallet and vowed he would not walk under the wrought-iron arch until he carried his diploma in hand. 

I, on the other hand, have no desire to graduate from UGA, so I boldly walked beneath its arch today.  So there!  And on to the next building, of which the name has been completely forgotten.  Craig took us to the top floor last time we visited and we peered out over the campus.  It has such an old southern feel to it. 

Imagine climbing to the top and looking down over campus...

Imagine climbing to the top and looking down over campus...

You might have also enjoyed photos of the houses along “Sorority Row”.  What most struck me was the large white rocking chairs on the front porches.  So unlike the porches in northern Michigan.  You could almost imagine the slow rocking of the chair on hot summer afternoons with the temperatures soaring past 100 degrees.  Yep.  You could almost imagine it.

Bulldog decorated with butterflies and insects

Bulldog decorated with butterflies and insects

After our bulldog and University of Georgia tour, and after a leisurely stop at the bookstore, we meandered back home to Watkinsville.  I asked if we might stop and photograph kudzu.  You know, the leaves and vines which are choking many a southern tree.  Native to Japan and China, it found its way to the south and has such pejorative names such as “foot a night vine” and “mile a minute vine” or (my favorite) “the vine that ate the south.”  My father-in-law said some people eat kudzu soup.  However, he has not heard of anyone who likes it.

Kudzu vine

Kudzu vine

We spent most of the afternoon and evening inside, although I went exploring twice when the rain let up a little.  Just wanted to spend enough time outdoors to satisfy the requirements of the outdoor commitment.

Explored down by a nearby pond, and back behind the house again. Fell in love with this up-close thistle plant:

Thistle

Thistle

Finally, especially for my friend Amy, I am to report on the hour in which it gets light and dark here in Georgia.  From my best estimates, it seems to get light between 7 -7:15 a.m. and darkness is mostly descended now about 7:45 p.m.

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