Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'll Tell'ya About Tellus

Yesterday, on my birthday, Anna treated me with a visit to the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.

The Tellus Museum is several museums in one: The planetarium; the mineral museum; the giant prehistoric creature museum; the men in motion section showing a good wrap up of man’s travel machines, such as antique cars, Wright Brothers aero planes, astronaut capsules, all electric cars, etc.; a mining for minerals section where you are given a mining pan and your dip your pan into the water and scoop up sand and shift around for a unique shiny mineral or something. And probably more I don’t remember.

The Tellus is just off the I-75 in Cartersville. When you turn into Tellus Drive you have probably a half mile or so of a pleasant drive with a lot of well sculptured trees and bushes. As you enter the parking lot you see there is about as much, if not more, parking space allotted for school buses as for private vehicles.

In the lobby there is a big pendulum in the lobby that swings back and forth in very long strides making a slight change in direction each time. The slight change in movement is credited to the earth’s gravity pull and the earth’s rotation. Right in the path of the swinging pendulum is a huge circle of little wood blocks, about the size of domino tiles. Every 21 minutes it moved just enough to knock another one down.

I wondered how they down set them back up when they are all knocked down. It kind of reminded me of the old bowling ball alleys where a “pin boy” would hop out and put the bowling pins back upright. It also reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

You pay according to what you are: student, senior citizen, etc, and how many of the planetarium shows do you want to catch. There are four shows, each with a different theme, like planets, the constellations with Greek mythology, beyond our solar system, and Big Bird. We skipped the Big Bird show.
We went to three of the planetarium shows. I noticed in each show the narrator would give a quick run down of the planets in our solar system and show how you can quickly locate them with your naked eye. They are all in a row. If you can spot Venus you can see directly to the left Mercury, Mars, and on in order as they are from the sun. I didn’t know that… that you could see them all in a line like that, and actually confuses me a bit – aren’t we suppose to be in that line too?

I also wondered what the reaction would be around me, sitting in the dark, if, when each time the narrator named off the planets when she said “Uranus” I burst into a giggle… being likely the oldest looking person there, I’m sure it would cause some stares.

In the mineral section displayed many types of stones and minerals. It also had a lot of visual educational displays about mining and what we use in our food and medicinal supply, which we couldn’t live without, that came from mining. This reminded me that Cartersville always has mined stuff since I remember. Every time we drove by Cartersville in the old days you could see high hills, stripped which we assumed to be mining operations. Is this section the city defending itself?

Also, while we were in the mineral section we sort of fell in step with a crowd of young kids, all with the same color t-shirts, who were listening to a museum docent explain to them about different type of rocks and minerals. It was interesting. I wondered if I should raise my hand and ask permission to go to the bathroom.

The prehistoric giant creature section was very good. There was one giant skeleton of a mole looking creature that was found in a nearby mining cavern. It was about the size of a Winnebago. They had maybe eight or nine huge skeletons of prehistoric monsters. I think some of them were casts from the bones of the actual critters.

The Man in Motion section had quiet an collection of old turn of the century (1890s-1910s) cars, horseless carriages, one of the first airplanes, a space satellite, a helicopter, and more. Also in this same section is a small art show, with maybe 15 or 20 canvases on display. And also is a tub or well looking device with round walls with a hole in the bottom. The directions said if you put a coin in a lot above it will travel a unique path down to and through the hole. It said all money will go be donated to some worthy cause, I forgot what. I was searching in my pocket for a penny and a nearby guide pulled a quarter out of his pocket and demonstrated. Thank God, I was trying to decide about using a quarter myself. The man’s quarter went around and around the inner-wall of the tub, and each revolution would go a wee bit further forward. Each rotation would be a little shorter, as the wall got smaller as it went down. It was interesting to watch…with someone else’s money.

They had a type of make believe house with a make believe playhouse to attract probably toddler age kids. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time there.

We got to mine for minerals. In one of the rooms you are given a pan that you dip into sand at the bottom of a water trough and shift through it looking for shiny little minerals and things, maybe a button or a coin… not really, it was all minerals. Anna and I each found a nice number of little fragments of some pretty precious stones. Now, what do we do with them?

The dining area is void of any sign of a place that food is prepared or cooked. It is there, but just not in view. Looking around the room on the wall is a menu and on the menu are cooked things, such as hamburgers, hotdogs, and hot sandwiches. I asked the lady that worked there where was the kitchen. She said “behind that door – you tell me what you want and I’ll bring it to you.” Why hide a hint of a kitchen? I didn’t realize it but no kitchen with humans cooking takes something out of it.

It was a very interesting educational trip.

After that we went to Euharlee, Georgia, to eat at Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse. We arrived before 4:00 and thus were the only paying customers there. We were welcomed by everybody there, including Johnny. Johnny and I share the same birth date. The birth day boy (or girl) gets a free generous slice of a Coca Cola cake oozing with richness. I had a sampler platter with had smoked barbecued chicken, ribs, and barbecued beef. The beef and ribs were excellent. They had a strong spiced dry-rub smoke taste that is, well, just very good, if you don’t eat them every day. The chicken I cannot say yet, I was stuffed so I carried it home to eat today.

Just about a block away from Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse is the Euharlee Covered Bridge. The road going though the covered bridge has been detoured now the covered bridge is just for show. The bridge was built by a freed black man Horace King (1807-1885) in the mid 1800s during slavery. Before Horace was freed he helped his master build bridges and became more knowledgeable and better at it than his master. The master freed him and help get him started in his own business. He built regular bridges and covered bridges in west Georgia and in Alabama.

The next time we were in the area and had the time I wanted to look up something. I wanted to look up Allatoona Pass. A Civil War battle went on at Allatoona Pass. It was almost a century before Allatoona Lake was created. My great grandfather William A. Trammell/Hunter’s unit, NC 39th, Co. I fought at Allatoona Pass. I wanted to see for myself the layout of the land.

I have tried to find Allatoona Pass before and went to the wrong road. This time with guidance from the Red Top Mountain Park ranger I found it. I think the worse part of the battle is very deep in Allatoona Lake waters but around the edges are the markers and things. One thing I saw changed my thoughts. The fight took place in September 1864. That was about two months after William was shot in the knee during a skirmish at Kennesaw Mountain. After that he was sent to a private home near Woodstock, Georgia, recuperate, and he sat the rest of the war out. He couldn’t have fought at Allatoona Pass.

However! Up on a high spot near Allatoona Road is a grassy area that overlooks the lake and on the other side of the lake appears to be Allatoona Landing. Allatoona Landing is where one of William’s favorite grandsons, Herbert Hunter docked his boat, many years later…. I just thought that was almost coincidental.

High up on top of one of the mountains or ridges looming over Allatoona Pass and on top of Kennesaw Mountain, in top of a tree, Sherman’s men communicated with mirror reflections. Sherman would send them orders and they would report back what was happening. They were instantly relaying orders and news long before electronic gadgetry.

For the next phase of my birthday we will meet the family tonight.

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Anonymous G said...

Really enjoyed the article ~~~~

Happy Birthday!

5:18 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I love visiting museums like that! Glad you enjoyed it.

6:36 AM  
Blogger joe said...

Eddie, I always enjoy your articles like this one. It's like what I want to say but just can't get it out. As I mentioned in Glover park when I saw you and your lovely wife, Your writings are reminiscent to Jean Shepherd. You have the gift to take the ordinary and make it whimsical and interesting. Keep it up!!

9:56 AM  
Blogger joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:56 AM  

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