Jan. 15 – The waiter

I went to work very young.

That is the advantage of being in a family that is headed by a father that is self employed. We had several restaurants in the beginning of my life, but one at a time.

I started washing dishes in the kitchen and sweeping floors and worked my way up to become a waiter when I was around nine or ten.

One late Saturday night after our usual dance, a large crowd came in for late night dinners. It was after 1:00 a.m.

I was tired by now and should have been in bed, but in our family, things were different. I was wrapped in my apron and on the floor taking orders and serving Mexican food on very hot plates to some very drunk and not so drunk people.

One man in particular was interesting. He was a bit tipsy and had two women with him. That interested me, just a little.

They ordered their food and I eventually served them their meal.

After the appropriate length of time I took the bill to the table and left. In due time I returned and presumed that the money would be lying on the table with the bill. It was not.

I left and returned later once more.

The trio was clearly ready to leave but the bill remained unpaid.

I came to the table and suggested that some money needed to change hands in some way and the fight was on.

The man tore up the bill and had a few words to say to me and I returned the favor.

I had two older brothers and a fine and useful vocabulary for all situations and gave him a bit of my wisdom to no avail.

My very large brother was watching this from the window between the kitchen and the dinning room. He was getting ready to intervene if things heated up and if it became necessary.

Things did get worse.

Things went form bad to worse quickly and my brother moved in quickly to pick me up by my belt like a suitcase as I called the customer everything I had at my disposal that was less than flattering. I believe cussing is the apt discription of my colorful language.

My brother’s size and demeanor convinced the unruly “gentleman” to pay up and leave quickly or face the consequences.

I heard the conversation hanging in med air.

Later, as I was clearing the table, a woman seated at the next table to where the trouble had started asked me where I had acquired my wide vocabulary.

I answered back that I lived in a bar, had two older brothers and many “colorful” adult friends fresh out of jail to talk and hang out with.

The woman understood completely and left me a dollar tip as she went on her way.

That was in 1962 and back then a dollar was real money.

I was thrilled and probably spent it as fast as I could on a model car kit or some other foolish toy.

I feel sorry for the youth of today who aren’t allowed to go to work as early as I was. It might explain their restlessness and unhappiness, just a little.

Young folks are always restless and in a hurry to grow up and accomplish something. Having a job and a few bucks can make a difference in how one feels about one’s self and how one behaves in society.

Our leaders often make short sighted decisions with bad consequences with the best of intentions.

Just a thought.

Don’t mess with me, I’m a tough guy.