J. Vaughan Blake Jr. of Springfield is back from Nashville with news of a strange and wonderful eating place he encountered there.

The coffee shop at which he had breakfast each morning during his visit trusts everybody. And nobody tries to take advantage of it.

Blake says: "The first morning we ate there, we noticed that although they were doing a brisk business, both in table service and carry-outs, their cash register was unmanned. Or is the proper word these days 'unpersoned'?

"The unattended cash drawer stood half open. On the counter, there were four large piles of coins and a few bills. Everybody made his own change.

"Most of the patrons appeared to be regulars. Some received checks when they were served, but those who just had coffee didn't. As they departed, all paid, reaching across each other to deposit their money or make change from the pile of money on the counter.

"Periodically, a man gathered up some of the paper money from the counter and placed it in the open cash drawer without ringing anything up. In this day of ripoffs, it was a refreshing sight to see."

I'll bet it was. But I have to wonder how that kind of honor system would work in a Washington restaurant. I'm also a little curious about how they keep their records straight.