Our Hardy Community

It’d be a shame to mention the community of Douglasville and not talk about the people working and living in and around it. The success of this town is written in the walls. Long standing businesses and homes where people work and live to feed their families, give to their community, put smiles on the faces of others, and leave a lasting legacy. Everyday people like that are the people who make Douglasville a fine town to live in. It’s from this hardy stock that many of my friends and acquaintances come.

You’ll find in my accompanying gallery that I sadly don’t have a lot of images for this category. I didn’t have a lot of time or opportunities during this project to get fresh photos with all the people I wanted to. People are so busy in the wake of the pandemic, and the following financial downturn, that opportunities did diminish. That said, I never alluded that there was zero opportunity. You just need to look for it…

There are a few folks I encountered over the past couple weeks that I would like to talk about. Whether I’ve known them for a while or just met them, they were major highlights of these two weeks leading up to this post.

The Doctor – Phillip Gatcha

Hangin’ With Dr. Gatcha

The first, is Doctor J. Phillip E. Gatcha, a chiropractor and functional health specialist. He heads up the Functional Health Institute of Atlanta. He works out of Austell, GA, but he’s easily within driving distance, and is recommended by more than a few people in Douglasville. I see him regularly, he’s become trusted by my whole family as both friend and health advisor, and he was more than happy to be a part of this story. Doctors like him can be hard to find, but when you meet one that genuinely cares about their patients, it’s a real relief. He’s a professional with an infectiously good, upbeat attitude! It’s hard to leave his office without a smile if you’ve bumped into him, and quite frankly, I owe the guy more than a few beers for all the times he’s either turned my day around, or saved my life. Three times on the latter, I kept count. First time was from a truly out of whack spine after years of carrying a heavy bookbag around on my back. I never trusted lockers at schools, saw too many videos about bullies using ’em. The second time, he got me off of pharmaceuticals for my ADHD which was a godsend since they messed with my appetite and even made me bipolar. Not a good look in the workplace. I take specialized nutrient supplements now instead. I’m speaking from experience, they do a far better job of aiding my mental health and emotional balance. Third time is when he had me allergy tested, and got me off gluten, which I found out was slowly killing me as I consumed it.

Time and again, this man has proved to be a highlight of my whole family’s life with his positive attitude, life saving care, professionalism, and dedication. People like Dr. Gatcha are major contributors to our community here, part of the backbone that holds it up. Hard working, dedicated folks who love what they do aren’t too uncommon in and around Douglasville, and they’re among the biggest sources of lessons and inspirations for my family and I. My sister has been motivated to pursue a health focused career by this man, and I want to be like Dr. Gatcha too, living a full life doing what I love.

The Waitress – Power Name: Towanda

Chillin’ with Towanda at Cenacle Cafe

Of course, there are other people like the good doc in the area. Meet Towanda, her power name of course, and a lovely one at that. She exudes confidence and a pleasant attitude, and its always service with a smile around her! I could learn a thing or two from her example. She works out of a Christian run bistro and café known as Cenacle, practically across the street from Dr. Gatcha’s place of work! My mother and I stopped here for lunch after an appointment with the good doctor, and it’s always a nice way to follow up one pleasant visit: with another right around the corner. Towanda is a wonderful conversationalist, and a very positive person who is just full of light. One of my favorite moments is that, whenever my sister joins us at Cenacle, she loves to sing for Towanda and the rest of the staff. Everyone just lights up, and Towanda herself gets this infectious smile. This woman always has something nice to say afterward, and it’s followed up by more stimulating conversation between all of us. It’s very encouraging to always walk in somewhere to find a familiar and smiling face to greet you. Towanda, if you’re reading this, thank you for making our visits to Cenacle and the surrounding area all that much brighter!

Can you tell by now how much I love being around positive people? There are a lot of folks like that in and around Douglasville. You can bet that when you start looking, you’ll find someone like that soon enough. It’s the ones with a positive attitude that really make your day shine when you step outside and just make the venture to meet new people. After a hard day, they can help put a little pep back in your step too. In this case, I wanted to talk about Towanda as my example for that. My family just started going to Cenacle one day, and she’s one of the big reasons we love the place!

Of course, we love the food too, but that’s something I’ll bring up in more detail in my dining section. Right now, it’s about the people, and we have one more to talk about here.

The Artistic Veteran – Lae and Bandit

Meeting Lae and Bandit at Farmer’s Table

The process of meeting people will always have its highlight moments. My family still likes to check out plenty of different destinations. We’re explorers, and as such, we’ve found tons of other places to try good food, find new experiences, and meet cool people. A few days after our pleasant encounters with Dr. Gatcha and Towanda, my mother and I stopped by the Farmer’s Table, where we encountered this lovely pair. Lae and Bandit, one of the friendliest pairs I’ve met in years. Lae is a Vietnam War Veteran who spent much of her time afterward getting into art, and then teaching it to young children. She spoke a lot about that latter part especially, including how she has always loved seeing the kids light up during her classes, or how they always seemed to lose track of time when they get into their work, looking quite surprised when time’s up. The way she sees it, the act of creating art has that effect on people. It’s a very cathartic and engaging activity. I remember that effect from my childhood too. It still happens when I’m writing stories, or articles like this.

Her faithful companion Bandit is a service dog who was going through some training at our time of meeting. He’s already progressed very well through his training, even waiting to come up for pets until told he could. He’s a dutiful lad who still has a ways to go, but our encounter was nothing short of endearing.

I have a word for moments like when we saw him carrying that basket with the little teddy bear in it: adorabetes. It means. “too much adorable to handle.” XD

I wish we had more time to chat with Lae and hang out with Bandit. I get the impression that I could learn much from them, and even hear some interesting stories.

One last element about the people of Douglasville that these two exemplify is how there’s always another happy surprise somewhere around the next corner. The main point I’m reminded of here… that I’m always reminded of by encounters like these:


It’s important to step out of your bubble and try talking to new people. While you should always be mindful of social cues, timing, and other factors, that’s something you can learn how to do! And the results can be remarkable when you step out of that bubble. Meeting Lae and Bandit was one such result. I got to have a lovely conversation with someone very friendly and insightful, and pet a precious pup too. Double win in my books. Lae, thanks for stopping to have a chat with my mother and I. I hope we get to talk again.

Final Thoughts

The act of taking the metaphorical leap of faith to interact with other members of your society can be a very brave step in many cases, especially for those who are typically shy and introverted like I was. That step sometimes bears some risk, but thanks to the people I listed here, and others like them, it was a step well rewarded for me, and it happened right here in Douglasville and its surrounding boroughs. One more reason I love this town, that I feel so deeply connected to it, is the vibrant and enlightening community, and the interesting people who make it so.

Be sure to check out my focused little gallery below before you move on, and see which of my photos are part of this particular story. When you’re ready…

Click here to return to the main Sense of Place page.



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Land of Enchantment

March 13, 2022