Readers respond to writer's request for farm-town hangout nominations
Farm-town hangouts are the glue, the hub, the social cornerstone of their communities. They're the place to share life's satisfactions, vent daily frustrations and connect with friends and neighbors.
Though their menus differ, they offer food and drink. Whether it's scrambled eggs in the morning, burgers and fries at noon, coffee in the afternoon or a beer in the evening, these establishments provide it.
They offer camaraderie and companionship, too. The emotional sustenance — hugs and handshakes, jokes and stories (some of them even true) — is free, its value immeasurable.
I've thought for several years about doing an Agweek cover package on farm-town hangouts. This summer, while driving past a popular North Dakota farm-town establishment, I decided to quit thinking and do it. In early September I asked readers to submit their favorites — and, by the Oct. 15 deadline, received nominations for 10 establishments.
All 10 are true farm-town hangouts and ideally would receive feature stories of their own. Space and time prevent that.
Deciding which one to visit and profile at length was difficult. In the end, I went with the Pain Reliever in Nekoma, N.D., the only one of the 10 to receive multiple nominations. Nick Nelson, Agweek photographer, and I visited it in early November. The other nine establishments are profiled briefly.