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Rock to remember

Last week, our journeys through Oklahoma created a stop for the night in Stroud, OK. We scanned the possibilities for dinner and discovered The Rock, a famous and highly touted landmark.

The decision to eat there was an excellent one. As we entered, the owner and solitary wait person greeted us, suggesting that, “Y’all can sit anywhere you are comfortable.” She handled the bill for group that was leaving and approached our table.

The owner provided menus, 3’ x 2’ plastic laminated affairs with a substantial menu on the front and a map of Oklahoma on the back. She then asked, “Where y’all from?” We described our recent travels and New Mexican destination and she never lost her smile or hospitality.

This is unlike any venue you are ever likely to encounter. The room is top to bottom knotty pine, with an old stone fireplace, large institutional wooden tables and chairs and Route 66 memorabilia throughout. Our best guess was that the interior was essentially the same as it was fifty years ago.

Much of the memorabilia was historical. We saw the aged kitty clock with eyes and tail that moved in harmony. The walls were covered with pictures of long established products, cars and motorcycles, some of which were quite old. And the exit sign was neon, with a large arrow pointing to the door.

We ordered dinner and absorbed the surroundings. At one point, the cook approached our server and asked her to ask us if we wanted sauerkraut with one of the entrees. She politely asked if we did and when hearing a no, she scrunched up her face and said, “Yah, I didn’t think y’all were gonna want that.”

The meal arrived and was fastidiously prepared. Portions were huge and replete with fresh ingredients. At the end of our meal, we were offered homemade peach pie with ice cream, but she gracefully accepted our decline.

It seemed that every sentence we heard had a “y’all” and a “thank you.” Any thank you we offered was responded with another thank you. A guest book was offered, and we were politely requested to add our names to it. Finally, our hostess happily proclaimed, “Thank y’all for coming to The Rock!”

After we left, we determined that we weren’t the only visitors who marveled at the unique quaintness of this restaurant. The owner was a legend in town for her kindness and for having provided employment for numerous locals. We also discovered that she was a character in a famous Disney movie where her likeness and mannerisms were faithfully duplicated.

If you’re ever near Stroud, Oklahoma, be sure to stop on by. Getting into the restaurant is a challenge because of a circuitous and uneven path. But the food is worth the visit, especially when paired with southwestern grace and old -fashioned hospitality. Shalom.

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