Decatur’s iconic, 60-year-old Dairy Queen closed on Saturday. Throngs of loyal customers returned one last time for their favorite DQ treat. The Momin family has owned this popular hang-out for 33 years. The energy was palpable as customers showered the Momin family with hugs and hand-made signs thanking them for their business and friendship. There is a silver lining to this story. The Momin family will reopen their DQ in 18 months as part of a new residential/retail development that will be built at this same location.
I was lamenting that I did not have a special Valentine’s Day image to share but then I was presented with an opportunity this afternoon. I visited a local retirement community to market a Falls Prevention Program that I, as a physical therapist, had been hired to provide through a private clinic in Decatur. I visited during their ice-cream social so that I could meet the residents. I was scooping ice cream when I noticed a beautiful elderly couple sitting on a sofa, beaming and holding hands. They were wearing crowns. As the festivities were winding down I approached the couple and complimented them on their crowns. They introduced themselves as Joan and Hutch. Hutch had been voted King for the Valentine’s Dance by the men in the community and Joan and been voted Queen by the women. Unbeknownst to all, these two individuals have been a couple in real life since last May. They met last spring on a bus trip, shortly after Hutch had moved into the retirement community. The bus was headed to the restaurant The Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA. which is famous for its fried green tomatoes. Joan and Hutch found themselves sitting next to each other at the commencement of the trip and by the time they were homeward bound they were holding hands on the bus. Joan had been married for over 50 years and Hutch for 60. Neither one of them ever imagined they would find love at their age. Hutch is 89 years young and Joan is 87.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Another snow storm struck Atlanta on Wednesday and this time the city was prepared. Schools, universities, government and state offices closed on Tuesday in anticipation of the storm. On Wednesday, streets were devoid of cars and residents were hunkered down in their homes. Thursday morning we awoke to find our city blanketed in a couple of inches of snow. Unfortunately, 300,000 residents lost power due to downed trees and power lines that collapsed under the accumulated ice. By late afternoon, most streets were passable and the city was stirring back to life.
“Playscapes” is a sculptural playground that was created by Isamu Noguchi, one of the twentieth century’s most prominent sculptors and designers. The High Museum commissioned the sculptural playground and donated it to the city in honor of Atlanta’s bicentennial. It was installed in Piedmont Park in 1976. The sculpture above is only one of several environments in which children can explore.
When I venture out to photograph, my journey is not only about creating a compelling image but also about the connections I make with the people in my community. I wander along the streets but I also investigate places that are tucked along paths less traveled. Recently that was the case when I stumbled upon Andryannis Greek Bistro Cafe, a small, unpretentious eatery behind a large office building in downtown Decatur. Kaliopy, the owner along with her husband, was preparing the cafe for lunch when our paths crossed as she stepped outside. Being half Greek and obsessed with good food, I inquired about the menu and was immediately invited inside. She introduced me to her husband, Marios, who is the chef and I was invited to return for a meal. This past weekend, I took neighbors with us to sample the fare at Andryannis. We shared several appetizers, main dishes and desserts and everything was phenomenal. Not only was the food terrific but the atmosphere was intimate and warm, like eating at a good friend’s home. As we left, we were introduced to Kalopy’s and Mario’s young children who had dropped by the cafe with their grandparents. The evening was memorable and would not have transpired if I hadn’t gone out in search of pictures. Consider dinning at Andryannis in Decatur. Visit their web site for more information at http://www.andryannis.com