We have only about 100 names of friends and relatives on our e-mailing list, scattered all over the country, but, oddly enough, three of them live within a few miles of one another near Greenville, SC, and a fourth just a couple of hours south in Decatur, GA. So the last few days have been spent visiting old friends. A large grove of towering pecan trees Georgia pecans

Greenville is a burgeoning city, typical of the New South, with the U. S. headquarters for Michelin and BMW, and lots of yuppies to go along with them. The city sports a new playhouse, Broadway shows stop there when on the road, and they have a good concert series. Also the weather is fine, not too cold, but with four recognizable seasons.

One of our friends lives overlooking Pebble Creek golf course; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the seniors tee off in shotgun at ten a.m., finishing at two or three and repairing to the nineteenth hole to lie about their achievements. This shows that there are plenty of Yankee retirees around Greenville in addition to the yuppies.

Another of our friends moved south quite a few years ago, as the textile industry relocated its plants where they could find lower operating costs. It's still operating not far from Greenville, in Union, a town that kept the freeway from coming too close and destroying the southern atmosphere. A privately erected memorial to the author of Suwanee River at the place of the river's origin Stephen Foster memorial

Yet another is still active in the Army Reserve, enjoying a tour as Brigade Commander, and very busy now as Reservists are activated.

We visited and talked about old times, and sampled some of the wide variety of area restaurants. Then it was on to Decatur for another Reunion, with a professor of actuarial science. We were surprised to learn that the graduate Finance Department at Georgia State University, where he teaches, is ranked second in the nation - Wharton is first.

While we were in Atlanta we tried the MARTA train, which whisked us in and out of downtown easily. At the CNN studios we found the visitors' tour fascinating, especially the behind-the-scenes perspective of the anchor desks we've seen so frequently lately. Ours was only the second day of tours since September 11, when their normal careful security procedures were greatly tightened.

As we drove south from Atlanta, we saw sign after sign that we were entering a new climatic region. It started with Peaches and Pecans and Cotton, then Spanish Moss and Cypress knees, then luncheon for $8 for two (chicken, okra, black-eyed peas, and warm "How y'all doin"), the change of soil from red to sand, and the armadillo road kill. Yes, we're south. We passed the Okefenokee where we trust Pogo still reigns, and struggled to view the monument put up in memory of Stephen Foster. We think the reason the park was closed was that Foster is politically uncorrect; or perhaps locally no one cares.