The big news in my hometown this week is that Jerry's is closing.

I know what you're thinking.  Jerry's? Isn't that like a Frisch's or a Denny's? It's a diner.  That isn't ironic. Why is that worth mentioning?

Well, you're right.  Jerry's is was a Kentucky-based chain of diners that offered up an old-fashioned family-style eating experience.  The menu offered the usual diner fare- country fried steaks, hot fudge cake, and steak fries.  In our small town, however, Jerry's was so much more than a diner.  It was a meeting place for over four decades.  The old drive-in booths were apparently all the rage when my parents were in high school.  When I was a kid, the Prestonsburg Jerry's was the See-and-be-Seen place.  If you ate there on a Friday night, or on the night of a big high school basketball game, you always had to build at least 20-30 minutes of  chatting into your dining schedule.  It really was the town social center.  My granny and her friends used to take in their weekly Weight Watchers meetings at the church next door, then head over for dinner at Jerry's.  Perhaps their tradition was a little counterproductive, but it was just what you do.
via Floyd County Times

Jerry's was just one of those traditions.  Like many traditions, though, its time has passed.  Our little town now offers more exotic (and, arguably, better) fare -- barbecue, Mexican food, high-end sandwiches.  The last time I ate at Jerry's, I found that my tastes really no longer ran toward the fried fish dinner that I adored when I was a kid.  Still, it's sad to know that my hometown's landmark gathering place is facing its final days.  All small towns evolve, but it doesn't always feel like they get better.

In the two weeks before Jerry's closes, I hope to make a visit for one last piece of hot fudge cake and a huge side of nostalgia.  Y'all are invited to tag along, if you have an hour or so to socialize.