Saturday, April 30, 2011


I read something this morning about a restaurant closing and no new owner.  Nothing to go back into its place.  A void, an emptiness.  Another empty store on the town square.

Small family restaurants are the community centers of rural america.  They are a meeting place.  A place to lie and to be lied to.  A place to decide how to vote.  A place to gossip and find the pulse of the community.  

Pity the poor owner who got up at 4 am every morning for a lifetime just to make sure that there was a hot cup of coffee in the pot and a meal at the ready for the souls who walk through the door.  

I was reminded of the character Newman on the Seinfeld program.  Newman was a post office worker.  Newman was even a little more strange than Kramer.  Newman was a philosopher.  

One monologue involved him talking about how postal employees would come to work one morning with a fully automatic weapon and kill everyone in sight.  The rationale for that kind of behavior, according to Newman,  is that when the postal employee goes home at night all of the mail has been delivered.  When they arrive the next day all of the bins are full of new mail.  It never stops.  There is no hope it will ever end.  When it does not end then they take the issue into their own hands and kill everyone in the building.  Our society has even coined a new phrase to describe this.  It is called "going postal."  

Shift to the small town coffee shop and restaurant.  Year after year they serve everyone one day and the following day they come back wanting more coffee and more food.  It never ends.  The same faces, the same stories, the same issues.  Generation after generation.  

Instead of going postal the restaurant owners simply lock the door and go home forever.

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