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1304 Grandin Road SW,
Roanoke, VA 24015
Bits and pieces
By Larry Bly
And finally, my own personal salute to the late Juanita Morrow. Juanita and her husband, Bruce, owned and ran the Community Inn over in Grandin.
Shortly after they bought the place in 1977 it became one of my favorite hangouts; and not just for beverages. Bruce makes great chili and Juanita could do some of the best grill work in town, whipping up great sandwiches line the Community Combo Sub, or eggs to order, or any number of other hot off the grill treats. She ran a clean and tidy kitchen; and she and Bruce shared of love of their business and each other daily.
Every year they’d throw a big pre-Christmas party at the Inn and we (the regulars) were all invited to attend for the free food and good times. The pool tables would be covered and filled with yummy casseroles, deviled eggs, potato salad, baked beans, and lots of other homemade comfort foods.
Hundreds would show up to enjoy this “family” style affair and have a few laughs, sometimes at the expense of Bruce and Juanita. Life was good.
Until Juanita had a recurrence of lung cancer a few months ago and began aggressive treatment. Bruce tells me that what she potentially faced, operation-wise, would have been quite serious and invasive. But the Good Lord stepped in and saved her from that. Unfortunately, she left us at the age of 66 – much too soon for such a lively gal.
Juanita loved coming over to my booth and dishing the dirt about this restaurant and that. But it was more out of love and interest in her profession than of hearing about others’ woes. She and Bruce could be seen out on the town, enjoying various restaurants on their nights off. I always admired that. They always seemed to be having a good time; even after 40 years of being together in marriage and work.
I, along with hundred of others, attended her service at the downtown Oakey’s. There was standing room only – with friends lined all the way out to the sidewalk. After the brief ceremony, we were all invited back to Community Inn for lunch and fellowship – just like old times. Only this time, Juanita was not there to oversee the pool tables covered with cloth and filled with comfort foods. This time it was for her wonderful memory that we all came. Tales were told, pictures were shared, and tears were shed.
Here’s to Juanita Morrow. Long may she live in our hearts and minds.
Bly for now.