Willie Mae Samuel

Willie Mae Samuel, founder and director of the African American Connection for the Performing Arts in Rome

Most of us have heard the age old question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Recently many have asked the same of Cave Spring. Can anything good come out of Cave Spring? Just because the town is serene and has that unassuming appearance, one should not let that cause him/her to not see the diamond in the rough. The answer is, “Yes, and you have not seen anything yet.”

It is hard to fathom how many have left Cave Spring and have positively impacted the community in which they are now living. When they first arrived in the land in which they now reside some might have asked, “Should I tell them where I am actually from when asked?” or “Should I just name the largest place nearby so that they will not follow the answer with a question, ‘Cave Springs? Where is that? Are you saying Case Spring? Is that one word or two? Oh! Just spell it for me.’”

I remember when many people in the surrounding areas were signing up for Facebook, most would list Atlanta as their hometown. They knew that people all over the world would be connecting with them and the desire was to appear to be important, from a big city that is well known. That tendency has changed somewhat. I said all of that to say that Cave Spring has a history and is becoming a place that former citizens are becoming more and more willing to say, “Oh! Yes, I am from Cave Spring, Georgia.” They do not mind being asked, “Is that spelled with one word or two?”

Cave Spring has only one red light but many stop signs. Just wind your way back on the streets of Cave Spring and you will run into The Lyons Bridge Farm, where beef can be purchased, Tumlin House, the Cherokee Cabin, The Hearn Academy, the Hearn Inn, Georgia School for the Deaf and many more important places.

Two of my spiritual sons and their wives called and asked to take my husband and I out for dinner, and said that it was up to us to choose the place. We said to them since we are close to a great place in Cave Spring to eat, you all just meet us in the heart of town, and we will eat here in Cave Spring. My son Randy later said that he called Reggie, the other son, and said gleefully to him “Man, do not worry about going to the bank. We walk with enough money in our front pockets to take care of our Mom’s dinner.” He said Reggie asked, “Where will that be?” Randy said he laughed and said, “Man, they have chosen to have dinner in Cave Spring. He said that Reggie responded with a chuckle and an, “Oh, no!”

On that Thursday, one wife was just getting off from work and the other was at the beauty shop. Eagerly they rushed their wives from wherever they were and headed to Cave Spring. My husband and I had eaten at Linde Marie’s Steak House before, so we knew that we were in for a treat that evening. The six of us parked on the side street in the middle of town, greeted each other with hugs and kisses and walked over to the restaurant. My husband and I could tell that they were still not impressed at all. One of my sons walks with his hands in his pocket, and I could tell that he had already counted out his dollar meal money for us all. He is like that. He loves standing up saying, “I got this,” and most of the time he pulls his money from his front pocket. When we stepped inside and were greeted by this uniformed, spotless gentleman with his towel thrown across his shoulder, their expressions changed and my son took his hand out of his front pocket and reached back to make sure that he had his bank card holder.

We were given the menus and were seated. One son leaned over to us and asked, “What is this place? How can a five star restaurant be in Cave Spring and we not know about it?” I could see that Reggie was quietly digesting the situation with his wife, Lisa. He was thinking that Randy had tricked him by saying, “man there is no need to go to the bank for this one.” Now he and his wife could clearly see that someone needed to have gone to the bank. Randy’s wife Curlene was very calm. She is always ready and can handle any financial situation that her husband gets her in. She calmly encouraged her husband to go ahead and order from the menu because she could tell that he was going to continue to try staring at the menu until he could order from a “dollar menu” that was not there. I saw him relaxing after that.

We had a wonderful meal and laughed all the way through it about the misconception that all four of them had about eating dinner in Cave Spring with their mother. Randy said that he was prepared to spend about $35 dollars and was ready to say his usual, “I got this.” He said that he had no intentions of asking Reggie, Lisa or Curlene to assist with the tab, but he did.

He later said that Linde Marie’s Steak House is a well-kept, 5-star secret and was anxious to come again. We made plans to return for my Mother’s Day dinner, which was a couple of weeks away. We returned and when we arrived the line was circling around the corner and many were sitting in their cars to wait their turn.

In Cave Spring we stand proudly knowing that good things can come out of Cave Spring, because good things were and are still in Cave Spring.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome.