October 1, 2008 Edition

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Memories of Hob Nob and
recent trip to Walnut Ridge

D.C. Rowlett
Guest Writer

I sure hated it when I heard the Hob Nob café in Walnut Ridge had burned down.

When I was a teenager the good old boy network from Swifton would sneak up to Walnut Ridge on a Saturday afternoon, and that cafe was one of the hangouts.

Walnut Ridge city girls seemed so different ~ did I say different? Nah, not really, just girls from the big city. It seemed talking to them was sort of a taboo, a journey into the unknown for us old clod-hopping country boys.

I have lots of memories of Cokes and hamburgers while we listened to the newest songs on the jukebox sitting in the booths at that little cafe. I can't recall a single girl's name, though, and my wife is happy about that.

Back in the '80s, when was my father was in a nursing home just outside Walnut Ridge, I was living in Little Rock. Once a month I came to Walnut Ridge and took my dad out for lunch. His choice of restaurants was the Hob Nob, because he loved the buffet.

I loved the buffet and the nostalgic feeling that came over me each time I entered.

When I saw the article about the fire and saw the picture, I must admit it brought a tear to my eye and put a lump in my throat.

***

It is always surprising when I pass through Walnut Ridge these days how much this town has changed. Buildings I remember are gone. What happened to the automobile dealership that used to be there on the left at the stop sign at Main Street?

Here is a question for longtime residents ~ Wasn't there a cafe called the "Peoples Cafe" on the left where the railroad track crosses Highway 67? If my memory serves me correctly it was a bus stop also.

My most recent visit was a bitter-sweet occasion ~ a class reunion, when I found that not only Walnut Ridge has changed but ...

***

Swifton High, class of 1962, wow! That was a long time ago if you look at the numbers and yet not so long ago if you rely on your memory alone.

Seems like only a few months ago that we marched to Pomp and Circumstance and proudly received our diplomas, ready to "go forth to the life ahead of us" as our class valedictorian nervously proclaimed.

Ann (Floyd) Howard graciously allowed members of the class and their spouses to gather at her lovely vacation home in Walnut Ridge on Saturday, June 7, 2008, just a mere 46 years after that memorable graduation event.

I believe there were 17 of us who graduated together, and most of us had been together for the full 12 years. We are more like brothers and sisters than just classmates.

I couldn't help but notice that our hair has turned gray, for some of us guys it has not only turned gray but it also has turned loose.

We had a wonderful visit catching up on "where do you live now and what kind of work do you do, how many kids, grandkids ...umm and ... great-grandkids?" Ouch! That one smarts. Do you know how old that word makes me feel?

Plans were kicked around to "do this again" and I do hope those plans are carried through. How about it girls? I know there is an unofficial planning committee. Linda F. and Linda H. and Gerldine F., are ya listening?

Walnut Ridge, prepare! Our next reunion will be a bunch of guys and gals in their 70s.

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