“Tucker, If By Some Bare Chance You Shouldn’t Know”

Sassy Flyers4

Tucker, if by some bare chance you shouldn’t know,” said the August Chronicle, “is located in DeKalb County on the Seaboard, about half way between Atlanta and Lawrenceville.”

If not for the word “Seaboard,” current discussions over cityhood might cause some to think this is a recent quote. It isn’t. It’s from a 1913 article on the decision of the railway commission, requiring Deluxe trains to stop when hailed at the Tucker depot.

The headline reads:

“Even Trains De Luxe Can’t Pass Tucker By . . . No sassy flyers of the Seaboard [Railroad] can scoot through that village without halting on signal of the Tuckerites.”

A century later, as unlikely as it seems, some in the area have lost track of exactly where Tucker is located. Like the “sassy flyers” of the past, perhaps they too have scooted through without halting. Perhaps this lack of knowing is genuine, or maybe there is another motive behind dismissing Tucker. It’s difficult to know and unwise to speculate, but “if by some bare chance you shouldn’t know,” there are plenty who do.

The Georgia Department of Transportation makes the location of Tucker abundantly clear to hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. Signs in both directions on Hwy 78 and I-285; Exit 37 “LaVista Rd Tucker,” Exit 4 “Mountain Ind Blvd Tucker,” and Exit 7 “Hugh Howell Rd Tucker,” all point to Tucker. The road connecting the communities of Chamblee and Tucker is called, of all things, “Chamblee-Tucker Road.” It crosses both I-285 and I-85 and rarely a weekday goes by without mention of the road in multiple traffic reports.

Mark ArumScott Slade, and Captain Herb, know where Tucker is located. Their voices, along with the voices oClark HowardWalter ReevesKirk MellishJamie Dupree and others, transmit to millions of commuters and homes across North Georgia from the WSB tower in Tucker, Georgia.

DeKalb County Fire & Rescue know that both Station #5 and Station #22 are in Tucker. The County also knows that Henderson Park, Kelley C. Cofer Park, and Peters Park are in Tucker. The administrators at Emory University know that their Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital is in Tucker.

The US Postal Service has known the location of Tucker is since at least 1892. Tucker has been around for a while.

The Tucker Mattress Company opened in 1917; Tucker High School in 1918; Cofer Brothers Inc., in 1919; and Tucker received a US Census Bureau designation in the 1930s. The Tucker Masonic Lodge No. 42 opened in 1940; Matthew’s Cafeteria and Tucker Football League in 1955; Tucker Business Association,TuckerReid H. Cofer Library, and Bikeways of Tucker in the 1960s; and Triumph (Tucker) Youth Soccer Association in the  1970s.

But, “if by some bare chance you” still don’t know where Tucker is, have confidence that Jason’s Deli at Northlake Festival knows the location of theirTucker Deli.” Folks Southern Kitchen knows they are in Tucker too. So do the owners of Mellow MushroomPetSmart, and Chick Fil-A.

Waffle House has four locations spread across Tucker. If that’s not enough south in your mouth there’s the Old Hickory House, and yes there’s an IHOP for flapjack lovers.

Yet at 529 words into this article, it becomes silly to keep pointing out every instance of the word “Tucker” or every well-known establishment in Tucker. The pressing question isn’t “where is Tucker.” The question is what will become of Tucker in the near future and who will determine that future?

For most, the boarders of Tucker fade out in various directions and there hasn’t been a need to draw lines. Like it or not, Tucker has never been exclusive. The us against them mentality doesn’t work well in DeKalb County and it finds no comfort in Tucker. Signs in support of the Lakeside City Alliance (LCA) along Henderson read “Don’t get left out,” seemingly unaware they are already in Tucker.

Will the LCA and their sister organization, convince those within their proposed city boundaries that a new community is the right solution? Can they convince residents in parts of Tucker to join them?

Change is essential to healthy growth and Tucker welcomes sassy fliers from every direction but when the signal goes up to slow down and stop, it’s time to stop. Like hundreds of rural and suburban communities across the state, Tucker will likely define its own future.

In the meantime “if by some bare chance you” still don’t know, unincorporated Tucker, with over 1,700 employers and an annual payroll of more than $1.3 billion, continues to flourish on both sides of I-285.

(Originally posted in the Tucker Patch, October 21, 2013.)

“As long as I’m with you I’m not lost”

Lonesome Road by Cory Voglesonger

Years ago as my grandparents were driving through the mountains of North Georgia, my grandfather at the wheel and my grandmother at his side, my grandfather made a series of wrong turns before he realized he was lost. After trying several different routes he was not only unable to determine where they were headed, but he was eventually unable to get back to where they had been.

After all attempts had been exhausted he turned and said, “We’re lost.” My grandmother replied, “I’m not lost.” “What do you mean you’re not lost?” he asked. She said, “As long as I’m with you I’m not lost.”

The recognition that being together means never being lost is a profound truth. It was a characteristic of their marriage of over sixty years.  Location didn’t matter. Time didn’t matter. Being together, side by side, patient with each other, and knowing that those we travel with are far more important than when or how we reach our destination was what mattered.

After making a few course corrections they eventually found their way back to familiar roads. Throughout the rest of their lives together they continued to travel across the back roads of Georgia with their children, grandchildren, and other family members, occasionally getting turned around but never lost.  Their travels are a metaphor for their life together.

Are we truly lost when those who matter to us most are close by? My grandmother didn’t think so. Her nine little words, “As long as I’m with you I’m not lost”, speak volumes. They are also a reminder that kind words, spoken well, can last forever.

Matthewrlee.com: Expanding My Online Identity.

Two days ago I purchased the rights to three domain names: matthewrlee.com, matthewrlee.org, and matthewrlee.net. Currently they point to this blog.


Any content related to these three URLs prior to 08/26/08 belonged to someone else. For next decade anyone who visits these sites will find, me.


To all the other Matthew Lees, Matthew R. Lees, and yes even Matthew Russell Lees out there, I have an interest in your name. We have a shared identity. As I work to separate my identity from yours, I wish you all the best in defining your own virtual persona.

Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3)

Last night one of my sons asked me if we, the American Cancer Society, have a cure for cancer. I told him no, there is no all-encompassing cure for cancer. There are effective treatments and prevention methods but no “cure” in the sense he intended.


We’ve had several conversations over the past few weeks about the purpose of suffering and why so many seem to suffer without answers. What he was really asking is why do bad things happen to good people and who decides.


This weekend I’m taking him to Relay For Life, one of the American Cancer Society’s flagship events. I hope he will gain a wider perspective on suffering, hope, and the importance of perseverance. To see how powerful it is to give to those we don’t know, simply because we can.


I’ll also participate in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). If you’re over 30 and under 65, have never had cancer, and are willing to fill out an annual survey for the next twenty years, I encourage you to come and participate in the study. There are several Relay For Life events across Georgia but this year the CPS-3 is only offered at Adams Stadium.


The data collected will be used to track life style, ethnicity, gender, and other factors against cancer rates in the 500,000 project volunteers.


If you want to give back in a personal yet private way, come to the Relay For Life at Adams Stadium  this Friday, 05/16/08, between 6:30 PM and 10:30 PM fill out a few forms, give a blood sample, and make a difference. What else could you be doing of greater importance this Friday night? It’s free.


Adams Stadium

2383 N. Druid Hills Rd

Atlanta, GA 30329


Enrollment Hours 6:30pm – 10:30pm


For more information on CPS-3, or enroll in the study in your area, go to cancer.org/cps3.