Publisher’s Point: The Awesomeness of Athens, Alabama

I have often stated that I am one of the most blessed women on the planet. My sins have been paid for, I am loved, I am healthy, and I am an American woman. I don’t have to wear a burqa, I can talk to guys without getting killed by my husband or brother, am ridiculously overeducated, overfed, and over-entertained. My business is in the black, and I get to work with a truly delightful team of talented people.

As part of the requirements of being the publisher of Athens Now, I have had to get real familiar with Athens, from its roads to its folks, and while I fell in love with all of it over a decade ago, today I have fallen in love all over again.

As part of an experiment to increase productivity, as crazy as it may sound, I spent “Pub Day,” (the Wednesday we bust our tails to get the paper put together, and then put it “to bed” so it can come out on time on Friday,) in the Starbuck’s on Hwy 72. I was there for nearly 12 hours straight, and as I was ensconced in a cushy leather chair typing away on my laptop, drinking too much coffee, and enjoying the marvels of modern technology by texting while not driving, I was reminded again of what a wonderful time it is to be alive. It was multi-tasking on steroids, and it was glorious.

My “publishing partner in non-crime,” Deborah Huff, pulled in, eager to use a gift card she had been given for her birthday, bought a coffee drink guaranteed to cause an adrenaline rush, and sat down in yet another cushy leather chair next to me. As we chattered away in “pub speak,” our conversation was noted by a young insurance businessman seated across from us, who was waiting for an appointment.

We struck up a conversation wherein I discovered that he, as I, was still a newbie when it came to owning his own business. While I was old enough to be his mother, we had overlapping experiences both in the classroom and the mental health field, and I was able to bounce some ideas off of him that confirmed my suspicions about certain aspects of patient diagnosis, and it providentially gave me some answers to some questions I needed answered, like yesterday.

Add to that the fact that we both loved music, (and the music at Starbuck’s is perfect for getting work done,) and agreed that absolutely no one could rival the performance of the late Etta James while her signature song “At Last” was playing in the store, and I was one glad girl.

But really, what does Miss Etta have to do with the “awesomeness of Athens, Alabama?” Well, a couple of years ago I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a local architect who had not found the “right one” until he was in his 40s, and they chose “At Last” as the processional. The wedding was held outdoors in front of Founders’ Hall, and as I heard that marvelous intro, and realized that what was coming was both a beautiful bride and a gorgeous ballad, I smiled at my friend, the groom, and gave him the “A-ok sign.” It was perfect in every regard, from the location to the lavish food.

Where did all this awesomeness occur? Right here in Athens, the town I love and for which I thank God, and I just wanted to take the time to remind you of her beauty and bounty.