I stopped by the Krekel's on East Wood, the one that you get to right after crossing MLK. I pulled in and parked in the back, then came around front to the dilapidated little burger stand to place my order. The smells wafting from the stand were enough to make my stomach growl. I am always a little embarrassed though, when I order my cheeseburger, fries, and DIET Coke. Gotta save those 200 calories with my Diet Coke so I can eat my burger and fries with 40 grams of fat. Maybe I am hoping they will somehow balance each other out.
At any rate, after I had placed my order, I stepped back from the counter and waited while my food was prepared. It generally only takes about 4-6 minutes, depending on how many other people are waiting. As I stood in the parking lot with the other folks waiting for their lunch, I made the most incredible social observation: Krekel's may be the only place in Decatur that I have ever seen different classes and races of people interact so openly and freely with one another.
In the five minutes or so that I waited for our lunches, I observed social interactions that I dare say you wouldn't see anywhere else in town: as everybody stood around and waited on their order to come up, they. . . talked. To each other. There was a business lady in a skirt and heels chatting with two guys off a construction crew. I saw an elderly gentlemen who pulled in a Cadillac stand and talk to a kid with a half dozen tattoos who was holding up his pants with one hand to keep them from falling down. I even watched a guy in a three-piece suit who drove in a Mercedes convertible help a guy driving a pimped-out Blazer, complete with spinners, carry his large order to his vehicle so he wouldn't drop it. I stood and talked with a nurse from St. Mary's while I waited on my order.
What is it about Krekel's that inspires this sense of community and togetherness? Why do various races and classes of people feel comfortable associating at a run-down little burger stand when they would never have anything to do with each other away from there? Perhaps when our community is studying ways to bring about positive change, they need to examine the Krekel's phenonemon. Krekel's: bringing the community together, one burger at a time.