Cotton and Commerce and Enjoying Savannah

I’m back in Savannah for a visit.  This time I took one of my old routes to get here.  I-75 to I-20 east, then mostly state and county roads through Warrenton, Wrens, Waynesboro, Sardis, Sylvania, Springfield, Rincon, and finally, Savannah.  That’s the route I used to take to my parents’ house (well, except the Rincon and Savannah part) when they were living.

That route took me on Sunday through cotton country.  Fields and fields of the brilliant white stuff, ready to be picked.  A few fields already picked.  The crop that was so much a part of the South’s 19th-century financial base.  Cotton fields surround my mother’s hometown of Sardis.  During her childhood, most of the cotton there was taken to Augusta to be sold.  My sister says she remembers, back when we were kids, our family’s driving to Sardis to visit my mother’s family and passing lots and lots of cotton fields.  She remembers asking, “Is that what my shirt is made of?”  The answer, of course, was “Yes.”

Savannah Cotton Exchange

The City of Savannah was also important to cotton, especially in the 19th century.  As a port city, Savannah was the site at which cotton was loaded onto ships that set sail for ports across the Atlantic.  Cotton was king for a long time, and The Cotton Exchange was built in 1886 as a center for the world trade of cotton.

This cotton connection has got me to thinking about commerce and trade and how it has changed – and stayed the same.  We still wear cotton clothes, and farmers still grow cotton.  Though cotton is no longer traded in Savannah, the city thrives because of commerce, especially because of its port.

Container ship headed toward the Talmadge Bridge to the Georgia Ports

Nearly every trip down here, I like to go to River Street – in hopes that I’ll see one of the container ships come or go.  Today I saw both.  One coming in and one going out.  I’m always amazed at how BIG the ships are.  They are typically full of containers – which are full of products we buy here in America.  All kinds of products.  Trucks pick up these containers and fan out across the country, delivering these products to all kinds of stores.  From the manufacturer to stores to us.  Via cargo ships and 18-wheel trucks.

But enough of the social studies lesson.  Savannah trips are also markers in my recovery from breast cancer treatments.  This time I could walk all the way from Forsyth Park to River Street without needing to sit down and rest.  And I could walk at a pretty good pace.  Not fast, mind you, but not slow, either.

A year ago I was just through with my first round of chemo and less than a month away from my lumpectomy.  But today, just one year later, I walked around for hours, not feeling weak or very tired.  Not only could I walk easily, I was able to taste food.  To enjoy a meal with flavors as well as textures.  Able to spend nearly all day outside, meandering around Savannah.  I didn’t have to go anywhere for blood work or a shot or an infusion or a radiation treatment.  I felt like a healthy person.  A cancer-free person.  One who can enjoy a perfect autumn day, one of crystal clear sky, surrounded by Savannah’s beautiful scenery.

Pondering cotton and commerce and cargo, walking most of the day, taking photos and enjoying whatever came my way.  Healthy and happy.

Who could be more blessed?

Cotton field on the drive down

Picked cotton

Magnolia Hall, Savannah

Forsyth Park Fountain

The Waving Girl (from Bay Street)

Container ship headed out the Savannah River

Cotton field outside Sardis, GA

4 thoughts on “Cotton and Commerce and Enjoying Savannah

  1. Dear Krista,
    I don’t ordinarily do a lot of comments, but I can’t help but do so today. The pictures are gorgeous! And, please continue giving all of us your social studies lessons. I have learned so much from you. Not just about geography, history, civics, commerce, etc. but about life and how to live it and enjoy it to its fullest. You have been given an amazing gift of writing down your observations so beautifully. I admire your ability to be so introspective and so honest in your writing. Please know that though you might not hear from me often, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. … Cotton! That first picture definitely looks like the aftermath of the latest Nor’Easter that hit New England just two days ago. Those are snowballs, not cotton!

    • Thank you deeply for the kind words, Aria. Cotton does look a lot like snow. On drives down to my parents’ in Decembers of the past, if it was particularly cold sometimes I’d first think that the cotton that had blown off the trucks and was at the edge of the road was snow. Then I’d remember where I was!

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