TODAY THE WORDS are THE ROADS LEAD US HOME. Over the years we find ourselves moving away from our home town with the exception of those who stay behind and keep the home fires burning. We return for brief visits and we ride down the same streets we rode when we lived in the very town we remember. I was born in Douglas, GA and some of you who don’t know me may know some of our famous residents. Jennifer Nettles, who has gone from singing in Sugarland to singing on her own and starring in Broadway in Chicago as well as hosting a lot of award shows. Her latest amazing success is starring in the story as Dolly Parton’s mother when Dolly was a child with big dreams.
John Glosson who was a contender and tough competitor in Duets where he sang with Jennifer. He has a successful business in Douglas and I feel confident he is singing all the time. Joshua Peavy, who was the top 5 performer on Rising Star. Maybe there is something in the water in Douglas as it seems there is quite a lot of singing talent to spare in my hometown. It missed me apparently. There are authors like Peggy Mercer, who I can’t count how many books she has written and still writing books and songs; Oscar Patton who has written at least 5 books, Don and Penny Griffin whose book hit the best sellers list and I am sure I am missing someone else. Even I got the writer’s bug and am writing my second book and write this blog which has been around since 2012. How many people remember The Bushmen, a local band. We have a lot of colorful history in Douglas too but I will leave that for another blog post. All of this achievement sounds wonderful but what makes Douglas so special?
Let me take you back to the Douglas I grew up and I think you will see what I am attached to my hometown and all roads take us home either in the physical sense or at least in our minds and hearts.
I can’t cover all of the great things or people I grew up by growing up in Douglas, but Carol Ray Morgan, who is the director of The Heritage Station Museum really knows her stuff. When I was privileged to go there for my first book signing, it was a walk down memory lane with friends too numerous to name who came out to support me. On my author’s page, I have the photos. What I remembered was when I was very small, there was a cafe right where the railroad tracks were located called Lillie’s Cafe. My Mother was a waitress there and I can remember the smells of the wonderful food they served. I remember the table cloths. It seemed fancy to me because in those days, we did not eat out very much. In all of my travels, I still go back to the fried chicken at Lillie’s Cafe. I can’t talk about the food in Douglas without mentioning some of the other wonderful memories which stay warm in my heart. I am remembering the ole Dairy Queen before it had a new home on Peterson Ave. being located where the I Like It Restaurant restaurant (we called it a fancy restaurant when it first opened)used to be. Back to the Dairy Queen, place where my sister worked while she was in school and amazingly she stayed skinny while making those cones and shakes. Also, who in Douglas remembers Wesley Thomas at the drive through window when it was in the first location? He went on to manage some franchised restaurant in Florida. Wesley would smile at everyone and everyone knew him. That is the kind of town we have.
I can’t mention Douglas without mentioning Holt’s Bakery. A little background, my Mother’s brother, Uncle Cecil Holt started the bakery in a little building where Vickers Music was next to for a lot of years. My Mother and Aunts worked there and I worked at Sears through a school program across the street. I thought working at the bakery where all of the great sweets were made was my ideal job until they had a girl out and asked if I could help out when I wasn’t scheduled to work. Oh yeah, I had hit an earthly heaven and it was so sweet….that is until I had sugar all over me, dusted in my hair and on my clothes and when that week was through; I was through. You can believe it or not, but I didn’t eat sweets for a long time. I found out the best way is to buy those sweets as I got sweeter than I ever thought possible.
In retrospect, I remember Kent’s grocery where they had hoop cheese and Momma would send me to get a slice and she would measure it with her fingers for me to get it right. I would put it on “our bill” and Mom would pay the bill each week. It was like visiting family and Mr. and Mrs. Kent even knew our Chihuahua Dooley and called us when Dooley got mad with us after tearing up the blinds and sat in the middle of the road with the traffic going both ways. That is the kind of town I grew up in.
I could go on and on as this is the kind of Douglas gal I am and there are so many more great people I would love to mention and may do a revisit soon. What I would like to say is no matter how far we travel we think of those special people in our town who have reached out, stayed friends, and as I wish them well; so do they. That is just the kind of great folks they are. If you are passing through Georgia, and want to get a great feel of my hometown; stop in Douglas and check the folks out. There are a lot more living there now than in my younger days, but let them know one of their home grown girls named Arline Lott Miller says Hi!
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