Sylvia was usually at the restaurant and she greeted nearly every customer. I had been in the restaurant about a dozen times and had always gotten a smile and a welcome. On this one particular evening Sylvia was seated at a table next to mine visiting with another customer when she overheard me telling my companion about how I made potato salad. "That is old southern country salad" she said smiling. I laughed and said an old southern country woman had taught me. She squeezed my shoulder as she left the table. A little later I bumped into Sylvia again at the front of the room. She asked who the old southern country woman was and I explained that she was my ex-husband's aunt with whom I had a wonderful relationship. We talked a bit about our children and about South Carolina. I had read that she was from a small town very much like the SC town my ex was from. I told her about my one and only visit there in the mid 70s when a car full of young white men tried to run us off the road and how a group of white teens had called me a "nigger lover" at the Woolworth's. She was holding my hand and looking into my eyes the entire time we were talking. My heart melted when she hugged me and told me how she enjoyed talking with me and that she loved people who "had an easy kindness about them".
Each time I went back to Sylvia's after that I got a hug and a table visit if time permitted.
Dear wonderful Sylvia Woods died yesterday at the age of 86.
She and her husband Herbert built a restaurant that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
They led a family that will carry on. The restaurant is owned by her children and grandchildren,
I imagine that thousands of people are telling stories just like mine today. That is her exceptional legacy.
Peaceful Journey Sylvia
I will never forget your easy kindness.