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My town, your town


Beverly Wittler Columnist

  McDonough still is, you know, a small town. No, I don’t recognize every single person I meet as I stroll the Publix aisles; grab the weekly sales at Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and Food Depot. But, I know some of them, and occasionally gasp as I see a sweet name in the obituaries. People still slow down or wave me on as I take my morning walk, and some will flash their lights so Max can exit Henry Street onto Highway 81, too.  

  Had another clue this weekend.  As I joked with son Ron, daughter-in-law Julie asked if I knew that a big limb had fallen in my dentist office’s front yard. Mentioned that this morning as Dr. Foster filled yet another limping tooth, and learned they’d heard from many, many caring locals about the small tree related disaster. Other clues?    I still know what my pharmacist drives, and check if he’s there as I cruise past his store.  

  I also know maybe half of the people and places listed in the weekly Times ‘Henry County As It Was’ contest, but, hey, I’ve only lived here since 1961 so you’d think I’d recognize more! The public swimming pools are gone but you can still enjoy the swings and slides at Alexander Park.  

  Another small town memory…. having an ice cream soda at Ward Drug’s little Coca-Cola tables, or an egg salad sandwich the lady behind the counter had made from scratch. Miss those small town reminders.

  Dixie Motor has gone by the wayside, but I can drive to Industrial Blvd. and check out a Camaro or two, Mustangs, or maybe a Hyundai, plus I bet the smiling folks at Spartan Lincoln Mercury could probably get me a new Fiat from their dealership near Morrow.  Still seems small town to me as I pass those new and used vehicles, and the sales people all have that Henry County/City of McDo-nough/etc. way about them. Drive over to Summit to admire their latest slowly-turning vehicles and am always greeted like they’ve known me forever.   

  Zack’s is gone, Rexall and Ward Drugs too, but the companies that have stepped up to take their places must have trained with the same credo…the customer is always right, and…comes first.   Can’t think of a single place where I shop that doesn’t make me feel welcome, gladly offer assistance, and then thank me for my business. Yes, some of their trees are gone too, but the spirit’s still here, the small town spirit that keeps us all connected. City Hall is really HUGE now, but step inside, and the people you’ll see working mimic what I saw in faces back in the sixties, seventies, and so on. 

  Our firefighters and police officers could be spun back in time and except for their up-to-date vehicles, my parents and in-laws would think they were just some new hires they hadn’t met yet.   Hey, this whole idea reminds me of something we used to joke about at my former banking company, which was Trust Company at the time. We swore that God had put a special cloud over our Stockbridge office, and maybe an angel or two to watch over us, send us the greatest customers and keep us safe and sound. Just as we had in our McDonough office, we knew every face that walked in that door, could ask about their family members by name. Small town? Okay, maybe I better change that to ‘small county.’  Nah, doesn’t sound right.  But you get my drift.  

  We ALL have that spirit, and I hope it never leaves Henry County, McDonough, Locust Grove, Hampton and Stockbridge too!  Keep that cloud over us, God, and help us keep that spirit.

   Beverly Wittler has four children, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. She lives in McDonough with her husband.




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