Twas the nightmare before Christmas when all through City Hall, Augusta’s mayor and commissioners bashed opponents of building a new arena at Regency Mall.
Consultants had chosen a downtown site with care, but Mayor Hardie Davis decided he didn’t want it there
And when word spread about the arena matter, throughout the city there arose such a clatter
That everybody sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
That what to their wondering eyes did appear, but a lease offer to make taxpayers tremble with fear. And visions of sugarplums disappear.
So Davis, who talks “One Augusta” out of both sides of his mouth, has divided the city between downtown and south.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So close up to the microphone Davis drew and blew off his critics and the media, too.
Up on the dais, click, click, click, down came his gavel as part of his schtick.
“He has divided the city. He has divided the city. He has divided the city.”
He said it three times like a sing-song ditty as he banged the gavel and wallowed in self-pity.
The Regency Mall area has been “systematically excluded from prosperity,” he said.
And the impoverished folks born there will be impoverished ‘til they’re dead.
And he himself has been maligned as a divider by race.
Though he’s preached “One Augusta” ‘til he’s blue in the face.
Then Commissioner Andrew Jefferson threw his cards on the table, all ready to spar,
And I don’t have to tell you what cards they are.
Jefferson said people say the mall issue has divided Augusta, no doubt.
“No, it didn’t divide it,” he said. “It just brought the truth out.”
Jefferson said he wanted the entire CSRA to see with their own eyes
That if the arena doesn’t go out there it’s because of bias
And a “sense of entitlement and superiority” by some on the dais.
He upbraided Sean Frantom for something he said Frantom said on TV,
And Frantom took offense and said, “No, that wasn’t me!”
Commissioner Ben Hasan said if Davis had “wrapped the South Augusta Economic Development initiative around Regency Mall”
Instead of dragging his feet they might not be where they are at all.
Commissioners Bill Fennoy, Marion Williams and Jefferson all had their say
And Davis made another push for Regency Mall, but at the end of the day.
Commissioners voted once more against the mall site,
And said, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Lost or Stolen: Some neighborhood children let Commissioner Williams’ black German shepherd out of the pen in his yard last week, and the dog went to a neighbor’s house in the Olive Road-Calvary Drive area before being picked up by a woman driving by in a small blue Dodge car, according to the neighbor.
Williams is distraught over the loss of his dog, so if you see a solid black German shepherd somewhere in your neighborhood where there wasn’t one before, please call Williams at 706-664-1496.
Forever Young: (Reprinted from 2009) I’ve told you before about my sister Pat who loves Elvis and Santa Claus, in that order. When Mama and Daddy were still alive, Daddy would take her to the Tifton Mall, and she and Santa Claus would see each other and run to meet and hug in the middle of the mall to everybody’s delight but Mama’s. She said it was embarrassing for a grown woman to be talking about Santa Claus all the time, but that didn’t dampen Pat’s enthusiasm one little bit.
This year, as in every other year, right after her birthday in September, she starts talking about Christmas.
The September birthday situation starts somewhere around the end of July. Most of the time, it will start with an innocent question about whether I’ve gotten my latest Elvis catalog, followed by a question about whether I’ve seen the Elvis watch or the Elvis lamp or the Elvis set of coffee mugs, which, of course, I have not. This is always followed by her saying that the watch, lamp or coffee mugs cost too much money and that she doesn’t want whichever one it is she has picked out.
“No, no,” she’ll say. “That’s too expensive. I don’t want it. I don’t want it,” to which I always reply, “No, no, it’s not. That’s what I’m going to get you. It’s settled.”
And I hang up the phone thinking I’ve been outsmarted once again by someone everybody says is slow.
Well, when the subject of Christmas came up in early October with the usual question about whether I’d gotten my Elvis catalog, I told her I wasn’t ordering anything else from Elvis Enterprises because, first of all, it’s way overpriced, and second, they won’t send the order to an address different from the credit card holder’s.
She said she didn’t want anything in the Elvis Christmas catalog anyway. (Truth is, she’s already got it all. But oh my Lord, does she know how to lay a guilt trip on you.)
“So what about a gift card you can use to buy something you want at the mall?” I asked.
She said she thought that was a good idea, so we set about deciding which stores were in Tifton and Augusta so I could get the card and send it to her before Christmas. We discussed stores and agreed Penney’s is a good store.
So I went to Penney’s, bought a gift card and called to tell her I’d mailed it and that she and I would go shopping in Augusta when she comes to visit us in January, to which she said, “I shop at Belk’s. I don’t shop at Penney’s.”
Then she asked whether I’d gotten her an Elvis desk calendar.
“I don’t remember hearing you say anything about a desk calendar,” I said. “But if that’s what you want I’ll keep the gift card and buy you an Elvis desk calendar.”
I’m ashamed to say I took a little perverse pleasure in saying that because I knew she wouldn’t fall for it.
So, of course, she got the gift card and an Elvis calendar and a gift basket and …
See, she really does believe in Santa Claus, and he always delivers.
I just hope your Christmas is as merry as hers always is.