The following is a true story. No names have been changed to protect the innocent.
In the 1970s, I was a waitress, and a very good one, too. I worked at a Mom and Pop type diner. Mostly breakfast, lunch, and early dinners. We didn’t call them “early birds” back then. I loved waitressing. If my health would let me, I would still be at the Surf Restaurant. But alas, I was young and cute then.
Every week on the same day, a gentleman came in for dinner. He was a sleeping car attendant with Amtrak. The hotel he stayed at every week was right across the street from The Surf. Sometimes he came in alone; other times he would be with his partner. He was charming and rather good-looking. A true gentleman and a great tipper. So every week he would come in for dinner and we became friends. I would talk with him about work and life in general. He knew I was a single mom struggling financially. Seemed we had quite a bit in common. Finally my prayers were answered! One evening during his meal, he asked me to have dinner with him the following week. It appears he heard about a great dinner restaurant that was not far from where I worked. I knew of the restaurant, but had never eaten there myself. So, naturally, I agreed. I was thrilled!
The big day arrived! I brought an outfit to work with me that morning. Who wants to go to a nice restaurant in their waitress uniform? About 4 p.m., I saw Stephen and his partner get out of their cab and go into the hotel. About an hour before my shift was to end, I noticed Stephen and his partner, Ritchie, get into a cab! What?! Did he forget? Or was he standing me up? The crumb! He was standing me up. Well, that was not going to fly with me.
I remembered where he was going to take me. After my shift, I took a cab up to The Cart Restaurant, thinking he would be there. He was. I saw them from across the room. Him and Ritchie, stuffing their faces without me. What a lovely dinner crowd they had that night. Theatre-goers in their finest. Okay, self, now what? My thoughts were racing. I probably should just leave. No, why should I? I was promised a lovely dinner. Did I mention how coy and shy I am? Of course I didn’t. So, from across the room in this fine establishment, I started screaming, “Who the **** do you think you are? Nice game you play, you ********.” I didn’t leave a word out. The poor maitre’d, Chester, said, “Madam, please. Go sit down.” I gave Chester a bit of my mind also.
Chester finally convinced me to go and sit with Stephen. At first I refused to order. They were almost finished with their dinner. Ritchie was mortified! He turned shades of purple and red I have never seen. Stephen, on the other hand thought it was funny. I’ll give him funny. Any other time, any other man I would have left the restaurant and forgotten about it. After all, I have been stood up before. What was it about this man that made me act in such a manner? Dinner turned out wonderfully. We ended up at the Cart every week after that.
There are many, many more chapters. I will leave them for another time. We were married for twenty-six years and still remain each other’s best friend.