LAST Wednesdayone of Crookwell’s main street icons, Lynams Restaurant, shut its doors forgood.
A place where somany people have met, groups have come together and a family has become part ofthe community, it was a sad day for the owners, Russell and Maureen Lynam.
“We have beenhere since 1984,” said Maureen when I met with her shortly before they shut thedoors.
“But our firstlittle shop, where Coffee Buzz stands now, opened in 1979.”
Lynams became anicon when, for many years, it became part of countless locals’ lives.
When it wassituated at the end of Goulburn Street from 1979 it spent five years as aconvenience store and take away café. There were no sit down meals back then.
In 1984 theymoved into the old Farmers and Graziers building and that’s where they stayedfor the duration.
“Originally itwas a corner style store with a petitioned off area and deli,” said Maureen.
“But after thesupermarkets came into town we changed into what it became today.”
A very emotionaltime, and understandably so, both Russell and Maureen agreed the thing theywould miss the most is the people.
“I’m going tomiss the people and community immensely,” said Russell.
“We have met somelovely people, even highly distinguished people over the years.
“It has been apart of life.
“It has been alovely life.”
When asked whathe was going to do when his day-to-day life as he knew it ended, Russell saidhe didn’t intend to do much.
“I don’t intendto do a lot when I retire,” he said.
“I did intend toretire on the golf course, but my ankle is not good enough!”
Maureen said shetoo will miss working with the Crookwell people.
“I have met andgot to know a lot of good people over the years,” she said.
“A lot of goodfriendships have been formed.”
Maureen said itwas health reasons that made the final decision to shut an easier one.
“Both Russell andI made the decision to shut the business after it had been on the market for afew months,” said Maureen.
“One Saturday, afew weeks ago, Russell wasn’t well enough to work, but he pushed himself to behere.
“That made up mymind, it was time to close and prepare for a clearing sale,” she said.
“The bottom lineis; if our health was good, we would still be here.”
The firstclearing sale, on March 3, will be the collectables, and the second, scheduledMarch 17, will be all catering goods.
“It’s not goingto be easy,” said Maureen.
“But I will getto see who gets what.
“It will be achance for people to pick up a piece of Lynam’s memorabilia, of history.”
As true to herstyle as ever, Maureen will be catering for the morning tea and lunches at eachclearing sale.
Open seven days aweek, Lynams was rarely closed. They were there when you needed a quick cuppaor a comfort snack of warm scones and cream. They were there when you needed aplace to meet or a place to make you feel at home.
“People wouldcome in here because they knew every time they did they would be treated thesame,” Maureen said.
“People felt sovery comfortable and I know for some it was like a refuge.”
Over the yearsLynams played host to many groups, big and small, throughout the community.
Some more wellknown ones were the breast cancer survivor ladies, whom Maureen was a part of,widowed ladies, stitch and sew, Probus book club and Catholic Women’s League.
“We even had awedding here once, said Maureen.
“It wasabsolutely beautiful and created another lasting memory for me.
“That’s what thisplace did, created memories.”
Two of herdearest friends and compatriots from the breast cancer survivors group areMarie Hearn and Margaret Whittaker.
They are going tomiss both Lynams and Maureen immensely.
“Lynams sponsoredour group for 10 years,” said Margaret.
“Our friendshipwith Maureen grew stronger over the years even though we both knew herbeforehand.”
Maureen stillthanks the ladies for getting her through when her health was at its worst.
“We are going tomake sure we continue to look after her,” said Marie.
“The friendshipwill continue on.”
Maureen knows herlife will be different and things will be emotional for a while.
“It has been ourlife for so many years,” she said.
“We have met alot of beautiful, caring and interesting people.
“Even Sir ThomasIngelby was here and not long ago sent us a message asking how we were!
“But we have tothank the locals, they are so special to us, they were our bread and butter.
“They have alsosupported me unconditionally through my illness.
“But it was niceto know that the visitors of town would make their way here too, they toppedthings off for us and deserve a special thank you as well,” she said.
Someone who knowsMaureen and her family well is local identity, John Kensit, formally of“Evermore”, Narrawa.
“I knew Maureenand her mother and father well, long before the business was established,” saidJohn.
“I guess youcould say I have known both sides of the family all of my life.
“I used to alwaysgo there, on my own and with my son Hilton. That was the main place I ate,” hesaid.
“No one wouldhave more respect for Maureen than I would.
“She would beworking all day and then go home and cook cakes and slices during the night forthe next day.
“To tell you thetruth, I will be sad to see Lynams go, but I’m also happy that they are goingto look after themselves and their health.”
Maureen admittedthe restaurant became their entire life early on in the piece and has continuedthat way for the last 34 years.
“Yes, it has beenour life. It has been a life experience,” said Maureen.
Indeed it hasbeen an experience.
One I am sureCrookwell will never forget, the place or the people that ran it.
Russell and Maureen Lynam
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.