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Grandma makes truckers feel at home at cafe
Locals Lowell Clawson and Bruce Seilaff, from left, talk over lunch at Grandma's Cafe in Lamont, Wyo. Grandma's opens at 5 a.m. and usually closes around 4:30 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

RAWLINS - At milepost 32 on Wyoming Highway 287, a cup of coffee and a dose of family time is free.

Snow flurries swirled around the buildings clustered along the side of the road - the small town called Lamont was seemingly huddled for warmth.

A weathered, wooden sign reading "cafe" marks Grandma's Cafe. Inside, flames from a wood fire dance in the corner, warming a place that's frequented by about 30 people on an average day.

It's a family atmosphere, says Mary Oliver, the grandmother after whom the cafe is named. She's mother to five and grandmother to 14, including one youngster who adopted her.

She said the regulars, who mostly are like a bunch of brothers, at the cafe think of her as family, too, asking how her grandson is and about the rest of the family when they come in for a bite.

After all, they helped raise Matthew Oliver, who's now a sophomore at Rawlins High School. Mary Oliver said her grandson learned to walk in the cafe when she opened it 14 years ago. He then would crawl into the laps of truckers, share their curly fries and one time fell asleep on the lap of one of them.

As long as the restaurant has been in her ownership, Mary has seen her share of interesting events.

Once, a recent college graduate moved to Lander from the East only to eventually hop on a bike to tour Yellowstone. She then traveled past again on her way to Telluride, Colo. She wore a tutu the whole time.

While she sees just a trickle of folks coming through on a daily basis - from truckers to oil-field workers to tourists in the summer months - the place can get rowdy when the roads close.

"They'll get out the cards and start playing," she said about the truckers who often fill the lot outside. "We'll all talk."

She leaves the cafe open at night if the roads are closed.

"A lot of times, I go home and I say, 'There's the kitchen, go to it.' Sometimes, I toss sleeping bags out on the floor, and the guys haul wood in to keep the fire going. They'll lean back in the seats and fall asleep," she said.

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The cafe gets her out of the house and gives her something to do. "If you retire, you get old," she said. The best part of it is chatting with people.

It goes both ways. The truckers like to talk to someone, too.

Other than the free coffee and the family atmosphere, Mary said her claim to fame is the meats she serves.

Her ham and sausage come from Clarks Meat House in Riverton and the bacon comes from Sam's Club, which she's bought for years. Customers often buy the thick ham slices just so they can take some home with them.

"I guarantee I have the best food in town," Mary said. "Because I'm the only one."

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