Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mean People

I run into mean people at times but this week, I had three in two days. Now that is not a thing I enjoy.

On Friday, a lady came in and ordered the all you can eat salad bar. It was a little early and the lettuce was not on the salad bar yet. She complained to the waitress who quickly got the lettuce in it's place and gave the lady another plate to put it on. The lady decided not to but as she left, grabbed a to go container and began filling it with items off of the salad bar. Judy told her that was not allowed and that all you can eat means all you can eat while you are here. She ignored her and continued to fill up her container. She was just about to leave when I was called. I stopped her as she closed her container and stated the same thing that Judy had. She complained bitterly about their not being any lettuce on the salad bar. I told her that I understood and that I would allow her to take it this time since she already had it but in the future, it would not be allowed. Her son came along and grabbed the container out of her hand and gave it to me. He said that they did not want anything from me and that they would not be coming back. I shrugged my shoulders and walked away. As I threw the container in the trash, I noticed that it had NO lettuce in it. Her complaint was that she could not get lettuce but when she filled up her container, it was with everything but lettuce. Minutes later, I was called up to the cashier to the same lady. She was demanding a refund for no lettuce. I smiled and told her no and this time her daughter was the angry one and they told me off and left. We have a group of retired doctors who come in and drink coffee who watched it all with interest. "Why didn't you tell her to get the hell out and not come back!", one of them joked. "I cant do that", I answered, "I wont do that.....but maybe Judy will.". They all laughed and I felt better about the situation. As I walked back into the waitress area, they all thanked me for handling the situation. It seems that no one likes to wait on these customers since that run them ragged, often complain and ask for discounts, and very rarely tip.

The very next morning, some ladies were in. One of them ordered an omelet with Swiss cheese in it. We buy our Swiss pre-sliced and they put paper in between the slices. Sometimes it is hard to see as it is the same color as the cheese. The cook overlooked it and did not take the paper off or as sometimes happens there were two slices of paper. Whatever happened, the lady had the paper in her omelet and complained to the waitress. The waitress offered to make her another omelet and she agreed. Upon returning with the omelet, the lady refused it and said that she had now lost her appetite at which time I was brought into the problem. I listened and then explained to the ladies what the paper was and that it was completely sterile or it would not have been on the cheese. I told her that I understood but she had requested that they redo the omelet and we had done so. For that, I was going to have to charge. If she had refused the omelet in the first place, I would not have. I was called up to the cashier shortly and a younger lady at the table (assuming daughter or something) began to tell me what kind of total jerk that I had been and that my customer service skills were horrible and that I should have just left it to the waitress. I listened and told her that I was sorry that she took it that way and that it was not meant that way as she continued to berate me. She told me that it was obvious from how busy that we were that I cared less about her and she knew that her not coming back would not hurt us but that all of the bad things that she was going to tell others about us certainly would. I listened to all that she had to say as customers walked by and looked our way. She finally got angry, spun around, and went back to her table. As I started to leave, a man in the line looked at me and said, "I guess she told you!". "Yes", I grinned, "I guess she did!" "We love you, Lyle and our food was great!" "Jake's is great and we love it!" he explained. "Does that make you feel any better?" "Yes" I thanked him. The waitress came by later and thanked me. "For what?", I asked. "They said they felt sorry for me for having such a horrible boss and they tipped me $10." She happily explained.

Not minutes later, a man refused to show his ID to the cashier for his credit card so I was brought back up. "This is America, I don't have to show anything", He said. "This is Jake's and yes you do if you want to use a credit card.", I explained, "I am trying to protect you also, there has been far to much identity theft going on." He angrily threw down cash and stated that he would not return. I apologized and left the station. The cashier later told me that after I left, the man told her that his ID said something other than the name on the card but he had had no problem at other places with it.

The thoughts of a mean person is an interesting contemplation. Are they mean because they think they can get something in return for it? Or is it because they are insecure and this is a way they try to overcome the insecurity? Or do they think that others are just out to get them and they need to stick up for themselves? Or are they just arrogant and think that they are owed? Many possible reasons come to mind and that makes me feel sorry for them.

But for whatever reasons, I find myself getting less tolerant of mean people and am thinking of putting up a sign like I saw at Trade N Tools that states that a $5 service charge would be charged to all mean people. But maybe that would just make them meaner.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

another day has passed

After seeing Judy and Trinity off for Portland very early, I managed a little sleep the rest of the night (it is hard to sleep when she is not next to me) and drove into the restaurant around 9:30 with my grandson in tow.

I found one of the cooks out back and he looked quite hot. "Everything OK?", I asked. "It is suffocating in that kitchen", he said, "I don't think the main fan is working." I wondered why in the world someone hadn't called me....I mean the cook on the line was to new but any of the others should have in the least. With his help, I climbed up on the roof and fixed the fan belt on the exhaust fan and handled that somewhat messy problem quite quickly.

As I walked into the main part of the diner, someone handed me my dvd player. The swing crew the night before had knocked it off of the pie case and broke it. I pulled the one from the back room up and it didn't want to work. So...I opened the back up that I had just bought from Walmart and it wouldn't work either. frustrated, I gave up and decided to stop by a shop later and pick one up.

I called the insurance company for my house who had sent me a cancellation notice the day before to apologize for the over looked bill that was probably somewhere on my desk...who knows where...I do remember seeing it. After going through the automated system and having it hang up on my twice, I finally got a person but didn't realize that the main room had filled up and had to truncate the call to help out on the floor.

People were sitting at dirty tables quicker than I could buss and I am pretty fast. To top that off, some of the food was not going out as fast as I wanted it too and I am sure that my frustration was showing. Looking at one ticket, I saw no drinks and the word "Marion berry", just written in the middle. When I finally got the waitresses attention, she said...."oh, yea, do we have any marionberry pie.". "I am sure that we do, but I will check." I found a Marionberry pie and brought it back to cut it. "Oh, no!", she cried, "Don't cut it yet, I am not sure if they want any." I took the pie back and began setting up plates on the pass bar. A few minutes later, I heard, "Have you cut that pie yet. These people are waiting on it." With dropped shoulders, I went back and retrieved the pie and cut off a slice.

By now, it was 11:30 and I had to get ready to take Jayden to soccer camp. In the mean time, I had emailing back and forth with Shelly (the movie producer). I was trying to get a second show for Thursday as the first one had sold out just hours after the paper hit the stand on Saturday. She was not able to get ahold of the person from McMenamins. Having not eaten anything yet (wait a minute, don't I work in a diner?!), I scooped up a bowl of Jimmy's Beef Stew off of the buffet and heading towards the counter, was stopped by the cashier who had a paper in her hand. One of the dishwashers wanted a $50 draw. "Not till I can be assured that she has it coming.", I remarked. Then I sat down and wolfed down the stew while discussing the situation with Jimmy. He was going to give her the draw whether or not she had it coming or not because he said he needed her to work. I started to lecture that most other places don't give draws at all but just ended up saying that I was not going to give anything that had not already been earned. Before I could find out the info, he had given her fifty from his wallet. My time was up and I quickly grabbed up the grandson and off to camp.

After dropping him off, I drove down to Mcmenamins and they gave me the cell number of the manager that we needed to talk to. I was able to reach him and discover that their was no chance for anymore shows on Thursday night. Maybe in the future but not at this time. Disappointed, I called the cashier up to have her start calling the names on the list and letting them know that their would only be one show. She had over 70 on the list by now and there were many more who said that they would be coming in early to get a seat in the first show.

I started her calling the people and letting them know. As I talked to her three or four groups and individuals came in for tickets. The cashier told me that this was the way it was all day. An email from Shelly said that she was sure that there will be enough room, but I was looking at many more people than tickets. At one time in the afternoon, I talked to three groups at the same time. One of them was close friends with Shelly's grandparents and had known her since she was a child.

The next few hours flew by and before I knew it, it was time to pick up Jayden from Soccer camp. I picked him up and drove to BiMart to look for a cheap dvd player. I found what I thought would work but all of their dvd players were up on the top shelf. I went over to the desk to find a lady deep in conversation on the phone. She turned away from me as I approached so I figured it was up to me to get the player. They were right above the TV displays. I checked to lower shelf and it was stable and I tried stepping on it and reaching one of the players. They were packed too tight but one was a jar off to the left so I shifted my foot that direction. Unfortunately, the bottom shelf did not go all the way to the wall. It broke off and they had a unstable shelf holding up their largest 30plus inch normal big heavy bulky set. The shelf came forward, my foot slipped off and the set came down on my toe. Smoke poured out of the back of the set and employees were there in seconds. (I guess that is one way to get help). The phone talker got off of the phone and immediately got the ladder out. "All I wanted was a dvd player", I explained. Fortunately, they didn't charge me for the busted TV and I said nothing about my bruised toe (still hurts). I left BiMart with a little less pride however.

I took my dvd player that had boldly written on it that it worked with jpeg pictures of which was all I wanted it for. I hooked it up in the diner and turned it on. It would show pictures but only if they were in one file and since mine are in many files to organize them, I quickly saw that this would not work.

Barb (swing cashier) was on by now and in one of her rare moods. She began complaining that their were not enough tickets for all to see. "I know", was all I could say. "Something needs to be done.", she said. "I know", I returned. "There is a ticket left in the envelope with a mans name on it.", she said. "I know", I explained. "There is no number on it to call him.", she said. "I know"..."Your wife did that." she informed. "I know"...this time, I retreated and walked away.

Later as I walked by her station, I noticed that the cinnamon rolls had not been wrapped yet. "Hey Barb, remember to wrap the cinnamon rolls.", I told her. She threw her arms up in the air. "I don't have time for it this instant!", she complained. "Ok, when you get the chance.", I calmly countered. "I Know!" she states, "I never forget to wrap them!", she angrily complains. I remind myself to stay out of her way figuring that it must be that time of the month or something.

I remember Jay having one just like the one that was busted so we went to his house and swapped out with him. Jay had been playing in the backroom while I ran out to my house to try out a old dvd player that I had there. Coming back in to the diner, the waitresses were busy and I started to tell Barb that Jay and I would be back shortly but decided that I would be better off just going.

After retrieving the dvd player from his house. I get a phone call from a waitress in somewhat of a panic. "Do you have Jay with you!", she said, "We cannot find him." I then realized that I should have told someone...anyone that I had picked him up. The whole place was in a panic looking for him. Arriving back at the diner, we put up his dvd player and it worked....problem finally solved.

But now the afternoon was gone and it was time to take Jay to soccer practice. I took him down to the field on the south side of town and called his mom to let him know that he was there and when to pick him up. I was looking forward to a very rare occurrence. The house to myself all evening long. I had the night planned out in my head. A good movie, a little Chinese, and a cold beer. I figured I would probably fall asleep on the couch before the movie finished.

My daughter answered but informed me that she had class that evening and that she had worked it out with me weeks ago for me to watch Jay. Dejected, I ran a couple of quick errands including taking the dvd player back to Walmart. I then returned and picked up Jay from practice.

Meanwhile Barb calls me to inform me that the dvd player is messing up and that one of the customers in upset because he thought I was going to save him a couple of tickets. I called a friend who I thought had bought too many tickets and he had a couple to spare. "I was going to scalp them outside.", he joked.

Jay and I decided to make a night of it and plan a sleep over. We picked up pizza, Root Beer, and a movie. Neither one of us made it through the movie. He is now asleep on cushions on the floor and me...well you can see where I am at. Just trying to wind down after another typical day at the diner.

BTW, the cashiers felt that there were a couple hundred people asking for tickets....the dvd player was working the last I looked at it ...and I got my insurance paid sometime during the day, I think.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bulletin Article

The bulletin wrote an article on the up and coming movie but they placed it on their pay per view part of their website. I am posting it here so that relatives and friends of mine from outside of the area are allowed to read it. I am very grateful to David Jasper of the Bulletin for his writing of this article.

Vanishing Americana
Documentary chronicles a slice of old Bend
By David Jasper / The Bulletin

San Francisco filmmaker Shelly Roby made "Jake&'s Truck Stop," a documentary about the longtime Bend truck stop and the fight to save Jake's Diner.
Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Jake’s Diner survived the 2004 closure of Jake’s Truck Stop in south Bend. In early 2005, it moved to its present location, shown here.
Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Lyle Hicks, 54, stands outside the current home of Jake’s Diner. Hicks managed Jake’s Diner for 23 years before taking over as owner in 2004.

Patrons of the old Jake’s Diner can be seen in
“Jake’s Truck Stop,” a new documentary about the Bend landmark. The film screens Thursday at McMenamins Old St. Francis School.
Start of Article:
Back in 2004, when long-haul rigs still rumbled through the Jake’s Truck Stop parking lot and owner Kim Wolfe had not yet announced the sale of the property, Shelly Roby applied for a waitressing job at Jake’s Diner.
Manager Lyle Hicks saw her résumé, and her heavy background in television production for the likes of MTV and Oprah.
“Are you trying to Punk me?” he wanted to know.
Funny he should ask. Roby wanted to film something, just not for the MTV prank show “Punk’d.”
Roby had come to Bend from the Bay Area to be among friends and take time off from television and demanding 12-hour workdays. Her dream was to move into filmmaking, not to wait tables at the truck stop, although truck stops had long intrigued her.
What Roby really wanted to do was make a documentary about a day-in-the-life of a truck stop.
“As soon as I found Jake’s, I could not help but do a story on the place. When I meet interesting and inspiring people — like the individuals at Jake’s, or find a unique place like Jake’s — it lights me up inside, knowing I need to capture their stories and share them with the rest of the world.”
She received a green light for the project from Hicks and Wolfe. When not at the sales job she took at KTVZ, she worked on her slice-of-life film.
A few months later, in September 2004, Wolfe announced the sale of the property. In short order, Hicks vowed to save the diner, and the jobs of its staff.
Roby soon returned to her one-woman film project and ended up with a documentary completely different from her original vision: “Jake’s Truck Stop,” screening Thursday at McMenamins (see “If You Go”), is a film about a dying institution and the slow erasing of old Bend.
Roby’s film offers footage of trucks trundling at night through lonely parking lots, and monologues of bearded drivers who feel like society’s black sheep. There are heartbroken employees wondering aloud about what they’ll do next as they prepare for the inevitable closure.
In short, her film captures the death throes of the truck stop in all its ragged glory.
But it is also the galvanizing story of Hicks, his loyal crew and their ardent efforts to save the diner.
As one of the blocks of white text that pop up now and then in the hour-long film reads, “This is a story about loss and the human will to go on.”
End of an era
For years, long-haul truckers in need of diesel fuel, and hungry locals in need of a brawny burger and a mound of chili cheese fries, pulled off South Highway 97 for a refill at Jake’s Truck Stop and Jake’s Diner. Hicks says the truck stop dated back to the 1930s, and operated under a few different names, the last of which was Bob’s. It became Jake’s in the mid-’70s.
Business boomed in the 1990s, but began to decline in the early ’00s with the opening of the Bend Parkway, diverting truck traffic away from Business 97.
Another factor, says Hicks: High gas prices in general and demands by large trucking organizations for cut-rate fuel prices — arrangements that larger truck-stop chains could accommodate — also siphoned off sales profits.
The truck stop portion of Jake’s closed in October 2004. The diner held out for six more months in that space, then moved to the east side of Bend.
Today, you can drive by the fenced-off property that was Jake’s and never know it — or its 80 employees — had been there.
The six-acre facility, which stood for three decades as Bend grew up around it, was demolished in the fall of 2005. A large sign on the chain-link fence at the corner of Highway 97 and Badger Road advertises the future: Pioneer Crossing, with its retail space for lease.
‘A lot of drama’
That the restaurant continues in its new home off U.S. Highway 20 today, with much of the same staff and customer base intact, is largely due to Lyle Hicks. Hicks managed Jake’s Diner for 23 years before the sale of the property was announced in 2004.
Hicks had to decide if and how he would become the diner’s owner.
“I had four weeks to decide whether I could do it, how I was going to do it, and then make the decision. The actual decision to make the change and buy the restaurant was made a little over a week before the actual closing of the restaurant,” he says. “If you open a restaurant and six months later you close it down, you lose more than you put into it.
“I knew everything we had was going to be on the line.” He went home to his wife, Judy, and said, “Do we do this or not?”
“She didn’t even hesitate … she said, ‘Do it.’ Because she believed in me.”
A friend who helped him crunch numbers told him, “If you don’t do this, you’re going to regret it the rest of your life.”
In an arrangement with the original location’s new owners, he signed a six-month lease, and survived a tough drop-off in customers who mistakenly believed Jake’s Diner had also closed. “We were going to go down fighting,” he says.
There had already been “a lot of drama,” when it became apparent he was going to move the business at the end of the lease.
The only place he could find that was the right fit, and that he could afford, was, in his words, “the worst location in town.” The space is obscured somewhat by a car lot and is set across Purcell Boulevard from Costco. Before Jake’s called it home, the spot had been host — or perhaps parasite — to a quick succession of failed restaurants.
Seated on the deck of his restaurant recently, Hicks reminisced about the dubious move. What he remembered from the business classes he took 25 years ago at Central Oregon Community College was the importance of “‘location, location, location,’” he said. “It went against all of that.”
Still, he leased the spot, and a cavalry from his church arrived in pick-up trucks to help him move the diner in April 2005. Others dedicated their free time to helping Hicks refurbish the place, and would accept payment only when Jake’s became profitable in its new home.
The restaurant was immediately full when it opened on tax day in 2005.
“Now that it is developed, and people know it is here, we have customers all the time from out of town” who find their way to the restaurant, Hicks says. Truckers, as many as six at a time, have found their way to the diner for a slice of history and pie.
“Ninety-nine percent of people that come in here really, really are happy. There are still a few who come in and say, ‘I miss the old place.’ And I totally understand that.”
“But as (Judy) told me when we moved over here, it’s just time for us to move on. And this is our home. The more they’re here, the more they get used to it, too. I hear it less than I used to hear it. When I first moved over here, I heard it a lot, ‘Oh, I miss the old place.’ Especially when they were tearing down the old place. That devastated everybody.”
‘It’s down-home’
Earlier this week, Jake’s was full of customers, some eating a late breakfast, others arriving for lunch.
Seated next to a tray of cinnamon rolls bigger than a human face, Jim Brumfield, the restaurant’s chef, was eating the daily special during his lunch break, and told of how truckers used to get the cinnamon rolls to go, “and they’d munch on those for the next thousand miles. They wanted something they didn’t have to stop and get again. So that’s why everything’s a little larger.”
Obviously, Brumfield worked at the old Jake’s. He says the place is just “down my alley. It’s down-home. I’ve not worked for any better boss.”
He and Hicks agree on giving back to the community, doing things like hosting a poker night for Habitat for Humanity, and an annual low-cost Thanksgiving dinner for the elderly. The latter is something Brumfield had done when he had a restaurant of his own in California.
“You want to do things heart-happy,” says Brumfield. “It’s a sad situation when you see a place close. The worst part was when you saw how there was so much life in the (old) building. For so many years that place was a happening place.”
He didn’t know what would happen in the new location, but “it just took off. There was such community support. It was phenomenal.”
In what seems to be Hicks’ patented style, he is self-effacing about the success. The community is what saved the restaurant, he says, “that wasn’t me.”
He also credits his family, friends and longtime supporters of Jake’s for getting him to go through with the scary proposition of taking over the business that had supported his family of five.
“It’s impossible. No way could I have done it without those kinds of people. No way could I have done it without the community support, because I would have gone under very fast.”
“I don’t know as I could have done anything different,” he says. “How do I put this? I almost feel like I was guided by something higher than me. I am a man of faith, and I do believe in God. I took a ride. All I did was answer questions every day and work every day and survive.”
Hicks has seen Roby’s documentary, and says it’s weird to see himself on film, “It’s also in certain ways kind of humbling.”
There are moments in the film that he can not remember, due to the stress that he was under at the time.
Hicks says that in the process, Roby became “one of my biggest encouragers. She was constantly telling me, ‘I know you can do it.’”
Roby, who will soon enter film school at San Francisco State University, says she is interested in real-life storytelling, and there’s something palpably real about truck stops.
“I love real people, real stories, and I feel like truck stops, the people there are so real. Some of them are working two jobs, single mom, three kids. The truckers that come in are just trying to make a living. They’re just so American to me.”
Roby has no immediate plans to enter “Jake’s Truck Stop” in film festivals. She may base her decision in part on how it’s received Thursday at McMenamins. Her decision to donate the ticket sale proceeds to Bend-La Pine Schools’ art programs was inspired by Hicks’ own giving to the community.
Whatever happens with the film, says Hicks, “it’s tremendous to have it happen. And it’s just another part of the ride, if you know what I mean.”

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jake's has a deck!

I have tried hard to market what I feel is one of Jake's Best assets. Our Deck. It is a very peaceful quiet setting with two water features and a variety of plants. Five tables grace the deck with the ability to place two of them together for large groups.

I have a banner at the front of it, signs on both doors coming in, and a greeting sign that says it is open. I also placed in one of my ads that ran all summer long last year.

The problem is it is off to the left side of the diner (an area that some still dont realize that we have).

So, the next time you come in, ask for it....I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

2nd Annual Cruise In BBQ

Right on the heels of the movie will be our main event of the summer.

Our second annual Cruise In. A thank you to all of the classic car buffs who have supported us on Wednesday nights all summer long.

Chef Jimmy will be cooking one of his famous BBQ's featuring Sirloin and Chicken. Tie that in with all of the baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon, and French bread that you can gorge yourself with and you got a great meal and a fun night.

Richard Taelour will once again be bringing his own brand of Blues and there will be plenty of classic cars gracing the lot making this a great event to cap off a great summer. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jake's....the movie is just over a week away.

The producer and I were interviewed today by the Bulletin for an article to come out on Saturday.

I noticed that McMenamins has it on their website now also.

Around 1/2 of the presales are gone and their will only be around 50 or so seats at the door. If you want to go, pick up your ticket at Jake's.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Movie Tickets on Sale at Jake's

It is now official. The movie, "Jake's Truck Stop", will be shown at McMenamins on Thursday, August 23rd at 6PM. The tickets are on sale at Jake's for $5.00 with all of the profits going to a local arts charity (the producer will decide which one).

At this time there is only one showing scheduled but if the tickets sell out, they may decide to show another show. The bulletin will be running a story on it next week sometime. There will be a Q&A session after the show.

Any one with questions can call me at 419-6021.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

VVA Barbeque

Another Saturday started this morning...but I knew that it wouldn't be just any Saturday because while we were running our diner, we were also helping out the Vietnam Veterans of America at the Flash Back Cruzin down at Drake Park. Originally, we were merely assisting the Salvation Army but at the last minute, they had to pull and I was able to get commitments from the VVA but had to move from assistant to lead because of the time. In the last few weeks, we had spent much of our time, proposing the idea to the VVA, helping them with their permit, and figuring out and securing the equipment and food needed.

Since I had the till with me, I knew that it was very important for me to get down to the park as early as possible even though I knew that there wouldn't be that many early BBQ burger sales. I drove down to the park, set up the till and made sure that the vets had all that they needed to get rolling with their sale. I then drove back to the diner to insure that the day started off well there also. Knowing that Judy would be there eased my mind on how the day would roll so I prepared to replenish the vets. I was soon called and informed that they were quickly running out of drinks. My grandson, Jayden and I ran to Costco and bought more and then headed back to the park.

We arrived to see the sales going very brisk. The crew was working well and each knew and did their position making it a very smooth operation. There only problem at that time was running out of things. It became very evident that they would not have enough condiments and the hot day was bringing them quite a lot of individual drink sales which I knew would affect the outcome as I had only figured on around 100 or so extra drinks and even though I had just brought in 4 more cases, I could see that it was going to be tight. The burgers too were selling fast so we jumped back into the van and headed back to Jake's for yet more replenishment. Picking up four more cases of Burgers, another log of cheese, and the last of the sweet relish, I checked in with Judy who was getting the bussers in their cleaning from a rather quiet morning. We had expected as much with the fair and cruz in going on. So, I quickly headed back to the park. As I pulled in, they were putting a fresh tank of propane on the bbq. But, with a very long line, the bbq was not lighting up. With plate laden customers waiting for their burgers standing all around me, I began tearing apart the bbq, trying to figure out why it was not lighting. Nothing I could do seemed to work and I could feel the hungry eaters growing impatient all around me.

One of the not so happy ones walked up to the cashier, Ron, and began to complain. "This is ridiculous!", she began, "I don't want to have to wai.........". Before she had all the words out, Ron had swept the plate from one hand and the partially drunken soda from her other and in one move, threw them in the garbage while handing her her $5 dollars back. "Anyone else want their money back?", he announced with a smile. I guess they understood because it really calmed down the complaints but unfortunately didn't stop the stares while with sweat rolling down my neck, I worked on the bbq. I managed to get the right side lit and got the guys rolling on cooking on that side while I got the left side lit also. Plopping down on one of the ice chests, I stuck my hands in some of the ice water and washed my face with its coldness. I quickly noted the stared turn to smiles as the burgers began to roll again.

Helping out where ever I was needed I tried to check the balances on all of the product and realized that I would not have enough buns and that the drinks were still off in number. The Rotory club stall next to us was winding down it's sales and I managed to buy three more cases of water from them and then took off for one last run getting more buns and one more case of root beer. Arriving at Jake's, I found a very tired wife who informed me that right after I had left on the last run, the diner had filled up and that right after she had sent half of the crew home. We kissed as she drove home and I ran back down to the park.

Jimmy joined me and with the lines showing no signs of slowing down, we first sold out of drinks, then out of chips and finally around 5 PM secured for the day. A bunch of very tired men secured, loaded, and cleaned up the area. Jimmy and I then drove our stuff back to the diner.

Before leaving for home, I took a quick count of the take and found that we were able to raise over $2000 for the VVA. All that from some shrewd purchasing deals, some donations (Frito Lay donated the chips), and some hard work from a handful of Vets. As tired as I am, I can go to bed feeling pretty good about the day.