February 10, 2014
I was to speak in Crescent at the church that I grew up in on Saturday evening. I was both excited and scared. It was where I met the most influential man in my entire life in Ned Landers and it was where I spent much of my time as a youth so you might imagine how I felt.
I awoke and looked out the window to a heavy layer of snow and it was still falling. My telephone rang and it was Kim, my bookkeeper who's kids and their friends make up the bulk of our buss people. Kim was snowed in and could not get one of them to work. So, I told her that I would go over and bring them in.
I plowed through the deep snow in Judy's rig, driving through the back streets to her house. I felt that I dared not stop for fear of getting stuck. Many people were already out shoveling their driveways. I spied a small black thing sticking out of the snow off to the right. It moved and as I looked closer, I realized that it was the black head of a mallard duck. It was down in the snow with it's head looking around, I guess trying to figure out where to go.
I picked up Matt and got to work around 8:45. My entire crew was there and in place. 2 dishwashers, 2 prep cooks, 3 line cooks, 4 servers, 2 bussers,and 1 cashier. I took a quick look around the room and found 7 customers. It did not take much math to realize just how much money I was losing.
To add to the matter, my lot was plowed but the area coming into it was not. People would have to come through the deep snow to get to me. As I waited for my breakfast, I looked out towards Costco and saw a car stuck in the snow at our entrance off of Purcell. I grabbed a couple of kitchen crew and headed that way.
A man had gotten stuck driving over the curbing that you could not see from the depths of the snow. He told me that he was on his way in for breakfast. We pushed him off of the curb and he drove around to our Hwy 20 entrance.
I contemplated closing when a few more customers showed up. One of them stated that other restaurants were not open so I figured that just as long as they came in, I would stay open. I knew that it was not going to be a stellar day but no one said that you would make money every day. That is a part of being in business.
I knew that I was not needed so I looked at other things that I needed to do. I stopped up at the hospital to see my friend and brother, Jack Cooper. Jack is 89 and had a quadruple bypass on Monday. I looked in his room and found him fast asleep so I just left a note stating that I was there and drove off to my house to shovel snow.
I cleared out my driveway and shoveled off my car. The snow was still piling up and I felt it's 4 wheel drive might be needed. I finished clearing the drive and fired up the car, letting it warm up before I took off back down to the diner. Judy asked me if I would wade out into the back yard and bring in a couple of bird feeders. We had spied a woodpecker in the neighbors yard just sitting down on the cross bar of their fence and looking over the top. By the time that Jay and I were ready to head down to the diner for lunch, she was busy taking pictures of the mass of birds that were using our deck for protection and food.
Judy let me know that she was concerned over me driving all the way down to Crescent. I told her that I had committed and was not sure what to do. So, that was tugging at my thoughts as Jay and I got in my rig and headed out. Immediately, I struggled in the snow and ended up throwing the car into 4 wheel drive low. It went through the deep snow with ease. We saw car after car in the ditch and off of the road as we made our way down to the diner. I spied my buddy, Frank, shoveling at his place of business, Printer Resources and drove in to say hi. Frank had been a youth pastor once and was up on the etiquette of public speaking. He said that I should call my brother up and leave it to him since he was my contact in the church.
Before lunch, I did just that and Marvin told me that he would let them know that I was not able to make it because of the weather. I found out the next day that the event had been postponed so all was well there. It took a load off of my mind however.
The diner was pretty full. Casey had sent a couple of workers home and he asked me how I felt about shutting down early. I felt it was a good idea so he began preparing signs stating that we were shutting down at 3. I drove Jay back to the house and made a discovery on the way home....my car had stuck in 4 wheel low. It seemed to be ok for the time being, however, as I could not go very fast anyway.
I drove back down to the diner, stopping at the shopping center down below to purchase another shovel to take the place of one of ours that had broken. The store was sold out which didn't surprise me a bit so I figured we were just going to have to put up with a broken shovel.
A lady called in looking for someone to plow her driveway. I laughed. "You are calling a diner to find a snow plow?". "You do so much for the community", she said, "I knew you would know who I could call.". I looked it up in the yellow pages and gave her a few numbers. I chuckled with the cashier over the conversation. "Makes sense to me", he stated, "you know pretty much everyone in town.".
The crew still did not need me so I found work out in the office paying bills while Casey ran the diner. Around 2, Casey came in and asked if he could just close. Only a couple of diners were inside and it seemed like the right thing to do so we shut her down. As I continued to work on the bills, the crew shut down the diner.
Terry, our 2 oclock wait staff showed up. Someone had forgotten to call her up and tell her she was not needed. Her and her husband had driven 2o miles to get to the diner. I apologized knowing how angry that I would have been if it had been me.
By 3, they were ready to go. The cashier had gone out and swept off the wait staff cars and we all watched as Kevin, the cook got stuck trying to get out of the lot. We all pushed as he struggled to move his car. Cindy, one of the wait staff ended up pushing him with her car. Between us and her car, we finally managed to get him on his way.
A lady in her Subaru had gotten severely stuck just outside our lot, so we went over and pushed her out also. I slipped and fell as we pushed and noticed a twinge in my right shoulder. I shrugged it off and we got her going.
I was the last to leave and I set the alarms and drove back to the house. As I got to my turn off of Bear Creek, I found a SUV blocking the road. A man was shoveling it out. I stopped and he stated that he lived back in the subdivision. I got out and we both pushed as his wife drove. Once she got it going, she did not stop so the man ended up walking in with his shovel. I got back in my rig and headed in myself. The man walked down the middle of the road so I drove slowly behind. Eventually, he got off to the side and I drove past and into my driveway. As I popped up my wipers, he walked past and to his house. I looked over and smiled but he did not even look up. I then realized that he had not even said thanks.
I told Judy that I would not be going to Crescent and that made her quite happy. I went out and re-shoveled the drive that now had another foot or so on it. When I came back in, my shoulder was hurting pretty bad. Judy said I should draw a bath and soak in it and that seemed like a good thing to do. After the bath, my shoulder felt better and I lay down on the couch while Jay and I watched the Olympics. I woke up 2 hours later with it dark outside.
Jay thought roasted chicken sounded pretty good for supper so I headed down to Safeway. I got my stuff and got into a huge line at the self check outs. 5 more lines were open and one looked pretty short so I bounced over to it. But, as things go, the checker had problems with her order and I watched as customer after customer went through the self check. I figured it would be a better bet so I changed lines back with a smile. It always seems to happen to me that way when I try to get out of the store faster. I wondered if the chicken and french bread would still be hot by the time I got home.
Supper was great as Jay and I watched the Blazer game. Then we put the Olympics back on. As was the case in the afternoon, I dropped back off asleep. Jay woke me up telling me that he and Judy had seen some unusual lights over towards the diner. He said they were like spot lights. I got up and looked for myself but the lights had stopped by then.
So, all tuckered out from the day and with my shoulder still aching, I took some Ibuprofen and headed off to bed. I lay there contemplating the day. The duck, the drives in the deep snow, the many people that I saw out on cross country skis and snow shoes, the stuck cars, the business that might have broken even for the day, the lady on the phone looking for a snowplow, the waitress who drove in 20 miles only to have to just go back home, the many stuck cars, my car stuck in 4 wheel low, the woodpecker in the back yard, the talk that I had prepared and was not needed, the unfriendly neighbor.....roasted chicken and french bread......time with my grandson......happiness......sleep.