November 22, 2011
Thanksgiving is not a 'day off' for all. In fact, those working should be acknowledged: medical personnel, grocery store checkers, police and fire departments, Old Navy and K-Mart employees, hotel and food service workers and more.
Today's column features a day in the life of a waitress who will spend tomorrow serving others. Remember also our military men and women who are serving our country and their families who miss them.
A Day in the Life...
Peggy: Age 39, professional waitress for 10 years, married 15 years to Eric (a mechanic); they have one son
named Cody, age 10. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and works at a high-end hotel's restaurant.
7:30AM: Wakes, lets the dog out, makes coffee, reads the paper, sets table with breakfast items for her husband
and son while eating a yogurt. She makes bacon and eggs for them, leaving it warm as she grabs a shower.
8 AM: Husband and son wake; this is late for them as they usually rise at 6AM.It's a nice treat to sleep this late due to the holiday. She showers, irons her uniform, and gets ready for work, taking extra care to look her best for the expected holiday crowd at her restaurant.
9:30AM: She kisses her husband and son goodbye; they are playing a video game. They plan to meet up at her
mother's for Thanksgiving dinner later that evening. This is a good day for her to work, giving her the opportunity to make some much-needed holiday cash.
10:30AM: She is punched in and ready for work. She checks her tables to make sure they are set properly, attends the chef's tasting-of-the-day where she samples the day's menu, fixes her hair, washes her hands for the umpteenth time, and waits for the reservations to arrive. Policies are strict about little or no jewelry, no nail polish, and big smiles. Her tables arrive pretty much all at once and she is "slammed": running, getting
drink orders, explaining the day's specials, and refreshing breadbaskets. This establishment has busboys, but she has learned the more she personally services her tables, the better the tip. The next five hours are a blur: delivering drinks, serving wine, clearing dishes, etc. She serves many turkey dinners but also a lot of fish and
steak. She serves many families who are pleasant, but the stress happens when the adults want to hang around and chat over coffee and pie and their children want to leave. It's also very obvious which family member does not want to be eating out; for some reason they feel that showing attitude will make the situation better. She shrugs it off, experience having taught her not to let anything or anyone sway her while serving. She comes close to a major wipeout while carrying five plates when someone's toddler decides to make a surprise exit. She and her co-workers help each other through the busiest spurts. She's had five Sprites, three dinner rolls with butter, and one bathroom break.
5:00PM: Work is over for the day, she made $525 cash today thanks to the holiday fixed price on dinners and the generosity of her customers. She tips her busboys ten percent and carefully stores the rest of her money deep in her purse. She heads to the locker room with a cup of coffee, changes her clothes, and punches out.
She'd like to go home for a quick shower, but knows that everyone is waiting at her mom's house for her to arrive so they can start dinner.
6:15PM: Arrives at Mom's and helps her with the final meal preparations-un-molding the Jello and mashing the potatoes, assisted by her younger sister who is six months pregnant. It's a pleasant time because these ladies have a good relationship. The guys are eating sausage bread and watching football; it's a good bonding time for them.
7:00PM: Thanksgiving dinner. She eats heartily, loving every bite, going for seconds and pie. The adults sit around drinking coffee while the kids go play. Finally, the men and the women join together to help with the dishes. She's exhausted but happy to be with her family. After they chat and watch TV, sleep sets in as she and her family gather their coats and leftovers and head home. She is thankful her mother and father live close; her husband's parents live states away and they will come for Christmas.
11:00PM: Home. After putting Cody to bed, she showers and passes out.
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