It may be time to break out the lawn mowers in a few days. Spring is less than a month away. I am ready for it; aren’t you all?
It is a busy weekend with emceeing the Georgia Academic Decathlon today in Gwinnett County. Some of the state’s brightest high school students will compete for the trophy of being Georgia’s best school for academics. We do it for football, baseball, basketball, why not for academics?
I am still so pumped up at the Board of Regents approving our football program that kicks off in 2015 at Kennesaw State University. We should be naming a head coach soon.
I was pondering the other day about how life is short. I figured I will not live long enough to see a Hooter’s in Buchanan, a Louis Vuitton store in Bremen, or an Ikea store in Tallapoosa. Russell Bell says that I would not live long enough to see a Neiman Marcus in Waco either. Do you remember a time when Saturdays in Tallapoosa meant it was hard to find a parking place on Head Avenue? Highway 78 was hard to turn onto because of bumper to bumper traffic going to and from Atlanta and Birmingham?
You’ve lived here a long time if you remember O.D. Lipham’s cheese and balogna that was custom sliced. Mr. Lipham would sometimes break out his harmonica and play one of the old tunes from his childhood. A fellow that I miss is G. P. Lamar, who owned the Bargain Mart. He was a veteran of World War II and active in local events geared toward veterans. His son Ronnie graduated with us in 1969. He is one of the funniest people I ever knew.
If you’ve lived here a long, long time you might remember when Tallapoosa had several smaller grocery stores. Swint’s Grocery, Skinner’s Store, Howard Bowman’s Store on Head Avenue and Bertha Dryden at Jackson’s Grocery on Broad Street all served Tallapoosans for years. I loved stopping by before school to see Howard Bowman and hear his latest fishing tale from going up to Lake Weiss. He once told me he caught a big mouth bass so big that he had to send it to Lockheed to get it mounted. (Actually, I stole that joke from Bud Jones and Butch Henderson.) He always had a smile and loved kids coming in for penny candy like Fireballs, Jaw Breakers, B.B. Bats, etc. Mr. Bowman stays in our memories because of how nice he treated everyone.
Jack Jackson came by the house last weekend, and we discussed when Tallapoosa had two pool rooms on Head Avenue. His dad ran one, and Fat Gentry ran the other. Mr. Gentry reminded me so much of the character Jackie Gleeson played in the Paul Newman 1961 movie “The Hustler.” I don’t recall ever seeing Mr. Gentry not wearing a tie.
My grandmother would have killed me grave yard dead had she caught me one of the few times I ever went into the pool room. She didn’t like the game of Monopoly because you had to roll dice. She was afraid a craps game would break out before anybody could pass GO and collect $200 dollars.
Rhubarb Jones is a Tallapoosa native and a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame and the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. Comments can be sent to P.O.Box 6, Tallapoosa, GA 30176 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.