Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Doing Lunch

This is a 1907 postcard I bought online. It’s early day C-Town–the community well. The buildings you see are still standing and are diagonal from our office.

The well, sadly, is gone. (So is the horse and buggy.) The descendants of the people in the picture are probably still here. (I hope!) 

I want to tell you a little more about our Small Town World. C-Town is a friendly place, and small enough that even if you don’t know someone else who lives here, you most likely do know someone they know or are kin to.

“Oh, you know Jane Doe. She’s that woman from Timbuktu who married Joe Blow’s cousin.”

I almost never go anywhere with SA that she isn’t spoken to over and over again. “Hi Amy! How you doing, Amy?”

(BTW-In this week’s newspaper, they asked several people what we could do to improve C-Town. SA was one of those people. She answered, “Convince people to be more friendly.” I told her I’m not sure that’s possible. She said the interviewer caught her unaware, and friendliness was the only thing she could think of.)

As I’ve said until you’re probably sick of hearing it, I work in the family business, and normally have lunch in the kitchen at the office. Sometimes, though, we go out. (Sister Amy loves it when we go out.)

There aren’t a lot of places to eat in our small town, but there are a few really good ones. One of those has pretty darn tasty Tex-Mex fare.  We went there yesterday. We were quickly seated, our waitress of choice brought our drinks nearly as soon as our seats hit the seat (the sign of a GREAT waitress!) and a friend came in the door.

Now this woman is more than just a friend (although friends are VIPs in my book) she has a beautiful voice, has a heart for God and she’s my hairdresser. When I say to know her is to love her, I’m not exaggerating. Everyone adores this red-headed woman.

We invited her to sit with us, and she slid in the round booth next to Dad. She had her Bible with her and explained that she usually read the day’s segment during lunch. (She’s reading through the Bible in a year, too.)

That’s when she remembered a question she had about something she’d read and marked a few days earlier. She opened her Bible and we had a wonderful discussion about Moses and Exodus there, in the middle of the restaurant.

After we discussed that question, she moved on to another one. I loved it, eating lunch with some of my favorite people in the world and discussing my favorite subject! (I could talk about God’s love all day long.)

Not one person in our Small Town restaurant batted an eye. We weren’t whispering. We didn’t get loud or try to get everyone’s attention, but we didn’t hide what we were doing, either.

There were people in the adjacent booths and nearby tables, but I didn’t see anyone roll their eyes or so much as shrug at our discussion.

One of the things I love most about living in a place like C-Town is that they know us there, and expect to hear that kind of thing from our table. If we’d ordered alcohol or told loud, dirty stories, we would have raised a few eyebrows.

A few years ago, someone had a saying after their signature in their emails (Holly Jacobs, who says she lives in Hollyworld, maybe?) that said something like, “I love living in my own world. They know and accept me there.”

Maybe that’s the thing about the small towns that make up the world. You never have to be anything except who you are.

And they love us anyway.