Tonight, the family piled into the car and made our way to a place that has a very special place in our hearts where my dad grew up; it is so meaningful to me because I experienced man of my childhood happy moments there.
Strattons, a blast-from-the-past 50’s diner, is an icon of this small town. It sits on Main Street, welcoming any and all visitors to the little city of Ash trees. It has been around for years as the place to go when visiting. It has served many teenagers as the hangout after a Friday night football win at Cheatham County High. It has served many chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla milkshakes through the years… whatever a heart desired.
On a more personal note, it was the place that Gran and I often frequented. It was a treat to come to Strattons because I got to hang out with Gran and Aunt Beth (whom I affectionately call, Peptobismol–PB for short) and undoubtedly, we’d swing by Strattons for a couple of small hamburgers and a shake.
A couple weeks ago, I received word that Strattons was closing, the owner selling, and a Walgreens was set up to be built. A part of my heart broke just a little bit… maybe its because I still associate that restaurant with my Gran. And all I can do these days is associate memories and places with her because she’s gone to the other side of glory.
So the family piled up today to visit Strattons for the last time, as it is set to close its doors a week from today. Along with my grandpa, we arrived at Strattons and waited quite some time for a table; it seemed that everyone else had the same idea. It is quite a small establishment, but very cozy. The walls are lined with old Coca-cola and Orange Crush plaques, pictures of yester-year America.
Once we got settled into a booth, we ordered our favorites for the last time. A strawberry milkshake and a BLT for me please! As we sat and talked, I began looking around. I saw family after family sitting, laughing, recalling memories from this beloved restaurant. I began to realize that this building wasn’t just a building, but it was an idea as well. It represented the seasons and years that had passed with it welcoming those into the little town. It had seen both the joyous and lowly moments of residents. The feast and the famine. I had eaten and celebrated there on many occasions with my beloved Gran… but also cried there after her funeral. It had seen many people through the seasons of life… something that a Walgreens could never accomplish. Through thick and thin, Strattons was there.
As our food came, a customer walked up to the old-time Jukebox and put his money in to play a song. I wondered what his selection would be. Would it be a feel- good footloose song? Would we all get up and dance? No…it turned out to be something even more appropriate. “Hey Jude” ….Paul McCartney…the Beatles…a relic of a generation that is now fading. Just as Strattons will soon fade. It will only exist in the memories of those who loved it through the years. We are in a new decade, a new season of life, and though that brings a twinge of pain, it’s a good thing. We must grow and change…and love… we must love today…in this moment…in this season, because things and people change. Its inevitable. So love while you get the chance. And make memories of a lifetime. Thanks Strattons for the memories; thanks for making me smile.