I’m a cheerleader for Macon. I don’t deny it. I want to write in a way that puts a spotlight on the positive things that Macon has to offer. The people, the places, the experiences, and all the things that make Macon great. I’m not a fool, as some would think to call me, because of my eternal optimism. I just believe that thinking and acting positively towards the things that are positive and putting your shoulder to the grindstone to make the negative things better is a much better system of changing things than constant complaint, throwing your hands up, and lack of interaction.
Sometimes it’s frustrating.
I was born in Macon, Georgia. I spent the first years of adulthood trying to get the hell out of this town. And I did leave and live in some fantastic places and some not so fantastic places, but when I came back I knew I had to make the city I was in a place I would love to call home.
Macon has everything a city needs to be spectacular. Great dining worth broadcasting in regional and national publications. Affordable living and landlords that are not slumlords. Charming neighborhoods where you can walk across the street and borrow a cup of sugar, just like your grandmother did in the old days. Historic preservation that gives us a sense of place and attracts more visitors than many suspect. A governmental body that, despite its in-fighting, disagreements, and unfortunate racial divide, still manages to get things done for its citizens and continually works to do more. Unique businesses that drive commerce from outside of the city. The fact that I could go on from here is a testament to how far the city has come since I moved back in 1996.
The blessing and the curse of Macon is the people. In 2003, when I was living in Los Angeles, I found that despite falling in love with the weather; the diversity of activities, food, and people; and the beauty of the coast, not to mention the mountains that were only a few hours drive away, I missed the unique friendliness that makes up Macon, Georgia. For example, when I moved back in 1996, there was a little coffee shop on Cherry Street. I’d moved from Boston and wanted just a good cuppa. John Relyea, the proprietor, not only had a great selection of teas but an eclectic group of customers that basically informed what I have come to think of when I think of downtown Macon. It was the only place I could go after 8pm. Now, I have a variety of places to plug in my laptop, so to speak, and though there is a different group of them, I wouldn’t trade the eclectic, diverse groups that make up my downtown experience for the world. I have made friends just by sitting at a bar and saying hello, something I have not been able to duplicate anywhere in the United States as well as I have here.
All That To Say…
The kid watched me as he walked by, me at the front door waiting in vain for someone to open the door. I say kid because, though he’s taller than me, his peach fuzz has peach fuzz. I’m hot and sweaty from my walk up Orange Street, the dogs inside are barking their fool heads off, and I hope that the kid carrying a guitar is heading to where I was asked to be.
“Are you here to meet Floco?” I ask. He’s sizing me up maybe wondering if he could take me. He nods and inclines his head towards the back of the house where Star Motel Studios is housed. Even though I’m wondering who he is and what I’m in for, I follow him gratefully towards the back because I know I’ll find a cold drink inside.
I’m sipping on a Coors Light and wondering how Rob Evans could possibly consider himself a downtown Maconite and not have whiskey on tap. But as he explains it, the summer is for clear liquids. Since I’ve been incorporating more gin and tonics into my repertoire, I ain’t mad at it. It is, after all, a nice way to begin a behind the scenes recording session that I was invited to earlier that day. My Macon contemporaries Y.O. Latimore and Molly McWilliams Wilkins are invited as well and it’s nice to watch the other writers in action.