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is a café on route 66 at the edge of town that Joe started some five years ago.
Joe was a
massive man at this stage of his life. He had served four years in the army
during the big war and ended up as a cook.
Both at boot
camp and in the field you had to move depending on who was advancing, the
enemy, or our units.
hit near the cook shack more than once and trying to keep hot food for the
troops wasn’t easy.
Joe had involved
himself in martial arts, wrestling and boxing while stationed at the boot camps
and had won everything he participated in.
When the war
ended he stayed in the army a couple more years for they offered to send him to
culinary school for reenlistment. While
at the culinary school he met and married a lady named Jenny who was also
enrolled but who was a school teacher.
He asked why
she was going to culinary school if she was employed as a school teacher, and
she said she loved to cook and wanted to improve her skills.
culinary classes were just for the summer while school was out and later she
could take some evening classes.
He asked her
if she didn’t go on dates and she told him, not very often because she had
though he was a large man he was very reticent when it came to women. It was in part because he respected them and
in part because he was afraid of them.
physically afraid, but it seemed their minds were quicker than his and they
could put him down if they choose to.
He felt women
were fragile and he didn’t want to hurt any of them but whatever the cause, he
wasn’t an aggressor when it comes to women.
reason hard to understand, she was attracted to the large man and he was
smitten by her.
finished his hitch in the army they were married but only after she proposed to
him for he was too embarrassed to ask her.
finished his tour of duty he bought a building on route 66 and converted it
into a café. Several rooms were added on
behind the café and served as an apartment for them and they rented out the
rooms were always filled with salesmen or truckers. It wasn’t long before their
business was thriving and he had to hire some extra help.
months after they were married Jenny had a daughter and called her Missy.
She named the baby Marilyn but found herself
saying, “Now look here Missy,” so she finally always just called her by that
Joe was awed
by this little bundle of humanity and vowed no one would ever harm either the
mother or daughter. Although Joe worked
long hours in the café but it was like he was always home because they lived in
the back of the restaurant.
was born Jenny stopped teaching at school but did some tutoring of both
children and adults that needed help in certain areas.
her a studio where she could paint and tutor in her spare time. From the
beginning she taught Missy math, English, and the arts.
early on she was very independent. Jenny
saw this as a good thing but one that need a lot of guidance without being
As it turned
out Missy was the only child they would have because there was some trouble
with Missy’s birth.
most of the raising of her to Jenny, but at an early age taught her how to
defend herself. She learned all of the
vulnerable spots that would disable a person with one blow. He taught her how
to gain strength without getting bulky and losing her femininity.
a lot of her time in the restaurant from the time she was small and would help
by getting things like onions and potatoes for Joe.
apartment Jenny let Missy bake cakes and the like. She was able to do all this
by the time she was seven. Her favorite was baking cookies.
Once she was
in school she would take some of the cookies to school and made a lot of
friends that way. The teachers wanted to skip her forward in grades because she
was far ahead of her classmates due to the fact her mother had taught her at
The fact Missy
was smarter than the kids her age Jenny decided to home school her and only let
her attend the school social functions. The school went along with this for it
eliminated a problem of trying to fit her in the structure of their teaching
By the time
Missy was ten she was preparing a lot of the food in the kitchen like pastries
and salads. She became one of the
waitresses at the age of twelve and had begun to blossom out as a young woman.
Being in the
diner all these years she had heard a lot of coarse language and guys hitting
on the other waitresses and by now she had heard it all.
uniform on she looked older than she was and now every so often some guy would
make some lewd remark in her direction which she would totally ignore.
Joe had new
menus printed and at the top it said, “The only thing served here is food. If
you want anything else go where they sell it. Save your fifthly remarks for your wife or
mother;” below all that was the food menu.
Most of the
patrons got the message but on occasion Joe would have to make it a little
plainer to some guy.
It was about
this time I got a job after school washing dishes and mopping up around the
place till closing. I was fourteen, a couple of years older than Missy.
She was a
lot standoffish as far as I was concern and we almost never spoke unless she
criticized something I was doing.
thank her for her suggestion and say I would watch it from now on. She would
usually turn and walk away without saying anything else.
school and working I didn’t have much of a social life. Sundays was the only time I had to myself and
my mother insisted I go to church with her.
several friends but didn’t have time to hang out with them. When I did they would tease me about making
out with Missy.
convince them that she wanted nothing to do with me in any way.
would have to let them rave on and let them believe what they wanted to
One day Missy
came storming in and really chewed me out for spreading around school that I
was her boyfriend.
I knew she
wouldn’t believe me if I said I didn’t do it so I just apologized and said I
wouldn’t do it again and if she heard any more rumors they wouldn’t be true.
She told me
that my job was on the line and if I wanted to continue to work there I had
better shape up.
me, “Marvin what that was all about?” and I explained that I never said
anything about her to no one except to deny it when they teased me about her.
forget about it for he knew how boys were and how rumors get started.
slow time if I was caught up with my work Joe began to teach me several kinds
of martial arts to practice. He had some
gym equipment to work out on in my small spare time.
After a few
months I felt I could defend myself if I had to. Joe said the only way to fight is to win
quickly and disable the foe with whatever means at hand. He said forget about
fair play when fighting for that can get you hurt badly.
I told him I
would remember that for it sounded like good advice. He said he learned that in
the army where it was kill or be killed.
changed between Missy and me over the next year and a half. She still looked at
me with contempt for some reason.
I had never
given her a reason to treat me that way but I just accepted that this is the
way it’s going to be; so live with it.
I'm Telling You to STOP messing with her - -
something that made things worse. Missy
was waiting tables and Joe wasn’t there. As she was taking orders a man started
to get fresh with her along with a couple of buddies with him. When it looked
like it might get out of hand I went over and told the men to, “Knock it off.”
One of the
men said, “Who are you to tell us what to do?”
I said, “I’m
her boyfriend and I’m telling you to stop or to leave.”
The guy who
was getting fresh stood up and said you must be a tough guy and shoved me back
to the counter.
what Joe had said about fighting, so I hit the man in the throat with two
and was trying to get some air in his lungs. His friends looked as if they were
going to take me apart when Joe appeared and asked if the two men had a
at the size of Joe and said, “No we were just going to help our friend.”
the man to his feet and sat him down in the booth they had been sitting in and
massaged his throat till he could breathe freely again.
said, Missy take their order and let’s get these men fed. The one I had trouble
with said he wanted some water and a bowl of soup.
ordered the “Blue-plate special,” and afterward Joe told them “it was on the
house” and to come again.
I had gone
back to my duties when I saw Missy heading my way, and I knew she was madder
than I had ever seen her. I guess
hearing all the coarse swearing over the years had fixed itself in her memory
for she lit into me with words I never heard her use before.
This went on
until I finished all my work. She would stop and I would think it was over then
she would start up again.
had wound down I asked, “What do you want to tell me?”
She turned red
again and said, “How dare you say you’re my boyfriend.”
I said, “Well,
we both know it’s not true so what’s the big deal. He was getting ready to put his hands on you
and unless you’re objecting to me stopping that I don’t get it. Is that what you are objecting to?You wanted him to continue - - -if that is it
then, I apologize for spoiling your fun but you know he wasn’t going to stop
swelled up and started to speak but nothing came out.
point I couldn’t help myself but had to laugh and said; “Does this mean that we
are breaking up?”
She took a
big swing at me but missed and walked out of the kitchen.
A couple had
walked in and sat down and she gave them some water and took their orders. Joe
had left but came back in and cooked their order for them. After Missy had
served them Joe told her to go to the apartment and cool off and he would deal
with the matter.
closing time and I cleared the tables and washed up all the dishes.
Joe said he
hated to do it but since Missy and I just couldn’t get along he was going to
have to let me go.
I told him I
was sorry to hear that but I understood his reasoning and agreed it was
probably for the best.
almost ready to start so I decided to try to make the football team this year
since I wasn’t going to be working. This was my senior year and I had missed
the three years I should having playing so I couldn’t make up for the time
missed and didn’t make the team.
said I could suit up and be a bench warmer if I wished but I declined although
I appreciated the offer.
field was starting so I tried out for that but wasn’t fast enough for that