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Southern Eyes

Although it hurts my ego, I want to make a half-apology to Mayor Ken Usry and city of Thomson officials. My column last week complained about the lack of pedestrian-crossing signs downtown.

I take that complaint back. When walking, those crosswalks seem farther apart. But driving through, they seem stacked on top of each other. So, I can see that three signs would clutter the street. But notice my apology is only half -- I'm sticking to my guns that the traffic situation makes walking downtown unpleasant and unsafe.

Enforcement of the speed limit and of stopping for pedestrians is greatly needed. The layout of downtown requires people to walk to their destination. We need more businesses downtown. For them to want to come, we need more pedestrians there. Whenever I've written on the subject, I receive e-mails and calls from people agreeing and thanking me. I wish they'd call the mayor instead.

Except for walking downtown when I'm working, I really don't get out much. So, I had a treat last weekend when my sons, parents, brother and sis-in-law and I went out for lunch together. We met at Jack's BBQ Buffet on Lumpkin Road in Augusta.

Now, my parents visit me and we eat in Thomson quite often, and my son drives to Hephzibah to pick up his girlfriend and brings her here to eat at Habanero's, so we do support local restaurants. But, I'm not aware of one around here that offers what Jack's has. Not only does he have an all-you-can-eat buffet with good home-cooking (including barbecue, ribs, fried fish and real mashed potatoes), but his menu has unusual items.

The "Jacob Burger" is a one-pound hamburger -- that's AFTER it's cooked. Whenever anyone orders it, Jack himself comes out of the kitchen to see whether the person could finish it off.

My Kevin tried the mammoth burger -- named after Jack's son -- a few weeks ago, and then challenged his older, and bigger, brother to the task. The whole family enjoyed the show as James whittled down his burger.

"You hit the wall, but then you've just got to push through it and keep going," James said.

We all got an even bigger laugh when my mom's order came. She'd ordered a fish sandwich, thinking it would be like one at a fast food restaurant. It was even bigger than the Jacob Burger. The bun was piled high with probably eight to 10 fried fish fillets on it. After the initial shock of seeing it, my mom started eating. But she "hit the wall" much sooner than James. And she didn't even try going through it. She did what all moms do -- she passed her plate around the table and encouraged everyone else to "taste it."

After that, we all needed to "be pedestrians" and walk it off. I felt big enough to take on the traffic, no matter if it stopped or not.

Web posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010

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