Hornswoggled in Birmingham

18 PlaqueLinda Burton posting from Birmingham, Alabama – “Finish your lunch so you can open your present,” Emily said. “I know you’ve got to get on your way.” I took a last sip of Cracker Barrel tea and suggested that we go outside for the opening; it was a brilliant sunny day, and I wanted to make sure the cats were okay in the car. They were. “This is NOT a Christmas present,” Emily promised, as I mumbled about not having a present for her. “Just OPEN.” Have you ever gotten a gift that surprised you to your toes, and pleased you beyond measure, and humbled you too, at the thoughtfulness of the giver? Yeah, I got that today. It was a silver and walnut plaque, beautifully engraved, with a full-color picture of the decked-out Scion, and these words:

CONGRATULATIONS     Linda L. Burton    Given in admiration and recognition of your dedication to your Journey Across America to all 50 states.    March 1, 2012 – November 29, 2013    Making Capital Cities USA available to students, teachers, historians, researchers, and the general public.    Your timeless efforts will enrich all who take advantage of your vast knowledge gained in this great undertaking.    From Emily Taylor

18 Emily Presenting PlaqueEmily Taylor is my cousin and has been one of my most loyal followers throughout the Journey. She has read and commented on every post, and swears on oath she enjoys them. We’re both descended from William Irwin Jr, our ancestor who died in Arkansas in 1849 as he attempted a move from Alabama to Texas with his family. William Irwin Jr, the reason I have chosen to settle in Arkansas myself, hoping to learn more of what happened to the Irwins way back then. My great-grandmother Mary Susan (b 1866) and Emily’s grandmother Leavonia Augusta (b 1869) were sisters, and granddaughters of William. Emily is named after their younger sister Emily Letitia (b 1883) and grew up knowing more about the family’s history than I did; it was genealogy research that brought us together in recent years. Now she is more than a twice-removed cousin to me; more than a friend; even though she has many sisters of her own, we feel, well, sort of like sisters too.

18 Linda Plaque From EmilyI am overwhelmed with the gift of the plaque. Emily wanted a picture of me holding it. I wanted a picture of her presenting it. I opened the door of the Scion and showed it to Alex and Jack. “Look boys!” I beamed. “This belongs to you too, for all your good cat assistance the last two years.” Jack blinked, and yawned. Alex stuck his nose between the seats and sniffed. I turned back to Emily, admiring the picture on the plaque. “How did they do this?” I wanted to know. “There is such perfect detail, and color.” Emily confessed to using the same company that put the Journey Across America designs on the Scion two years ago. She knew it well – Bellco – because she is the one who drove me to pick up the Scion after they completed the “wrap” and was the first person to see it besides me. “I worked with your graphics designer,” she confessed; “they still have everything on file.” Well I’ll be hornswoggled.

“This will hang on the wall above my workdesk,” I said. “So I can look at it every day as I write about the Journey.” “Right,” Emily nodded. “Just as soon as you get a wall.” Down to earth Emily. You always keep me down to earth. But then, you always encourage me to fly too.

Next stop: Northport, and where it all began.

Birmingham Factoids

  • Birmingham was founded in 1871 and named after the industrial city of Birmingham, England. It is the only place in the world where the three main materials for making steel – iron ore, coal, and limestone – are found in significant amounts. The Vulcan statue stands high above the city as a symbol of the city’s steel-making past. Vulcan Park and Museum http://visitvulcan.com/
  • In the 1950s and 1960s Birmingham received national and international attention as a center of the civil rights struggle, and racially motivated bombings earned the city the derisive nickname Bombingham. In 1998 the Birmingham Pledge was introduced as a community commitment to combating racism and prejudice and has since then been used for programs in all fifty states and in more than twenty countries. Read and sign the Birmingham Pledge http://www.thebirminghampledge.org/

0 28 emily and car.vPhoto left February 2012, Emily at Bellco Vehicle Wraps and Graphic Design. Trussville, Alabama http://www.bellcoinc.com/