By Ed Grisamore
The (Macon, Ga.) Telegraph
Years ago, my wife had a shirt that boasted some of the great cities of the world.
London. Paris. Rome. Macon.
That always got a chuckle. In fact, I might propose a 2012 National Society of Newspaper Columnists official conference T-shirt:
Dallas. Philadelphia. Detroit. Macon.
Do I hear a motion?
I’m sure many of you will be searching for the site of the 2012 NSNC conference in your Rand-McNallys. Go ahead and Google us. We’re smack dab in the middle of the state, just 17 miles west of the geographic center and about 85 miles south of Atlanta.
We don’t move as fast as Atlanta or as slow as Hahira. It’s sort of the best of both worlds. I once heard Macon described as being “big enough to where you feel like you’re in a city but small enough to walk down the street and see people you know.”
You’re going to like it here. I promise.
I promise huge doses of Southern hospitality. You will wonder where we hide all the mean people. I promise some of the best cooking you ever put in your mouth. No, we won’t force-feed you grits. We will eat, drink and be merry. We will have several functions at some of the beautiful antebellum homes in the city.
I promise you will leave smarter and inspired. I’m tapping into Georgia’s rich resources to enlighten you with guest speakers, panels and seminars. I am working on several folks with Macon connections: CNN’s Nancy Grace, environmental author and musician Chuck Leavell (keyboard player for the Rolling Stones), former Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jim Wooten, former Los Angeles Times publisher and CNN head Tom Johnson and special entertainment provided by Durwood “Mr. Doubletalk” Fincher.
And please come pencil-ready. If you’re looking to head home with some column material, you will have plenty of fodder.
We are the cherry blossom capital of the universe, with more than 300,000 flowering Yoshino cherry trees. (Yes, 10 times more than Washington, D.C.) For two weeks in March, there is no prettier place on the face of the earth.
We have given the world musical greats Otis Redding, Little Richard and current country music star Jason Aldean. James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” cut his first record “Please Please Please” in Macon. When Capricorn Records was around, with the likes of The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie, we were the epicenter of rock ‘n’ roll.
We have more churches per capita than any city in the country. We have given birth to such inventions as the kazoo and the formula for Crisco oil. We once had a hockey team – the Macon Whoopee – voted the best nickname of all time by Sports Illustrated.
The dates for the conference will be finalized soon. Our hotel will be the Macon Marriott City Center.
More information about what to see and do is at Macon: Song & Soul of the South and It’s Hotter Here.
Please let me know if you have any questions. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 478-744-4275. I look forward to being next year’s conference host.