Until last week, I knew Hahira, Georgia, only as the hometown of UGA quarterbacking legend and current 680 The Fan talk show host Buck Belue, who led the Dawgs to the 1980 national championship.
Then my son married a girl from Hahira, which meant I got to spend a couple days down there and learned a lot more about the quaint little town. One of the things I learned is that it isn’t actually Buck Belue’s hometown. Turns out he’s from Valdosta, just to the south.
That doesn’t quite explain why he mentions Hahira so much on the radio. Maybe he just likes the sound of it — and who wouldn’t? Come on, say it with me: Hay-high-ruh.
But it does explain why a couple of locals I asked had never heard of him. Sorry, Buck. I guess being a legend ain’t what it used to be.
The reception was held at the “train depot,” which turned out to be a brand new construction, because apparently Hahira never actually had a station. Trains, as I almost learned the hard way, just blow right through Hahira. They don’t care if you’re crossing the tracks on your way to the sandwich shop, which incidentally is about the only restaurant in town.
Imagine my disappointment at the ersatz train depot. When I first heard we were having the reception there, I pictured an old-fashioned stone building where a young Buck Belue caught a train for Athens back in the summer of 1978.
That turned out not to be true, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that Buck isn’t from Hahira. And Hahira never had a train station. And I imagine, when Buck left for college, his mom and dad drove him in a car.
But the train thing sure sounded good, like something from a 1950s Ronald Reagan movie.
Still, the depot was a nice place for a reception, and everyone had a good time. The real excitement happened earlier in the afternoon, after we had set up for the event and adjourned across the railroad tracks to the sandwich shop for lunch.
It was there, in Hahira, Georgia, that I lived through my own personal Seinfeld episode. For the first time ever, I ordered something the restaurant clearly had only to be denied.
Inspired by a colorful ad in the window, I asked for a particular type of sandwich. Nope, they said. They weren’t making it that day, despite the ingredients laid out before my eyes. “No ham and cheese for you!”
My son had a similar experience. He asked for a foot-long sub on honey wheat but was told he couldn’t have either. “Well, what can I have, then?” he asked. Good question.
As for me, the answer to “What else do you want?” was pretty clear.
I just wanted to catch a train to Athens.