Blog entry

From The Dahlonega Nugget: My Bus Stop Buddies Have My Back In This Small Town

"You may have seen four or five old guys hanging out in front of the Fudge Factory on the Dahlonega square around 3 p.m. on weekdays and wondered 'what the heck are they doing?'  We like to call it the 'Men's Club,' but it's really just a group of dads, and some moms, waiting for their kids to get off the bus from Lumpkin County Elementary school. 

I started picking up my son in front of the Fudge Factory a few years ago, instead of at the end of my street.  The bus arrival time is highly inconsistent near my home on Crown mountain, as traffic, drop offs and other factors left me guessing as to when the bus would actually show up.  Sometimes I would sit at the end of my street for as many as 30 minutes.  And the fact I had to walk out of a huge hole and straight up a hill for nearly a quarter mile just to get to the bus stop made it an easy decision to drive to town and wait for the arrival of the bus at precisely 3:06 p.m. in front of the Fudge Factory.

What I didn't realize when I started picking him up there, however, was that the other dads (and moms) would become my allies when things like traffic, sleep or work get in the way.

The Men's Club, as I named it, consists of me, Rip, Tony, Jay and in the past, Vic and Chris.  One of the great things about the Club is that it allows me some serious adult interaction time every afternoon.  As a stay-at-home-dad with four kids, hanging out with some other adults who have kids and run very successful businesses is fun.  The other thing that I've come to realize is that we all have someone to get our back in case we're unable to make it to the bus stop before 3:06.

I can call Jay or Rip, and they can call me on a moment's notice, and we can grab the kids off the bus and make sure they get hooked up with their guardian, even if that person is stuck in traffic or having car trouble. 

Additionally, I'm pretty confident that if I didn't make it to the stop or connect with another parent, my kid could easily walk into any number of businesses and be taken care of until I arrived.  Sabrina at Spirits, the awesome employees at the Fudge Factory, Erin at Bourbon Street, Kathy at Cranberry Corners, Lee and Trish at the Back Porch Oyster Bar, Connie and Jim at Connie's Ice Cream, Deb at Shenanigan's, Chris at the Glass Blowing Shop, Jay at the General Store and Todd at Grateful Days would all welcome my son in  if he was in a bind.  And part of the reason I know all those folks is because of the time I spend on the square every weekday afternoon.

The fact I pick up my son on 'the square' in our quaint little town certainly has a 'Mayberry' feel, but having so many local friends that I know would take care of my child if I weren't able to make it is even more inspiring."

- Steve Alexander
Columnist, The Dahlonega Nugget