Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of stories written by local author Richard Mays the Daily News is featuring Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you ever travel to Greensburg, Indiana, you may happen to find a cozy and homey little diner that is simply called, “Katy’s Diner.”
Depending on how long you have lived in the area, you can hear it called, “Katy’s,” “Number 3,” or even “The Knight’s Clubhouse.” In truth, it really doesn’t matter, because it is the only restaurant in this tiny town.
Open from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. (somewhat closed from 1 until 4 p.m. for cleaning and the occasional napping), both locals and visitors find the times that best fit their schedules. Still, even from 1 to 4, you can get a good, home-cooked meal. The diner is a family place operated by Maya and her two daughters, Katlyn Ann and Sarah Kathina.
It’s a diner, a business meeting room, a gossip’s corner, and a place to simply get away for a little while. All this is rolled into one great-smelling cubbyhole of an eatery.
When Maya decided to open the diner, she knew that she needed to be prepared. So, she enrolled in a culinary arts program in Indianapolis.
Prior to her graduation, her instructors repeatedly asked her what type of restaurant she would open. They all seemed not to believe her when her only answer was, “A country diner.” She always got the same look of rolled eyes and a disbelieving shake of the head.
One instructor straight-forwardly stated, “You are taking all this training only to open a diner?”
Maya smiled a broad smile and replied, “Promise me that you will come to Greensburg and see me at my new diner, OK?”
This was met with an arrogant snort of disdain, and the instructor turned her back on Maya before walking away.
Maya was not going to let one small-minded person derail her goals. What did happen was that this seemed to have the effect of energizing an already-focused individual.
Armed with both a diploma and a Serve Safe certificate, she went to the Knights of Pythias building in her hometown of Greensburg, Indiana.
The Knight’s building was a men’s clubhouse that opened in the early 1930s. Almost all of the members have either died, moved, or were simply too old to use this wonderful three-story building.
Maya met with two of the three remaining members in town and made them an offer.
Ninety-three year old Floyd Mauk turned to 87 year old Eustice Wickens and said, “I call this meeting to order. Seeing that we have a quorum, I move that we lease the first floor of The Knights of Pythias clubhouse to Katy Mays for the sum of $1 a year. Do I have a second?”
Eustice smiled and nodded, “Second.”
Floyd asked, “All in favor?” Both of the aged men answered in resounding unison with, “Aye!”