Marble, Our Giant by Juanita T. Wilkie
Have you ever wondered what a giant is like? Is it tall, thin, or just a spreading image? Our giant in Jasper and Pickens County is marble and it spreads out through the whole area. Before I tell you about it, let me tell you about our beautiful North Georgia Mountains that mean so much to me.
The most beautiful place in the world is these mountains. Their peaks are magnificent with the huge oak, pine, and maple trees spreading their branches to a calm, blue, sun drenched sky. My heart never fails to skip a beat as I look with awe out over the vastness, watching the smoky haze floating above them. How amazed the Indians must have been when they arrived here so many years ago.
My favorite time of year is the fall season. I love it. I thrill to the sights and sounds of it as it settles over my land and my home. No other season can match it for the beauty it bestows as the leaves gently change color and form rainbows as they burst forth.
Tourists love this area also because lines of cars begin to form across the mountains, creeping and then drawing to a complete stop at the edge of the deep wooded ravines. Picnic lunches appear as if from nowhere as people enjoy the sights and scenes. Then suddenly as if by magic they remember why they have come and they make their journey on to Jasper for the Marble Festival. It is a wonderful event and people have a great time.
Marble is our giant here and can be seen from almost any area. One place that draws a lot of attention is the Cove Road area. Marble formed for thousands of years is hidden deep within the mountains and huge cave openings can be seen from the curving road. I am always happy to find an excuse to go that way so that I can enjoy the glorious scenery.
Marble has always played a very important part in my life and in the life of every person in Pickens County. It was for many years the life’s blood of our area. My father worked for the company and I received a very important history lesson in listening to him talk about his work. By cutting and shaping stone he came to know it in many respects.
As I look around my home, I can see signs of the giant in almost every room. My pink marble clock was carved by V.T, my uncle. He was a stone cutter for many years. As a visitor admires my marble ashtray I can see my uncle, W.H., as he presented it to me so many years ago. With their deaths the mill lost dear and trusted friends.
When I stop and sit on my porch and look out into my flower garden I can see two marble benches given to my husband by his grandfather. Much work and pride went into these amazing items. Sometimes as I travel down a long lonesome road, alone with my thoughts, the giant suddenly appears. A cemetery by the side of the road will have many monuments of the stone to look at. Then I drive on and the Tate House comes into view with its amazing beauty and mystery. I pass houses with marble items in the yard and feel that so many years have gone by.
After some thought, I decide to drive back to Jasper. There in all its glory is our courthouse with its gleaming marble front. The years have been good to it and I know it will be there for a long time, maybe growing a little dimmer, but always there.
I decide to make one more journey. I go to Tate and Nelson to take a look at the marble mills. They still stand as a monument to other places and other times, great to look upon as the memories come flooding back. I can see my dad, uncles, and friends; I can even hear their laughter as they start to work. They have all gone on to be with the Lord and they are greatly missed.
Before my journey came to an end, I had to make one more trip. Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny and it was set to be a beautiful day. I arrived at my church early and looked out across the cemetery and I saw so many monuments shining in the sun. As I looked something white caught my eye. It was a piece of marble with the date on it when the church was founded. What a joy to see it. So you see marble will always be with us. The years may go by; flowing softly in time, but the giant is here to stay.