Tuesday, November 8, 2011



By Doc Lawrence

The forests around Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, one of the most well-maintained and popular urban parks in America, have Indian paths. The Cherokee Trail is fairly well marked; the Hightower (Etowah), which is the boundary between Gwinnett and Dekalb counties is mentioned on a few historical monuments, and there are others you will find only by some expert searching with a local native. I have one guide, a friend who is part African, part Creek, part Blackfoot and knows what he’s doing.

Each year, Native Americans gather here at the park facing the Confederate memorial carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and for a few days perform dances accompanied by drums, chants and very informative introductions. I come over from my house to enjoy the color, children, and photo opportunities and to absorb all the irony.

This was once their land. Period. Stone Mountain has spiritual and heritage importance to Indians. One, my friend Howard, an elderly and very pleassant man who lives in nearby Shermantown, once told me to “walk up the mountain without shoes.” He explained that the mountain has healing powers. He also has spring water from a deep well he drilled in his yard adjacent to the mountain. When I feel a little down, I trade Howard a bottle of wine for a gallon. It’s a Southern tradition.

He’s convinced me it’s the best water in the South.

The event is top notch and due to the absence of all alcohol is family friendly and completely safe. The tom-toms kept up a pulsating beat, the chanters stayed on track and the dancers kept going until everything came to a close.

You leave and wonder why in heaven’s name native people were treated so badly? They honor this land that was once theirs.

Thanksgiving Wine? It should be American. Read the story: http://mycookingmagazine.com/gourmet-highway-all-american-thanksgiving-wines/

And don’t forget to join me with Esquire Magazine’s Four Chefs on Nov. 14 at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta:

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