The Importance of Family Story Telling
I advise parents, caregivers and teachers to tell children stories about their experiences. It makes a family more human, or maybe just more fun. At the very least, telling stories proves that adults have something to say other than ordering kids around all day. Below is one of my stories. I don’t even think my kids are aware – I’ll have to tell them to read the blog! Enjoy!!!!!!
Waitress for a Day
“Can you come in and cover for one of my waitresses for today?” my brother Ty asked in desperation on the phone, “She didn’t show up.”
“I’ve never waitressed before,” I squeaked and paused waiting for my brother’s never mind reply.
I had only worked the cashier checkout at Ty’s restaurant on 7th Street and Pecan in downtown Charlotte.
“No problem,” my brother Ty, in his strong Minnesota accent said, “Thursdays are always slow and I will be back in an hour or so after my appointment.”
“Okay, I’ll be right down,” I blurted out, as if I were the flying nun to the rescue.
I drove the 20 minutes effortlessly, no thought as to what my future duties would entail. I arrived at the bar music hall restaurant in my paisley dress with an ear-to-ear smile on my face. I know waitresses have to be friendly and though I didn’t need to practice, I was in a very good mood and willing to help out my brother.
“Here are the order tickets,” Ty said, “Shorty will answer all of your questions.”
“The cook,” my brother yelled over his shoulder as he went out the door.
I looked around, and there was one couple sitting at a booth on the second tier of the restaurant. I took my ticket book and asked them if they wanted anything.
“More water,” they replied without even glancing my way. I realized this was their cue to not bother them while they were talking.
The door opened and four more people took a table. I rushed to their side and asked them what they wanted.
“Can we see a menu first?” one of the businessmen asked with a snide look on his face.
“Oh, ya, of course, you need a menu first.” I giggled out of nervousness and stupidity.
The bell on the door rang a second time and four more people in scrubs came in and sat down. Obviously a quick lunch before they had to head back to the hospital. I managed to get the menus to them and I heard, “Excuse me, we are in a hurry, can we order now, we know what we want.”
I pulled out my ticket book and was ready to write their order. I was so excited – this was my first time waiting on someone. I felt so important.
“I’ll take a hamburger, no onions, mustard, pickles, no mayo, ketchup…”
“Wait, slow down,” I said, as I was writing the order out long hand. I didn’t have enough room to write the order so I went to the next ticket to finish my dissertation.
“Excuse me,” another customer interrupted, “could you clean off that dirty table so we can sit down?”
“Sure,” I said to the couple that just walked in. I turned back and placed the ticket order book on the table.
“Write down what you want: I have to go clean that table.” The people looked at me a little bug-eyed and off I went.
I grabbed a tray and as I was placing the dirty dishes, messy napkins on top, I was getting a little sick by the fumes of the garbled food when I heard, “Excuse me, can you take our order, we are in a hurry.”
“Sure,” I said and I walked over to the next batch of customers and handed the gentleman sitting at the table my dirty tray, while I ran back to get the ticket book that was filled out by the other group at the next table.
“Oh, I shouldn’t have had you hold that tray,” I said to the man as I could see the disgusted look on his face. “Sorry,” I mumbled. The bell rang again and more people walked in. It was almost a full house. I saw that the bartender was helping me take orders. Thank God. I thought to myself. A man got up and was walking towards me with an angry look on his face.
“Could you bring some ketchup to our table?” he snapped.
“Get you own ketchup, I don’t even wait on my husband,” I snapped back as I tore off the filled out tickets with a jerk as if I was ripping this man’s head off.
“Oh, and here,” I handed the group at the next table the ticket book and told them to write down what they wanted. The customers were trying to hide their snickering after overhearing my snappy comment. I got the ketchup, told a man at the bar to give it to the grumpy guy requesting it and I handed the torn-off tickets to the cook.
I turned as I heard, “What is this?” As I was hit with a couple of smashed up wrinkled tickets. “You aren’t here to write one of your college papers,” Shorty screamed!
“I’ve never waitressed before,” I said.
Shorty came out and gave me a quick lesson, “’K’ for ketchup, ‘O’ for onions, etc. If they don’t want it on their hamburger, don’t write it down as ‘no onions!’”
As I was hearing the door ring again with more customers, Shorty pointed to the cook station, “You have to get these plates out while they are still hot.”
I looked around and I thought, who ordered this? I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know you were supposed to number the tables. The orders were coming out so fast that I had to take the plates and put them in front of customers sitting at the bar.
“Don’t touch these plates. I have to figure out who ordered what.” I said to the people sitting at the bar.
They had a dumbfounded look on their face like I was Cyclops. I then had a brilliant idea. I put my fingers in my mouth and blew a big whistle. The room became quiet.
“Okay,” I said as I was putting on plastic gloves, “When you recognize what I am describing, I want you to raise your hand. Who ordered a cheeseburger with I think slaw, pickles…mayo…well…maybe not…that may be the fries?”
I saw a hand slowly creep in the air. The person was looking side to side to see if anyone else was lifting their hand. “We have a winner,” I said, running the order to her table.
Shorty stuck his head out and shouted, “Holy crap, she is running this joint like a classroom.” People began eating, raising their hands to my requests and I kept bringing more food to the tables.
I ignored Shorty and I continued my classroom technique and I managed to clear the bar of all the food. Then I looked at all the dirty dishes at the tables and people waiting to sit down. I rushed to the tables with my tray, grabbing as many dishes, messy silverware and napkins as I could pile on. I turned to go to the back hall to the kitchen when a plate began to slip. I tried to catch it as my toe caught the empty stools behind the cash register. I went splat on the floor, covered in dirty dishes, food and wedged behind the cash register by the wooden stools on top of me.
It seemed like a long time before anyone missed me, but eventually someone heard my pleas for help. I looked like a walking smorgasbord. People were laughing and I was totally humiliated. I went to clean the next table and I picked up a note on top of a nine dollar tip. It read. I have never laughed so hard, your show is amazing. We will be back tomorrow.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series