tsatsas(& the art of improvised pilgrimage)              
 
sewanee, tn, october-november, 2011
 

October 31st, 2011: Second Day of A Sewanee Pilgrimage

Here, from Stephen Alvarez, is a rapturous third version of his Elliot Point tsatsa placement. As ever, opening up a project to collaboration brings it incredible new life. Thank you, Stephen, for sharing your talents & enthusiasm.

 

       
           
             
           
       
photograph by Stephen Alvarez
           
                                                     

Here are some more adventures in tsatsa-oral-history with Robley Hood:

"Number 4 is placed under the plaque memorializing the Sewanee Military Academy. Every spring, I enjoy the alums marching from SMA to All Saints', accompanied by a bagpiper. I am not sure how much longer this will continue, as the alums are growing older and older. Soon there will be none."

 

       
                 
   
photograph by Robley Hood
             
photograph by Robley Hood
       
                                                     

Number 2 is resting on a shelf just above the pouring spring water on Hat Rock Road. A group of anonymous folks (one of whom I know) built steps and the small fixture this summer as a gift to the community. It is a beautiful quiet spot in an unexpected place and for me the refurbished Hat Rock Spring symbolizes one thing I most value about Sewanee: anonymous folks who do good things for others. My friend was even upset the paper ran a small article about their build.

 

       
                         
             
photograph by Robley Hood
       
photograph by Robley Hood
         
                                                     
 

Tsatsa number 72 is on one of the two crosses memorializing the two young coeds killed in the auto accident a couple of years ago. Like everyone in Sewanee, I was awakened by the sirens that morning and knew something awful had happened. Tyler Cooney talked to me about his work that morning. He used the jaws of life to open the top of the car, inside of which was a girl he had just coached the afternoon before. Two and a half months later, a woman lingered in The Lemon Fair late one Friday afternoon. She and I started chatting about what brought her town. Her daughter was one of the survivors, and the mother had brought her to Sewanee to see her friends for the first time since the accident. We stayed well past closing, talking. She said many things, among them one memorable comment about being grateful her daughter had come here instead of Tennessee Tech, the mother's alma mater which she had pushed. She said that everyone had been so kind. She was a wonder.

 

     
                 
           
photograph by Robley Hood
                   
                                       
photograph by Robley Hood
     
 

Tsatsa number 81 is in the Fooshee Collection sitting area under windows looking out to Georgia Avenue. This is the non-academic area of the library, with the Fooshee Collection holding popular adult reading and young adult and children's books at the opposite end of the same long room. Here, locals select gardening books, mysteries and detective novels, the latest literary and best-seller novels, large print editions, picture books, and beginning readers. It's a lovely thing to browse popular reading among students and professors engaged in more scholarly pursuits. I know these sections well.

 

           
               
photograph by Robley Hood
     
                               
               
photograph by Robley Hood
                         
                                             
 

Number 12 is in the Chapel of the Apostles, on a seat near the altar, leaning against a prayer book and hymnal. Even though I have no religious faith, I have plenty of respect for those who do, especially those who intend to become priests. Sewanee may be a largely conservative place, but Joe Wallace's presence in the Seminary speaks to important changes in the Episcopal Church in my lifetime. In my junior year of high school, my EYC group sponsored the state meeting of youth groups all across the state. Representatives of each diocese participated in the processional, and when a couple of black teens entered, the folks in the pew in front of mine muttered the N-word, got up, and left. I didn't leave that service, but I left the church soon thereafter. Now, even at Sewanee, a gay black man and women can be ordained in the true spirit of what I understand to be Christianity. I am proud of Sewanee and I love Joe.

 

                       
                   
photograph by Robley Hood
       
                                       
             
photograph by Robley Hood
                               
                                                     
 

Number 36 is atop the suggestion box at the Post Office. We have the best post office and postal workers in the country. I am sure of that. One of the delivery men places my packages in the front seat of my car; another has stopped at the Lemon Fair to deliver photographs too large to fit in my mailbox. They advise folks on the cheapest way to send eBay packages and they'll even provide used boxes and free tape. I love the Sewanee post office and sure hope it's not one of those forced to close by the poor economy and competition.

 

       
         
             
photograph by Robley Hood
             
photograph by Robley Hood
       
  And here are some photographs from Sarah & Buck & Isabel (& probably her sister?) Butler:
   
     
photograph by Buck Butler
   
photograph by Buck Butler
               
   
 
photograph by Buck Butler
   
photograph by Buck Butler
         
   
photograph by Buck Butler
photograph by Buck Butler
     
photograph by Buck Butler
photograph by Buck Butler
 
photograph by Buck Butler
photograph by Buck Butler
     
   
photograph by Buck Butler
     
photograph by Buck Butler
             
   
photograph by Buck Butler
     
photograph by Buck Butler
                               
 
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