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Home away from home

Sometimes it takes a stranger to point out our blessings. It was that way the other day down at the Mule Barn.

Everyone's aware that the old truck stop at the edge of town is a good place to eat and drink coffee, which is why it's a favorite with the locals. When the interstate came by, three miles away, we believed The Barn would be another victim of progress. But the truck drivers kept driving the extra six miles so they could sit in comfort and use the coffee cups hanging on the wall with their names on it, and gain another two pounds eating the Barn's famous chicken-fried steak that would make a decent meal for any two sensible people.

Out on the interstate is the new truck stop, with showers and telephone plug-ins and an entire selection of Louis L'Amour tapes for drivers bored with driving late at night. But still, many drivers detour to the edge of town and are greeted by the waitresses as family.

All we know is that's where we like to go, those of us who are married, and those of us who aren't any more or never have been. It's another of our homes.

So when Doc brought along an old medical school pal who lives in a city in the next state and introduced him to the guys, we weren't surprised. It's what we do when we like someone.

But after a couple of cups, and after repairing several gaps in the world's collective thinking, Doc's friend had this to say, and we just nodded.

"You know, when we came in here, our waitress said, 'Hi Hon. How you doing today?' She brought me a cup of coffee without my even asking. In forty years of marriage, I believe that's happened twice."

- If you enjoy these columns, invite someone home for dinner this month. Then let this newspaper know you did it.


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