Things won't be the same without Smiley's
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:00 PM
I can see it now: A big helping of white sausage gravy ladled onto a porcelain plate blanketing two split biscuits.
Frank Phillips first heard about Crawfordsville from a college dorm buddy, Steve Sharp, whose dad, Don Sharp, was minister of the Woodland Heights Christian Church in Crawfordsville. Frank had no idea that years later Crawfordsville and Montgomery County would be such a big part of his life. He has reported on the news, events and people of west-central Indiana for years. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
I would cover that beautiful breakfast with salt and pepper. At the tender age of 25 I wasn't much of a coffee drinker but I had to have a hot steaming cup of Uncle Smiley's coffee with my biscuits and gravy. I poured lots of sugar into the coffee in those days, even though Trippy Walters (wife of the Union Township Trustee, Jimmy Walters) tried to teach me to leave out the sugar and become "a coffee connoisseur."
The biscuits and gravy breakfast was best eaten as the sun rose over Sugar Creek, after a long night at one of Crawfordsville's many businesses and before driving to my apartment over Fashion Shoes, not far from The Paper's current office in the PNC building.
At that time, Uncle Smiley's was located on Waynetown Road, nestled down near the creek before you got to Covington Hill, if you were leaving Crawfordsville on U.S. 136.
It's hard to believe the sign in front of Uncle Smiley's most recent location, not far east of there, says the restaurant will close July 31. What a shame.
Uncle Smiley's represents a time before fast food and chain restaurants came to Montgomery County. There was just one McDonald's, at the magnificent main entrance to the Boulevard Mall, where J.C. Penney's was on one end of the mall and Montgomery Ward on the other. It was a time when the term "local businesses" meant practically nothing because Crawfordsville was dominated by local businesses.
You could buy a new suit at Mac's Apparel for Men across from the courthouse on the corner of Main and Washington (and I did.) Crawford's Food Store set at the corner of Main and Walnut, not far from where the PNC Bank ATM is now located. In front of Crawford's was a little (and I mean little!) diner painted silver. It was so small there were just a few seats at the counter. It was so small there was was no danger from mice - they couldn't have been in the diner when it was filled with people. Another diner was located in a building where Walgreen's parking lot now sets, near the corner of Washington and Market streets.
Oh, yes, you also had to cross Sugar Creek on Lafayette Avenue (not Lafayette Road) if you were driving to Lafayette. My only speeding ticket came when they were widening the "new" 231 North and I was caught exceeding the unposted 35 mph speed limit in my little 1974 Ford Pinto.
We will miss Uncle Smiley's. It represents a memory of Crawfordsville's more glorious days.