I've loved Atlanta ever since I can remember.
Growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Atlanta was our big city. It was two hours down the interstate and a cultural world away, but it was the default choice when we needed more than our burg could offer. (Knoxville or Nashville, you say? Nashville was a longer drive and required going over the mountains; Knoxville wasn't any more cosmopolitan than home, or so we thought.)
And so we went to Atlanta regularly, several times each year. The youth group loaded up the bus and went to Six Flags Over Georgia. The family loaded up the car and went to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to see the Braves play. The teenagers went to concerts. The college students went to clubs and restaurants and the Olympics and Stone Mountain and the laser show.
Atlanta has drawn me back throughout my life. I lived half an hour away for five years and made the trek into town for food or music or sports monthly, sometimes weekly. I married a man who was born in Atlanta, who loves the Braves, whom I met while living in Athens in the city's shadow. Now I go to conferences that regularly stop in Atlanta on their multi-year circuits of the country's convention centers. I'm an officer of an organization that is headquartered in Atlanta; the direct Delta flight to Hartsfield-Jackson gets my patronage more frequently than any other route.
Atlanta tries too hard but has a good sense of humor about itself while doing it. Atlanta parties hard and smiles the next morning. Atlanta eats too much and sleeps like a baby. Atlanta stands tall today and tries to stand taller tomorrow. Atlanta makes spaghetti out of its interstates and parkways out of its major roads. Atlanta sprawls and soars and saunters. It's crass and cute and cultured and courteous. Atlanta always feels young. Atlanta is new every time.
Atlanta, I love you. And I'll be back soon.