24 March 2007

Tough Old Bird

Tonight we had a dinner at a restaurant that the Mad Genius went to as a child. It's a little out of the way greasy spoon. Apparently he was up for a little adventure/nostalgia trip.

The woman who took our order must have been 107 years old, if she was a day. At first she seemed a little grumpy, understandable: she's old and working in a greasy spoon. But then I caught a glimmer of mischief in her eye when I sassed the MG over something. She's a tough old bird. Of course she was.

When another waitress came by, we asked if she was the owner or just worked there. We hoped that she was the owner, to justify our own peace of minds, but nope. She's worked there for 36 years. 36 years! And here she was working at 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday night.

MG asked me if I had cash for a tip and I said that I did in the truck. "Well, you better go get it because *she's* clearing tables. I turned and there's our friend, clearing tables. I hurried out to get my cash before she reached our table.

Alas, I wasn't quick enough and she was cleaning our table and chatting with MG. I casually approached the table, as if I'd just gone potty and not a frantic sprint to go get tip money.

Turns out, she had a stroke one year ago but she's still working. Turns out she was in the hospital last night. "But I'm FINE" she says. Tough old bird.

I slipped the five on the table when she wasn't looking, now wishing it were more. She turned, noticed it and said "Is this for us?" Us? How sweet is that? MG said "No, it's for you." She set it on her cart with the other tips. I told her "Put it in your pocket and go buy something pretty." She snagged that five up like it was on fire.
I hope she buys herself a treat on the way home. (She was haping to be off at nine.)

I'm choosing to think that she works because she likes having something to do not because she has to. That's what I'm choosing to think. I'm choosing to think that she'll buy a treat with that five. I'm hoping that I'm as tough as her when I grow up.

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