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

Life in a Big Southern City
by James Glaser
April 27, 2007

Last year I had a guy try and rob me in my shop. I ended up with some sore ribs, and I had to hit the guy with a two foot long piece of closet rod as hard as I could. He ran away on foot and as the police told me, their K-9 unit almost caught him.

Many times since coming down to Tallahassee I have seen multiple squad cars around somebody pulled over. Next to where I live, about three blocks from the Governor's mansion, is an old two story motel that has been changed into apartments. A couple of times I have seen the police leading people out of there in handcuffs. This is a neighborhood with 300 to 500 thousand dollar homes.

When I got home today, the following e-mail was on my computer. It came from the manager of Rail Road Square. That is the place I have my studio and where I work every day.

    From e'layne at the office

    The police are looking for James Condry, a black male, 40ish, average build, beard. Picture below. He lives on Stone Valley Way behind the park. According to our post person, yesterday there was a standoff between James Condry and the police. The police were called to his house because he was firing a gun. The police surrounded the house for 5 hours and when they went in the suspect was gone. It is almost 3pm and I just called the police to see if he was captured. They referred me to the jail...and they don't have anyone by that name...the long and careful...look out for each other...and don't hesitate to call the police if you see someone that fits the description. Call 911 or 891-4200.
    Be safe, e'layne

As far as I know they haven't found this guy. There were squads driving around the park today, and I saw a foot patrol walking the wooded area behind my shop.

Now this isn't just a Southern city problem, it is an American problem. We have a lot of crime in our country, and you have to be a bit alert as you make your way through life. Last night I was talking to a couple of people from the park that have studios there. The two of them are thinking of buying into a co-op housing project. There are a couple of lawyers who have bought an old apartment building behind Rail Road Square. From what they said, you buy your unit, and then you rehab it. That doesn't sound like a good idea, as some people will do a bang up job and others will do as little as possible.

When I asked where it was, I figured out it was in about the worst neighborhood in Tallahassee, and they admitted that there was a crack house across the street from these apartments, but they figure the neighborhood will change if some "good people" move in. The guy in the studio next to me who has been there for 30 years said that he wouldn't even drive down that street.

I am not an alarmist, but I am a bit careful. Any other time a project like that would get my interest up, but not this time. Like any big city, you pick the neighborhood you want to live in. You pick the areas you want to visit. You stay a bit alert and watch what is going on around you, and chances are good that you will stay out of trouble.

Up North I had to watch out for bears, but not real often. Where ever I drove up there I always had my eye out for deer along the road and many people hit them. Some people even get killed hitting a deer or maybe a moose. Down here you stay alert when you go out, and you avoid the trouble spots.

So life in the Southern city is probably a lot like life in a Northern city. There is a certain amount of crime, and you learn how to avoid it, but some times by the luck of the draw it comes and finds you. Sometimes up North, you are as alert as possible, and you are doing everything right, and bam! A deer runs out in front of you seemly coming out of nowhere.

That's life! Exciting isn't it?

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