“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.)

Do We Know Enough?

 Collective

Today, as I look across Atlanta from my desk, my thoughts are drawn to the challenges of life. When I consider the thousands of people within my view on the downtown connector, in office buildings, and on the streets I’m led to ask this question; do we know enough? Do we know enough collectively to solve the big problems. Problems like violence, dishonesty, and apathy.

I’m optimistic. I believe we know enough to end dishonesty and violence in all their malignant forms. The question is; do we want them to end?

Here is one example. Are the millions who say they would never steal or kill willing to give up the rush of violence by proxy? It seems to be a great contradiction to praise peace while conditioning the heart and mind to enjoy brutality via the entertainment industry. If digital thieves and assassins are the heroes, who are we?

Of the thousands of people in my view every day, how many are suffering right now because the rest of us are slightly off course? Is our fast paced proxy culture distracting us from fulfilling our human design?

Are we willing to examine our collective appetite and make personal changes?

I’m not suggesting more laws or regulations. I’m suggesting we stop and ask ourselves if we know enough to make more of a difference with our time and our talents, than we’re making today.

We are each endowed with the right to self regulate. What will be our social foot print?

Thanksgiving Day and National Fasting

Happy Thanksgiving 

What if Thanksgiving was proceeded by a day of national fasting? The whole nation volunteering to go without food or drink for 24 hours and everyone donating the money they would have spent on food to the charity of their choice. The fast would end on Thanksgiving Day so everyone would still eat.

What would be the impact on American attitudes towards health, humanity, self control, and sacrifice? I look forward to that day.

In the mean time, enjoy this fall photo and be good to your family.

Walk for Trash

walk_for_trash.jpg 

That’s right, walk for trash. We walk for autism, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other causes yet we are missing an opportunity. What if we picked up trash as we walked? It may sound crazy but think of the benefits. It could be a catalyst for shifting our understanding of individual and communal responsibility.  

There is a sense of nobility in working for a cause. It’s as if the experience recalibrates our minds and we want to do better and be better. We want to make a difference and be part of something bigger than ourselves. Yet there is a gap between the feelings brought on by helping those who, for the most part, experience suffering by no fault of their own and the feelings we have about picking up trash others have left behind.

What causes us to segregate our sense of responsibility and charity? Can we transcend this gap and bring those same kind of noble feelings with us as we pick up trash? Can we take our sacrifice to the next level, do the uncomfortable, and clean up the messes others left behind? I believe we can.

Maybe it’s the Boy Scout in me; I cannot find a valid excuse for littering. Equally foreign is the idea that it is someone else’s responsibility to clean up.  What will happen if just one person takes a pair of gloves and a few trash bags to the next walk and cleans up along the way? What if it’s two people the next time, then ten people, then fifty, then one hundred? What difference will the one have made for the other ninety nine? What if walk organizers picked roads that need work? How would this increase our sense of ownership for the roadways we clean? How could this small individually driven challenge shift our culture of responsibility and conservancy?

The answers to these questions are too valuable to ignore.