The late night customer-

Ok, I.m on a roll now.

We had live Mexican bands playing on Saturday nights at our place. We would often go to T.J to get the bands.

My father had a good sense of humor and often reminded me that I was a little brown when we crossed over the border. He would remind me that “I didn’t have any papers.” Yes, he was very funny. Even today I am a little uncomfortable when I am reminded of that. I speak Spanish well enough to get by and many suppose that I am indeed hispanic. My Spanish sounds pretty good, but my vocabulary is limited.

Any way I mention this all to set the mood for this story.

The dance would end at two in the mornings on Saturdays and many customers would then come in to eat. Remember, they have all been drinking for hours and dancing the night away.

One gentleman came in with two women and took a table. I was about ten at the time.

My oldest brother was in the kitchen cooking and could see me through the pass through window between the cafe and the kitchen. He was six foot tall and ran about two hundred and twenty pounds if he skipped breakfast. He was a handsome fellow and looked just like Clark Kent from the Superman T.V. show. The actor was one of the Reeves brothers from Gone with the Wind and Hercules. You surely remember him.

Anyway, I took this tables order with some difficulty as the man was drunk and rude. I gave the order to my brother and he eventually put it up in the window and rang the bell.

I delivered the food, and remember, this was Mexican food on hot plates at two in the morning and I am about ten years old.

Well, all went well until I produced the bill and the man took it and set aside for some time and chatted. We were ready to close up, but he was in no hurry. I went back to the table and asked for payment and he tossed the bill at me or tore it up, I don’t remember. It was fifty seven years ago.

When the bill went missing, I lost it and called him everything but a human being. As I went for him with gusto over the table, my brother arrived and grabbed me by my belt and lifted my like a puppy dog and placed me behind him and worked out the details of payment with the gentleman, if you get my drift.

After the bill was paid and the man stumbled out of the restaurant, a woman sitting close by asked me to come to her table. She looked down at me and asked me one question. “Where on earth did you learn to cuss like that at your age?” “I have two older brothers,” was my answer. She had finished her meal and dug into her purse to pay me and gave me a five dollar tip. That was in 1961 or so. That was a lot of money back then.

Who ever said cussing was a bad habit wasn’t a nine or ten year old waiter. It made me feel much better and I made five dollars.