Monday, August 24, 2009

$18,000 and still going strong

Second place again for the second week in a row. We started with three full tables of dedicated players. It is a bit overwhelming to think of it but last week, we went over the $18,000 mark and I don't see any letting up in the near future.

The pink frog has been my good luck charm for the last two weeks. Three weeks ago, I started playing with it and I was the first one out. A couple that have joined us recently, John and Mindy joked about my frog so I told them it was coming back strong the next week. So that is what brought me to using it again for the last two weeks.

A kiss of the frog seems to be a kiss of death. Everyone who has attempted this feat for the last two weeks has been taken out by me. Frank decided to defy the odds tonight and boldly gave the pink frog a kiss. A few hands later and I took him out, giving me a healthy stack of chips for the final table.

Choosing your marker wisely, I realize, does not guarantee you a win but it is does make the game a bit more fun. I look around the table and see silver coins, dogs, bears, pirates, and many other odd and unusual markers. I actually have quite a few that I enjoy using and Jayden, my grandson is always looking for more for me.

Each week, we inch closer and closer to our big game of the year. The World Series of Holdem for Habitat which is to on the first Monday and Tuesday of October. We have yet to secure the prizes but I am sure we will be able to get what we have had the last two years, a trip to the Oregon Coast.

You still have a chance to qualify in the next few weeks or one last time on the first night of the big event where every table is a final table and the highest place player who has not qualified will then qualify for Tuesday night and the Main event. You can join us any Monday night at 6:30 PM in the back room at Jake's.

I am Free

I recieved the call late Sunday evening. I almost did not answer it since the caller ID said 'blocked'.

It was Dr. Foster from Gloster calling me to let me know that all is clear. On all three spots, they were able to cut out all of the cancer. I let out a big sigh of relief inside since I was beguinning to wonder what was taking them so long.

It certainly was outstanding news to end a very busy Sunday. News that I promised to pass on and am so doing. Now, if we could just do something about the insomnia.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A hike along the river

We got a bit of a late start this morning but got away with nine of us in all. We drove out to a small campground along the Metolius for the start and realized the heat before we even took a foot down the trail. I positioned my self in the middle because there were young people in both the front and rear groups and with the river as rapid as it was, I wanted to be in the right spot in case of any emergency.

But, as we walked the dynamics of the group changed as the river did itself. The views along the river were quite stunning and with the clear cold water, you could see the bottom of the river most of the way.

Judy, Chris, and Cindy all had nice cameras with them and were stopping quite often to take pictures of the beauty of the river. Knowing that the hike was fairly long (2.8 miles), I decided that my best place to be was up front keeping the pace going along the way. The two boys, Jayden and Darien stayed up with me with Andrea, Cindy, Crystal and her young daughter, Chloe in the middle. Judy and Chris kept up the rear as they stopped for pics quite often.

I enjoyed the banter of the two boys as they imagined all sorts of animals around us. "Papa, I think I saw a rattler in the bushes back there. The bush moved and made a strange sound.". They both spoke with much knowledge of different snakes, lizards, squirrels,and a variety of bugs. As we approached the fish hatchery, they both could not hold on any longer and ran off into the outlining trees for a bit of relief. As Jay came back to the path, he announced that their was a lot of poison Ivy around. He showed Darien how to tell if the plant was poison ivy or not. Of course, I don't really believe their was any such plant there but I was not about to dispute these bright young minds.

We arrived at the hatchery and found a nice shaded table to eat our lunch together right next to the pond with all of the big fish in it and I enjoyed Chloe's eyes as she spied the large trout in the pond. We all ate our meals and I thoroughly enjoyed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich along with some jerky and trail mix. The kids finished early and took some quarters over to get fish food to feed the fish.

We decided that it would be smarter if Cindy and I hiked back to get the cars and Judy decided to join us in our hike. So, we said our goodbyes to the group and headed off back down the trail I decided to keep a brisk pace so that we would not be out all day and soon left the two girls way behind. It gave me the ability to take some nice breaks in the shade along the way. On one stop, Judy decided to cool herself off with the cold river. The spot where you step down was loaded with bees. Now, normally, she would be jumping around with bees around like that, but she just stood there ignoring the bees who in turn ignored her. She splashed the cold water on the neck, face, hands, and legs and then stepped back onto the path and off we went again.
The closer we got to the cars, the more my stitches began to ache. I was very happy when I saw the cars coming into view.

We got to the cars and Judy rode with Cindy in her air conditioned car while I put the top down on Judy's convertible. As I drove past the store at Camp Sherman, I thought it a good idea to stop there on the way out for ice cream. The girls had the same exact thought and when we arrived back at the hatchery, were asking the rest how they felt about that.

After a few brief stops for photos, we all jumped into the cars and headed back to the store. Making our purchases, we all walked over to the river where years ago, I would take my lunch breaks after delivering candy to that same store for the then Sherfy candy company. I remember feeding the fish the bread from my sandwiches and how fun it was to see them fight over it. Nowadays they have proper fish food as they do at the hatchery and there are no where near as many fish as their used to be. I believe they liked the bread better.

I noticed Chloe who was eating her ice cream sandwich or at least the part that was not running down the front of her shirt, watching me eat my chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. I asked her if she wanted a bite and ended up sharing the rest of mine with this incredibly cute little girl. We all enjoyed her banter throughout the day and sharing my ice cream with her just made my day complete.

Upon arrival back and heading home, there were no arguments in our house as to who got the shower first. I would just have to wait my turn. But, oh, that shower felt so good. After washing off all of the grim, I went back to the diner to insure that steak night was going as planned. I had the cook make me up a turkey wrap for dinner. I have really come to enjoy the turkey, lettuce, tomato, and avocado wrapped up in a flour tortilla and dipped in Cholula Ranch dressing. But upon getting home, I realized that Jay was still there and was planning on spending the night. So the wrap went in the fridge for tomorrow and we went off for pizza.

Now, much later, Judy has gone off to bed, Jay is playing some video games and I am enjoying a couple of scoops of Peach Ice Cream. Normally I don't buy Peach but as I stared at it the other day at Safeway, a young woman and her small bright eyed daughter told me that it was a very good choice so I got it. It has come to be a very special end of the night treat for me.

Mid Week Thoughts

I seemed to be healing better every day. Actually, sometime around Monday, I lost my limp and was able to get up and down out of chairs pretty good. You would never know anything happened to me now if you saw me. I still have to be careful when lifting heavy things. I was in Fred Meyers with Judy yesterday and a woman asked me to lift something for her as she had just had surgery. Judy laughed and said that so had I but knew that I was going to anyway. I already had the case of water into the bottom of her cart before she could say anything....besides, her surgery was much harder than mine. I admired the fact that she was out shopping instead of laying around. I think certain activity helps in the healing process as long as you don't over do.

Tomorrow, we will be taking a hike with some of our crew members. This was something that we started the summer before the truck stop closed down to help bring the crew together in events outside of the diner. But, the work and intensity of taking over the business stopped this event. Judy has just revived it and we will be taking our first hike. One that will be fairly easy along the Metolious River past Camp Sherman. It is around an hour hike past some of the springs that feed the river and ending up at Wizard Falls Fish hatchery where we will have a bite before heading back to our cars and home. This should be a fairly good hike for our families with small children. Judy and I went out to get our hiking food yesterday and she is packing me one of my favorite old simple sandwiches that brings back so many memories, Peanut Butter and Jelly.

The email that the National Restaurant Association sent me letting me know that I was one of the finalists had all of the other finalists emails attached to it. I thought about this for a second and sent a reply to all back, congratulating them all and thanking them for their individual contributions. Before I knew it, I was receiving emails from all over the country including New Orleans, Chicago, Michigan, and Oklahoma to mention just a couple. All have invited us to visit if we are ever around. It feels good to have other kindred spirits in the country.

Finally, I was walking around the diner pouring coffee on Tuesday. I said Hi to a friend at one table and a man at the next sat up with a start. I apologised for startling him. "Are you Jake?", he asked. "Well, yes and no.", came my answer, "I am Lyle.". "I know that.", he said, "I recognised your voice.". I hear you on the radio all of the time. I love your ads. The come across as so sincere and guess what? Everything you say is true.". I listened as he continued. "This is my first time in. As I walked in the door, I spied three guys sitting at the counter laughing. Do you pay those guys to do that? It made me feel so at ease. And your staff is so friendly and your food tastes so good. I will surely be back for more.". I thanked him and brought Judy over to meet Bob of whom I certainly hope will be added to the list of friends that I have met in the years of running Jake's. People like that validate you and inspire you to do your job to the best of your abilities. It is the Bobs and Staceys or the Anns, Mikes, Dianes, Bills, Richards, Lous, and Gayles of the world that inspire you to do better and end up becoming more than just customers, but close friends. I am so incredibly grateful for those and so many other names that if I tried to mention all would list so long.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Surgery Day

I got up early Friday morning and showered preparing for the trip to Portland with Judy and my surgery on my three discovered areas of Melanoma. We stopped first at the diner for breakfast and to say Hi to the crew. I opened my email to a note from the National Restaurant Association. I received a letter the other day saying that we did not win the national award but were one of the finalists. In the email, they stated that as one of the finalists, they would like us to send them pictures of our various events so they can prepare a presentation of us. They also said to look forward to an invite to the awards ceremony in Washington DC. I still do not know what finalist means, however and so we will have to see whether we will end up going all that way or not. I am still completely humbled and proud to be the Oregon representative.

Judy and I drove up to Portland and picked up Trinity from our friends, Randy and Anisha Slocum's house in Vancouver where she stays while working in Portland. We arrived at the hospital and checked into the dermatology department shortly after noon.

I was quickly taken back into surgery by the nurse, Wendy who chatted with me on the way back about Bend as her parents live in Crooked River Ranch. She asked if I was the Jake's from the truck stop and I gave her the capsulized story of our transition as she placed me in the room and began to prep me for surgery. She told me that my surgeon would be a Dr. Foster and she explained what would be done in the procedure and the needed possible side effects as are required to give you before you sign the consent forms.

Two young people came into the room. A woman and man (both quite young). I was introduced to the woman, Dr. Foster. I smiled, shook her hand and said, "I am sure that you are tired of hearing the Dr. Foster nursery rhyme.". "What rhyme is that?", she said so I recited, "Dr Foster went to Gloster in a shower of rain. He stepped in a puddle up to his middle and never was seen again.".

The fellow with her laughed and they all said that they had never heard that Nursery Rhyme before. A nurse from the other side of the curtain stuck her head around, "Neither have I.", she said. "You are kidding me.", I stated. "None of your parents ever read you nursery rhymes?". "Not that one.", came the responses.

I talked with Dr. Foster and her associate about the procedure and it was decided to attack both of my frontal problems at the same time. The doc would do my leg while her associate would handle my abdomen. I felt since the doc was right there that this young guy would be alright as she could assist him if needed. "OK, I am ready, Doc, cut away! Slice and Dice me.". They both drew diagrams of how much skin they would be taking off which seemed to be more than I had thought. I knew that they would be taking a centimeter around the original but discovered that that would be beveled out to around a three inch stretch of skin to better help them stitch me back up.

While they prepped me, the nurse told me that I would have to come back in a couple of weeks to get the stitches out. "Couldn't Margo do that in Bend?", I asked. She ducked out of the room for a second and came back with the good news. Margo would be in Bend on the 28th and would be able to do so. Margo is their traveling Dermatologist who was the Doc who discovered the three spots on me a few weeks back.

They lay me down on the surgery bed, making me as comfortable as they possibly could and began laying out various covers surrounding the two areas of attack. Then almost in unison, the two young people were standing over me with needles in hand. "We are about to sting you a bit.", said Dr Foster. I felt the needles go into my skin or at least the first small jabs. "When ya going to start.", I quipped. "Just what we wanted to hear." stated the doc. I lay my head back and closed my eyes as the two deadened the areas. I let my thoughts drift to family, friends, and other places and I actually think I may have drifted off for a second till I felt a tug on one of the cuts and realized that both were working away with their scalpels.

I looked over to the doc and quipped, "Don't let this guy on my belly cut to deep, OK? There is some pretty important stuff under his knife right now.". He smiled and said, "I THINK I am not going to deep." "You done this before?", I asked. "Yes" came the answer. "Good, just wanted to make sure I wasn't your first rodeo.". He smiled and actually chuckled at that one.

At one point, the doc and Wendy pulled on the covers a bit which caused the fellow to pull back. I looked up to him and said, "My wife steals my covers all the time and then blames it on me.". "My husband steals my covers all the time too.", said Dr Foster.

We talked back and forth a bit, me making sure that the conversation was rather light as I wanted them to concentrate on my skin not what I was saying. I think I eventually might have drifted off to a short nap again because before I knew it, they were both stitching me up. I quipped some more with the two and before I knew it they were asking me to sit up and look at their handy work. The cut and stitch on my belly was very straight and precise. The one on my leg that the doc had done was not at straight but OK except their seemed to be a dip in my skin in the middle of it. That was common, I was told by the doc. "That is OK,", I said with a wink, "My wife will probably think it is sexy.". I looked over at the other and said, "Good job there guy. You will make a fine doc one day. You win the prize for the best looking of the two.". The both looked at one another and started to laugh. "This is my supervisor.", Dr Foster stated, "My teacher.". I looked at him and asked, "So, you are the boss here?". "Yes", he smiled of which we all got a good laugh out of.

While Wendy got my two areas wrapped up, the two docs went to the other side of the curtain and began consultation with their next patient. Wendy got all of her bandaging items lined up and ready. "I like to get everything in order before I start as I want it to be just right.", she said. "OCD?", I asked. "No, but that is funny, though, as I work for the OCD...the Oregon College of Dermatology". "Oh, I was wondering as I have a friend with OCD.", I stated.

Wendy finished up and the supervisor came back in. "I will do your back as Dr. Foster handles our other patient.", he stated. While he worked on my back, I asked him how old he was . He laughed and said, "Physically or mentally? I am thirty yrs old but don't want to be old so mentally, I am often times seventeen." "Neither of those numbers are very old, Doc, I have a son who is thirty also. You married.". "I am married to my job right now.", he stated. "I don't know right now if I want to marry at least not yet.".

As he worked on my back and knowing that he was an accomplished dermatologist, I did not worry of making the talk to small and we talked of life, jobs, kids, areas, and whatever and the time went by rather quickly as he finished up on his area and Dr. Foster came back into the room and joined him for the stitch up. Before he left, the supervisor (I never got his name) came around the table, shook my hand and said, "It has been a pleasure meeting you.". "Same here, Doc.", I returned and he left the room with Dr. Foster and I could see he was still instructing her as he walked out the door with her.

Wendy wrapped me up and led me back out to the waiting room where Trin and Judy were waiting for my return. The clock read three Oclock. The whole procedure had taken nearly three hours.

While waiting for my prescription of Tylenol three from the pharmacy, we went over the walking bridge to the Oregon Health Center which has Dornbeckers off on one side of it and Judy and Trin showed me places that they had seen and looked at while I was in including the tram down the hill that they had rode. Some one had told us of a lunch area there that was pretty good.

As we waited for the elevator, a woman stopped and turned to me. "I thought that was you.", she said. I introduced her to Judy and Trin. "This is Doctor Foster from Gloster.", I said and she smiled. Judy asked her if I had been a good patient and the doc told her that I was an excellent patient. We smiled and said goodbye to the doc as the elevator opened and we went down to the cafeteria for some lunch.

Afterwards, we went back to the pharmacy to pick up the now ready prescription. The pharmacist was concerned as I had a previous reaction to percocete and the two had some similarities. I assured her that I had taken this one before and so we got the medicine and off we went.

We were very fortunate to find the right roads that led us past most of the worst of the rush hour traffic and arrived at Randy's house to find them home. Randy and Anisha have adopted three boys from the same family and they all call me Papa Kyle. As I walked in the door, one of them screamed, "Papa Kyle is here.". I gave high fives and sat talking with Randy while playing with the three boys. As we left all three of them had to give me high fives at the same time which was loads of fun.

I was still feeling pretty good and since I knew that it would be dark before we arrived in Bend and Judy does not like to drive after dark, I insisted on taking the helm on the way home. We stopped in Troutdale for gas and another quick bite to eat and then set sail for Bend. By the time we got to Madras, the deaden in my belly and back was pretty much gone and it would not matter if I was driving or not, but I began to feel every bump in the road. I felt my knee and it was still quite numb. I can only assume that Dr. Foster used more deadener.

We went to bed as soon as we got home and i dropped off to sleep pretty fast. But with each turn, the tenderness woke me up. I decided to get up and write this piece while it was still fresh on my mind and hoping to make myself tired enough to return to sleep. Why have I not taken the Tylenol? Probably because of what the pharmacist said about it's similarities to percocet. I think I just need to get over that, and take one so that I can get some rest.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Model A has arrived!

This week has gone by rather fast and now we find ourselves up to a weekend yet again. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure enjoyed the coolness of the day yesterday. It was a very welcome change.
On Wednesday, Judy called me up and asked me to come down quickly as they needed my help. I got dressed as quickly as possible and drove quickly to the diner. The lot did not seem to be that full and I walked into the back door just as Judy was putting up her tickets for the High Desert A's. She told me that the guys in the back wanted to see me. I went back to say my hellos with Speedy and Kip walking across the floor looking rather excited. I don't recall what anyone said but I knew exactly what it all meant. I looked at Speedy and said, "Did you guys bring it this morning.". "Yes", he smiled back. I looked out the window as Judy began to bring the food back and there it was sitting in the line with all of the other rigs.
Now, I am not an excitable man but I was elated. I wanted to go out right then and there and look at it but two things needed to happen first. I needed to help Judy deliver the food and I did not want to go out without Marv who I was buying the car from. It was a very hard twenty minutes or so, but I ate with the guys and we all went outside together.
After talking with Marv for a second, he handed me the keys and told me to take it for a ride. After a couple of pictures, I hoped in with Speedy. "Are you nervous?", he asked. "Yup, I am.", I answered honestly. After showing me the needed dials and things to turn, he instructed me to turn on the key. I did but it did not start....until he instructed me to push the button on the floor of which started the buggy right up. I loved the sound of the engine and had to try out the horn which did not disappoint me at all with its throaty aaoogaa. "Out of the way, boys, we have a first time driver.", yelled Speedy. I must have looked like a schoolkid as I gave the truck some gas and started off across the lot. The first thing I noticed was the stiffness of the steering. It kind of takes two arms when you are going slow. With Jayden in the back, we started around the corner. I went to turn on the turn signals and Speedy laughed. "Those aren't signals, that is the spark in the engine.". I remembered that from his original showing and I put my hand out the window to show my turn. As I raised my hand for a right turn, a lady going the other way thought I was waving at her and waved back. "You better get used to that.", said Speedy, "People will be waving to you allot in this rig.".
Pulling back into the lot, I had made my maiden voyage. I figured that Marv was just showing it to me as it was their ride for the morning but when I went to hand him the keys, he said, "It's your rig now, Lyle.". "Are you sure you want to give it up?", I countered, "And how are you going to get home?". They had already set up a ride and Marv had not ridden with me so he went with me as we took it over to the house.
I made my rounds with my new toy that day, showing it off to my buddy, Frank Patka, who took these pics at his office of which you might notice from the last pic, he insured that his business got in the background. Then Judy and I drove it out to see my folks. They live just south of town but the drive seemed quite long as forty MPH seemed to be a top speed. All along the way, we got smiles, waves, and thumbs ups. As we drove up to my parents house, they were both out on the front porch and we hit the horn as we approached.
After a quick visit, we drove her back on the slower roads to set better with the traffic. I then parked it in the lot along the trees to show her off at the weekly Wednesday night Cruise in. Marv and Speedy along with their wives came in for supper and I joined them at their table before driving my new old car proudly home setting off the horn as I drove out the lot.
Boxing it in with Judy and my car, I called it a night. My plans are to drive it around town, in parades, and hopefully Judy and I can join some of the short trips with the guys from the club.
I am now officially a Model A guy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Double Daughter Double Date

There were allot of options this Friday night here in Bend. But, I had only two. A baseball game and a concert at the fair. Actually, I would best to say that I made two commitments. Two commitments to two daughters.

Every year, Bank of the Cascades holds a cap night at the park and Carrie receives tickets through her job at BOTC. She called me this year and gave me a date but I thought nothing of it, just telling her to remind me when the date got closer. She did this week but only after I had made a commitment to join Trinity at a concert at the fair with a singing group that she liked called Lady Antebellum.

I started up the morning by cleaning up the mess in our back yard from the storm of the night before. I had left the umbrella up only to find that the wind caught it and smashed the glass on the top of our outdoor table. By smashed, I don't say just broke. The largest piece seemed to be only a fraction of an inch across. The original piece being around five feet long and three feet wide. The smallest piece was like the one that just stuck in my foot as I stepped out on the deck on the hot night that we are having.

I swept as careful as I could to insure as many of these pieces going in the garbage bag as possible. I think a good wash down of the slab is in order to get as many as possible also.

I arrived at work to find the morning fairly brisk and jumped into the floor to help Tina and Toni, two of our longer term employees who had gotten there fair share of rips from the lady on Craig's list last week. I would write more about her as I know who it is but I don't think she is worthy or deserving of a larger written piece. Her attacks on our business, my employees, my daughter, and me are over now, thanks in part to Craig's list employees who saw the same thing that I did and were diligent in getting her posts off and hopefully warning her of the dangers of slander. I found that it is best to not be on Craig's list at all since even good posts bring people like this out of the woodwork when they hold malice in their hearts for you.

In the middle of that rush, I received a phone call from Margo (my dermatologist). I had two major medical appointments last week. A colonoscopy on Wednesday, where my blood pressure bottomed out in recovery causing me to black out (another story) and a skin check on Friday. I could tell by Margo lack of usual bubbly friendliness that I needed to listen to what she had to say so I went off into the quieter part of the restaurant in our back room.

As I bussed a table that had been left behind from an earlier Bible study, I listened as Margo told me that all three of my biopsies had come out positive for Melanoma. The good news was that none of them had been invasive and that they felt with a further scheduled skin surgery, could be eradicated. As we discussed this surgery and the need for more frequent visits, Jim showed up with his clip board, taking advantage of the fact that he had me cornered in the back room as he needed to get together with me to go over some pricing for a couple of up and coming cater jobs. Jay was right on his heals with a similar plan.

I waved them both back and went over to the corner of the room to discuss the problem further. Assured that I was OK and that the coming surgery would insure that, we discussed the fact that since all of them had been positive, the need for my children to keep an eye on their bodies also since this type of thing is hereditary. I have always known that since I had so many moles on my body, that I was at risk and have had scheduled check ups and biopsies in the past. Now, those check ups will be on a quarterly basis.

I must admit,the call weighed a bit on me as I hung up the phone but I did not have time to think on it as I had more pressing matters at hand in front of me. Jay needed the keys to my office so he could get out the small football above my desk for him to play with. Jim and I sat down at one of the tables and I brought my mind around to food and labor costs of the two jobs in front of us. One was for the Christian school in Redmond that we had helped out the year prior to and the other for a party for my old friend, Ron, who had helped me get the building ready when we first moved over a few years back. I desired to give the best price that I could to both events without hurting the business and Jim and I quickly crunched the numbers and came up with viable prices that he would go out and deliver to the two coordinators. Judy joined us at the table for a second but quickly jumped back up to serve her doctors on the other side of the room with a freshly baked cinnamon roll.

The business of the day kept me quite busy with the deposit, other bills that needed addressing now that Summer was back off of vacation, setting up food on the pass bar, and busing to keep clean tables for the customers walking through the door.

Jay had been playing out in the office on the floor and showed me where his hair was wet. He had placed his head down on the carpet while playing and had not realized that it was right where the air conditioner had wetted the carpet with condensation. His hair smelled like old socks! So, he asked if he could go to the house and shower. It was close to lunch so I had one of the cooks make me up one our our lunch specials. Judy lately has come up with some wraps and today we were having a crispy chicken wrap with breaded chicken, bacon, lettuce, tomato,and avocado. I poured a small amount of ranch dressing and added Cholulu sauce to it to my favorite dip that I call Cholulu Ranch and off Jay and I went for the house.

While Jay took his shower, I sat in the cool house and downed my delicious lunch. After Jay got out, he asked me if he could stay at the house so I jumped back into the car and headed back to the diner.

I decided to check on the vets down at the park. Every year, we back up the Vietnam Veteran's of America as they sell hamburgers and Jimmy's famous BBQ Chicken at the yearly Chevy Flash Back Cruz. Judy decided to come with me probably in part because this might be our only time alone for the day and she thought it pretty cool that we could just drive into the park and park our car on the grass behind the BBQ set up. After helping with some of the condiment set up, getting the grill fired up, and talking with some of the guys we thought it better to get out while we could as we could see that the old cars were beginning to arrive.

We arrived back at the diner and Judy sat with Casey while I finished off some bill problems out in the office. Judy called me out into the diner to meet some old friends of the previous owners who had stopped through on their way back to Las Vegas and I chatted with the friendly people about old times and their trip.

I noticed that the temperature inside the diner was at 80 so I jumped in my car and ran to the store to pick up some fans. I placed one box fan on top of the cooler pointed towards a cooling register and the other in the corner to try and move the air around better. I am really looking foreward to the end of this heat wave.

Trinity showed up soon with my tickets for the concert as her and her friend Ashley took off for the fair. Shortly there after, Carrie called and told me that she was heading out to the ballpark and would meet me outside. I drove home in the 100 degree heat and poured myself a tall heavily iced bottle of water for the evening, grabbing Jay and heading off to the park.

We arrived around an hour before the game, got our hats, and found some pretty nice seats on the first base side of the field. Part of the night was a BBQ for the bank members and while Carrie kept our seats, Jay and I went over to get our supper. We had a choice of hamburger, hot dog, or braut. I knew Jay's answer before even said it as a braut is always his choice and I chose hot dogs for Carrie and I. We went to the BBQ that had all of the meat laying out on the grill. I spied a nice plump hot dog that had my name on it. She placed Jay's ample braut on his bun and then went for one of the small dogs. "Wait a minute, I want one of the larger dogs.", I said. "You cant have those.", she countered. "Why?", I asked. "Because this is what we give out for the free meals.", she returned. "Let me get this straight. I could have asked for a burger, or a braut, but because I asked for dog and it is a free event, I only get the small dogs?" She dropped her spat, looked me in the eye and said, "I don't make the rules. Do you want the dog?" I took my two small hot dogs and returned to my seat with them eating mine in a couple of swallows while watching Jay munch down on what now looked like a huge braut.

Later, as the game started up some of the others around us brought over their larger dogs from the same BBQ area as someone had obviously corrected the young lady. Carrie giggled and rubbed that fact in knowing she would be able to go back over later for more dogs while I had to leave for the other part of my evening.

The game started with runs in the top and bottom of both of the two innings that I stayed. A text from Trin telling me that the concert was starting told me that I needed to get moving. Another text from a creative Trinity told me to hurry up to the other half of my 'Double Daughter Double Date'. I said my goodbyes to the guys around me at the game and jumped into the van, stopping by the diner on the way through to get the 'rest of my supper'. I had Kevin drop me a kilbassa dog as I still had a desire for the old ball park fare.

As I headed down the road, Trin kept texting me and as I got closer, I began to realize that I was not going to make it in time. As I walked up to the entrance, Trin informed me that the concert was over and asked if I would meet her at the Young Life booth. Last year, the fair was free to all vets so I asked if their was a discount for vets this year. "No, but I wish their was.", came the reply from the young lady at the booth. "It was a great thing to do and it brought many more to the fair.", she continued. She produced my ticket and thanked me for my service. I thanked her and stepped into the crowded fair to find Trin.

Trin was standing with her friend, Ashley and her father in front of the Young Life food stand. We chatted for a while as the concert goers filed by us. Two older ladies were discussing what they enjoyed about the fair as they walked by. One of them said, "You know what I like? I like watching the guys check out the girls butts as they walk by.". I laughed out loud as I heard that and turned to the others and asked them if they had heard the same thing. They had and we all had a great laugh over it.

An old friend and mentor walked out of the crowd. I first met Jim Ivey back in the early 80's when I sold candy and tobacco with Sherfy Candy company. I had the Madras sales run and Jim had a store there. I would come in and try to sell candy to him and he would often take the time to stop and talk. I learned more than I think he imagined in those small sessions and even now, some of the things that I do came from the instruction that I received in them. You might even say that if I had not learned from him about purchasing, I might not be where I am now for it was my purchasing ability that landed me the job as manager of Jake's so many years back.

We talked of those types of things and I let him know that I try and hand down those things to others as he did me. I told him of a story of a man who recently came by the diner and introduced himself to me. He said that I hear you are a man who works with his crew members encouraging them to move on and pursue their goals. I took him out to our cashier, Chris, and introduced him. I told the man that one day, Chris will be a very good photographer/videographer. Chris told him of Judy and my encouragement to him and I showed him where we allow Chris to display and sell his photos.

The man started to cry and I asked him why? He said, "I run a mentor organization. You are exactly the type of man that i try to teach them to be.". With that, he shook my hand and left. I told Jim that I still get shivers thinking about that. He looked me in the eye and said, "Lyle, it is quite possible that he could have been more than a man.". "You mean an angel?", I countered. "Exactly." was Jim's return. Well, angel or man, he made quite an impact and a validation that some of the things that we try to do are the right things.

We left Jim and filtered into the moving crowd. Three young ladies walked in front of us with light dresses and cowboy boots. I teased Trin as she sees herself as a young cowgirl sometimes. Then, I remembered what those older ladies had said and I began watching the guys sitting along the sides of the path on the various benches and as these three girls walked by, sure enough, many of the guys heads turned and eyes dropped. It was actually kind of fun watching both old and young.

We moved over to the pig barn and I sure would not want to work there consistently. I suppose you get used to the smell. With the help of friends, we found Tyler Robertson's pig but could not locate his mom, Cindy, who works for us.

Trin and I meandered through the fairgrounds just looking at all the sights and smelling all the smells. I got a call from Cindy who met us behind the Young Life building where Tyler was working. Trin said her goodbyes and I talked with Cindy and Steve Martin (a close friend who helps out with Young Life every year.). Steve informed me that before I leave, I need to go buy a bag of kettle corn for my crew. "Why should I do that?", I asked. "Because, all of the girls working that booth eat at your restaurant.".

That made sense, so we walked over and I ordered a bag. Steve said, "Give him a large bag of both.". I thanked the girls and with two large bags of kettle and carmel corn under my arm, I found my way back to my car and home.

A busy day finished and full. Full of messes, frustrations, information, friends, fun, old classic cars, baseball game, hot dogs, the fair, pigs, carmel corn, and best of all, my first Double Daughter Double Date.