Richard, Issue # 11
Many of you know Laura as Chief Driver of The Doo-Dah Diner Counter. Do you know that the keen empathy which makes her so popular with The Counter customers is also being put to good use in her capacity as manager of the people who work in the dining area? She has been at the Doo-Dah since shortly after its inception almost seven years ago. Fortunately for us, she apparently intends to stay. She has infiltrated the staff with her three grown children Autumn, Hunter, and Emily, and a nephew Zack.
The 20-year-old physical therapy student at WSU is working his way through school by getting experience in a physical therapy organization. Sounds like good planning to me. A couple of days earlier the counter stool on his right was occupied by a 20-year-old crew chief on a KC-135 Stratotanker. When I marveled at someone his age holding such a responsible position, he said he worked hard. At my age it is easy to think that elected government positions are better filled by senior citizens with more years of experience. I am not suggesting that people who are barely out of their teens should be president of the United States, but these young men are giving me second thoughts about what is important.
He comes to The Doo-Dah Counter about every other Saturday. He has the weekend off from his job at Locke Heating and Air Conditioning. This afternoon he planned to rehearse as a member of a non-profit gospel choir called ARISE, which is an acronym for African-Americans Renewing Interest in Spirituals Ensemble. The choir has been singing at events around Kansas since it was founded thirty years ago by Josephine Pace Brown.
As I approached the entrance to the Doo-Dah diner, a pretty young woman was waiting as she held the door open for me. I have found that to be one of the many advantages of being old. Both men and women open doors for me. When the hostess asked her which she wanted, a table or a seat at The Counter, I suggested the latter. It worked. Thanks to my age, she assumed, right or wrong, that I was not flirting, and she turned out to be a delightful lunch companion. It was her first time at the Doo-Dah. At the age of 21, she has one more year of schooling before getting her nursing degree. She starts working in the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital this month. One thing she likes about the E. R. is that it keeps a person on her toes trying to be prepared for the many problems which might arise. The lunch special for the day was a Monte Cristo sandwich. I was lucky enough to get one of the last ones before they ran out. When she said that she had planned to have one, but had come too late, she was lucky enough to find that I had saved half of mine in a carryout box, because a whole one was too much. As I started to leave, I picked up my cane and headed toward the other end of The Counter to say “Hi” to a familiar basketball coach from Wichita State University. He had never seen me when I was not holding down a stool at The Counter, so when he noticed how carefully I can walk, he asked, “Are you okay?” Then, on second thought, he changed it to an expression that you will hear more and more as you age: “You’re looking good.” My response was, “If I am looking good, why did you ask me if I was okay?” You would like him. I do.
It was her first time there on St. Patrick’s Day, and, with the luck of the Irish, she experienced both the Sunday buffet and The Doo-Dah Diner Counter. She contracts with businesses to help them improve. After having run in a primary election for the United States congress, she intends to continue in politics. She is pregnant with her first child, whose gender is still unknown. She grew up in Wichita, spent some time in Washington, D. C., and now lives in our Riverside area.
Smile, say “Howdy,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad.