Old towns that remain much like they were when I first arrived in Atlanta in 1962 still hold me spellbound. Urban renewal plans usually don't include much to improve folks' appreciation for living in an area. Tucker is the old Tucker for the most part.
Cofer's lumber yard is still my destination when I need some boards cut to order. I like going there and have someone smile at me and ask what I need rather than go to the big box stores and be ignored while I age. Old Main Street appears much the same as it did when I visited Fountain's Drug store where the cute girl behind the lunch counter would exchange niceties with me while adding an extra serving of real ice cream into my soda. Ice cream today tastes artificial. Fast food hamburgers taste like plastic to me compared with those hamburgers I got for lunch there. But it's no more as it was. I adored that girl.
When you want your stomach distended, Matthews Cafeteria will accommodate you. On some occasions I can find thick pork chops that remind me of the way my grandmother fried them, sometimes wonderfully greasy and crunchy and so satisfying to the cravings of a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore.
I don't even mind the train holding up traffic while the engineer takes a nap. Life is lived today at too fast a pace anyway and 100 years from now it won't make any difference, so why be in such a hurry? I listened to one guy raging while waiting for the train. He is probably dead by now from a brain aneurism. Even though I hate graffiti, I try mightily to appreciate the brainless art appearing on the sides of the train cars. I wonder when graffiti specialists make a living.
If you want an experience in satisfying frustration, go to the hardware store on the curve on Hugh Howell Road and try to find what you want by yourself. The store has more stock-keeping units than Obama's dollar deficit. So help me, I found a halter under a counter one day. I asked the clerk when the last time was he had sold a halter. He asked, "What is a halter?" He grinned of course. Then again he may not have known. You don't see many horses in Tucker these days.
If at some time you get tired of today's fast pace and the glitz of a commercialized world in mega-malls, drive to Tucker, park at an angle, then go back in time. You'll use fewer nerve pills. Even the store windows aren't washed everyday. That's nice, too.
Of course Dairy Queen is still Dairy Queen with than wonderful chocolate covering their cones. However, in shopping around Tucker, I have had to learn to say "shukriya" (Hindi) or "kamsahamnidaî (Korean) or "spasibo" (Russian) instead of saying "thank you." In a way, that's nice about Tucker, also.
Bill York of Stone Mountain is a novelist, freelance writer and retired furrier.
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