George was very impressed with the downtown Rome area. He visited Jefferson’s and we sat on the sidewalk remembering how much time we spent around Broad Street as boys. George also went by Schroeder’s New Deli and visited his former next-door neighbor from East Ninth Street, owner John Schroeder. George was very interested in the Clock Tower designs cut into the railing around Schroeder’s outside dining area.
Sunday afternoon we sat in the outside dining area of Johnny’s New York Pizza and talked about everybody we knew and thought an extra moment about the ones no longer with us.
I could feel the old town pulling on “old” George. I think he felt this is a place now where he could be comfortable and enjoy his later years.
We met at the Honeymoon Bakery the next morning to have breakfast and say goodbye. I do not expect him to return to the beautiful north Georgia area we all love, but it is nice to know a man from the beautiful California coast would even feel that slight pull.
Our city is vibrant and full of life, and ready to attract people from all across our land to live and work and start businesses here. We have got to work hard to make the transition so easy that they can’t refuse.
To further validate the point that Rome has curb appeal, I hosted a few members of the Georgia Press Association in Rome right after George left to return home. They stayed at the Hawthorne Suites Hotel, arriving on a Wednesday afternoon. That night we gathered at 333 Restaurant on Broad to eat sliders, which is an every-Wednesday special, and then went down to Johnny’s Pizza for a little game of trivia. Had them back to the hotel by 9 p.m.
The next morning we met at the Masonic Lodge, which happens to also be my home, and then back at 333 on Broad for a quick lunch on the outside dining area.
One of the guests was Patrick Yost from Madison, Ga., publisher of the Morgan County Citizen. Now most everybody in Georgia knows about Madison and its beautiful antebellum homes. The town was for some reason barely touched by Sherman’s band of Yankees headed to Savannah. My explanation is they simply ran out of matches and did not get more until they got to Milledgeville. Anyway, Madison has the reputation of a tourist destination, a must-see in Georgia.
Well, the “old Madison boy” Patrick was much impressed by our little piece of heaven and history. He kept remarking how alive the town is and that there are things to do. Yep Madison’s bricks may be older but ours have a special offering to turn the Madisonian’s head.
You can see this same effect on the thousands of tennis players and their families who show up during the year. No matter where they come from they love this town and its people.
The NAIA has brought people from all around the West/Midwest to Barron Stadium for its National Championship Football Game each December. Carroll College of Helena, Mont., has been a number of times and we downtown people have gotten to know a number of them. When they left last December, even after losing a tough game, they said roughly this: “Even though we will probably be in a rebuilding mode and not get this far next year. We will just come to Rome and watch whatever teams do get here. We love this town.”
We have a special place and need to keep the “Big Mo” of forward movement going. Get the processes streamlined and educate the population about what we have so they will be active participants in building the future.
A great foundation has been planted. The people who provide the money and votes to make this a special place need to build upon that foundation.