The Tara Theater at Cheshire Square Shopping Center has a new corporate owner - Regal - but the small movie house appeared unchanged when we ventured there to see the excellent "Lady Bird" for our family's holiday movie ritual.
The shopping center at Cheshire Bridge and LaVista roads is one of those nondescript commercial places so prevalent in Atlanta. With a Publix, a diner that serves breakfast and lunch, a bank, a few shops and the theater, the shopping center sits between Buckhead, Brookwood Hills, Lindbergh, Morningside and Virginia-Highland and near the Emory/Toco Hills area of DeKalb County.
Sitting in an undefined part of the city, close to the interstate and the Cheshire Bridge sector of carwashes, bars, restaurants and strip clubs, the shopping center could stand in any U.S. city. The theater's "Gone With the Wind" tag and the shopping center's Cheshire name are the only Atlanta references
Despite the shopping center's generic feeling, I felt connected to Atlanta as I stood in line at the ticket window with my wife and oldest daughter. We'd been to a few movies at the Tara over the years, and while the experience was pretty much the same, it was mixed with Atlanta recollections. Those waiting with us seemed Atlanta types, like us part of the city.
The Tara appeared to have frozen in time since I'd seen a movie there. The concessions center remained small and still mainly sold popcorn, movie candy and Cokes. The dark theater was nowhere near stadium size, and the screen was not gargantuan. The seats were soft and comfortable, but not the luxury recliners that some theaters had switched to.
Driving home to Buckhead along Cheshire Bridge-Lenox Road to Peachtree Road, I counted a memory at each place we passed. I remembered vanished buildings and businesses, and the history of those that had remained from long ago and those that had risen in the recent past.
Since we'd been living in the city, the Peachtree-Piedmont corridor had been transformed from a strip of low-lying, small-town retailers to a high-rise forest surging with big-city excitement.
Now another year was arriving, cold and unknown. The future will unfold day by day, a mix of change and permanence.