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Column: A little pink rubber ring

There is a little truck stop about 70 miles down the road where we enjoy stopping for a late breakfast when we're on our way to see our son Buckwheat and his family. It's a friendly place where it seems that all the locals gather and, like Cheers, everybody knows your name.

They have a wonderful breakfast you wouldn't want every day, but just once in a while -- it's an apple fritter French toast that I can't resist. One morning when I was traveling alone, a little woman with a loud voice sat down in the next booth and ordered some eggs. Her order was quite specific: she wanted two poached eggs just barely warmed up, hash browns and hollandaise sauce (a creamy sauce of butter, egg yokes and lemon or vinegar) all stirred to the consistency of snot. That's right, snot. She said if the eggs were half way cooked she'd send them back. I was almost ready to leave, but I wanted to see what her order would look like so I frittered away a few extra minutes until she was served. I stopped at her booth to take a good look. It looked ghastly -- like snot. I asked her how it looked to her. She said "perfect." Her husband commented that if her eggs were too warm she considered them overdone.

Every time we stopped we were served by one of two friendly waitresses -- one about 35, the other about 10 years older. The older one had wonderful black, curly hair. We probably saw both of them about two or three times a year.

The last time we went through they were both there, but the older waitress, the one with the black curly hair, had a scarf around her head and you had the feeling there was no hair underneath. But there she was, cheerful, busy, working hard and looking great except for that bandana.

On the way out there was a little note near the cash register that asked customers to help Tracie, a mother of two, in her battle with breast cancer. They had little pink rubber rings you could pick up for a contribution. The ring signifies support for a victim of breast cancer.

So now I have this little pink rubber ring on my little pinky. My prayer is that one day soon I'll stop for a fritter, see the loud woman eating her snotty eggs, hash browns and hollandaise sauce and Tracie will be working there, smiling and cheerful with her black curly hair looking like she did before and that bandana gone and forgotten, nevermore to be needed.