Come join me on my latest travel adventure across the southern USA. My destination was the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. I traveled up the Gulf Coast enjoying ocean views and small fishing communities. I can tell a lot about towns I pass through by the number and types of businesses they have. In this area, I see stores selling live bait, fresh fish, and beach supplies. Some towns, not as near the water as others, have empty stores on Main Street, a sure sign of a struggling economy. Others have empty churches advertised for sale.
In Houston, Texas, I saw a magnificent skyline made of tall buildings and an abundance of shopping areas. Houston has a booming oil industry with refineries and lots of traffic traveling on Interstate 10.
When I reached Louisiana, I realized I had never been to the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! I toured the area and saw streets lined with turn of the century homes. The architecture of these grand old mansions was beautiful in every detail. I would have enjoyed taking a walking tour to more closely examine the structures if time had allowed. What an experience it must have been to have lived here when the houses were first built in the 18th century. What was the lifestyle; the religious, political and social activities of this era?
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes a community nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The historic community of Cades Cove was settled by European immigrants in 1818. Residents left when the town became part of the national park but the old houses and businesses are still there. On the eleven mile drive through the community, you still see original log cabins of early settlers, an operating grist mill, and three churches. This isn’t just a reproduction of an old town. You can tour the log cabins; see tools used in everyday life, butter churns, hand plows and other crude farming implements. Religion was an important part of life here. The Primitive Baptist Church was erected in 1827; Cades Cove Methodist in 1902, and Cades Cove Missionary Baptist erected in 1915.
I also visited friends who recently bought and restored a 110 year old farmhouse in the Tennessee mountains. The home still has the original hardwood floors and stone fireplace. In the yard, just off the front porch and near a huge oak tree is a stone giving the family name and date the home was built.
As I arrived back home and thought about the things I had seen, I wondered, what would a visitor think if he came to my home or community 100 years from now? I’m sure my computer would seem obsolete to him just as an abacus is to me. What books would he find? What would my possessions tell about my life and values? Has my life been a testimony to what I believe? What is the evidence?
As you consider your witness, look at the scripture found in Joshua 24:24, 26 and 27. “And the people said unto Joshua. The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us.”
Thank you for joining me on my latest tour.