By Lise Funderburg
Copyright © 2008. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
In March of 2004, just when the urge to rake out garden beds and plant summer bulbs is too strong to resist, despite the possibility—the near certainty—that snow will come again to Philadelphia, I pick up my father and his wife and head south.
We drive from their suburban retirement community to Philadelphia International Airport, then fly to Georgia, them in business class, me in coach. In Atlanta, we rent a car and aim for Monticello, a small town surrounded by small towns: Zebulon and Sparta, Musella and Smarr. This is Monti-sello, not –chello, seat of Jasper County, home to the fighting Hurricanes, one-time buckle on the Georgia peach-growing belt, birthplace of my father, and the town he shunned for decades, until 20 years ago when he gave in to a childhood dream and bought a farm a few miles from Monticello’s town square.