Orange Meets Peach # 5
On our last morning, I woke up without an ache in sight. Praise the Lord! I slept in the double bed all by myself the night before. I had the chance to spread out and fall into the mini coma that I had been waiting for since I arrived in Atlanta.
I decided to go to Ebenezer Baptist Church. I quietly got dressed in the dark and slipped out of my hotel room, trying not to wake my cousins. Since this was my first time in Atlanta, I thought it would only be right if I visited the church that Dr. Martin Luther King was a pastor and preached at for years. When I arrived at the church it was unreal. The original church is still standing with its neon light sign of the name of the church hanging above the door. It was crazy to me to think that Martin Luther King, Jr. walked on the same sidewalk that my feet were touching. The man that I had been learning about in school since I was in kindergarten, and the voice that I had heard my whole life quote his renowned "I have a dream" speech. A few ladies tried to redirect me to the grand building across the street where Sunday morning services are held today. However, I had to take my moment. I walked closer to the neon sign. It almost seemed like time stood still and all of the noise in the background had dissipated. I was at Ebenezer Baptist Church!
I walked across the street to the modern-day Ebenezer Baptist Church. Along the walkway to this grand edifice, especially in comparison to the original building, I looked at all of the Martin Luther King Jr. monuments that graced the passage in his honor. I walked in the church, to my left was a hall of fame of all of the pastors that have preached at Ebeneezer Baptist Church since the first day that they opened their doors. As I continued to walk into the church, I was able to see it for its true beauty. There was wood everywhere. It lined the pews, the pulpit, and even some of the walls. The church had a southern touch and a traditional culture. I enjoyed the service, which was led by the current pastor; Pastor Raphael G. Warnock.
I rushed back to the hotel just in time to go to lunch with my cousins. We had plans to go to a local restaurant until we ran into Michael from the concierge desk at the Loews Hotel. He told us that "Ponce City Market" (a popular site mentioned by many Georgia residents during the last few days) was not too far away and the complimentary car shuttle could take us there for lunch! I was stoked! We were heading back to Florida very soon and I thought that we would miss out on the opportunity to see what the "Ponce City Market" place was all about.
The "Ponce City Market Place" had something for all of us. Basically, it's a warehouse facility that has been modernized into shopping stores, and it has a food market that reminds you of China Town but with a diverse set of restaurants that represent the entire world. The market places also has a few furniture stores on the second floor and mini-golf on the roof. My cousin Michelle was in heaven in their shoe store near the entrance because of their beautiful, genuine leather boots that go from the ankle to the knee in all shapes and sizes. I think that she could of lived in that store. I was excited to have a fish sandwich at J.W. Stiles. A few people talked about it at the hotel and I couldn't wait to taste it. We all had the codfish sandwich and hush puppies. The codfish was fresh, and the red onions and specialty sauce added a sweet and spicy taste with each bite. The hush puppies were amazing and definitely made it to my list of the top hush puppies that I have ever tasted!
Time was passing by quickly, and we had to rush back to the hotel to gather our belongings so that we could catch our flight. Another relative came to pick us up and we headed to the airport. I sat in the backseat of the car and stared out the window. The conversation in the car was a distant blur as I recapped the entire weekend in my mind. I smiled, and even laughed to myself about some of the events that occurred over the last few days. Then, I thought about how my first real girls trip was coming to an end. I learned so much about myself, my cousins, and this place we call "sweet Georgia."
I tried to step back, distract myself with a funny story, but then it happened...the tears came. The tears that I was so proud that I was able to hold back all weekend. The tears came and they came hard. I was going to miss my cousins and I was going to miss Sweet Georgia for providing me with memories that I will hold close to my heart for a lifetime.