WELCOME TO THE DOO-DAH COUNTER
Richard, Issue #5
The woman on my right showed some interest when I told her that I have the privilege of writing the diary which is spread around the Doo-Dah Counter. She writes about education for The Wichita Eagle. I mentioned the last item of the first issue, because it is about Matt Bogart, the star of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Century II Concert Hall last year. He is back for Guys and Dolls this week (the end of June.) While she and I were conversing, Matt came up from his table to greet me. It was a pleasure to learn that he remembered me from last year. It was an even greater delight when he invited me to join him at The Counter for breakfast the next morning. Both the reporter and the server Laura, who drives The Doo-Dah Counter, took a picture of the two of us and sent me a copy. It was an unfair photo, because, although his face is that of a musical star, it is unable to boast the lines of maturity which mine has acquired in an additional 40 years. There was a rather long line waiting outside the door when The Diner opened Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, but seating was immediate for everyone.
We sat at The Counter where, thanks to my pokey eating habits, we got acquainted with two different young men who took turns sitting to my right. Both were here from faraway places on aircraft business, and both seemed to enjoy being a part of the conversation. I learned that, along with being a star on Broadway and off, Matt has participated in two dozen musicals in Wichita. In my ignorance, I did not know at first that Matt was a star on the stage. I took to him, as you would, because he is one of these people whom you cannot help but like.
The 28-year-old at The Counter works for Universal in Florida. He is in Wichita to coordinate with Chance Manufacturing on the creation of a ride to be used in a new amusement park in China. It is his job to see that the park gets built. He has previously lived in California and worked for Disney. When asked what kind of ride Chance was making, his only response was that it was “awesome.” He apparently wants to surprise us. (over)
The husky New Mexican who sported a big black cowboy hat, no longer rides bulls. That is for younger people whose bones knit more quickly. He owns and manages the bull-riding show which was to take place at the Intrust Bank Arena that evening. It has been seen in 32 states and in countries as far away as Brazil and Australia. He provides the bulls for the contestants. His North Carolinian lunch companion with the baseball cap is the announcer for the shows. Their Triple D fare, half orders of three of the most popular breakfast items, Banana Bread French Toast, Crispy Corned Beef Hash, and Tanya's Benny, plus a biscuit with sausage gravy, gave them away as probable first-timers at The Doo-Dah Counter. Their hotel had sent them there.
It was her second time at the Doo-Dah Diner Counter, and she was able to relish the second half of a breakfast burrito, but she had to ask for a to-go box for the first half. She will spend two more weeks in Wichita to complete residency in her family-medicine training, which has taken eleven years. She chose family practice because of the variety. Her plans are to specialize in hospitalized adult patients in Oklahoma City. Having been interested in artistic painting all her life, she made her first attempt at doing one herself last night. I was so impressed with the result, that she gave the picture to me. I felt quite honored. When I suggested that she might have to forget about being a doctor and become an artist, she explained how she could do both. As a doctor in a hospital, she will work just every other week. That gives her twenty-six weeks a year to paint if she wants to.
Have you ever had breakfast with the city manager of Wakeeney, Ks, population 1800? Well, I have. I timed it just right at The Doo-Dah Counter one day. He was eating a waffle with chicken and chocolate syrup. He came to Wichita with his wife, who, as a member of the Wakeeney school board, was attending a conference at Century II. He was looking forward to bringing her to the Doo-Dah buffet the next day. For 21 years he has enjoyed the variety of problems that present themselves to a city manager.
Smile, say, “Good morning,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad.