Atlanta Journal

A few random thoughts I scratched down while I was home for the matzah-oriented holidays:

They’re still cleaning up the mess in downtown from the tornado. Sue and I stayed at the Omni Hotel while she attended the American Heart Association conference (they were trying to find out if Libertarians have hearts). Many of the skyscrapers are still missing windows. The Peachtree Center looked like it had been bombed. Our hotel room had a crack in the window and the elevator lobby had temporary windows over the shattered remains of their forbears.

Mother Nature scares the hell out of me sometimes.

Of course, this residual destruction did not deter the hordes of shoppers, tourists and, um, heart people from swarming the CNN Center every day.

(Speaking of CNN, a visit to their headquarters will let you know just how full of themselves they really are. And also, just how short Wolf Blitzer is. No wonder he needs such a macho name.)

On my first day, I went with my family to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in downtown Atlanta. On one side of us were a gaggle of sharply-dressed attorneys discussing debentures or something. On another side was a black family that looked like they had just gotten out of church. On another side were two people in leather with more tattoos than I knew there were body parts that ink could be injected into. The waitress was a marvel (and a cute one at that) — I don’t think anyone so much as ran out of coffee. My daughter was in full happy mode, jabbering at everyone she could lock eyes with. And everyone had a smile and a wave for her. It was a good time; a great time.

To me, that’s America. What it is and what it can be. 300 million individuals living their lives as they want — whether it’s as a tight-ass lawyer or a laid-back biker. Everyone doing their own thing, minding their own business and being decent to each other. No one looking down their nose. For a second, I had a vision of the future in a small Atlanta restaurant. And our future is good.

Or maybe I was just high on the wonderful omelettes.

Whatever they’re doing in Atlanta on race relations, the rest of the country needs to follow suit. Maybe it’s because Atlanta has four excellent black colleges and therefore a large educated black community and entrepreneur class. But it just seemed that African-Americans in Atlanta are happier, friendlier, more successful, more visible than any city I’ve lived in.

There are areas of Atlanta that are still scary. But there were many areas that are mostly or almost entirely black where I felt completely welcome.

Who makes matzah that isn’t kosher for Passover?? Honestly. Is there a big Christian demand for matzah?

My sister-in-law can flat cook. I’d be jealous except that my wife can cook too.

Atlanta is a beautiful beautiful city. Texas seems so desolate by comparison. It is positively lush with vegetation. We caught the end of dogwood and azalea season. It was warm, but not hot.

I miss the place sometimes.

More to come…

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