To be held at 5 p.m. at the restaurant, Emerson residents are encouraged to bring their family for an event that has steadily grown since its inception. Don Leachman, an event organizer, said the reunion came out of an idea to have a baseball team reunion before it turned into a larger event. The late Doug Ferguson, and owner of Doug’s Place, first suggested having the reunion at the restaurant, Leachman explained.
“That’s what we did. It’s just been great, you know, growing every year. Different people come, some every year [and] some not. We’re from 70 to 140 attendees over the years,” he said. “... Some folks who are still there and had children [who] went to school there that are married and have children and they will bring their whole family, the grandchildren, the brothers and sisters. Obviously, I’m 68, and we have several people that are in their 80s that still come.”
Although Doug Ferguson passed away in 2007, the reunion continued at his restaurant.
“Well, it’s been great. His wife told us when he passed, when Alan [Shepherd] and I had an opportunity to speak to her at the funeral home ... when he died it was just several weeks before the date for the reunion, which had traditionally been the first Saturday of that March, but now we had to change it to Sunday because the restaurant is open on Saturday night,” Leachman said. “But she expressed to us that he had told her, ‘I want to continue that. I want you to continue ... if you and the boys can do it, I want you to do it.’”
Melissa Ferguson said she thought the reunion was something Emerson residents look forward to every year. The 10-year anniversary of the reunion, she added, snuck up on her.
“Well, of course you know how fast time goes by and all. I didn’t even realize it until Don told me, but I think it’s a good thing and I think people really enjoy it and look forward to it. It’s a time to see people that they grew up with and just something that we really look foward to.”
Ferguson continued, saying the reunion meant a lot to her late husband and that she was glad they could continue to do it in his memory.
“I think it’s real good, because it really did — it meant a lot to him. It really meant a lot to him because we’re older and from the old school, and the older you get the more you think of your friends and family and all, and that really meant a lot to him,” she said.
Every year, Leachman said, he calls Ferguson to see if the reunion will be held again. He said he asks her to let organizers know if there is any reason why she does not want to, or cannot, host the reunion.
“I call her in late January every year and say, ‘OK, you know why I’m calling?’ She says, ‘Yep, we’re on, Sunday, March 2.’ ... It’s been good,” Leachman said.
Ferguson believed the reunion is something unique to the Emerson community, adding it gives residents the opportunity to see each other and have a place to catch up.
“There’s not many things — most of the time you see somebody it’s like at a funeral or funeral home or something, really, because what community hardly gets together like this and have the place to do it? I think it’s just real unique and these people really look forward to it and the same people come back year after year and then more come, and when they come they’ll come next year,” she said. “Like I say, the ones of us that are getting older, in our 60s and all, we do really appreciate it and are glad to see people, and you remember the ones who are gone.”
Leachman said the reunion charges $15 per person in order to pay for the buffet. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Fran Hall at 770-382-1139 or Ron Maynard at 770-926-9202.