Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ace Eight

Tonight is a night of what ifs? I have to expect that so why even worry about the lack of sleep. I will try and catch up tomorrow when if I find the right position, should be tired enough to get that rest. Then again, I might be up because of that, who knows. So, I will tell you a little of my day.

Jay and I were up early so that he could get ready for his basketball camp at Summit High. We drove to Jake's and met Christi in the kitchen. I was so proud of Jay as so politely told her what he wanted for breakfast and added the please at the end. After getting our meals, we found a spot on the counter and ate. I noticed a coupon in the paper for the Humane Society thrift store at 1/2 price. I like their price on hard bound books there and cut that in half is a great deal.

After breakfast, Jay and I drove to Summit and got into line. A buddy of his from the development league was just ahead of us and after getting his coach, they soon found out they would be on the same team. Papa was no longer needed so as the two boys walked on together, I slipped out. The Bend Restaurant blogger was in the line with his son so I said Hi to him. I kicked myself for not thanking him for his Best Breakfast mention in his blog that has recently garnered me some out of town traffic. I will have to remember to do that the next time we meet.

I drove back to the diner and cut the coupon out of the paper and drove back to the thrift shop just in time to catch the opening. A stack of books and one of my favorite brands of Hawaiian shirts and I was back on my way for the Band of Brothers.

As the room began to fill, I was introduced to a British man from WW2. I smiled at him and told him that I had something for him. Rushing back to my office, I drew out a coin envelope from the package on my desk. Returning, I knelt down and prefaced what I was doing. A couple of weeks back, a man had come in and asked me since I dealt with vets if I would help him find homes for items that belonged to his father in law that he did not know what to do with.

When I agreed and tried engaging in a conversation, the man was quite abrupt. He said that he had to go and was just going to leave the package with me knowing that I will find homes for the items. In the package were collectible coins, mostly military in nature. I looked on line and found most of them valued between 20 and 50 dollars. In the bag was 500 to 600 dollars worth of items. I have managed to find homes for most of them but there were a few 'Battle of Briton' coins. I had given one out to a British officer and this man was presented with another.

He seemed to tear up a bit and looked at me and said, "I was in that battle. I will cherish this gift.". If nothing else happened, that alone had made my day. Then another man was introduced and I met another Vietnam Navy vet. I have had an extra hat sitting on my desk that was given me that sort of sits on top of my head a bit, so I offered it to him. He glowed and proudly placed it on his head. Now, I felt even better.

The room soon filled with the loud din of old vets swapping stories. A couple of them complained of the heat in the room. I looked at the temp and saw that it had climbed to 78. "Can't you do anything about the heat in here?", he complained. I laughed and said, "Only if a few of you wish to leave. The room is full and the day outside is hot and humid. No air conditioner can stand up to that.". He did not like my explanation to much but it was what it was. He wanted me to open up a door and I laughed knowing that the temp outside was as high or higher with no breeze. I chose to ignore and be on my way instead.

With the meeting in full force, the back room filled up also along with the deck. Even with the two best cooks in the kitchen, we began to struggle. To top it all, we seemed to have one of those days where many people want more for no more price. One lady on the deck wanted to order off of the kids menu. The waitress told her that the kids menu was only for kids (it is priced at pretty much cost and is a sort of loss leader to bring in families). One of the men at the table said that the order that she wanted was for the child at the table and so the woman only ordered a couple of slices of toast.

I helped her with the meal and after delivering the last dish, the man snapped at me. He pointed at the woman who I could see was eating a kids meal and said, "She did not get her milk and we want one more milk for her (pointing to another woman). So, I poured two milks and had the waitress put them on their ticket. After returning, she informed me that the same man had chewed her out. He said one of the milks belonged on her meal. My waitress informed him that she was eating the child's meal (the child did not feel well and was nibbling on the toast ordered for the lady). She, in turn, let him know that the orange juice that the child was drinking was the drink for that meal. Later, she let me know that they had not tipped her at all probably because of the situation. I felt bad for her as she is held responsible for taxes on 8% of all of her sales by the IRS. If her service was lacking then I can understand, but the meal was hot and no one chastised the obvious switch of meals just to reduce their costs.

I know that I am rambling but this is the other side of the service issue. Some people want something for nothing and when the waitress tows the line and does not give them what they want, they are the ones who suffer. She is torn between it and I understand that but am grateful for her honesty.

The meeting finished around 12:30 and the front room soon cleared. The back room seemed to go at the same time and the whole building seemed to clear like air going out of a balloon. Judy ordered me up a small sandwich and we retreated to the deck and some peace and quiet? We were soon joined with one of our cooks who was loaded with ideas that he wanted to bounce off of me. He had noticed that a local grocery store was selling cheese that they claimed they smoked there and why couldn't we do something like that with our smoker.

Judy and I ate our meal, thanked him for his advice and started out the door to go buy some fruit for our trip to Portland. I was stopped by our credit card lady who was showing me her gift card system. Thinking it would take too long, Judy prepared to go with out me. Our conversation was short as she did not have all of the information needed and I walked out the back door and whistled to Judy who was driving off.

We drove down to a friends fruit stand down across from Fred Meyers. We have known Sam and Lynette Parla for many years, our families growing up together in school and being in the same church. Sam and my first relationship was not what you would call a good one. He was selling me vegetables and I could purchase them cheaper and more consistent from somewhere else. We were both probably a bit strong willed when it came to business back then.

We laughed later recalling when I first met up with him in church. We looked at each other across the room with the same thought in our heads. "Why is He here?". Both of us were stronger than our business heads and a friendship was struck. Sam is a hard working man and a good father and grandfather. I would gladly go out of my way to help support him.

I ran into Greg Cross at the stand. Greg is a artist. He has worked at the Bulletin for years. I first looked him up from his drawings in the paper before the opening of the diner. I hired him to draw our first kids menus. He did such a great job, giving us seasonal trucker themed art that they kids could color. I used them for years. Greg and I talked as our wives shopped for fruits and veggies.

We arrived back at the diner just in time for me to rush back up to Summit to pick up Jay. I drove back down to the nearest 7 11 and we got ourselves one of their free slurpies that they give out each July 7th and headed back to the house.

I received a call from the local Navy recruiters. They had a group coming to town and wanted to hold a car wash behind Jake's. I agreed to meet them there at 5:15. Jay watched TV while I laid down on the couch and soon dropped off to sleep. Trin woke me up to let me know that it was 5:15 and my appointment was waiting for me.

I showed the recruiters where my hoses and water was and agreed to let them hold their car wash. I told them that if they would have been a few hours earlier, I could have promoted it with the band of brothers which began a conversation on the group. They are coming in on Thursday to hold their car wash. I don't think they will make much as it is in the middle of the week but I wished them well.

After a quick supper that included some of Judy's fresh made fruit salad, it was soon time to play poker. I had intended on going out quickly as I wanted to make a early night, knowing that I was leaving early in the morning. This did not turn out so well that way and I soon found myself on the final table.

I had 13 blue chips left and was the dealer. I dealt myself A-8. I liked the hand and when everyone just limped in with only the blinds (4 blues), I raised it to 8. Three players stayed with me. The flop was J-10-3. Everyone checked and so did I. The turn was another 8. I watched the players as they checked again. I knew no one had anything so my 8 was probably the best hand. I bet my remaining 5 chips. Two people folded and the last one hesitated and then called me. The river was a 7 and we had not flipped over our cards yet. I looked at her and said, "I hope you don't have the 9", showing my winning hand of 8's. She smiled and flipped over a 9 and my night was finished. The nine gave her a straight from 7 to Jack.

I drove home and prepared for the next day laying out my clothes so that I can get going faster. As I prepared for bed, I received a call from a friend who told me that his brother was in serious condition in the hospital. I won't name names here as I don't have his permission but I know both of the brothers from different angles and consider them friends. I assured him I would pray and he informed me that he would keep me in the loop.

It kind of brought me down to earth a bit regarding my worries. In the morning, I will have a couple of pieces of skin removed and all will be well while my friend struggles to just stay alive. But, like the card game, anything can happen in this life. We need to appreciate each blessing that is placed in front of us and cherish each friendship.

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