When it gets to "Wouldn't you like to get away?" I totally lose it
I grew up watching Cheers with my dad on what seemed like a nightly basis. Despite the fact that I was, say, 24 months old and had very little in common with a cast of New England barflies, I loved Cheers. I still think it's one of the great sitcoms of all time.
I think it's my lifelong love of Cheers that's kept me searching for a place where everybody knows my name.
I went home to Tennessee recently to visit my family, and I made more than one trip to my favorite watering hole, The Pond. The Pond is a fine drinking establishment in Franklin, owned by the wonderful Eddie Martin and his son Justin, fellow Grassland General and Franklin Rebel. It opened nearly a decade ago, and just in the nick of time for my friends and me to start turning 21. Everyone used to hang out at Waffle House in high school, but you can't smoke there anymore and they don't warm up your coffee after you've been there awhile, so everyone started convening at The Pond instead.
One particular day, I settled down belly up to the bar with my bff Emily and a big ol Shock Top to listen to one of Eddie's signature stories. Eddie can weave a story like you can't believe. Dewar's and cigars, snakes and warm concrete, and even a cameo from the good people at Grumpy's Bail Bonds (believe me, that link is worth clicking). Everyone was spellbound--when they weren't cackling.
Amid the laughter, patrons started to file in one by one. At least a dozen people. By the time each one got to the bar from the door, their favorite drink was already waiting on the bar for them before they'd said a word. Eddie never missed a single beat of his story.
That's the beauty of a small town: recognition.
It's hard to get used to living in a big, impersonal city. There's a constant desire just to be recognized.
But I've found one little place to call my own here in Cambridge: Andy's Diner.
My dear Julia introduced me to Andy's, which sits just between my office and my apartment. There's nothing too fancy about Andy's. But the food is fantastic, and the vibe is utterly unpretentious, which is pretty uncommon in these parts. Julia and I started going for lunch on Fridays when I first started my job. We'd share a plate of fries and suck giant Diet Cokes and rattle the windows with our peals of laughter.
It wasn't long before I invited JSJ, who invited Sarah, and then...
it kind of became a thing. .
We mob the place every Friday afternoon, and Kelly and Carol, with the patience of saints, bring us pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches and excellent stories and sometimes Carol puts her cold hands on my neck to make me squeal.
l to r: Carol, me, Kelly
So here's to Eddie, Carol, Kelly, and all of the customer service people in this world who go above and beyond in their jobs to shine a little bit of light into the darkness.
Do you ever just wanna go where everybody knows your name?