These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rustic Roots

Last night Allan and I went to dinner at a place new for me. It is a quaint little restaurant called Rustic Roots, just outside the village. Now when I say "quaint" it probably brings to mind a cute little place with chintz curtains and tablecloths, wicker chairs and little vases with flowers on the table. Nope. Not that kind of quaint. The dictionary says "quaint" is:

1.having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque: a quaint old house.
2.strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way: a quaint sense of humor.

So tune in with the second meaning. It is a plain, small rectangular building about a mile off the paved road. The place used to be a dance studio, as evidenced by a full wall of mirrors. Tables are big ol' banquet tables placed end to end in two rows, covered with white plastic and, for the season, a runner (also plastic) of poinsettias down the center of each one. The chairs are folding chairs.

When we walked in we were greeted by the owner/manager/cook/server whose name is Wynell. The menu is on the wall, and you chose one of the two entrees and two of four sides. Tonight's choices were meatloaf or grilled chicken breast; tossed salad, steamed broccoli, parsley-ranch taters, or cheesy squash casserole. While Wynell goes to the kitchen (which, BTW, used to be where the dance instructor's husband prepared and sold bar-be-que!) to fix your plates, you help yourself to coffee, iced tea or water and find your own seat. We happened to be the only patrons at the time, so we had our choice of about 30 or so seats along the two rows of tables.

Within about five minutes, Wynell brought our plates. Allan had the chicken which was so tender that it fell apart when he tried to cut it. He said it was not dry, just extremely tender. I had the meatloaf and it was delicious. Not only that, but the plates were heaped! I brought home over half of my food. Also on the plate was a huge buttermilk biscuit that was yummy! Allan described it as "eating as if we're at Grandma's house on Sunday." He's right!!

Just when we both reached the point of bursting, Wynell slipped a strawberry shortcake under our noses! We opted to bring these home because we couldn't bear trying to eat more at that time. And folks, it was real shortcake, not that awful sponge cake that most places use. I hadn't had the real deal in longer than I can remember, and it was awesome!

All this food was $10 apiece!! Well, it was $9.48 plus tax, $10, so they don't have to worry about change! Lawdy!

Shortly after we arrived, a few other people came in, first three people, two men and a woman arrived. They considered what to order, and I commented that the meatloaf was excellent, and Allan agreed about the chicken, and we began to talk and joke around. One of the men said to Wynell that he was paying for the other man's meal, and to save argument, he wanted to pay right then. I quipped that I appreciated him picking up the tab for everyone, and we all laughed. Later another couple arrived and sat with them, and we all continued to chat. A few minutes before we left yet another couple arrived and sat just down from us and joined in the general conversation. One very humorous story was about a "city woman" from Florida who came in once with locals that she was visiting with, and sat with her arms folded, not eating anything. The place was simple but quite clean. I don't understand her problem!

When we prepared to leave, Allan reached in his pocket to get money and Wynell said that the gentleman had bought our dinner!! I was really embarrassed that I had let my mouth run away with my manners, but they just smiled and said that they enjoyed our company and wanted to do so. We left a nice tip for Wynell, chatted a little more and then left.

Before we left I told them about my late husband who was known for being generous to strangers in need. Often, as we traveled, we met folks just down on their luck, out of gas or with a flat tire, and Glenn would reach in his pocket and hand them money. Once a couple ran out of money for gas and they were about 100 miles short of their destiny and his new job. The kids in the car were hungry, and we had munchies in our car, so we bought them a tank of gas, gave them $50 to tide them over and gave them our snacks for the kids. He was often criticised for this. People told him that he was taking a great risk even talking with them, let alone giving them money. However, more than once, people asked for our address (yes, again, risky, I know) and they sent the money back to us. Some didn't.

My belief is that what you give willingly comes back to you in some way. I think we may not always recognize it when it does, and sometimes it is a long time afterward, but I think it comes back. These folks agreed and wished us Merry Christmas.

What a beautiful gesture. I was incredibly touched. I loved the little restaurant, I enjoyed the company, the food was great. But best of all, the people were just plain old, down to earth country folk. I love living here. I enjoy being around people who are honest and simple. I'm not putting them down, I'm saying they are good people that I genuinely like.

As we moved to the door, the last couple who had come in, called to us. Allan had apparently dropped a $5 bill when he pulled out the money. They could have kept it, and we would never have known. $5 isn't a big deal, but it brought tears to my eyes that these folks were so wonderfully honest.

I'm in the right place. I do love it here.

~ ~ ~

Nope, no pictures. This one stands alone.


  1. You know I agree with you 100%, sometimes you take risks but I believe you get back tenfold what you give.
    Love this story Lynilu and the restaurant sounds WONDERFUL.

  2. patti - I think life without some risks is less than fulfilling. I agree that people should exercise caution, but when it comes to relationships, I'll almost always take the chance. I've been hurt, but I've been blessed many times over.

  3. Always interesting that what we consider home is where we feel comforatble. Another way to look a this is that our comfort is enhanced when we find the qualities in the people around us that we value or hope for in ourselves. I think you are home because you reflect the qualities you spoke about with admiration. There is no place like home!

  4. What a wonderful story Lynilu. I especially loved the part about Glenn. He was one of the most generous person I have ever known. Everyone was his friend.

  5. Like Caroline, I loved the story. Made me teary eyed, damn you.

  6. I'm glad you are scouting out all the best places so you'll be prepared when I show up on your doorstep. :) I've found a couple of places here, but I'm afraid we'd have to go explore Taos or Santa Fe to find much that equals what you've described there.

    I agree that few people have bigger hearts towards strangers than Glenn did. Your heart is right up there, too.

  7. Seven - You're probably right. I've chuckled about myself during this relocation, because I was really convinced that I had become an urbanite, a "city girl," if you will over the 40 years that I'd been in metropolitan areas. However, it only took a couple days to realize that I was very comfortable being back in the "small community" setting with it's more personal, down-home ways. I gues I am what I am, period.

  8. Caroline - Yes, he was like that. He tried very hard to reach every person he met, didn't he? I'm afraid he didn't always feel the "gifts" were returned, but I saw it in so many ways.

    Laura - I didn't mean to bring tears, but as I said to Sever, I guess I am what I am. Ya gotta love me!!

    s3 - You, betcha! We're gonna feast, wherever we are! And don't give up looking inyour town, because it is often the most unlikely place that brings the greatest delight! And thank you for your faith in me. I certainly finding it easier with every day to accept and love people around me. I'm enjoying my life and that's the key, I think.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!