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Lynn Hummel column: Curly hair and a big smile

In June of last year I wrote an article titled "A Little Pink Rubber Ring." It was about two observations I made at a truck stop about 70 miles from here where we stopped for an apple fritter breakfast. The first was overhearing a loud lady in the next booth order her breakfast. 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 halfway cooked, she'd send them back. When her order came, I stopped at her booth to take a good look. It looked like snot. I asked her how it looked to her. She said, "Perfect." Her husband told me if her eggs were too warm she considered them overdone. I left before she started eating. I hoped she would survive.

The other observation was of an attractive waitress in her early 40s -- cheerful, friendly, and hardworking with a bandana around her head. In previous stops there she wore no bandana -- she had lovely, black curly hair. On this day, June, 2011, the bandana gave you the impression she had lost all her hair. She didn't serve us so there was no conversation.

On the way out of the cafe, there was a little note near the cash register that asked customers to help Lorree (my article mistakenly said Tracie), a mother of two, in her battle against breast cancer. They sold little pink rubber rings you could pick up for a contribution. The rings signified support for a victim of breast cancer.

I got a ring and wore it on my little pinky. I closed the article with this statement: "My prayer is that one day soon I'll stop for a fritter, see the loud lady eating her snotty eggs, hash browns and hollandaise sauce and (Lorree) will be working there, smiling and cheerful with her black curly hair looking like she did before and that bandana gone and forgotten, never to be needed."

It was almost a year later this month that we got back to that truck stop. God works in mysterious ways. Only part of my prayer was answered. The lady with the snotty eggs was nowhere to be seen, but the word was she had survived and still comes in for breakfast. The other part was a thrill. Lorree was there, no bandana. Her smile was huge and her hair curlier than ever. Someone who gets one of the papers this article appears in had sent her a clipping of that June, 2011, article and she taped it to her refrigerator door as she worked through her battle.

She recognized us as previous customers and asked if I had anything to do with that article. That small encouragement was worth a nice, big, warm hug and a bit more conversation. For some reason when the hair came back it was curlier than ever. Lorree is feeling well now and is optimistic.

One answered prayer should be followed by another. My prayer now is that Lorree's smile will get bigger and bigger and her hair curlier and curlier until the 25th anniversary of her great-grandmotherhood. Amen, let it be so.