God bless my sweet husband. I realize that going two hours out of the way on a 14-hour car trip with children is asking a bit much. And that this particular detour was to an out-of-the-way old farm house in the middle of Georgia in the middle of summer, well, I owe him one.
I can’t easily explain my almost obsessive desire to go to Andalusia, Flannery O’Connor’s family home in Milledgeville. It was more than a sight-seeing visit to the home one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. For me, this was a kind of pilgrimage to visit a dear friend.
Sure, this friend passed away years before I was born, but that’s no problem. One of the best things about being Catholic is that we don’t limit our friends to just those we pass some time with here on Earth. We believe in the communion of saints and I don’t know if I could get through one single day without some sort of help from my friends on the other side.
Flannery has helped me be a better writer and, more importantly, she has encouraged me to become a better person. Through her stories and collected letters, I have gotten to know Flannery–her wit, her humor, her absolute commitment to her vocation as a writer and her profound, unsentimental faith.
During her time at Andalusia, Flannery often invited those she corresponded with to come for an afternoon visit on her front porch. I can’t help but think my longing to get to Andalusia was somehow an invitation in itself.
Next up: peacocks, Drano, the Misfit and other images from Andalusia.