I am writing postcards to encourage voting for Democrat candidates (see the previous entry here at the FFR). Today’s parcel went to Georgia in support of Jon Ossoff, who is challenging the incumbent U.S. Senator. Mr. Ossoff is liberal, he is young and personable, and according to the polls he stands a puncher’s chance of victory. Oh, and he is Jewish. Which in the deep south means….well, we may or may not learn what it means. I devoted an hour so of today (Yom Kippur, thank you very much) writing postcards on his behalf. One of the postcards went to the town of Hephzibah, Georgia—and that stopped me, and has inspired this short essay.
Where is Hephzibah? Who was Hephzibah? Why would a town be named after Hephzibah? Why would anyone care about these questions?
Research provides some limited answers.
Hephzibah, Georgia, would appear to be the only community named Hephzibah in the United States, and possibly the world. It is located just outside the mid-sized city of Augusta, Georgia, where it serves as a rural-ish suburb. The namesake might be Hephzibah from the Bible, who was wife of Hezekiah, King of Judah. Perhaps more likely, Hephzibah is also a symbolic name for Zion, or Jerusalem.
I have no idea why anyone but me would care about these details, and I am not at all sure why I do. Someone, possibly, thought the City of Gold in the land that is now Israel could be recreated, or at least help inspire, a sleepy burb in the Georgia low country, baked in high heat and humidity, slowly drained by the nearby Savannah River. But hey, why not?
I visited Augusta, just once, on a trip for a publishing company. I rented a car in Atlanta and drove with Elizabeth R, my colleague, across the state on Interstate 20. I have no memory of the business dealings—I am guessing we attended a focus group, and all focus group sessions blur into one—but I do remember a bit from the drive back. Elizabeth saw a road sign for the Laurel and Hardy Museum of Harlem, Georgia, and wanted to investigate. We detoured through the town and found the museum closed, but no complaints from me, because I enjoy detours for almost any reason, when time allows. Turns out that Oliver Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia. How about that?
I do try to value the tiny bits of information or intelligence that come my way unexpectedly, or from surprising sources. Travel is great for this kind of learning, in my experience, and I miss travel (lousy &*@!*% pandemic) for this reason and a bunch of others.
In other news, this morning my 3-year old son climbed his way onto the shelf where I store my wallet. He grabbed it, reached inside, and offered me a twenty.
My 15-year old son, a sophomore in high school, is studying biology from a textbook that has yet to be revealed to him, but is published by Savvas Learning (formerly known as Pearson.) This means that the book stands a reasonable chance of being an edition on which I labored extensively.
No further comment on that.
Our dog, Bombo, is getting on in years, which means (in his case) a struggle to climb either up or down staircases. Because our home has LOTS of stairways, both short and long, it means I do a lot of hoisting of Bombo up and down them. Which will last as long as the dog and my back hold out.
My guess is that my life will not return me anywhere near Augusta, Georgia, let alone Hephzibah, for the significant reason that nothing would seem to draw me there. If that is the case, and if this essay proves the last time that I ever consider Hephzibah again, then that certainly is reasonable and acceptable. I expect my life can continue, lo, even prosper, without additional Hephzibization, which my spell-checker calls out in a zig-zaggy red underscore. Then again, you just never know what will happen next. I once thought I was done with North Dakota, that my previous three visits to the state—all enacted when I was a teenager—would be my three only. Yet, sure enough, in 2016, the family and I spent not one but two action-packed days in the state, including a fishing trip on Devil’s Lake and a romp around Theodore Roosevelt National Park, not to mention a Mexican dinner at a restaurant that was converted from a Conoco station in Derby, ND, not far from the geographic center of North America.
If you have any experiences with Hephzibah, or Georgia in general, or North Dakota or anywhere else worth mentioning, fell free to share with me on the Facebook page or in an email. Connections, people, random or otherwise, they make the world go round.