By Bob Ciminel
February 27, 2006
I took a photo of the sign because it is relatively new. The last time I visited the river park it was common for people, and particularly children, to feed the geese. A mile down river is another unit of the park. When I used to kayak on the river from that location, I saw a husband and wife come down every evening with a 50-pound bag of corn to feed the geese. As naïve as I was, I thought the park service paid them to feed the birds.
But the sign had more significance to me than just a caution not to feed the geese. If you noticed, the sign is bilingual; it is written in English and Spanish. The city of Roswell has a large and growing Hispanic population, and they frequent the park when the weather is nice - on mild weekends, they essentially take it over. I don't have a problem with that, but some people do.
One of Atlanta's best assets is its diversity. The city, or at least its suburbs, has broken away from its former ebony and ivory mix. I couldn't begin to name all of the ethnic and racial diversity that now exists in metropolitan Atlanta. Right now, my wife is working with a Haitian couple who are investing in residential rental property in our area. I think it is great; not because they are Haitian, but because they feel comfortable working with a white, Anglo-Saxon woman who speaks with a Southern accent, and comfortable enough to trust her with their money.
So, the "Don't Feed the Geese" sign really speaks volumes about metro Atlanta. It is written in two languages and identifies two immigrants who have brought beauty to our area, the Canadian Geese and our wonderful Hispanic neighbors.
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He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference. Bob lives in Roswell, Georgia, and works for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. He is also a conductor on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.