In these days of company mergers and name changes, little attention is paid until it hits home. So what if A&P is now Super Fresh or Drug Fair is Rite Aid -- wait a minute, Rite Aid?

The Drug Fair across from the Nassif Building has boasted a restaurant counter for umpteen years. Daily groups of breakfasters gathered to eat eggs and toast, drink coffee and discuss daily happenings, regardless of how trivial. It was a social mixture of people who otherwise would have never met, let alone discussed personal problems. Some of these breakfasters were veterans of 10 to 15 years. I was fairly new, but it was the first place in my 20 years in Washington where I could sit and announce "the usual" and be understood -- unless I deviated from coffee to milk.

The grill produced the best scrambled eggs this side of Venus. A second cup of coffee was offered, not asked for. The waitresses were friendly, smiley women, a joy to behold.

The counter closed July 2 for economic purposes, I understand. No matter the reason, it will be sorely missed. Missed also will be Sarah, whose memory of orders was almost faultless and whose joking attitude somehow lightened the early morning burdens.