A woman in my hometown, who may have been the oldest curb girl ever, passed away a few weeks ago. After reading Sally’s obituary, my thoughts turned to all the good times we had as teenagers and early twentysomethings hanging out on the curb of Morrison’s Drive In, where she had been employed for probably 60 years.

Everybody knew Sally and Sally knew everybody. I don’t think she ever forgot a name. She was so kind and gracious.

Without a doubt, she loved her customers, many of whom would go visit her and pick up a cheeseburger or hot dog and what we consider the world’s best onion rings.

When I would go visit Mom, I’d often head to Morrison’s to pick up dinner. Sally always said, “I’m glad you’re here to visit your momma.”

The curb was a hangout -- and the owners apparently didn’t mind. There isn’t any indoor seating, but picnic tables were added years ago.

Sally was like everybody’s mom, and we treated her as such. A big advantage of growing up in a small town is that there are few strangers.

The curb was a safe place, and there were people all around the drive-in. A wide smile has emerged as I think about those days. Coming on the heels of the Vietnam War and a generation that protested America’s involvement, we were laid-back and, in some regards, innocent.

Morrison’s paid tribute to Sally on the front board of the business, as well as Facebook posts. She was a big part of a family-run eatery. The owners are at least third generation.

With classes from my generation celebrating 40th, 45th and 50th reunions, it’s a common sight to find them gathered on the curb at Morrison’s.

Mom and I are hopeful to make a visit to our hometown before winter settles in. As usual, one of our first stops will be at Morrison’s. But, it won’t be the same without Sally.

Never take for granted the people who influence you.

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