Saturday, June 02, 2007

The time is near

Yep, it's almost here - time for me to head out the door, over to Clearfield to Hedges' Restaurant to meet up with twenty some of my old classmates and some spouses and special guests. My car is "loaded" -got the poster board in there, a smallish corkboard with a few more photos on it, three old yearbooks and an old album I did finally manage to locate. I also have a bag holding twenty bibs that I made in it for my old friend, Bernie, to select what she would like to take home with her for her little granddaughter, Emma, and maybe a couple for the new grandchild due -I think she told me -in August! All that's left is for me to stop at the store and pick up some little gold stars that I forgot to get before. I want them to put by the photos of the six classmates who are now deceased.

I also have two disposable cameras stuffed in my purse and, sitting beside my purse -so I don't go off and forget them - the photos that people mailed to me or brought by the house for me to scan for the photo display.

I have a little typed up thing to use as a guide - of sorts - for the little welcome speech I am supposed to give too. Boy, now's when I wish I could write comedy! Or, better yet, that my sense of humor didn't so often lean a bit on the "blue" side. I've always loved off-color jokes but somehow, I just don't think some of my all-time favorite jokes would be too well-received at this gathering. Now, to relate them to a bunch of truck drivers if I were still waitressing at the truckstop -now that's a horse of a different color! They'd love 'em.

Which reminds me of something from my waitressing days - long gone by now.

There was one driver in particular who ran for Consolidated Freight (CF) out of their terminal in the Poconos. He had a steady bid run from the Poconos to Akron and back home again and he also had a reputation, of sorts, for totally enjoying running a waitress a bit ragged at times. A "ball-buster" is really a good term for Eddie. And, he used to love to try to rile me up any way he could. But I found something out about Ed too - he was Polish and he absolutely hated Polish jokes. Well, back then there were frequently a lot of those type of jokes floating around and I deliberately made sure that I memorized everyone I possibly could so I had a big repertoire of them and when he would come in and start giving me a hard time, I would start ripping off with one Pollock joke after the other till he would ease up on me -or get totally ticked off at me too sometimes.

One night, I caught him with a really cute joke but boy, he did get highly ticked at me over this one. All you do is get a paper bag and have the person put their hand in it and then, you just stand there and don't say or do anything. The person with their hand in the bag inevitably starts to wiggle their hand and asks what's next and here's the punch line then - "I knew if I got you in the sack you wouldn't know what the heck to do!" Well, when I pulled that one on Eddie he got really miffed at me. The fact I let fly with a couple follow-up Polish jokes didn't help matters either. And when he and the guy running with him that night got up to leave, the other guy pulled me aside and said "Jen, do you know Ed's Polish and he HATES Polish jokes?" And I looked at that guy and smiled as I said "Yes, and why do you think I pile them on him!"

But, Polish jokes and ball-busting aside, he was actually one of the nicest drivers underneath it all. When my daughter, Carrie, started to work full-time at that restaurant on the midnight shift, the morning after her first night on midnight shift, she came home, threw her stuff across the dining room table and announced to me that "You might like Eddie, but I DON'T!" And I thought then oh boy, if she can't get along with him , she's going to have a rough road ahead because he generally stopped in our place every time he ran.

I asked her what had happened and she said when he came in, she was bending over a table, cleaning it off and resetting it. He'd never seen her before but he knew my daughter was coming on midnight shift, so by process of quick elimination, he knew this was Carrie, my kid. And he walked up behind her, leaned down and told her "You look like your mother, you walk like your mother, you act like your mother and you talk like your mother!" And here was Carrie who really didn't want any of the customers to know she knew me, much less that we were related!
I told her the best way to deal with Eddie was, when she saw him heading across the sidewalk, to think of something to do to him first - get the upper hand there -and he would be fine with her. And, as it turned out, I was right about that too. When she stopped working there three years later, he was her absolute favorite driver! She just loved him to pieces like a father-figure and he treated her just as he would have his own daughter then too.

A couple months after that happened with Ed though, one evening on my shift, a Roadway driver came in and as I set him up, he remarked to me that he'd been in there the night -actually early, early morning that day and that Carrie had waited on him. I told him not to let her know that he knew she was my daughter and then, related to him what had happened with Carrie and Eddie on her first night. He laughed and said to me "Well, she does walk like you, and she does talk like you and look like you but there's one very big difference." I asked what that might be and his response was "She's much more polite than you are!" I just laughed and told him that's all he knew cause he didn't have to live with that little wench!

I just figured since I was remembering a few things from my past, I may as well throw in some stuff from my work days too!

Gotta go! Gonna turn into Carrie - my daughter - which means I will be late and I can't have that now, can I?


Linda said...

Hope you have an absolutely wonderful time! I'm sure that there will be many tales to tell after the reunion!

The Shack said...

Wow! Eddie sounds a lot like my Dad. Polish, loved to pick on waitresses and even worked for CF at Akron. I don't think Dad minded Polish jokes though. Hey Eddie, if you read this, do you remember Andy from the Akron (Richfield) terminal?

Paula said...

Hope you had a great reunion. Love the story about Carrie! I waitressed for many years myself. Ah, the stories that come out of those places...

Shelby said...

I too am wishing you a grand reunion!!!! You must tell us all about it.