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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joe's Diner - Chapter 3

I needed a job for the summer so I got a job on a farm working in the harvest.  Joe said I could work at the restaurant but I wasn’t quite ready for that.

Missy and I were getting along rather well at the present but there was still a bit of sharpness at times and I didn’t want to do something to set her off again.

Farm work was different from anything I had ever done. I was working in the midst of foreign people whose language I didn’t understand.

After a week I was promoted to driving a truck, and I had no problem with getting my load and then hauling it to the cannery.

The farmer had a daughter who had been in the same class as I had been at school, but I only knew her first name until I began to work on the farm.

She would come over and talk to me sometimes at lunch. She said she was enrolled at one of the more expensive colleges and I told her I was taking the less expensive route.

By the time the harvest season was over I got to know her pretty well.  We had soda’s and lunch on Sunday a couple of times but I knew as soon as she left for college, my memory of her would fade fast.  Knowing this kept me at arm’s length and there wasn’t any closeness involved the whole summer.

I received one letter from her three weeks after classes began and that was it. In the letter she stated she had many guys wanting to date her and she said she had sorted out most of them as being a waste of time.

She said she had a list that she would start working through and expected she would find someone who was fun to be with.

I wrote back a short note saying that sounded like a plan to me.

She came home a couple times a year but spent her time with family and girlfriends. I only saw her to wave at on the street.

Even with a heavy load I spent a less time in class than I had in high school but more time in the library.

This was the year that Missy graduated from High School, and I left Jr. College and went to State for my final two years.

Before classes started I met Missy for lunch and we talked about the coming year.  She was going to the Jr. College I just finished and was going to go for an accounting degree. She wanted to get a job with the I.R.S. if she could, and I thought that was a good choice if she had to support herself.

I had decided long ago to just get a B.A. and see what developed from there.

Dad gave me an old car so I could drive to the college and I also received a couple of scholarships to help pay my tuition.

Then something happened to interrupt Missy’s plans. Joe was injured in an auto accident and she had to take over the restaurant and run it.

Things in life were not set up for this to happen.

I had a job working at the college after my classes so I wasn’t available to help her, or so it seemed.

Missy’s mother wasn’t cut out to deal with the cast of characters that frequented the diner. This left it all up to Missy to hold everything together.

Joe was supposed to be on his feet in a couple of months but meanwhile Missy had far more than she could deal with. The guy who was helping Joe cook was trying to get the orders out quickly but without much success and Missy had to hire a young girl to serve as waitress so she could take over the cooking.

I was going to classes a half day and then working four hours but I volunteered to relieve Missy from five till nine at closing. This way she only had to work from five thirty till five each day.

Then on Saturday I worked all day until closing at six.  She was still being overworked but it was the best I could do to help her.

The waitress was just out of high school and wasn’t up to dealing with some of the people who frequented the diner.

One night after I had been working there a month, four guys rode up on motorcycles and came in and took a booth. They looked like trouble from the git-go.  When the waitress came to get their order they started to paw her and I had to step in.

I asked, “Well fellows what can I get for you?”

They said, “Send that waitress back over, because we want her to take our order.

I said, “She has other duties but I will serve you.”

They started to act up and I had my hand on a blackjack ready to deal with them.  Then one of them said, “Don’t I know you?”

I looked closer at him and said, “Sure you do, Howie.”

He then went into telling them we were friends when we were kids.

I called to the waitress and said for her to get four beers from the frig in the rear and put them on the counter.  This wasn’t for sale it was Joe’s when on occasion he would have a bottle when it was hot.

I served them the beer myself for I didn’t want the girl coming near them again.

As they were drinking their beer I said, “Well what looks good on the menu, how about some steaks with the trimmings?”

They agreed that sounded good, “And how do you want them?” I asked.

While they were eating I asked, “Which one of you is riding the Honda? Three of you are riding Hogs and one a Honda if my ears don’t deceive me.”

One of the guys said, “It’s me. My brother wanted me to try it out and see what I thought about it.”

I said, “Swell.”

He said, “It is smooth and faster than my Hog but doesn’t have the sound and feel of my Harley.”

I said, “That’s what I thought.”

Conversing with them calmed the situation down. They paid and left, it was over with no one hurt.

To be Continued

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