Cast Of Characters

After I wrote about working at the Italian restaurant I got to thinking about all of the people who were my customers. With 8 years of being in the same place, there were many regulars. Some of the most memorable are:

1. John; that's his name, not what he was. He was an older fella that lived upstairs in the apartments. When I first started there were two waitresses and she was the only one allowed to wait on him, even if working the counter was in my station. He was very shy and didn't like change. But when she left, he didn't have a choice. He wasn't into chit chat, just give him his soup and let him go on his way. But he was a good tipper, $100.00 on Christmas. Once year, he let me pick a Coach bag out of a catalog. I took the book home and told my husband that I would never pay that much for a purse and picked the cheapest I could find ($200.00). I never used it much though because it was so darn heavy, even empty. After I had left the restaurant I would send him birthday cards and visited him once after my daughter had been born. Awhile later I received a letter from an attorney who had found my cards in his apartment after his death. He just wanted to let me know of John's passing, I thought that was nice.

2. Don. The first time he came into the restaurant I recognized him from when I used to work at Zips. He was such a nice older man who would give each of us a dollar at Christmas. He didn't have much money and would charge his meal and then come back in and pay for it when he got his check. He never stiffed us. After I left I ran into him a few times, but don't what happened to him since then. I think of him a lot though.

3. Leona. My least favorite person of all time. Another apartment dweller, she was old and came down for dinner every night, every single stinking night. I would love the rare times when she went away to her Sister's, but it didn't happen often enough. She was old and cranky and there was a lot of ass kissing. As soon as I saw her coming past the window, that was my cue to go get her a Martini from the bar. It had to be on the table by the time she arrived. And she sat in the same table every night, no exceptions!! She ordered from the menu but just in smaller portions. There was a cook that she absolutely hated. One thing she said about him still cracks me up to this day, "He's so dumb, he doesn't even know how stupid he is."  She hated him so much she didn't want him cooking her dinner. If Joe wasn't around, she would make me do it. Seriously. I could do it if we weren't busy but other times, I would stand in the kitchen next to Jimmy and fling my arms around like I was doing stuff; and we would both be laughing. The partition was high enough that she couldn't see us. When I would take her dinner out she would always say, "He didn't touch this did he?" I admit I didn't shed a tear when I found out she had passed away.

4. Marley. The customer that turned into my Step-Dad. He worked for the newspaper which was just a few blocks away. Every night he and a couple of other guys would come in for coffee on their break. I had met his daughter and ex-wife, and maybe even his current wife who later died. My Mom had not only lost my Dad 30 years ago, but a boyfriend too. We were constantly joking about 'finding her a man', so I was always on the lookout. Another guy that was a regular was on my radar but I had second thoughts. But I asked Marley if he would like to meet her even though he hadn't been a widower very long. She still lived in Odessa so I don't remember if he went there to meet her or if we brought her here (she never did drive). They hit it off right away and she eventually moved to Spokane and they got married. They were together for 10 years before he died in their house and she couldn't revive him. It was a bad bad time, we all liked him a lot. Our daughter was only 2 when he died so she doesn't remember the only Grandpa she ever had. Mom and I still keep in touch with his best friend who joined him for coffee every night.

Wedding Day! 
There were so many more; the railroad guys who would have dinner about once a week. One of them brought me a 50 lb bag of Walla Walla sweet onions straight from Walla Walla on the train! He's now a fb friend after finding me about a year ago. They all signed a card for me when I left; I still have it.

The annoying family that owned a car dealership who would come in at 9:45 (we closed at 10:00) and want dinner. They were snobby and I couldn't leave until they were totally finished. They would want to talk to Joe and act all superior. I put them on my list right under Leona for least favorite.

So many bar regulars I remember too. One of them got us hooked up with a guy who rafted the Spokane river. Hubby and I went on a couple of those trips. We'd go in the early spring when the river was at its highest. We'd all pay him a couple bucks and bring something for a potluck. Someone would drive the food to the 'get out' spot and then all of us would get in the raft and head down the river. It was about a 3 hour ride and you'd think it was all calm but there were some hairy spots. Especially through the Bowl and Pitcher. If the raft would hit that rock wrong, we would all get dumped. Good thing that never happened!

Not us but yea, it was kind of like that
I just better end this now because I could go on and on forever. I met a lot of people in those 8 years and most I remember fondly.


Mr. Shife said…
I enjoyed reading this, kden. Lots of good memories there and it was nice to hear all about it. Just funny that a took a walk down memory lane on my blog too. Take care and enjoy your weekend.
Claire M. King said…
Everyone has a cast of characters. I am sure this post was a bearing just a tip of the iceberg for you. Those people who cross our path, whether briefly or a long ways, help shape us and teach us. I love my cast of characters even though I dislike some of them tremendously.
Grumpy said…
Caused me to think about my own "cast". Well done.

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