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“Right behind you,” I hear someone say as I pour coffee into the dark blue mug, trying to balance the three waters “with lemon” as well. I grab some straws on my way back to table eleven. They always stick me in the red section. Tables eleven through twenty-three, oh I knew it well. Everyone else had booths, I’m stuck with tables; and Debbie knew just how to ask, “Would you like a booth or a table?” Why in the world would you ask that? Of course they are going to say booth. But I go on, trying to grab as many parties from the front as I can.
As I walk up to the table, the man looks at his watch; I can tell this will be a great hour or so of waiting on him.
“Hello everyone, are you ready to order? Or do you need a few minutes?” I say grinning.
“We’ve been ready,” The man with the watch says.
“Okay. How about a nice Turkey and Dressing Dinner?”
“No no, I want the Meatloaf.” His forehead starts to crease.
“Okay sir, with the mashed potatoes?”
“And brown gravy?”
“And green beans?”
“No, I want carrots.” He says pointing to another dish on the menu.
“Okay, and what type of bread? We have biscuits, rolls, pumpk-“
“I want blueberry bread,” He snaps.
“I’m sorry sir, that’s not in season right now.”
“I want to see your manager,” The man says with infuriation, his arms crossed over his chest, another member of the table is shaking their heads and tapping their fingers on the table.
“Okay, I’ll send him right over.”
I walk to the back, to the manager’s office. Papers scattered everywhere, a cup of orange juice sitting next to Chris, the computer screen flickering.
“What Hannah?” He says with a sigh, not even looking up at me.
“Table eleven wants your attention, they are upset about the blueberry bread being out of season,” I say, trying to maintain poise and keep myself under control.
“Okay. I’ll be right out. Manage your other tables, okay. You’re doing a great job.”
“Thanks,” I say as I walk out the door to check on Larry at twenty-two and the couple at thirteen.
That man keeps glaring at me, but I just go to the back and collect stock.
“Oh thanks honey,” C.C. says to me with the stack of plates in hand. , “You’re a life saver.”
“No problem,” I say.
I grab a tray and put a Chicken Club Sandwich with French Fries on it, grabbing ketchup on the way to Larry.
“Here you go,” I say as I put the plate in front of him, “Do you need anything else?”
“No, I’m fine. Thanks.” He smiles at me and I go to check on twenty-two.
“Does your food taste okay? Do you need more napkins?”
“Oh no, we’re fine.” The guy in his twenties says.
“Okay, just holler if you need something. Don’t forget to save room for dessert.” I smile and go to the back.
New silverware was brought out, so I start to roll. Napkin, knife, fork, spoon…Napkin, knife, fork, spoon. I get to my third roll before the phone rings.
“There’s no person on carry-out, someone get that,” Chris yells.
“I got it,” I say.
I grab the phone and say, “Hello thank you for calling Bob Evans, this is Hannah, did you know Bob Evans offers Catering perfect for all occasions?”
“Why yes, um can I get a Turkey and Dressing dinner?” says a man with a husky low voice.
“Yes you can. Would you like mashed potatoes with that sir?” I feel like I’ve been through this before.
“And chicken gravy on the turkey and the mashed potatoes?”
“That’s fine.” He says.
“Okay sir, your order should be ready in about fifteen minutes. Can I have your name?” I say in a hurry.
“Earl.” He says blankly.
“Thank you Earl, would you like to take advantage of our curbside service?”
“No, I’ll just come in. Thanks.”
He hangs up and I take a box from under the counter and go to grab his biscuits. I put the box on the lower counter next to the carryout station.
Back at table eleven, the party has left. A tip of about three dollars for a fifty dollar check. Hooray?
I get a brown rough tray and a white washcloth and go to the table. I try to put things on the tray so that the weight is even. I pick up the tray with one hand and wipe the table with my other. Playing a human balancing act. Holding the tray, I go to the dishtank. I separate the tall glasses and the short glasses. I put the mugs in their special crate to be washed. I clean of the plates, and put the silverware in a box. Everything has a place. Everything has a unique spot to be put away. The person on dish duty smiles at me, I never could remember his name. He is tall, and wears glasses, but his name escapes me. Well, back out on the floor.
“You’re cut. “ Says Chris. Yeah I get to go home.
“Okay,” I say with a smile. It’s already 8:30, I got here almost four hours ago and I still have out three to do. My tables have all left, but the hostess cleaned them off for me. I’ll have to thank her later. My tips wait for me under the dessert flip-menu.
I grab the turkey dinner off the heated counter and put it a medium sized carryout bad. I put the biscuits on top, and grab some butter and throw it in. Actually it’s not butter, it’s whipped butter topping.
For my out I had to lower the coffee to two regular one decaf, restock everything on my side, wipe down the counters, put the juice tray in the back to get washed, put clean water in the towel bucket, put more tin teapots on a red tray, empty and wash the iced tea container, fill ice, put the creamer in a jug, roll silverware, and empty the trashcan.
“Bye Debbie. And thanks for clearing my tables.” I said on my way out the door.