3IYT: A different rock city
A stroll through the gardens in Calhoun, GA takes visitors to Paris' Notre Dame cathedral—complete with stained glass windows—to awe-inspiring castles constructed of pebbles and shells, more than 50 structures altogether.
The builder of this whimsical garden was DeWitt "Old Dog" Boyd, one of the members of the Calhoun Seventh Day Adventist Church. A hobbyist at heart, Boyd began creating tiny, whimsical villages for his eight children as a family game.
"You talk for your clay person. So that I don't talk to you and you don't talk to me, but my clay person talks to your clay person which tells you what I said."
"And that's the reason I started it. I wanted a place where it was free and beautiful and I could just play by myself and nobody would bother me. And then Joyce came along."
Joyce was the inspiration to expand this empire. To take it from a family game to a place the community could enjoy. She is also responsible for most of the larger structures here.
"We call her "Lady" Joyce because anyone who is that persistent and that fine of an artist deserves a title of nobility. And she is, in fact, a very noble woman. So we worked out here for many years and one day I say to her, what would think about getting married and she said...no. You have too many grandkids and don't make enough money. Then I came back the next day and said, I think I'm ready."
Over the decades, families have grown to love this beacon of creativity and imagination. Hearts line the wall to signify major events here...like marriages.
"It's a place to share with our community. I can hear people behind us. They've shown up at the rock garden just to be here. especially children, children love to be here."
But it takes quite a bit of work to keep the rock gardens going. Well, something that some people might consider work. It's about perspective here.
"I tell you, John, I've seen work and this is not it. This is fun. This is not something we have to do. It's compulsive."A
At the end of the day, "Old Dog" and "Lady" Joyce just want to present a place that creates positive energy, thoughts, and love.
"Wonder and joy and inspiration...and I want them to be in the presence of the Lord and feel his peace."