In 1976 I began a new career as a media specialist for the Methodist Church, traveling throughout the southern part of the United States, assisting churches and church leaders in the use of various audio/visual equipment.
One trip led me to Atlanta, Georgia, to a convention of church communicators from all over the United States.
My office secretary scheduled the trip, booked my plane reservations, and found me a hotel. When I reached Atlanta, we deparked the plane, walked across the tarmac, and entered the airport. This was, of course, before many of the new, modern airports. I had left the newly built Dallas/Fort Worth airport and arrived at what looked like a cow pasture!
I hailed a taxi for my ride into Atlanta, and saw, for the first time, hookers on corners handing out menus! This was explained to me by the cab driver. Being somewhat unworldly at the time, that was a true eye opener.
The cab left me in from of an old hotel in downtown Atlanta. It seems to have been modernized, but it was definitely not what I expected. The bellman took me to my floor and upon leaving the elevator, I spied a huge stain in front of what turned out to be my room.
Eyeing it silently, I walked slowly toward my door. The bellman smiled at me and confided that Atlanta had quite a bit of gang trouble in the downtown area. He went on to explain that the stain was indeed blood from the body of a mafia-type who had been killed there several years before.
Whether this was really true or not, the incident has stayed with me, and I have never been particularly comfortable in Atlanta.