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Fulton Counties

photo by J. Kelso.

I had jury duty this week, and spent 2 full days at the Fulton County Courthouse. The jury selection meat grinder was alternately dull and fascinating, and I didn't even make it to trial!

I hid a novel in my lap and I waited my turn as 50 of my fellow county residents stood and gave testimony about their background. Each potential juror had to spill some delicate details of their life story– crimes witnessed, perpetrated and survived, opinions about cops and addicts and dealers, knowledge of handguns...

But I was just as riveted by the parade of demographics. The white folks were all from the northern part of the county– Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Roswell. And they all had high tech jobs and they all were transplants to the South.

Those of us living south of I-20 were mostly Atlanta natives and mostly black. It was utterly predictable, yet I was taken aback by the formality of our segregation. It made me feel naive, sheltered even. Kind of like when I go to the airport and I'm mystified to see hundreds of laptops and maybe only a few Macs. Why would anyone use a PC? or live in Alpharetta? They can't all be wrong, but still, I get pretty smug about my little world.

During the breaks, I got to chat with a several nice jurors about the weather and the traffic. I got few blank stares from people, both black and white, when I mentioned taking Marta from Stumptown. And I have to admit reveling, silently, as they moaned about their commute down GA-400, 20-something miles in the rain.

Sometimes this city breaks my heart.

Main Street Stumptown


I love Main Street Forest Park. No joke. I'm over there almost every week.  I wonder what FP's Main Street has that all the Tri-Cities lack? The perfect combination of practical, nostalgic, weird and lovely? There must be some formula for balancing corporate and independent, new and old, retail, services and dining. Here's my favorite reasons to return to Stumptown's main drag:

The Forest Park Branch Library:
Free books in a stylish mod setting.

My Accountants:
They are nice. All their clients are like, a hundred.

Starr Park:
aka "The Rec," I played frisbee with Dairy Queen there just yesterday.

Lou’s Coiffeurs:
Source of all the perms of my youth. Again with the aging clientele.

American Salvage:
He sells nifty old school equipment. His shop full of wooden desks, rolling library carts, overhead projectors, cubby holes and mini furniture will trigger some unexpected memories.

The Army/Navy Surplus Store:
I always score camping gear and good birthday presents here. Plus, I got dogtags made for my dogs.

Anne & Bill's Restaurant:
Classic meat & 3. You can get a spam biscuit and run into a dozen old folks you know from church.

Attina's Music:
Purveyor of marching band instruments and my brother’s guitar lessons, was an advertiser in my parent’s high school yearbook. I visited early on a Saturday morning and had a banjo appraised while three Mexican men were testing out an accordian.

Carter’s Cleaners:
I love their neon sign.

Christian’s Pharmacy:
I get fascinated by independent pharmacies (and hardware stores). You can find some random old stuff on the shelves.

The Post Office:
Just another nice, smalltown post office with a sweet mid-century atrium.

Chic-fil-A Dwarf House:
At some point, Truett Cathy mandated that all the employees start saying "My pleasure," instead of "you're welcome." See how many times you can get them to say it.