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Southern Eyes

Downtown Thomson was a fun place to be Saturday around 10 p.m. And noisy, too.

Sirens, horns, shouting -- it was a news journalist's dream come true. But there was no trouble anywhere. It actually was a celebration.

The Thomson High Lady Bulldogs were on a school bus arriving back into town from the second round of the state playoffs in Griffin, Ga. And a celebration was in order.

Those young ladies swept Spalding County Saturday and are playing in the finals today in Columbus, Ga.

The school bus had a police escort, complete with blue flashing lights and sirens, as it drove through town. Parents were following behind in cars, honking horns.

The most noise, however, came from inside the bus -- judging from the cheering, those girls evidently were elated to be arriving home.

They had news to share, because they'd made history for Thomson High School.

Thankfully, I was working at the office and got to look out the front door and witness the celebration as the bus went over the railroad tracks. Congratulations to all of them.

I've been there. As a mom of boys who play baseball, winning a tournament -- especially one of this magnitude -- is a thrilling experience.

So, as I watched that school bus and heard the cheers, I broke out in proud goosebumps. And kudos to the city policemen who took a few minutes to add to the celebration.

Downtown has been hopping a lot recently, which has been the subject of quite a few of my columns.

I'm still amazed at how much good, old-fashioned foot traffic there is every day since the scarecrows are out.

It's unlike anything I've seen since I've lived here. Although I'm sure most life-long residents remember the good ol' days when it was always like this.

Who would have thought something so simple would work so well? And it gave local businesses a fun, creative way to advertise and get their name out among the people.

Basically, it was almost-free advertising for more than one whole month. I've seen business names that I didn't even know existed sitting on straw bales. And it appears to have created a sense of community in the area. As I said before, the spectacle also has slowed down traffic. I still have to wait a long time and risk my life to cross Main Street on the crosswalks, though. Thomson Mayor Usry told me he does the same thing.

He said "just step out there and they'll have to stop." When I expressed my concern about this, he said he hopes to increase law enforcement with the issue.

Sounds good to me. But, hopefully they'll be busy escorting more winning teams through town.

Web posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009

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