I went through my hometown last week and had breakfast with an old high school friend, Mike. Actually, he treated me to breakfast in his small cafe on the first floor of a 22-story office building in East Memphis. While an unfamiliar setting, it brought back memories of what epitomized local dining when his parents operated the restaurant in the community near the University of Memphis. Known for serving heaping portions of comfort food, lines extended outside during the lunch hour(s).
My first lunch date with the woman who became my wife was at Buntyn Restaurant. I still remember having the fried chicken while she had the vegetable beef soup with fresh dinner rolls. Following seminary, we had returned to Memphis to serve on a church staff and were back for dinner eight years after that first date. Our attention was drawn to a print hanging on the wall that featured the restaurant. It happened to have been painted by the son of a church member, and I was able to purchase the print that has hung on our wall ever since, continuing to give us a touch of “local.”
Though not the same restaurant, last Wednesday’s visit to the vastly scaled down version brought back a number of memories. My friend’s mother, who operated the cash register in the glory days, was there napping in a chair.
The walls were covered with pictures of the Presidents that adorned the original walls, along with celebrity photos which extolled the good times and food that were enjoyed decades ago.
As customers drifted in and out, mainly getting coffee and breakfast sandwiches “to go,” Mike returned to our table with every break to catch up, just as I remember his dad making the rounds at the original restaurant, conversing with his guests. My friend would occasionally ask customers if he could pray with them, including a young woman who worked in the building but came by with her 4-week old son to grab a treat. Mike knew that her 7-year old son had been dealing with a severe case of scoliosis and had been praying for him. The young mother reported that he was now out of his brace much quicker that doctors imagined. She gave credit to the Lord and the prayers of Mike and others for her son’s speedy response to treatment. I lead in a prayer of praise.
That is the epitome of “local”…that personal care and attention to the needs of others through good service and genuine interest. Mike is carrying on that tradition!
For more examples of “local” click HERE.