Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The new diet seems to be working. My blood sugar has declined which has affected me in a few ways. First off, I seem to be able to sleep a bit better. Now, that might affect this blog a bit in finding times to post but I think you would all agree that health is a bit more important. If I wake up early and have something on my mind, I will still try to relay that out.

My life still seems to be as packed as usual but I have found creative ways to get exercise in. Yesterday, I walked from the repair shop on Reed Market Road to work. The funny thing was that I ran into another Model A guy on the way who was doing the same thing but heading the other way. We laughed as we both had a good hours walk ahead of us with the rain starting to fall.

The Band of Brothers was brisk with close to a hundred in attendance. I noticed a woman walk in and then turn and head outside. I followed her and sure enough, she was telling her husband that we were far to busy. I assured her of a seat and that we would be just as fast as any other time. She took me up on it and when I tried to find her a seat, realized that the back room was packed also. But, my friend Buck and his dad were just about to get up and graciously gave her their seat. Their food was up in less than 10 minutes and the last I saw, they were very happy.

Right in the middle of it all, the hot water stopped. I called the repair shop with a 911 call and within a half an hour, the owner himself was fixing the problem. He laughed that he had to park a block away because of the huge crowd there. But, with the buffet lunch out front and the busy back room, the dishes piled up quite high in the dishroom. It looked like some crazy B movie as I watched them work out from the huge blockade.

The new 'Cruise In' shirts came in and I quickly noted that the print was on the front of the shirts and not the back. I sent off a brisk email on the issue and pondered on whether to put them out, deciding that we would see if they actually sold as well as the others. The mistake could be a future bonus.

Jack, one of our WWII guys, brought in a paper pronouncing the proper way of saying the pledge of allegiance. I have always got a kick out of Jack as he works to get 100 other men who have always said it wrong, say it right. It seems that their is no comma before 'under God'. When we say the pledge, Jack would shout out the unbroken phrase while the other 100 would keep on doing what they have always done. It has never failed to bring a smile to my face as I am so amazed at his zeal there. With the paper in hand, he actually got a couple of guys to join him today and he just might reach his goal one day. I shook his hand and called him 'the rock'.

With the group behind us, I broke away to have a fellow give me a bid on gutters at our house. I chatted with the young man as he did his measurements. "You work at Jake's?", he said, "I have eaten at their place in Portland.". I informed him that we were a different group and were quite independent. "Kind of like that place that use do be down south?". he asked. "Yes, I think our food is much better now than down there.". I meant that in a positive way as most people liked us before but I guess I let the door open. "Well, that is a good thing.", he seemed to smirk. I did not ask him to qualify his statement as I think he was just making small talk anyway....at least I hope he was.

After retrieving the car from the garage, I managed a brief cat nap before heading down back to the diner for supper and preparation for poker night. Business was brisk for a Monday evening and I had to call Jimmy back down to help out the cook who was in a bit of a block. Jimmy bailed him out as I set up the back room. Most of the players came in at the last minute and we ended up with a good night, raising $120 for Habitat and having fun.

I finished the clean up around closing time and headed home. I did not realize how tired I was till I got to my turn onto Bear Creek Rd. I was shaken by the horn behind me as I sat with the green turn light bearing down on me. I didn't bother reading as I crawled into bed and immediately went to sleep. Minutes later, I was awoken and sat up in the bed. I heard a 'bang bang bang' on the window downstairs. Judy had been in the hot tub and Trin had inadvertently locked the door thinking both of us had gone to bed. Trin was in the TV room and heard nothing of this. Judy was very thankful to be able to come in from the freezing cold being as wet as she was. Minutes later....I was again asleep only to wake up to pets that needed attention. I firmly believe that if not for them...I would have slept the night away.

Now, off to another day and to see what new and exciting adventures it might bring. Tomorrow is the last big BBQ of the summer and to give you a taste of what the entertainment will be like, I give you this video of Andy Armer with Richard Taelour on his guitar at the recent Portland Music Awards.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Proactive and Blood Sugar

I decided last week that I was going to get proactive and fight my cancer from the other side. My doctors are using surgery and that is all well and good, but I need to fight it with nutrition. Actually, it was my buddy, Frank's idea. He gave me a book about it and I started to read it. Then I discovered another friend who had fought her cancer with yet another book based upon your blood type. She found out what I was doing and loaned me her book.

Armed with this knowledge, I began to adjust my diet accordingly. One thing that I learned about cancer from these books was that it is fed with sugar. Now, at the same time, I had not been feeling well and I decided to check my blood sugar and found it running a bit high.

I began a strict regiment of diet on Saturday, (well strict as a busy man can get) with fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and chicken or pork for lunch or dinner. Then, I discovered in the second book, that I am not suppose to eat either of the later. I quickly adjusted and on Sunday evening began eating primarily foods that were good for me according to that book.

By Monday night, I was feeling better. I read a chapter of one of my books before going to bed and actually slept through out the night. When I awoke on Tuesday, fairly rested, my blood sugar was down to 98. Other than feeling lots of stress in the day, I felt pretty good. I even walked a bit in the morning helping that feeling.

I went into the evening feeling pretty good and then stopped at Jake's for a bite to eat before heading to the VVA meeting. I felt pretty good getting ready for bed but when I took my blood sugar it was up over 160. I scratched my head in wonder but went to bed anyway. Sure enough, two hours later, I am up. I took it again and found it 138.

Then it hit me. Tuesday night is Spaghetti night. I love spaghetti and always eat a plate of it during our special night. Not only is it high in sugar but it has another food that the second book tells me to stay away from, Tomatoes. I could not believe how dumb I had been. To be so careful and then to just indulge without a thought.

I have just got to get smarter.

Now, on a positive note, Thursday night looks like it might get big. There seems to be a bit of a buzz going on about our up coming Banjo Jam. I would suggest if any of you are planning on coming that you might want to bring your own chairs to sit outside and listen to the picking.

Also, I found out that Richard is bringing not one but two Grammy award winning artists to the car show next week. Local keyboardist and song writer Andy Armer (This link will take you to a video of Andy performing at the 2010 Portland Music Awards with Richard playing guitar next to him) and Steel Guitarist Ken Emerson. If the weather stays with us, it should be one heck of a night with the profits going to the High Desert Model A's COCC Scholarship fund.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Water Guy

I was working late on Wednesday and just about to go home when a small knock came to my office door. Ricci told me that she had an angry customer and proceeded to tell me that he had found a splenda packet in his water.

I came out to the floor and walked over to the couple sitting in a booth. I greeted them and the man began to explain that their was a paper in his water. I saw that he had a fresh full glass of water in front of him so I said, "It looks like your waitress has gotten you a fresh glass. I am sorry for the problem and it looks like she solved it."

"No, she didn't", he stated and they both stated that they had now lost all appetite. I looked down and noticed that both of them had finished off a goodly amount of their food so I restated that I was sorry. The man then quickly stated that he felt that he should not have to pay for it.

I quickly began to process this in my head and since they had eaten most, I said that I would credit some but they will have to pay for their meal. He got angry with me and told me that he would not pay a dime. I countered that, yes, I expected them to pay something.

They both got angry and began to prepare to leave. I remember trying to decide what I was going to to if they just walked out. Then, he made the statement: "This is the first time that I have ever been in this place and it will be my last.".

Now, I remember a time when something similar happened to me. The man was angry in this same way and said something similar. I took his ticket, asked him to leave, and please not come back. I recall how after he obliged, a regular that was sitting close by told me that I had not handled the problem well. "You did exactly as he wanted.", I was told. "He just got himself a free meal. If he is not coming back, at least get your money from him.".

I tried to remain calm as I shook inside. "Sir, if that is the case, then you can pay for the whole thing.".

He then erupted at me, grabbing his cane which made my crew began to go on standby thinking they were going to have to come to my rescue. He jumped to his feet, yelling something about if a scene was what I wanted then by golly, I was going to get one. He began to speak loudly so that all could hear how our food and service were crap and how he was going to tell every one about it.

I took a quick look around the floor and realized that most of the people there were friends and car enthusiasts. "On your way out, please feel free to tell any of my customers here how you feel.". I stated. I noticed Terry and Zeb sitting at the counter and knew that if he said anything to them they would probably jokingly agree. Both of them like a good dig and would probably say something like they don't know why they keep coming back other than they feel sorry for me or something.

I followed them to the cash register as the man continued to yell how he felt about our food and service. I handed the ticket to the cashier and said, "Please ring them up.". I then walked back over to the counter and sat down. I sat there shaking and trying to decide if I had handled it right. The cashier came by and said that they had paid and left. I said, "Did they pay for it all?" and he answered, "yes".

I then began to push it behind me and ordered up some supper before leaving.

The next day, Judy received a call and walked into the office with the phone. She told me it was the same man and that he said that he had never refused to pay for his food, that he felt that I was rude to him, and that he wanted compensation. She asked him if he wanted to talk to me and handed me the phone.

With Summer and Judy in the office with me, I began to engage with the man again. He told me that he had never said that he would not pay for his food and I reminded him of what he said at the table the night before.

He then told me that I had played games with him placing words in his mouth and I assured him that I played no game. He said that I made him feel like a criminal, that I had talked down to him like some kid who was trying to get out of his meal. He then said that he would have liked to come back again sometime but with me treating him like that and not giving him compensation, he would not.

I reminded him of the conversation the night before where he said that it was his first and last time there. I went on to say that was why I told him that he could pay the bill and the logic for that.

He then said that he had paid the bill in full and I thanked him for that. He then restated that I had made him feel like a criminal. I asked him how I could have come across that way as it was him that was yelling to everyone around how my food was crap and so was my service.

He then blurted out something that I could not understand and his voice went still. I thought that he had hung up so I hit end and placed the phone on my lap. "He hung up on me.", I said.

Judy, Summer, and I talked about it and I admit laughing out of frustration saying something like there is no good way of handling those types of situations. I asked both of them if what I had said was the same thing that I had told them earlier when we discussed the situation (Situations like this don't come up that often and I admit discussing them as I did right then looking for answers on if I did handle it right and what we could better do to handle a situation like that.).

No one likes situations like that and no one wants to lose customers. And, I admit that I don't always handle things right. I fished in my head for ways to better handle them so that in the long run, the customer is happy and you hopefully keep him as a customer.

I remember jokingly stating that I had given him the option to tell anyone on the floor. We laughed as we discussed what Zeb's reaction might have been. As I spoke, my phone rang and it was someone that we had helped out by finding something of his. He told me how much he loved us and appreciated me. It was exactly the medicine that I needed and I stated that to the two girls. I then handed the phone to Judy and noticed the beep beep beep of disconnect on the phone as she reset it.

Almost immediately, it rang. Judy answered and it was him again. He said that he had not hung up and that he had heard us whispering about him. He said, "I heard everything that you said.". Now, Judy knew that we had not said anything bad and said to him. "I don't know what to tell you sir. Lyle is my husband and there is one thing that I know about him.......he does not lie.". The man then accused Judy of calling him a lier. Judy said, "I don't know you sir.".

He then blew up at her, telling her that he was going to call the health department and was going to tell everyone on facebook about how he was treated. He said that he was a 66 yr old disabled vet and that he had never been treated like that before. Judy told him that she did not know what to say and he hung up.

There is no text book way of handling these situations and I have that side of me who wants everyone to like me but I must realize that just does not happen. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding.....maybe if I had just.....no, I just need to move on.

I told Judy later that it still bothered me but not half as much as it would if we did not receive so much positive feedback from our other friends and customers.

I do appreciate every soul that walks through our front door and I do desire to make them happy. I realize that by not hanging up the phone properly when I thought he had hung up on me, that it just made matters worse. I need to keep a positive attitude however and that can easily be done by the realization that even though I did not know that he was listening, that I didn't say anything detrimental.

Monday, August 16, 2010


My daughter, Carrie, called me the other day in tears. We had lost a mutual friend. Ray Gann.

I met Ray years ago in church and I grew to love the man. You could easily sum up Ray in two words....Faithful Friend. For he was always faithful. You could count on him to be there when you needed him to be. And.....he was a friend in the truest sense. One who was always friendly and would accept you just the way you were.

Through her tears, Carrie told me how much she loved him. How he would go out of his way to stop and say Hi to her. How he always seemed to be genuinely interested in what she was doing . Ray was also one of the main people involved in building Carrie's house.

I used to refer to him as good ole Ray Gann and that was shortened along the way to ole Ray Gann for some reason. It was not that he was old...he wasn't, it was just short for good ole.

Now to many Ray was a saint. But I am sure that was not always the case. Like all of us, he stumbled and fell a time or two. But....he knew something that others have discovered. And that something is grace. He learned that there was a God who accepted him the way that he was , not for what he felt he should be and that freed Ray.

For the love that he learned from God was the love that he gave to all around him. Unconditional acceptance. He learned the simplicity of accepting that love thus freeing his soul.

In the last few years, I have not seen Ray as much as I did before, but each time I did, he was the same smiling man. And knowing how much he did for Carrie warms my heart and yet hurts it at the same time, knowing how much she will miss him.

Ray's service will be held Saturday at First Baptist Church. Carrie is cutting her vacation short just to make it back in time so that she can say goodbye to our friend.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flashback Cruz BBQ

The first year at our new location, Joan from the Central Oregon Chevy Club stopped in and asked me if we would be willing to assist the Salvation Army with their burger sales at the local large cruz in that her organization put on every year. It turned out to be the start of a good friendship with Capt John of the Salvation Army but I would have no idea just what this small turn of events would lead to. I was merely heeding a call for help. No one knew Jimmy's capabilities at catering and this allowed him to show off some of his strengths also. That year, the Salvation Army earned more than they ever had in previous years.

The next year, we set ourselves to assist them again if they desired but as of a couple of weeks before, nothing happened. Then one day, Joan came in somewhat of a panic. She explained that the Salvation Army had pulled out at the last minute and she needed our help. She wanted to keep it in the same realm of someone other than a local business and she didn't know who to turn to on such notice. She pleaded with me to assist her and I agreed to do the best that I could.

Now, I had already struck a relationship with a couple of the local veteran's clubs through my friend, Ron, who helped me ready the building and through that, I talked to a retired officer, Dave and asked his advice. He looked at me and said, "I bet that is something that the VVA might be interested in heading up.". He gave me contact numbers and we quickly rose to assist the local chapter to run the BBQ that year. Thus began the great relationship with the VVA which has lead to many others including some close friendships. It has become the club's largest fund raising event of the year and has lead to them awarding me a lifetime membership and, just recently, Jimmy was awarded a sponsorship membership.

That first year brought some pretty interesting challenges including the discovery that our new grill that we had purchased from Costco had a fail safe device that when you took off one of the tanks, it would not allow it to turn back on until that side of the grill was sufficiently cool. This caused us a delay in the serving while I worked on it. My old buddy, Ron, was minding the till and a couple in the crowd began to complain that they felt they were waiting too long. One openly bitter lady complained to Ron, so he reached over took her drink and her chips, threw them in the trash, gave her back her money, and said "Now, does anyone else want a refund?". Befuddled, the lady left the line and all complaining stopped abruptly.

Over the years, the local chapter has honed their abilities and this year, they began preparing months before the event started. Assisting them has actually given me some pretty good perks including the ability to park right in the middle of it all so this year, I drove my own classic car in and out, ferrying goods needed to keep the BBQ rolling. It even afforded me a nice shaddy spot to park it.

The drive in and out was fun on it's own, like running a gauntlet through the various store booths on the path to their spot. Trinity went with me and likened it to the final scene in Grease as we slowly cruised through the massive crowd.

Now, many entrants had signs on their car that said "Please do not touch". If I would have been more alert, I would have made one that says, "Please touch". My little Model A Huckster got as many looks as any of the classy flashy cars around it. And I invited people to climb inside and get the real feel. I stopped this quickly when two little inquisitive children began playing with all of the knobs inside the cab.

The VVA was well organized with the wives and girlfriends manning the counter area while the guys did the 'grunt' work. Since many of them were Marines, I wonder if that is where that phrase originated from?

As a manager, one of my tasks is to assess my strengths. I need to know who is better at what and who I can rely on. So, I often find myself studying things like this with those same glasses on and this was not any different.

The two main anchors of the event were easy to pick out. They were the coordinators and the officers of the club, President Terry and VP LB. But, the one who stood out head and shoulders over all was LB. LB manned the grill. When I say manned, I mean that in the truest sense. He controlled all aspects of it and like a good sergeant in the field, he took the reigns and lead by example. In this case, I think he grilled just about every burger that hit the top of the BBQ. He has been aptly named and has on the front of his apron his title, "Grill Sergeant". Terry's strengths were in supply, taking charge of making sure that any backup was in place and that needed supplies were always available.

But, as I found on the 4th of July, LB was the man. The MVP you might say. With the Grill Sergeant running the grill, the line was never that long and the burgers were kept fresh and tasty contributing to what I believe was a very successful event for them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A day

A day consists of 24 hour of 60 minutes consisting of 60 seconds. And as I lay out under the stars shining down upon me, my eyes are open and the time is still, quiet, and slow. So.....I have decided to put down just a few of my thoughts so that I can go back out there and with my thoughts released, hopefully close my eyes once more and get the needed rest that my body so needs.

My thoughts were reflections of my last day. So many things happen in those short 24 hours. Both good and bad. I think it is important to reflect more on the good but sometimes the bad can grasp on you a bit.

Some of the bad, I will not or cannot talk about. There are some people that will read this that understand part of that statement. But two bad things seem to break into my thoughts.

First off, my back has become infected yet again. The scar from the previous surgery of a couple of months ago. My two surgeries that day lent to the total of 6 that I have had so far. As did my other back surgery, this one did not heal well. But this time, it became infected and I took a bit of antibiotics for that. This seemed to be healing well when all of a sudden the infection flared up again and my doctor (whom I am so much appreciative of and thankful for) has upped my prescription to a sulfur antibiotic. I asked her about the most recent biopsies and she said that she has heard nothing. Now, I know that things can be slow especially in the VA system but this might lend to it going in for a second opinion which also might mean that something might have been seen. I told her how that as she continues to find these things, it does weigh on my mind a bit and she told me she understands. I do believe that she truly cares......and does understand.

Secondly, I ran across two angry horn honking drivers today that although they were in the wrong, honked and glared at me. First at a 4 way stop. I arrived just after the car to my right and as the one to my left came across. The car on my right was split seconds after it's right and went right after he pulled out leaving me to release my clutch and accelerate as he crossed in front of me. Then, the horn of the man on my left blares as he speeds across the intersection glaring at me for what seems to be two reasons. First off, how dare I pull into that intersection in front of him and more importantly to him probably is why am I not slamming on my brakes. The funny part there was that I did slam on my brakes but anyone who has ever driven a Model A will tell you.....they don't stop on a dime. As a matter of fact, they don't stop on a yardstick either. The second time was this evening as I pulled out onto Hwy 20 from Jake's. I noticed a Suburban with a cattle guard was waiting behind me. The traffic from the east cleared so I pulled into the center section and put on my right turn signal as I waited for the traffic from the west to clear. As it did, I began to pull across and noticed out of the corner of my eye that the car behind me was pulling out from the intersection. He accelerated fast and began to go for the same lane that I was . I slammed on my brakes and took to the center once more to keep from colliding with him and as the latter driver had done, he laid on his horn and glared at me as he sped past. I smiled back at him and politely told him to keep his eyes on the road instead of staring back at me before he hit someone. Jayden giggled as I said that .

But the highlights of the day came from the good things. So many good things that like the minutes and the seconds collect into more than I can imagine. So many of them taken for granted and easily forgotten but should not be. I have written what would normally be a rather large post on the negative but as I reflect on the positive, my thoughts wane for details. Why is that?

For the good things far outweighed the bad both in amount and in affection. Maybe if I just lay down a couple of them, it might help throw my perspective to think more on them and less on those others.

I am blessed with so many friends, a great staff (for the most part), and great customers (the same). As I walk around the floor, busing tables or pouring coffee, I get to talk to many of them and in one very short span, I received so many compliments that I while I do admit warm my heart so, I am bothered that I have to reflect as I am to remember them. In one short span, I was told things like: "I have brought my friends here because they ate here the last time they were in town and this was one of the highlights of their trip." or "We drove all the way from Billings, Montana just to eat here." or "This was my first stop here since you moved and you are even better than I remember." and "Thank you for all that you do for this community. I am here supporting you because of that.". As I looked around the busy room after hearing that, I do admit that my eyes did well up a bit. I am so grateful that we are doing as well as we are in such a down economy.

I also had two different people who I did not suspect at all tell me that they read this blog. One of them (a former employee......Hi Penny!) told me that some of my posts are quite good. I chuckled at that statement because I know what she was saying. Sometimes you are inspired to write something that becomes something that is fun to read......while other times, mere information is written out which probably is harder. While I am sure all writers have similar problems, I can only do and write what comes into my head so....

Our hot tub that we purchased from one of our employees was hooked up today. As I talked with my electrician friend, Jim Vermillion, I fielded 4 to 5 calls on my phone, one after the other. Jim laughed and said, "You are on that phone quite a bit aren't you". While most of them are of business, there are some spattered amongst that also make your day. I remember catching up with my mom a bit as I drove down the road (yes, on my bluetooth) and hearing the smile in her voice that said to me that she was happy. But, my last call does weigh on my mind. I was talking to the guys down at the park to see if they needed any help. We back up the VVA of which has made me a lifetime member on their biggest fund raising event of the year. They sell hamburgers at the yearly Cruise In. I had driven my Model A in couple of times today and was quite tickled when it seem to draw just as much attention as many of those fancy primped up jobs in the show. Anyway, they did not need my help but they wanted me to know something. They knew of my struggle with the cancer and they were all behind me and want to help me file a claim on it next week. You see, in short, most all of my skin cancer has been underneath my clothes where no sun shines on much at all. I have read quite a bit about how the Navy ships sitting out in the gulf have 55 percent more Melanoma than anyone with boots on the ground. The premise is that the chemicals used flowed into the rivers and into the gulf and we sanitized it and drank it. One study seemed to show that the distillation may have enhanced the chemical. Now, no one knows the real reason.....I have always had many different types of moles but all of a sudden, many of them are changing.

I had walked out of the diner to get away from the noise as I could not hear the phone call well and when they told me of their support, I was so taken by it that I had to sit down. Just the fact that they thought so much as to even discuss my case amongst themselves as they worked but then come to a resolve that they want to help shows me just how good of friends they have all become. And even as I sit here on my computer in the middle of the night, I am taken by that gesture.

So, I guess that brings me up to why I am here instead of out there sleeping.....out there meaning on the deck in my sleeping bag laid out in the corner so that our heads can be together but our bodies laying apart, a small table by us to hold our water glasses.

Jayden asked to spend the night. He helped me pick out a sleeping bag at Walmart as I picked up my prescription.

I enjoyed my evening as I sat out on the deck reading while listening to him playing in our new hot tub. He dried off and we watched Jurassic Park III. He laughed that I did not fall asleep during it since I seemed to always do so (even during loud ones in the theater). We lay out under the stars and I listened. I listened to him telling me of his friends, telling me of his life, talking about things that excite him (presently fish and soccer), and finding every shooting star as that I did not see because I was looking the wrong way. I listened to his voice and I looked up at those stars and I thanked God......for the pleasure that I was having right then and there. My grandson, who I love so much laying there and talking away to me.....telling me all the things that a grandpa so desires to hear. But, like with so many other grandpas, my eyes soon became heavy and his voice was the last thing that I heard.....until that same voice woke me up. Jayden talks in his sleep. I lay there, once again thanking God. For my friends and my family. For the boy sleeping next to me who even though he is soon to be a middle schooler still is so very polite and caring of others. Who is so bright and creative. And who probably does not realize how much of his grandfathers heart that he has garnered and wrapped up.

Now, with all of that said and done, I will return to that spot on the deck and the hot night that we have that is perfect for sleeping out in. I will listen to the sounds around me......the distant traffic, the water as it runs through the ditch, the sounds of nature all around......but most importantly, the sound of the breathing of the boy whose head is next to mine.

Thank you God, for all of these huge blessings. Help me to remember the good.....and to suppress the not so good.