PLAINS — It does not take long to take in all of downtown Plains. If you’ve come wondering when you can hear former President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School just down the road, but have arrived after the handful of merchants have closed shop for the day, fear thee not.
No. 39’s schedule is posted, with other community event notifications, right in the middle of the block.
It could be June 6 before you hear from him, though. Although Carter was scheduled to teach Sunday, as he regularly does, at Maranatha Baptist Church, his continued recovery from a broken hip and subsequent surgery has prompted a change in plans.
“Though he is progressing well, he underestimated the amount of time he would need to recover from his recent hip replacement,” a statement released Saturday said. “He and his wife, Rosalynn, appreciate everyone's support and prayers and apologize for any inconvenience to those who traveled to hear his lesson. In their absence, Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., would love to welcome all visitors. President Carter's niece Kim Fuller will teach the Sunday school lesson and, he said, ‘No one will be disappointed.’”
At 94, Carter is the oldest living former president, and he keeps a packed schedule. He and Rosalynn Carter, accompanied by about 40 friends and family members, kicked off 2019 in Atlanta, touring the Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Botanical Garden and worshipping at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where grandson Jason Carter and family are members.
President and Mrs. Carter celebrated Valentine’s Day 2019 at an Atlanta Hawks game, where they charmed the crowd when smooching on queue for the “kiss cam.”
At home in Plains, the Carters are active members of the community, regularly attending meetings of the Plains Better Hometown Program. Cindy Williams, who has lived in Plains since she got married a native son 46 (almost 47) years ago, often sees them there. They arrive with a Secret Service retinue but otherwise blend right in, listening attentively and sometimes asking questions, Williams said.
Saturday evening found her walking through downtown Plains, which boasts a giant xylophone in a little park across the street from the row of merchants. Williams picked up a mallet and expertly played “Amazing Grace.”
She’s hopeful about the former president’s recovery - she knows lots of people who have gone through physical therapy after hip injuries. She was surprised he was planning to teach Sunday School so soon after the injury, but hadn’t yet heard the news he would not be teaching on Sunday.
“He still may,” she mused. “You never know.”
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