THE WAITRESS

I wonder.

I don’t know her name.  I didn’t get to ask her.  She was too busy.

She was  dressed in black. She was wearing those soft-sole work shoes you get from the “cheaper than others” store.  Her hair was cut short, close to her head.  I think she had maybe a little too much makeup.  She had an apron with a pocket filled with strays

She’s running around bouncing from table to table.  She reminds me of a bee in a field of sunflowers.

My wife and I wanted to take the granddaughters out for dinner.   We wanted someplace rather subdued, where it’s quiet.  It’s Grandparent and Granddaughter bonding time.

The girls chose the place.  I’d never been there before. 

It’s a sports bar, bright lights, loud people and twenty-eleven big screen TVs.  YOu can hear three sports guys talking about six teams and the three that are losing. The girls were excited.  They had been there before. They giggled, all smiles and energy.

Back to the waitress.   She’s busy, the non-stop type of busy.

After a wait, she seats us in a booth.  Grand kids do better in booths.  I’m watching this lady work.  She’s our server.  She’s everybody’s server.  She’s working the tables by the bar.  She’s working the tables in the middle and the booths along the walls.  She’s running from one end to the other, taking orders, scratching down a few words on a pad in her hand.  Running into the kitchen.  Coming out with an arm full of plates.

She’s even cleaning up the tables as others leave.

I’m telling you, she’s busy.

After a while, she comes to our table.  The girls order Shirley Temples.  That’s what they wanted.  What in the world is a Shirley Temple anyhow?

She asks “How are we doing tonight?”  She holds a half smile.

“How are you doing?” I ask.  I’m trying to be polite.

“They’re killing me.  I’ve been here since two o’clock.  Just me.  We’ve been like this since I clocked in.”

We order our sweet tea. 

“I’ll be right back.” She’s gone in a heartbeat.

Ten minutes later, she brings the girl’s drinks and our tea. She hands us three menus. She’s out of breath.

“No one showed up for work, it’s just the bartender, two cooks, one bus boy and me.  It’s going to take a while.  I hope you understand.”

She’s off again.  When she returns, she’s got her pad in her hand.  “What can I get for you tonight?”

We order.  Little girls always like macaroni and cheese with their Shirley Temples.

We’re there for over an hour.  Yes, the service is slow, but it’s not her fault.  She’s moving at the speed of light. 

I’m amazed, just watching this lady work.  She never slows down.  My feet are aching just thinking about her feet.  She’s a wizard.  More people come in, she hovers over their table, runs off, comes back, menus, drinks, smiles and later on, she delivers their food.

I wonder what she’s going to do for Christmas.  I wonder what kind of family she has.  I wonder how she unwinds after such a day.

I wonder.

I tipped her well. She earned it.

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Please feel free to share. I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at amwindham100@gmail.com.  Please follow my blog at mikewindham.com.

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