We can learn from history

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

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By Jan Penton Miller

One of my dearest longtime friends, Anne, and I are off today for a little road trip. When the first light filtered into my room this morning I remembered all the last minute details left unfinished from yesterday and left my warm bed in search of coffee. It’s a chilly morning, but the sun is shining, and it will be a wonderful day for traveling.
When Anne and I started to plan our little trip we thought of several interesting places, but then we remembered what fun we had had a few years ago visiting Natchez. The carriage ride through the streets bustling with other visitors and all the grand old homes called our name again. The city sits right on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River and has a park for folks to enjoy the view. It looks like rain tomorrow so maybe we can visit there this afternoon.
The gorgeous old southern city of Natchez fairly drips with history, and we will once again soak in her beauty. Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens is an early 19th century antebellum mansion set in 26 acres of the lovely flora of the area. We chose this as our home base for the next few days, but it was difficult to choose since there are so many noteworthy mansions that escaped destruction during the Civil War.
Spending time in Natchez is a little like stepping back in time to a bygone era. Many historians agree than Natchez was spared from destruction in large part because the city was against succession from the Union. Natchez was shelled, however, when some hotheaded old fellows fired shots at a Union gunboat on the river.
I will enjoy my refresher course on the people and places of the past. As I was reading my devotion this morning I was thinking of all the people in the Bible who were terribly flawed. Many made horrific mistakes, and they paid for them dearly. The beauty of the story of our nation’s past, the men and women of the Bible, and ourselves seems clear to me. With all our sins and bad behavior our Heavenly Father still chose to send a Savior to redeem sinful man. I’m so glad that my own mistakes and sins don’t have to define me, but I can learn from them and move forward.
My dad was a history teacher, and I suppose I gained my love of history from him. I plan to visit the museums and cemeteries along with the historic homes. And I’m quite sure that food will have a pretty big place in our little visit.
There is good, bad, and ugly in the stories from our past both as a state and as a nation, but we can move forward everyday making our own story better. We all leave a legacy one way or another, and can learn from the past if we take time to look beyond our own preconceived notions to find the lessons.

Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.