Editor’s Corner: Home is where you feel like part of the family

By Kim Hasty

No sooner had I pulled up a chair at one of our downtown restaurants than my daughter began relaying the news of a charming event that had taken place at the table next to us.

“I just witnessed a proposal,” my daughter said, excited for the young couple. Indeed, he had asked, and she had said yes, and now they were shyly accepting congratulations and claps on the back from those taking a break from bites of salad and pasta and sips of pinot noir. He was a young soldier stationed here, serving his country a long way from home. But on this night, they were surrounded by strangers who were treating them like family. Celebrating with them.

That was months ago, but I was thinking about the importance of being welcomed and made to feel at home in a place where your mama and daddy are far away. Where people have yet to learn you were a starting linebacker on your high school football team or once belted out “Tomorrow” in a community theater. That you can do three backflips in a row or have a solid corner kick.

Another daughter, our oldest, celebrated a milestone birthday recently, and we couldn’t get to Brooklyn, New York, where she lives. What to give a special young woman who lives hundreds of miles away in a sixth-floor walkup?

A little investigation led to the information that she and a friend would be going to dinner at a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Alas, the restaurant does not take reservations. Devin Ayers, however, at the other end of the phone, told me he had been there since the place first opened. He knew all the regulars. I described my daughter: blonde, beautiful with a big personality. What do you know? He knew her. Far from her hometown, my daughter had found a place, and not for the first time, that had come to feel like home.

I tried to pay the bill as a gift to our daughter, but Devin and his restaurant went way beyond the all of duty, letting me know the birthday dinner would be on the house.

I’m going to get to New York soon, and by golly, I’ll be getting to Catfish of Brooklyn and asking for a table in Devin’s section. Meanwhile, somewhere in Vermont or Wisconsin or wherever the young groom-to-be soldier’s hometown is located, there just might be another mother thinking the same thing about downtown Fayetteville that I often think about Brooklyn.

Thank you for making a part of our hearts feel right at home.