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Where's the 'Cheers' bunch when you need them? - Jason A. Smith

In the last few weeks, I've been continuing to get acclimated to life as a Henry County resident. As I've alluded to in past writings, my wife and I have visited a number of stores and restaurants, in a quest to make this town our home.

During the last few weeks my wife and I have been living here, however, I've realized something rather strange.

I know very few people in this town.

I thought for sure that, upon visiting local restaurants or stores near my apartment, I would run into someone I know at each of those locations.

After all, my wife has made mention, on several occasions, that accompanying me to a public place in Rockdale and Newton counties, is a dangerous proposition, as I seemed to find - or make - a friend anywhere we went.

In her defense, she's absolutely right. I often joke with my wife that I'm like that character on the old TV show, "Cheers," named Norm. There are certain places in that area where I can always find a familiar face. Of course, that would sometimes irritate my wife, particularly when she wanted to have dinner in a public place, without being interrupted.

Granted, not everyone in Conyers and Covington knows my name, as the "Cheers" song goes, but I was having a more difficult time proving that every time my wife and I went somewhere.

It hasn't been like that so far in Henry. I'm still waiting to run into people I've met while working here.

Don't get me wrong. I have seen people I know at several places in McDonough. However, in each of those cases, I didn't know those people work or live in Henry County, until I saw them. That is, perhaps, more attributable to the growing population in this county than anything else.

As for people with whom I have conducted interviews in the last 15 months, I've come up empty, aside from those individuals I see in the course of my workday.

The cynical and slightly paranoid side of me, wonders whether those people are hiding from me. The nightowl in me, however, knows those people are probably in bed by the time I'm on the lookout.

Things are looking up, though, as evidenced by an encounter my wife and I had at dinner last week. We went to a restaurant in McDonough, and within minutes, we found the person who will likely be our regular waitress whenever we go there.

I'm starting to think this whole "Cheers"-like feeling I'm looking for, is more about searching for a sense of belonging in my new city of residence. But, deep down I know that feeling of security cannot come from an outside, if it isn't already there to begin with.

Besides, I already know someone everywhere I go, when I'm not at work - my wife. Perhaps instead of looking around for anyone else I know while we're eating dinner, I should just enjoy the time I have with her.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161, or via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.