Change: it happens, get over it. Change isn't always for the best, but because it generally happens slowly we hardly recognize it and what the new norm is - whatever it is - seems not so bad. And then we think back. Those were the days! And in some places, they still are.
Diners, cafes', hometown restaurants, mom & pop shops - whatever you want to call them and wherever they are across Indiana seem to be disappearing in increasing numbers. And with their fading also is removed a sense of the community that they once provided. A new sense of community may be found in other establishments or venues, but make no mistake-it just isn't the same. So what have we lost and are continuing to lose? Maybe more importantly, should we do something about it?
I am the proud son of a diner family-a truckstop more specifically. My grandparents traded the farm for a café in 1950. A few years later the state came through and demolished the place for road expansion forcing my grandparents to relocate the business. In 1996 my dad & mom closed the doors. It sold, then closed, then sold again and stayed closed. Fond memories, hard work and good neighbors-that's what it was. Our community lost something more than a piece of history the day we walked away. A place to gather, be seen, talk and stay informed, lend support, laugh and sometimes cry together. We lost "community".
There are a handful of locations around our great state where a few mom & pops heroically beat the odds of fast food and chains. Or, maybe the chains just haven't reached them yet. Whatever the case-these places should be celebrated as one of the most important vestiges of Hoosierdom. They are everything that is still good of our culture and a link to our past that made us who we are today. And in their absence may show us what we are becoming.