There is a restaurant in our town (which is also my hometown, I should note) where no matter what time you go in you will see at least three people who know you, including one who is related to you, and perhaps even someone who has changed your diaper.
It’s a cafeteria-style restaurant that’s open five days a week from 7am ’til 7pm and it’s a meat-and-three type of place that serves southern food: fried chicken, country fried steak, beef tips and gravy, fried chicken livers, fried catfish, and on Fridays they bake chicken for the healthy tourists. They’ve got collards, pintos, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra, stewed tomatoes, turnip greens. They’ve got chocolate cake, strawberry cake, chocolate pie, chess pie, pecan pie.
…and why did I start naming their menu? I must be hungry. I digress.
Anyway, we’ve been going there for years, and before I was born, my parents went, and before my parents were born, their parents went. This restaurant is that much of a staple in our town. Last night my husband (who is most definitely NOT from my hometown) and I took his dad, mom, and grandmother there.
I saw my grandmother’s best friend, our electrician, and two people who went to my childhood church. Each stopped by our table and visited with me for a while. And this was just a random Tuesday night–imagine if it was Friday at lunch–I’d know everybody!
After they left, C.’s family mused at what it must be like to live in a small town like I did growing up and I have to say it was/is great. That’s why, even though C. & I moved away from here after we married, I was very glad to move back last November. Sure there are downsides: everyone, and I mean *everyone* know your business (how much your car/house/wedding cost, if you were a “good” kid, if you got home too late last night, or if you spend too much time down at the American Legion), but there are also some really great aspects too. Each person last night asked about my dad’s recent shoulder operation, how my grandparents were doing, and how restoring the old Brogdon House was going and how they had so many memories going up there as a child. It’s very uplifting to be in a place where everyone knows your name and your history.
….just don’t ask me after I have a run-in with a nosy neighbor/family friend/relative…I may have a completely different view of small town life then!