We all have favorite places to eat. Some are upscale restaurants with ambiance and atmosphere; others are simple, home style diners with a warm, family-like atmosphere and food that can best be described as Southern comfort food. The food is prepared for and shared with people who feel like family.
Dyar’s Diner is the perfect example of such a diner. Located on the outskirts of town which some would refer to as “in the country”, Dyar’s is a meeting place for many churchgoers on Sunday. Many friends from the Baptist church hurry to Dyar’s after church and a table is reserved by whoever gets there first. Most of the time, a table for eight is required; sometimes an extra table has to be added. Then in comes the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the young and the elderly from all walks of life. The coach of the 1981 National Championship College football team comes in to eat almost every Sunday and speaks to just about everyone as if he knew them by name. He is one of us. Coaches, professors, ministers, pharmacists, grandparents, parents, children, farmers…we all are drawn to Dyar’s not just because the food is good but because it is like having a big family gathering.
Tim Dyar helped to make Dyar’s what it is today. Always at the cash register with a huge smile on his face, he made it a point to ask how everyone was doing, how was the church service, etc. He celebrated the special times in our lives and mourned with us during the darkest of times. He was a businessman and owner of a successful diner but he was much more than that. He was a friend to everyone; he was like family to many of us.
Friday, January 20, 2017, was a day to remember. It was a very busy day in Washington, DC and most people around the nation were watching or at least keeping up with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. In our little corner of the world, that day had a much different meaning. Early that morning, Tim woke up, was talking to Meg, and died as he was talking. Meg told me this just a few minutes ago at the funeral home. Waking up to another day, making plans and suddenly the plans changed. In the blink of Meg’s eyes, her world and that of her family changed forever. Tim was 51. It doesn’t seem real.
Arriving at the funeral home 30 minutes before visitation was to start, we waited in the chapel for about an hour before we could go through the line. People kept coming in and quietly took their seats as they were requested to do. Time was not important. Being there for the family was important. There is no question that Tim was loved and respected. The sheer number of people who were waiting in line or waiting in the chapel was proof of that. Tim never met a stranger, was kind to everyone and loved everyone. He will be missed but he will live on in our hearts and minds. He will never be forgotten.
Vince Lombardi said that “the true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good”. Tim, you were a man among men. Rest in peace, our dear friend.