Tammy’s in Love

Summer 1957

The Diner

 

Was the gnawing in my stomach from hunger or worry?

I pulled into the parking lot at Mom’s Kitchen and entered the diner. I took a stool at the counter and perused the one page plastic menu.

A waitress clad in a pink uniform with a hankie in her bodice pocket and a cleavage the depth of the Grand Canyon approached me. “What’ll it be, sweetie?” She pulled a pencil from the dishwater blond bun on top of her head.

I placed the menu in its metal holder in front of me. “I’ll have a hamburger and a Coke.”

 “Do you want fries?” She cracked her gum.

 “Yes, please.”

 Pink uniform straightened and filled her diaphragm with air. “One burger with fries.” I resisted the urge to cover my ringing ears.

Being the only woman in a restaurant full of truck drivers and others who looked like workmen, I tried to make myself invisible. A small juke box sat every few feet along the long counter. Thankful for the one in front of me, I turned the knob and viewed the selections.

“Blue Suede Shoes,” by Elvis; “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino; “Only You” by the Platters and “Wake Up Little Susie” sung by the Everly Brothers. Ah there was Mom’s favorite crooner Bing Crosby singing “True Love” with Grace Kelly. I searched in my purse for some money when Doris Day’s voice came over the speaker, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be” (Que Sera, Sera). Was it an omen? While I desired true love, was it going to be more like whatever will be, will be with Rick?

Pink uniform placed my plate of food in front of me. “Here you go, sweetie.”

“Thank you.” I took a bite of dill pickle, and slathered the bun with mustard and catsup.

“Hey, Gladys, how about some more coffee?” One of the patrons at the end of the counter held his mug above his head.

 “Hold your horses.” She picked up the coffeepot from the warmer and headed down the row of customers.

 A sinister voice hissed, “Where you headed, little lady?”

 Although I tried to appear stoic, I shivered while ignoring him. Then Gladys game to my rescue. She leaned down real close to him. I’m sure he could see the entire Grand Canyon cleavage. “Now Bucky, you don’t want to scare her, do you?”

His noticeable overbite reminded me of Bucky Beaver.

While Gladys had Bucky’s attention, I took a last gulp of Coke and dropped my crumpled napkin on my plate. Then dug in my purse and pulled out enough money for my tab, plus a nice tip. I put the cash next to my empty plate and quietly escaped, not letting the door slam behind me.

After I locked my car door, I pulled onto the highway, headed north. I looked in my rearview mirror for any headlights following me from a scary driver with an overbite. Then I said a silent prayer. God, thank you for Gladys— my angel in a pink uniform with a hankie in her pocket.

 

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Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment