Tracy Loves Ray - The Story


This is a story of a group of people from a small town in Ohio who share an incredible bond. They started out playing volleyball together, but ended up socializing off the court and became a family.  There are many traditions within the group. One of the traditions is the men’s weekly brunch at Jimmy's, a local diner, complete with storytelling sessions. This week one of the men, Finny, brings his 8 year old granddaughter with him for the weekly ritual. The story the men tell that day is the story of “Tracy Loves Ray”, a story about a young couple in love who make the decision to be temporarily separated on opposite sides of the country. Tracy and Ray discover that it’s harder than they thought to maintain a long distance relationship.  Finally, a choice must be made: will they keep the relationship going?

Excerpt from the Book - Prelude
There’s something about a small town. Somehow the air seems cleaner, the people seem friendlier, and there’s time to stop and smell the roses. Or tell a story.
Small town living is taking a Sunday drive or sitting on the front porch sipping a glass of lemonade or maybe an ice-cold beer. A traffic jam is two cars stopped at an intersection. Doors can be left unlocked after dark. Families eat home-cooked meals together.

Everybody knows everybody and everybody’s business. Kids grow up together and remain friends until they die. People marry their high-school sweethearts and stay married until they die. 

That’s how it is in Chardon, Ohio. There’s a group of guys who have known each other since birth that meet for brunch at Jimmy’s Diner every Saturday morning. They’ve been doing it for about thirty years. They meet at 11:00 a.m. on the dot and order steak and eggs, blueberry pancakes, and Belgian waffles with all the trimmings -- bacon, sausage, hash browns, and home fries. And they tell stories. True stories about their lives and their families’ lives. And some not so true stories of fishing trips and girls they dated in high school. 

I like to spend Saturday afternoons at Jimmy’s Diner listening to the men tell their stories. I get a kick out of watching the guys interrupt and correct each other. I also enjoy how Rebecca, who owns the diner, adds a woman’s point of view to the mix. I never know what to expect from the tales. I’ve laughed until my belly hurts, I’ve cried so many times I started stashing Kleenex in my pocket, and on occasion I’ve found myself looking at the world in a new way. One story makes me do all three, my favorite story, “Tracy Loves Ray”.  A love story.

Now, I’ve heard the story of “Tracy Loves Ray” more than once and I could hear it over and over again. But I will never forget the first time Finny’s granddaughter Tracy heard the tale. These days eight-year-old Tracy is a fixture at the Saturday gab sessions, but at the time she was still pretty new to the tradition. Already, Tracy had fallen madly in love with the stories her grandpa and friends told. She’d listen intently and ask all kinds of questions and beg to hear “at least one more before we go, Grandpa!”  

On this particular fall day when it came time to tell stories, the leader Sunny announced that Tracy had made a request for a story. Tracy was an animated child by nature, but that day she was exceptionally excited. She had just seen the overpass that had been painted with the words, “Tracy Loves Ray,” and wanted to know the whole story. Tracy always wanted to know the WHOLE story. And the folks at Jimmy’s Diner were happy to tell her. So here it is, the story of a curious little girl visiting her grandfather, and the story of “Tracy Loves Ray” told to her by the townspeople who lived it.

About the Setting
About the Setting

Stories within the Story
My Life Experiences within the Story

Book Cover
Check out the Book Cover


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