There was a time when I enjoyed hanging out with a small crowd -- mostly while I was in college and then after, always with theater friends. People who don't do plays assume that those who do are somehow "different" and "Bohemian." I've always found that they're creative . . . yes . . . but also highly intelligent and normal and stimulating.
Today, in Nashville on an errand, I passed one of my all-time favorite former hangouts: Brown's Diner. Despite the satellite dish on the roof, the old trailer looks just as dingy as it did when I hung out there more than 40 years ago with my Vanderbilt friends.
We drank beer and ate thick chili and talked. We didn't do drugs and we didn't flunk out and we didn't "party" all the time the way many college students do today. We made good grades and worked hard every afternoon and evening at the old Garland Theater. And when we played, we did so with each other. We loved each other like family.
I miss those easy days of college and those old friends. I don't know where most of them are, but I do know that three died young. When I drove by Brown's, though, I could hear their laughter and see their wide smiles and remember what can be special about any greasy spoon.
I'm glad Brown's is still there, and I'm glad others love it, too.