Friday, November 16, 2007

In a Class by itself

My wife has to travel on a two-lane country road nearly 100 miles one way to get to work everyday. While this is not the ideal situation for the future of our life, it is what needs to be done for now so that we both may stay gainfully employed. DINK (Dual Income - No Kids) life certainly has advantages so if you can swing it, give it a whirl.

Every morning and evening she passes though many one-horse, farming, or Amish communities. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. One church house, a single municipal building of some sort, a dozen or so homes, and, if you are lucky, a gas station/grocery store. There are plenty of them along rural two-lanes in middle America.

One such village has a gas station/air field/car dealership/truck stop/restaurant establishment. The most unique we've ever seen. We often joke about stopping in for a bite on those occasions when I've gone to school with her and we're on our way home for the day. She's always been the one to offer and I've been the one to turn it down...I mean the menu is probably as mixed up as the joint itself!

Tonight, we decided to stop on in and finally have a look around. Needless to say, I didn't have very high expectations when we pulled in. "Here we go", I thought. "Greasy spoon meants convenient store with just a smidge of diesel fumes". My wife had slipped into super optimistic mode and gleefully walked through the front doors inviting the new sights and sounds. She always seems to get this way exactly when I've decided to switch into wet blanket man and dismiss everything around me.

We are greeted warmly by the working water wheel, delightfully homey music, and the lovely smile of a 65+ year old woman you swore was your neighbor's grandmother. "This isn't half bad", I thought, giving the place a chance. We were promptly seated after a quick jont to take stock of their buffet. We were glancing through the menu when I spotted it. In my 29 years of eating I'd never seen anything like it on any menu anywhere in the world.

"On Grace...

We do not feel at liberty to suggest a certain prayer to you. We do, however, agree that a heartfelt, genuine, and meaningful prayer from you as an individual will be most appropriate and effective. We, at the Plaza Inn, thank you."

At first I thought, "Wow...look at them taking a stand for prayer. Hmmm. That takes guts in today's world". But upon further examination, and another read through, I found that they weren't standing for prayer. Rather, they were asking you to refrain from a full-table prayer.

Still not quite sure how I feel about that. After all, their restaurant - their rules. If you don't like it, you can choose to eat elsewhere.

On the other hand, should you as a business owner take the risk of offending customers by telling them how to pray when there aren't very many to be had in such a small town?

Either way you choose to look at it, I'd never seen anything like it before. It truely set the Plaza Inn in a class by itself.


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