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One Last Cup of Coffee at the Metro

When we got to the Metro Diner yesterday, a little after noon, the Gaston Ave. greasy spoon was packed. TV crews were in the back, interviewing Virgie and James Adams, who opened the diner in '68 and was there to help his son Wayne close it down after close to 43 years in operation; a Dallas News photographer showed up a little later, trying to stay out of the way of waitresses tending to booths stuffed with patrons getting one last fill-er-up. By 12:30, the line was out the door.

Dylan Hollingsworth was there too -- in the small corner booth, his regular perch in recent weeks as he documented the demise of the all-hours, all-welcome institution about to give way to Baylor's expansion. Forthcoming is another one ofHere is another one of Dylan's wonderful slide shows, this one consisting of photos taken during its surprisingly joyful but ultimately tear-stained final hours.

We stayed for a good two hours, as Wayne shouted "Last call at the Metro!" and waitresses took turns dancing and crying with customers to whom they'd have to say farewell for now. My dad and Wayne, who discovered they'd graduated Hillcrest a few years apart, chatted over a pot of coffee; the boy wandered around taking his own farewell photos.

As the clock neared the 2 p.m. adios, Wayne got up to say his final round of goodbyes -- at which point Willie Nelson's version of Fred Rose's "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" came on the jukebox. And when Willie got to that part about how "only memories remain," Wayne, who'd been all smiles all day, turned to his daughter, who'd come in from Texas A&M for the occasion, and gave her a big, long hug. He then reached in his pocket and fished out that new key to the front door. "Time to lock 'er up," he said, his eyes wide and red.

A few more farewell photos follow.

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