|June Dunning (Mamma)
June 13, 1929 – May 24, 2006
One advantage to growing up in a town where time stood still (Central City, KY) was that even though it was the late ’60s, many of the best things from the 40s and 50s still existed… including little diners, lunch counters and so forth. Not many Gen X-ers can say they had lunch at a real Woolworth’s lunch counter… but I can.
And I was usually there with my Mamma (“ma-maw”) who died two years ago today as I tagged along with her during her shopping trips in Madisonville, Greenville, and Owensboro. I had forgotten the anniversary of her passing until after I found myself already (impulsively) seated at the lunch counter of Wheeler pharmacy on Romany Road in Lexington, KY.
I’m usually in too big of a hurry for the Wheeler’s counter – I usually opt for Subway down the street or grab lunch at my desk. So, it surprised me a bit that I’d plopped down on the stool and picked up the ancient typewritten menu. I was at one of the last lunch counters in the country, enjoying the slow-pace…looking at the distinctly un-modern milkshake machine and 70′s era “have a Coke!” signs.
As I finished eating a hamburger and sipping a cold Ale-8-One it struck me perhaps it was she who had taken me to lunch. And perhaps giving me a little “slow down” advice. Soon, I tipped the waitress (“thanks hun”, she said,) grabbed my prescription and left.
The rest of the day was one of the most idyllic days that Kentucky can offer and I have a sneaking suspicious she had something to do with it.
We all miss you, Mamma.