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Wholesale Observations: Richmond Hill, Ga.
Rafe Semmes
Rafe Semmes

In a recent column, I told of moving to eastern Liberty County in 1986, and watching Richmond Hill grow, in the years since. Even though my wife and I live in Liberty County, we have really been more involved with Richmond Hill. We do the majority of our grocery shopping there, get gas there, use the dry cleaners there, my primary care physician and our vet are there, and we have long used the local pharmacies there too.

We also got married there, 32 years ago, in the original St. Anne’s Catholic Church. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

The building itself is amazing. Tall windows on either side, letting light in from both east (mornings) and west (afternoons), a simple frame design, and a three-step riser to the top of the altar area.

I did not realize until later, when we got the proof copies of our wedding pictures back, how that would play into those pix.

We spent more money on the wedding photographer than we did on any other aspect of our wedding. We did not have much money for it, to begin with, and had to make what funds we had stretch as far as we could. But we found a wonderful photographer, and were very happy he took our pictures.

He had amazing light, coming in through those tall windows, that illuminated our pictures brilliantly! I was astonished. Those are the most treasured photos that we have.

We had a simple small “family and friends” wedding. Looking at his pix, later on, I was so very thankful that we had engaged him to take pictures at the reception afterwards, too, as he took photos of several people who later passed into spirit; and those are the only photos we have of those very special people.

The priest who officiated at our ceremony was a bit shorter than we were. I did not discover until I saw the pictures taken of the wedding party after the ceremony, that he had stood on the top step, while my wife and I were on the bottom step, and thus we all appeared to be about the same height! Maybe that was just happenstance, I don’t know.

As I said, our wedding was a small and simple affair, with only 50 or so family and close friends on our invitation list. My wife had friends who baked the wedding cakes, her family and friends prepared the reception food, and it was just a lovely affair.

The other thing I will never forget about that day was, my car experienced two serious mechanical failures in the month leading up to the wedding. It was a Mercury Tracer, the Mercury equivalent of the Ford Escort, the small four-cylinder fuel-efficient fore-runner of today’s cars.

I had added the “full-service” warranty when I bought it; and was so awfully glad I did, when both the AC compressor clutch and the front brake calipers went bad, one after the other, a month before we got married. Thankfully, both were covered under the warranty I had purchased; and the dealer I had bought it from was able to get both of them fixed in time for us to go to the north GA mountains on our honeymoon.

If I had not gotten that “full service” warranty, neither item would have been covered, and I would have faced a much larger repair bill at a time when my funds were already tight. I was so glad that I had! And have always bought those “complete” extended warranties ever since. I have always reasoned that it was easier to squeeze in another $30-40 a month on my car payment, than to have to come up with a large repair bill unexpectedly.

I have rarely had warranty repair bills, over the many years I have been driving, but have always appreciated the comfort of knowing that they would be covered by my warranty if they did pop up unexpectedly. But then, I have always bought Ford vehicles, finding them to be very dependable.

We went to a little town northwest of Gainesville for our honeymoon, Dahlonega – also known as “Gold Rush City” because of the boom caused in the late 1800’s by the discovery of “gold in them thar hills.” We traveled around the area for a week, saw lots of interesting places we’d not seen before, and have been back many times since.

But we were also glad to get back home. There’s nothing like home!

Rafe Semmes is a native of Savannah and a proud graduate of (the “original”) Savannah High School on Washington Avenue and the University of Georgia. He has resided in Liberty County since 1986, where he and his wife share their half-acre with six cats and assorted wildlife. He has served on several area non-profit boards, and is a long-time member of the Rotary Club. He has a wide range of interests, including history and literature, photography and travel, and music and theatre, among others.

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