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Escape into the beauty of Georgia's landscape
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A few weeks ago, I was standing on the porch of someone’s home in the mountains. As the sun was going down, I looked out at the beautiful peaks that decorate the northern part of our state.

We are blessed with beautiful mountains and a picturesque coast. In between, we have towns and cities both unique and historic. We have fertile farmland and rolling rivers. This is a beautiful state.

When the television cameras began broadcasting the golf tournament known as The Masters, they showed the millions of viewers one of our state’s most beautiful sights.

Augusta National Golf Club is a paradise of beautiful azaleas and the finest grass our state can produce.

Some of the grass comes from the south central portion of our state. I have seen where it grows, and it is like a carpet of soft green blades of grass as close to perfect as you can get.

The tournament winner gets the coveted green jacket. Tailors at the tournament make sure the winner dons a coat that looks as if it were made for him. It’s the male equivalent of Cinderella’s glass slipper.

Decorum is the rule of the day at Augusta. The crowd politely claps at a good shot and no one rings a cowbell or blows an air horn. It is civility at its finest.

I don’t live in the delusion all of Georgia looks like Amen Corner at Augusta National, but I do like the notion this is how the world is seeing my state for just a moment.

Just outside the gates of Augusta National, the world comes back and heaven goes away. Aging shopping centers and convenience stores dot the roads nearby.

The same is true for places such as Churchill Downs in Louisville. Just outside the steepled grandeur of the home of the Kentucky Derby is a residential neighborhood in need of a little TLC.

The track where the sport of kings takes place is meticulously groomed. The street outside has a few cracks and potholes.

But when the Derby or the Masters is on TV, you forget all that for a little while.

For some reason, the televised version of Georgia today includes people who used to be rich, people who pretend to be rich and poor folks who, well, come off as poor folks.

Reality TV is seldom flattering on any community it features. 

One show is about a couple out West who buy rundown houses. The houses are rough and in disrepair. The couple spends the next hour arguing over how much money they can spend to fix them up and recover their investment.

I think I like the kind of TV that takes me away to a town where folks love one another and their sheriff doesn’t carry a gun. I like shows where families are nice and the show has a moral or life lesson at the end.

I think The Masters on TV is a little escape to a more civilized time. If the people get the impression all of Georgia looks or behaves like that, it’s OK with me.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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