Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.
This should not be confused with National Clean Out Your Desk Day, which was observed two weeks ago by Atlanta Falcons Coach Mike Smith.
Yes, I do need to shuffle some papers and throw away a few stubborn pens that no longer work. I should probably prune a few desktop plants, too. And I must do something about that paperweight I got 12 years ago.
There also are two outbox items on my desk, begging for me to weigh in and stir the pot.
Last week, the H&H Restaurant on Cotton Avenue was designated the “most iconic restaurant” in Georgia by the website thrillist.com.
I am pleased a Macon eating spot was recognized at the top of the menu. Many times, the folks who come up with these lists have on blinders. (They often think Atlanta and Savannah are the only two cities that exist in the state.)
But I’m not even sure H&H is the “most iconic” restaurant in Macon, let alone in Georgia. I would rank Nu-Way and Fincher’s Barbecue ahead, especially considering the history and aura of their flagship restaurants on Cotton Avenue and Houston Avenue.
I realize any list is subjective, mine included. And thrillist.com appears to be one of those “listmania” websites that thrive on the Internet.
Nu-Way is among the oldest restaurants in Georgia and is the second-oldest hot dog eatery in America. It will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, on Feb. 27, 2016. Only Nathan’s on Coney Island is older, and by one month.
It has been featured in books, magazines and on a PBS documentary. Its legendary signs have famously misspelled the word “WEINER” since 1937.
And, yes, Oprah Winfrey dined on Cotton Avenue in 2007. For the record, she had two dogs all the way ... and a Diet Coke. You can view her picture above the second booth from the door.
Fincher’s is in its 80th year and is the city’s oldest barbecue restaurant. It, too, has led a storybook life. In 2004, it was featured on the Turner South cable network’s “Blue Ribbon” show. It has been frequented by governors, mayors, famous athletes and television personalities.
In November 1989, astronaut Sonny Carter carried freeze-dried Fincher’s with him aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, prompting the barbecue institution to adopt the slogan, “First in Space, Best in Taste.”
I don’t want to slight H&H. I have been eating there for more than 30 years. It was the first place I ever drank sweet tea from a Mason jar. And I always thought it was cool when you used to have to walk through the kitchen to pay your check.
I just don’t believe it’s any more “iconic” than the other two.
Let the icon wars begin.
Another matter concerns the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, formerly the Macon Rescue Mission.
Last week, I received an email from Executive Director Erin Reimers, asking for my help in settling a debate that had flared up on social media.
She had been told about a Facebook group called “If you grew up in Macon, do you remember when. ...”
There was a lively discourse on whether the famous “JESUS CARES” sign had ever read “JESUS SAVES.” A few of the responses had gotten a little chippy.
The sign has been the subject of some spirited discussion over the years, most of it prior to the Rescue Mission moving to its new headquarters at the corner of Hazel and Telfair streets in October 2000.
I have written about this many times. Let me refresh your memory on this unique slice of city history.
The late Raymond Rosson is responsible for the landmark sign that stood at the foot of Poplar Street for more than 40 years. He started Rosson Sign Co. in 1956 in a converted meat-packing building at Cochran Field, then later moved to Houston Avenue and Broadway.
Rosson, a devout Christian, was asked by former mission director Bob Moon to construct a sign for the roof of the four-story building. Moon requested the 10 capital letters read: “JESUS SAVES.”
Rosson had another suggestion: “JESUS CARES.”
It was an equal number of letters. Only two consonants would have to be switched.
“There already were lots of places with signs that said: Jesus Saves,” Rosson once told me in an interview. “Since the purpose of the mission was to help people who were down and out, I had a better idea.”
He salvaged steel from an old sign at the Swift Ice Cream plant a few blocks away. He shaped a white background with 6-foot black letters and red neon.
“JESUS CARES” became a beacon on the downtown landscape. Its image was captured by national TV cameras and viewed by several U.S. presidents. Photos of the sign once appeared in The New York Times and Esquire magazine. The sign and facade of the building was prominent in the John Huston movie “Wise Blood,” based on the book by Flannery O’Connor.
So, no, the sign never said: “JESUS SAVES.”
Contact Gris at 744-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.