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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Reflections From the Shallow End

Of all the strange things that drive me crazy (and there are many), one that I fail to understand is the reluctance of Downtown Main Street business owners to remove the rusted, deteriorated, bird-nested metal awnings that cut the facades of many buildings in half. (I am being kind in my description.)

As far back as the 1990s, I completed a University of Evansville capstone project about Main Street that questioned why the awnings had not been removed. And as recently as 2019, the City of Evansville’s Historic Commercial Facade Grant Program even offered a funding mechanism to building owners to do so. Ugly awning removal = free funds.

It has warmed my cold and tiny heart to see some of them come down for the restoration at Second and Main streets for the new Parlor Doughnuts, and good for Parlor. … C’mon now, we can do better. Take a look for yourself. How is this still acceptable?

If there is ever a “man about town,” surely Brian Buxton qualifies. A longtime client of Tucker Publishing Group with his exotic car dealership, Buxton Motorsports, I tend to see him everywhere. A true “foodie” who blogs a great deal — follow Fingers, Fork, Knife & Spoon by Brain Buxton on Facebook — he is well known in town.

It saddened me, and I know many others, that his beloved Yorkie, Brando, died at 17 years old last month. Brando had to be the best-known dog in town. He went everywhere every day with Brian and lived a charmed life. Thanks to Brando, Brian never needed an alarm or door chime to announce a visitor’s arrival. I know Brian misses his buddy and many others, including me, are sad about his passing. Brian is now raising $10,000 for local rescues with a campaign called “Brando’s Giving Paws.”

“Your favorite aunt,” as she always says to me (she is my only aunt), turned 90 last month. My Aunt Joyce is a one-of-a-kind lady, loved and admired by all who know her. A true Renaissance woman, among her many talents are pottery, gardening, making stained glass, gourmet cooking, and still dancing and entertaining with her troupe in Dalton, Georgia. This is the tip of the iceberg.

Originally from Evansville and a proud 1950 Bosse grad, my aunt never formally went to college but amassed more than 200 credit hours from the University of Central Florida and Dalton State University. Aunt Joyce even lived in Germany in the 1980s with my Uncle Jerry, who worked for a defense contractor. They’ve been married now for only 69 years.

As my mother’s only (and older!) sibling, they look alike and are as close as sisters possibly can be. In the hilly cross-state area of Dalton and Chattanooga, Tennessee, Aunt Joyce can still walk most people into exhaustion. Did I mention her birthday party? A very(!) good time was had by all. And I may be 60 years old, but you better believe she is still “Aunt Joyce!”

In March 2021, several sad conversations in our office centered on Emge’s Deli on Main Street leaving Downtown and moving to North Park. Unless you were a fairly regular patron, it is hard to understand that beyond being an awesome deli (that is what’s known as a painful admission), it was a bit of a social club, as it was frequented by the widest circle of people you can imagine. And the smack talk from Jan, Tracie, and Shelly working behind the counter was great fun. With the building owner changing plans for its Downtown location, Emge’s moved into more spacious digs in North Park, but COVID-19 and food prices took a toll, and it closed last month. Local restaurants make up the fabric of a community, and many people already miss Emge’s. I must already be waxing nostalgic when I remember jeweler Brian Turley’s jokes being funny.

Kristen and I just attended our third University of Louisville parents’ weekend. For a noon football game, my younger son Jackson was emphatic that we needed to “be there” by 9 a.m. for the fraternity tailgate. Upon arrival, I immediately said “no thanks” to the Rube Goldberg-inspired beer bong. Parents brought the obligatory food, Bloody Marys, mimosas, and Jell-O shots. My old Peavey professional audio speakers, now the property of the fraternity, did everyone loud and proud. Jackson boasted that the playlist was carefully cultivated as to “what the parents like.” Sure, son. And the verdict? I am really old now.

As always, I look forward to hearing from most of you.

Todd A. Tucker, President

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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