By Marj Oleske
For the past 25 years, local patrons, truckers and travelers have been greeted at the Sand Cafe in Merriman by the heart-warming smile of Ladonna Pascoe.
“I started working here for Ann Hale when my youngest, Scott, was two. I took over as manager 11 years ago.” Well, Scott is now 27, so you can imagine how many times Ladonna has opened the back door of the Cafe to fire up the grill for her customers.
Ladonna will be retiring, as of Friday, January 31, locking the door for the final time.
The Sand Cafe is more than just a restaurant to the many people who have been patrons or employees throughout the years. The warm pine walls have been covered with photos of the many people who have stopped in for a famous meal or hot cup of coffee.
“All the photos have gone home with me. They’ll either go into an album, or on my wall at the nursing home, whichever comes first,” she adds with a laugh.
“I’m really going to miss the people. It’s the people who make this place special.” On the wall hangs a calendar from Switzerland, sent to Ladonna from a passing tourist. “I also have a special set of dutch shoes made of ceramic that were sent to me by a customer from Holland.”
The view of Highway 20 from the front windows includes the slogan, Welcome Truckers. “A lot of the truckers call me Mom. One young man told his family, who was traveling, to be sure to stop at Mom’s Cafe in Merriman as they went through. They drove all over Merriman looking for Mom’s Cafe, and finally stopped here to ask ‘Is this Mom’s Cafe?’ I just said “Yep, and I’m Mom!”
Ladonna and her husband, Ed, are planning to spend much more time on the road traveling to see their kids and grandkids. Their family includes Paula, who lives in Phillips, Neb.; Paul and Doug, in Lincoln, Neb.; Patty, in Rushville, Timmy in Cut Bank, Mont., and their youngest, Scott, who is also in Lincoln.
“We could travel all across the United States and never need to pay for a motel room. We have met people from everywhere, and keep in touch with many of them. Yes, I will miss the people.”
Rest assured, the people will also miss you, Ladonna.
Teresa Belsky Wednesday, 29 January 2014 19:05 Comment Link
Bethany Swendener Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:51 Comment Link
Very nice article Marj! I know I'm not the only one that will miss going to Merriman for Indian Tacos and pan fried chicken!
Roxanne Meyer Wednesday, 29 January 2014 06:56 Comment Link
Now who I am gonna get to help me surprise Roye with a birthday lunch??? Wishing you a wonderful retirement and enjoy your travels!
Gailee Striegel Tuesday, 28 January 2014 23:09 Comment Link
Happy Retirement, Ladonna. You and Ed deserve many, many, MANY happy travels in the next phase....and a darn good rest too!