Today finds me encamped at the local Denny’s here in Joplin, MO. My wife and I are en route to Bloomington, IN for Thanksgiving with her family. The place is filled with travelers taking a break from the grind along I-44, hailing from all walks of life.
Our waitress is a friendly sort, coming from good, Midwestern stock. She’s friendly but not overly so and seems to execute her job with a refreshing efficiency.
There’s an interesting gaggle of locals perched at the bar watching TV, sipping coffee without a care in the world. It’s a bit like a throwback to the cafes of old, when the coffee was strong and the people were stronger. The men wear blue jeans and baseball caps while the lone woman dons a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt. I can’t comment on their sartorial choices but the camaraderie is impressive. They clearly all know each other and the scene I am witnessing has repeated itself numerous times before.
Our son Clark was hungry and angry a bit earlier. As my wife rose to make a hasty retreat for the baby changing station in the adjacent Flying J Truck stop, we received a number of sympathetic nods from our fellow customers. We replied with appreciative smiles.
When I looked at Clark’s empty carseat, I couldn’t help but appreciate such a place that brings so many disparate people together. How strange to find community while randomly traveling down the road.
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