Painted olive green, Hartville’s water tower earns style points as it sticks out from the old red brick buildings like a garnish on the swizzle stick in a giant bloody Mary. I know that image isn’t the town’s intent. But, hey, I’ve seen every water tower in this state, and each offers a first impression. This one’s a garnish atop a tasty little town. I went back to photograph the tower, but alas, they tore it down. No photos exist. So this photo of a distant tower stands as a pastel substitute.
Nothing lasts forever.
Beneath that missing water tower, I noted with sadness that Mom’s is closed, with that small-business synonym for a Grim Reaper’s scythe–a real estate sign–sitting in the window. I remember my only visit to Mom’s.
Welcomed by the café’s official dress code–jeans and ball caps–I felt right at home on Rolla Street right next to Bullfrogs Pawn, bathed in the aroma of bean soup and the promise of frog legs.
Betty always dreamed of owning a little home-cookin’ place like this. Her son opened the restaurant a year after she died. In the general category of tributes to loved ones, gravestones are most common, of course. And a yellowed newspaper obituary stuck in a Bible. A few folks become immortalized in song or verse. Lately, a few hundred dearly departeds get immortalized on a 2×4 sign in the Adopt-A-Highway program. But to build a restaurant in honor of mom is a real commitment. Long hours, daily. Hot kitchens. A slew of unanticipated headaches. Forget flowers. This is something mothers can relate to. Betty would be proud. I hope she’s tapped into that tasty little water tower in the sky.
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