Sunday, November 30, 2008

Granny Rocks!

She tottered toward us and Michael said, "Oh, please, you're kidding me...," I looked up from the menu to see a tiny woman, tottering- that's the only word for it. Her hair was flame-red, an unnatural color at any age. But, on a woman of an incalculable age, well, it was truly startling. Her face resembled an apple past its prime. You know- the last apple, the one that waited weeks to be eaten until someone looks at the puckered, wrinkled, soft skin and decides it's better pitched in the trash.

She was slightly hunched in the shoulders but you could only see that when, turning sideways, she stopped to chat with each table before continuing her turtle trek to our table. I said, quietly, "Don't worry, there are lots of tables in this section, she might not be..." and before I could finish, there she stood in front of us saying with a surprisingly strong voice, "Welcome to Oglebay! First time here?"

"Yes," we confirmed while I continued to study the menu. "Well, you're in for a treat. I'd say you can't miss with the buffet...we have prime rib tonight. The ham's pretty good, too. But, you tell that missy carving it to give it to you your way and don't take no for an answer!" With a smile and a salute, Michael responded in sharp military form, "Yes Ma'am!" She cocked her little head and said, "I like you, son!"

Ancient Waitress continued, "The menu is good too, though, so I'll give you some time to look at it. What would you like to drink?" I said a diet soda would do and asked for water as well. Michael said he'd have the same. With that, a huge sigh emanated from the wee chest. "Oh, I hate it when they ask for water. Are you sure you want water, too? I just hate that. Used to be a time the bus boys set water as part of the table setting. That's when we did things right, not like these days. Okay, I'll bring you water, but you better drink it after I do!"

And, after being momentarily shocked by that response, I examined her and realized that in the wrinkled face haloed by shockingly red hair, resided two bright, impish eyes as sharp as they could be. A slight smile played on the thin lips painted red-orange to match the hair. As if by magic, right before my eyes, the apple turned into a gloriously interesting Human Being.

I couldn't help smiling; beaming, in fact. What fun to have such an interesting person as part of what would simply be just another meal at a restaurant. And, to think, when I first sat down, I was hoping we wouldn't be 'stuck' with her! What could I have been thinking? She was our topic of talk the entire time Michael and I were in line picking our choices. Turns out, she was right about the prime rib, it was very tasty, and the young, bored-looking 'missy' at the carving stationed who didn't even look at me, much less ask which cut I wanted...

Through the meal, we became part of her group she checked on regularly. We learned about "Granny," as the staff call her. You could tell it's a badge of honor in her eyes. "I've worked here 41 years. I'm 84! And, my heart's not so good now, so my dern doctor won't let me work more than two days a week. Oh, I love it here! If I didn't come in, I'd miss all my friends and everyone I work with! I just love it. But, it's getting harder for me..." And, more details and history flowed with the evening.

I noticed the diners all smiled at her. They spoke with a slight reverence even when teasing her in return to her wise-cracks. The staff stepped lively to help her when she automatically began clearing a vacated table. She spoke to each one by name; sometimes resting her hand slightly on the bus boy's arm when she said, "Thanks." She is a vital part of the wait-staff, even if it is a part that moves rather slowly. What is the magic quality some Humans possess? Is it that we are naturally attracted to people who love life? Do we resonate with that energy? Do we respect the effort we see from one so old and still so vital?

Later, she met up with me while I was looking over desserts. Quietly, she pointed at two choices saying in a conspiratorial whisper, "Don't eat that candy...and stay away from that cake. Those two aren't worth the space they'd take up in your mouth! This one's usually always good, and you can't go wrong with the pie. Of course, it's your choice, though." About the cake, Granny was right again. And, I told her so.

"Whad' I tell ya?! I tell all my guests what's good and what's not. I figure if I want them to come back again, I give 'em a choice, but I tell them what I know. After all this time, seems to have worked for me and them. But, my boss, don't always like that I do. Too bad! I don't work for him, I work for the people at my tables. And I need to take care of them right so they visit me again. Make sure you do!" She winked, collected the check, and walked on.

It was a great way to celebrate our second anniversary. Michael and I enjoyed the wonderful light show at Ogelbay. We visited the museum and great shops there. For hours, cars from all over the area and Ohio and PA snaked through the winking lights. We saw some really unique things.

But, the most memorable part of our evening came not from the zillions of colored lights used to light up six miles. It beamed brightest from a little spit of a woman- ancient and irreverent. Imagine doing a job for 41 years and looking forward to being on the job with everyone who works with you. Imagine being 84, and despite an ailing ticker, being a vital, important, and respected part of the world around you.

Something to aspire to, don't you agree? Michael and I were dazzled by her light and blessed to have this amazing woman take care of us for a couple of hours. You rock, Granny! Thanks for the lesson about what is possible in life. May all your days be merry & bright, just like you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The best effect of fine persons is felt after we have left their presence.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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