Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Big and Small

by James Glaser
February 9, 2007

Many people don't think of Tallahassee as a big city. I think it has a population of over two hundred thousand, so to me that seems big. Where I came from we didn't even have a city near by. The closest town was Northome, and its population was 280, but that is counting the people living in the nursing, home too.

I didn't actually live in Northome, I lived out in Ardenhurst Township, about four miles out, and I think our population was about 80. But a lot of those people lived there only in the summer, so the real year round population was closer to 40.

So, living in Tallahassee is a big change. Every day I see more people than I would see in a month up North. All in all though, the people down here and the people up there are about the same. Of course there are more of every kind of person down here.

Back home we had a couple of young guys who were always getting into trouble, so it stands to reason that in Tallahassee there are a couple of thousand trouble makers. I would have to say that Northome had five ladies or more that were headed for Sainthood, and I would bet you that Tallahassee has several thousand extra good women who would not look out of place with a halo above their heads.

One thing different down here is the number of places to eat. There are lots of fast food places that I never heard of before: Sonic, Waffle House, Popeye's, Po'boys, Tropical Smoothie, Whataburger, Backyard Burgers, Chick Fil-a, and Guthrie's to name a few.

Buffets are big down here, too. You can eat as much as you can hold every breakfast, lunch, and supper. If you spend any amount of time down here you will see people who do just that.

Back home we had one restaurant. When I first moved there it was Kay's Café. Then it was Ellen's, but Ellen was actually Linda, but she liked the name Ellen better. Then a new place opened up, but the town wasn't big enough for two places, and Linda bought out the new place and closed her old one. She kept the new name that I can't remember now, but like when her place was named Ellen's, everyone called it Linda's. That is what this new restaurant was called until Linda sold it, and I think it is now called Jigg's Place. Some of the things you ordered there came really fast, and some took a long time to make. I do miss the hot beef sandwich they had in Northome at lunch, and I am probably better off without Northome's pancakes and their cinnamon rolls, which were perfection. . . with a lot of calories.

I haven't found that "home town" cooking like I had in Northome, and let me tell you that is not from lack of trying. As far as I know there is not a good cinnamon roll down here, and the only "hot beef' I have had made me stop and buy a roll of Tums.

I will tell you that I have had some fine fried chicken, and I do like grits with breakfast. Some places have great coffee, but many places have a dark roast that tastes burnt to me. To be honest, I have tried several of the buffets, but never two in one day. In fact every time I try one I tell myself never again, but a few weeks down the road and somebody says, "Lets go to Barnhills or Golden Corral," and I forget all about that terrible stomach pain from way over doing it, and I say, "Yeah that sounds good."

Big city or small town many things stay the same. You still have to deal with a bank, buy gas, and shop at a grocery store. You run into people who look down on you, and you see people who need your help.

You do find though that people in either place are willing to help you out if you need it, and it is kind of nice to know that the people you think of as saints out number the trouble makers in both places.

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