Monday, October 15, 2007

More About Huntsville

As previously mentioned, we pushed west for the first time Saturday morning from south Atlanta and went to Huntsville, home of the Marshall Space Flight Center (and the Redstone Arsenal among other things). No pictures of that this time, however; I've been many times before and Heather was there not too long ago, so this time we skipped it and looked around Huntsville itself more.

The MSFC and Redstone (and thus Huntsville) are perhaps best known for being the home of Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of 120 German scientists who were brought to this country and given relative immunity in exchange for helping to advance the US rocket program, and that's exactly what they did. The war -- and the world -- might have been a lot different if not for his contribution, both to the German rocket program and later to the American space race. My uncle Bobby and aunt Pat worked at NASA during those years, though not directly with Dr. von Braun, and I've always been proud to have our family affiliated with NASA and the many accomplishments of the 1960s and 70s.

But there are other things to see in Huntsville, and so on this visit we decided to try some of those. We spent an afternoon at the Botanical Garden, and then went to see Burritt House. Pictures of these events are here -- just click!

The best time, though, was getting to visit with our cousins Greg and Gina. Gina now has a sizable family with her husband Cade and their kids Sam, Drew and Emma. Ironically, they had just gotten back from a trip to ... wait for it ... Disney World!

Aunt Pat made some special nut-free banana bread and brownies for me, which I happily gobbled up. She is helping her church put out a recipe book, and she's a perfect choice since she's a very fine cook herself. Uncle Bobby was kind enough to chauffeur us around (I think he may have been afraid of our overloaded van on the streets of his town!).

The roads we took in getting from Atlanta to Huntsville (since, oddly, there's no direct route) took us up into Tennessee, where we somehow ... somehow ... resisted the commands to see Rock City (been there, done that -- albeit a long time ago!), but also passed us through Scottsboro which, to our surprise and delight, is the home of the Unclaimed Baggage Center (as seen on TV!). We made a note that we had to visit this on our way back to Georgia.

So after a week on the road, we've seen roughly half our living relatives, FDR's house, bits of drought-stricken north Georgia and southern Tennessee and the hills of Alabama. Four states and scores of little towns, and we're only just getting started. Next stop -- back to Georgia (via a different route) to the northeast corner and the little county of Habersham -- the Martin family seat, in a way ...