John and I go to Braum’s regularly, except during covid! We are now back doing it again since we have had two vaccinations, one booster, and had covid. Why do we go to Braum’s? We have great discussions with no phones ringing. Sometimes John is the one giving me instruction, and sometimes I am the one giving him instruction. We even take a pad and pen just in case one of us has an “aha” moment! Discussions are on multiple topics, everything from the Bible to family situations to spiritual lessons to goals we each have set. As we watch and listen to others, we also learn. We decided our Braum’s should be called “The University of Braum’s.”
One might see diversity at our Braum’s. It is a great stopping point for a fast break when driving down the road. It is also easy to get to as one pulled off for a break. Pauls Valley Braum’s sits right off I-35 at Mile Marker 72. At times, one might think they are sitting in an international airport while having a good sandwich or ice cream. Have a seat and listen. At times, people come in off the highway speaking languages of the world.
One time I encountered a group of Muslims that stopped for a break. Both men and women were sitting in a long booth. The men were talking, and the women seemed silent. When I was getting water, one of the gentlemen was waiting for me to finish. I spoke, but he did not reply. Then I noticed how the men were talking, the only ones speaking at their table. The women seemed silent. Eventually, I excused myself from our table and headed to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands, the Muslim women entered. They were laughing. I spoke, they smiled, and two commented. I washed my hands longer than usual, listening to them having fun with each other. Then I watched when they returned to their table and sat with the men. They were again quiet. Was this out of respect, or was this a cultural teaching, or both?
Another time we went in, and Chinese people were speaking their language. The young girl behind the counter was having a slight problem understanding part of their order. I tried to help but to no avail. And then a Japanese family was there another time. They could speak their language as well as English. They asked us to help them with directions. John went to our car for a paper map and was able to help them. Then there were the ones we met while waiting in line from France.
There are also those behind the counter that bring diversity to this Braum’s. It makes me smile to write this because we have had so many different experiences right off Exit 72, where Highway 19 enters Pauls Valley. Behind the counter is a young man from India. Initially, he spoke with a broken accent. We eventually learned that his parents owned multiple hotels in our area and Dallas and other large cities. When his brother received his inheritance, he got a hotel and a significant amount of money. His Dad would not let him receive his legacy until he could speak fluent English well enough that people could easily understand him. His parents encouraged him to take the job offered to him at Braum’s. They felt it would be the perfect place for him to become proficient in the English language. It took him over a year to speak well enough that his Dad said he was almost ready to learn about the hotel business before receiving one. So we had the honor of learning about this attractive young man. We became friends. He shared that his parents wanted him to go to India with them to find a wife. They wanted to begin the process of an arranged marriage. He told us, “I am not ready yet. I do not want to get married until I am older.” His Mom was Christian, and his father was Hindu. This new information made for a fascinating discussion. His Mom believed in one God while the rest of his family believed in many gods.
Then there was a great young lady that was LGBTQ. She shared her life with us and her difficulties with a person in her family needing physical help. Thus, she had to put off her marriage and was helping a family member before she could reschedule her wedding. There was no one else that could do it. We also learned that she had taught herself how to write and speak Russian. These two young people who have now gone forward in life helped us see beyond the counter. Some behind the counter taking orders and making food are in recovery programs. They shared their history and years of sobriety with us because they were proud of their success, and John was the Judge that helped them when running Drug Court. Paying attention, we also realized how many disabled people come to Braum’s. They can get groceries there more easily there than at a grocery store. John and I have offered to help someone we noticed having difficulty getting their groceries from the door of Braum’s to an automobile.
Yes, we have a Braum”s that is amazing. It has been a significant part of our lives. Miracles happen there. As we look out the windows, we see where parents are exchanging children or where a grandparent is returning grandchildren to parents. Then when I had car fever and did not know what automobile I wanted, we sat watching out the window for what I might like. Once I saw an automobile that I liked. I stepped outside to look in its windows. With the car sitting in the same spot for a while, I thought a person might have parked it at Braum’s while taking a quick ride with a friend for some reason. When I was looking in the window, I noticed a group of people coming out of Braum”s. They were visiting on this lovely day outside, and I thought they might be saying their goodbyes to each other. Finally, the older man came over to me and said, “I hate to bother you, but we have to leave. Is there anything I can help you with?” Embarrassed, I said, “No, I just love your car and may want to get one of these.” We both laughed. He climbed in. I returned to John watching us and laughing inside.
Yes, we have a hub at our Braums of multiple kinds. See us in Pauls Valley sometime. Do not hesitate to give us a call, and we will meet you there.