JUNE 2014 III.XXV
At Dalton’s Steakhouse in Payson, Utah, veterans are honored on a wall of tribute in memory of their sacrifices. The owner, Lance Shurtleff, has decorated this familiar family dining establishment with touching photographs and plaques of servicemen and women. He displays pictures of his own father, who served his country, and many other veterans who gave all.
Lanny, as he is fondly called by the local community, says he wanted a place for his customers to “…break bread in the presence of those who gave so much for our precious freedoms. By making this memorial, I hoped to remind everyone that they are still with us--that they have not been forgotten. There’s no better feeling for me, than seeing a friend or family of one those selfless men and women--- come in, sit down, look up at their loved one’s picture and see them connect, and remember. They call me over and tell me the story… this just gets me every time.”
One customer in particular, Patty Gasser, comes in for lunch almost every day. She likes to sit by the picture of her husband Don, who served in the naval forces in the 1950s. He has recently passed away and coming in to sit quietly beneath his picture fills her with love and patriotism.
But recently, Patty experienced even more loving reflection than usual at Dalton’s when Cody Robbins came to her table. Cody is a singer, song-writer who graced the stage that night as one of Dalton’s many talented dinner entertainers. Cody told her he was so inspired by her and Don’s story that he had written a song especially for her. The song expresses the heartaches of family members whose loved ones won’t be coming home. As Cody performed the song that night for Patty, tears filled her eyes as she found comfort in his heartfelt lyrics.
The patrons listened along with her, pausing from their meals in quiet respect to the lines in the song: “…sometimes she stops by… she doesn’t like to admit, he’s not coming home…But as long as she stays here… She doesn’t feel so alone…” (See lyrics on another page in the paper.)
Dalton’s Steakhouse has become more than a place for satisfying one’s hunger with a tender steak. It has become a place that makes a tender connection with the human heart. In these busy days of living fast in our food, relationships, and lives, there is a warmly lit steakhouse in Utah County that has something more. Just ask Patty. She’ll be there at the same table, and so will Don, and all the others who served …and all of us who feel something’s missing in our lives, ….until we look up at a photograph, we hear a song, and then we remember.
The Veteran’s Memorial Wall at Dalton’s Steakhouse in Payson