"The 10 Worst Places to Live in Georgia"
Found one of those crazy lists today. You know, "Top 10 Places to Buy Sriracha BBQ Potato Chips" or whatever. I usually scroll right on past such silliness since no one with any hometraining puts sriracha in BBQ.
But that wasn't the topic of this particular list. The title was "These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Georgia". They then went on to claim that they had used science to choose the ten worst places to live in Georgia. I was intrigued and figured a scientific investigation of this sort was going to count on measurements of the various forms of pollution, lack of access to fresh food, inadequate outdoor areas for fresh air and exercise, stress, and overcrowding. All those nasty places inside I-285 were about to take a beating in print.
Boy was I wrong. Here's their list:
The writer then joked about the fact that you've never heard of these places. The only problem is, I have heard of these places. I've heard of every one of them. I have friends that live in some, I have spent nights in some, played high school football games in some. I know these small towns. These are the places that produce the finest watermelons, peaches, pecans, and onions in the world. Many of these towns have storied histories, intricate architecture, even museums. How in the world did these towns beat out Decatur, Chamblee, East Point, Atlanta...I mean seriously, College Park is a 24/7/365 existence of jumbo jets screaming by your house at 300 mph, 11 feet off the ground, blowing the shingles on your roof up and dropping excess fuel under them in case they crash across the street. I'm supposed to believe that is a better existence than being a Vidalia onion farmer?
Here is the "science" they used:
What kind of fool thinks that more is better when it comes to population density? All those cookie cutter houses 18 inches apart that are shoved into every available 1/8 of an acre in Atlanta but still cost $475,000 are better than an affordable home with a yard (or maybe even a field) in South Georgia? And expenditures in schools is directly related to the fact that Georgia spends dimes in North Georgia, dollars in the metro, and doughnuts in South Georgia. And I'm calling bull on the crime. They can discuss overall crime numbers if they want but they need to dig up specifics. I've never felt in danger in Vidalia, Thomaston, Cordele, etc. I can't say the same for the metro.
Here's the deal. These are modern city folks. They're impressed by fancy overpasses, tall buildings, hospitals full of stabbing victims, bright lights, lots of noise, sludge, smog, and trash. They think peaches and pork grow at Kroger. They think a big fancy school is always better than a small community school and concrete and glass is better than brick and mortar. They couldn't tell the difference between a tobacco barn and a chicken house. So they went out and found the ten least urban communities and deemed them the worst.
If you are curious about their Top 10, its pretty predictable. With the exception of Wilmington Island (which is actually a very good choice), they are all northern Atlanta suburbs. Its impossible to know where one ends and the other begins without the use of a surveyor's transit, a compass, and a plot map. They're just one big blob of city that all real Georgians just call "Atlana". One t. No identity to call their own. Just a neighborhood name to give in conversation so folks don't think they live on Bankhead or MLK.
As for me, with the exception of Wilmington Island, you can have all those Top 10 places. Give me real Georgia.
The three friends came ashore along the banks of the mighty Mississippi as is snaked its way past The Quarter on its way to the gulf. Street performers plied their crafts along the sidewalks. The atmosphere was festive, perhaps even raucous.
Uriah was somewhat familiar with The Quarter. He had accompanied his father and grandfather there several times over the years. He was having a little trouble with the exact location so he stopped in a small shop that he remembered from a previous trip.
Lasch was fascinated by the curiosities throughout the business, Medicinal remedies, lucky charms, all sorts of magical trinkets. Banning was troubled by the housekeeping methods of the proprietor Uriah spoke to the old lady behind the counter. she nodded and turned to a much younger lady and began to speak in that thick and heavy dialect that was so common in the region. The younger girl, her granddaughter, responded to the older lady in English. The two spoke back and forth for a minute before Uriah realized that both women understood each other;s languages, but neither woman spoke the other's language. And so the elder spoke in her creole tongue and the younger responded in English.
Uriah waited patiently for the two women to finish their discussion and then the younger woman turned to Uriah with a smile that bordered on flirtatious. The grandmother struck her can against the rough wooden floor and the young woman toned the smile down. Then she gave Uriah was he had asked for. The directions to the rendezvous.
As the men walked through the dusky streets, the muggy air closed in around them, The sweat beaded on the backs of their necks and saturated their shirt collars. But the humidity didn't seem to be the only thing on them. Uriah had that unease, perhaps paranoia that this was not a simple walk down the street. He had that feeling that they were being watched or followed.
They made it to their rendezvous where they met up with a driver with a horse drawn carriage. The driver never spoke, He motioned them into the carriage and then drove them to a small dock along the riverside, just upstream from the city. The rural setting eased the fears from earlier. Perhaps it had been unwarranted. Regardless, they were welcomed, with their luggage into a small graft by a jovial black man who introduced himself as Ezekiel and promised to take them to their final destination.
They crossed the river and started up a bayou over on the other side. The night continued to close in around them but the lantern hooked to a post at the stern of the vessel kept the men from utter darkness. Ezekiel sang well-known blues songs as he steered the vessel along with his quant. The frogs and crickets seemed to be providing the harmony from his tunes. The cypress trees hoisted their moss laden branches just out of reach of the vessel while Banning swatted mosquitoes.
Halfway through a bend Ezekiel stopped singing and pointed upstream, "Gentlemen, if you'll take a look up yonder, you'll see the lights of Arcadia. Marse Charles will be expecting us.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire