Richard, Issue #3
Beam one of your radiant smiles, say “Hi” to your neighbor, and start asking questions. You may never sit away from The Doo-Dah Counter again.
When the apparent 25-year-old boy on my right turned out to be 46, I began to wonder if my advanced age was making everyone else seem young. It was a relief when he informed me that his youthful looks fooled lots of people. He has worked the last couple of years at a plastics company which hires 300 people and makes hundreds of products. He is one of a dozen inspectors who check samples to make sure they are the correct size, shape, and quality. If you buy one of those samples, you should be reasonably sure of not having any problems with it. We were both glad that we had ordered the blackened-chicken hash special. He was looking forward to taking his full stomach home for a nap during the only half-day that he gets off work throughout the week. He is putting in almost as many hours as I do at my job, which I have thoroughly enjoyed for 24 years. I am a retiree.
The youngster on my left, who may have been as old as the one on my right, but didn’t seem like it, lives in Switzerland where, as a native, he has developed a cool accent. Have you noticed that Kansas is the only place in the world where most people do not speak with an accent? Although he is here for some training at Cessna this time, he accompanies aviation customers to Wichita several times a year. He likes the people here and at The Doo-Dah Counter, which he frequents whenever he has a chance. I had the good fortune of getting the stool next to his at The Counter again the next day. (over)
The young septuagenarian holding down the next stool at The Counter had done occasional accounting work over the years, but her main career was making a home for her family. When they moved to Wichita in 1980, they settled on the west side, because her husband had a job at Learjet. He works on the other side of town at Spirit now, but they are not moving. Their three grown children all live in the Wichita area, and they enjoy being able to visit their childhood home. Besides, how can they move without discarding the things which their children have left behind? And how can they throw those things away? This was her first meal at the Doo-Dah Diner. She tried coming once before on a Monday and learned that the Doo-Dah weekend fell on Monday and Tuesday. I was not that fast a learner. When I started, I came on both Monday and Tuesday before I wised up. I see that the Doo-Dah is open Tuesday through Sunday now. Hot diggity!
Many people from the downtown hotels wend their way to The Doo-Dah Counter. The woman from Atlanta was quick to smile and had a captivating aura which is difficult to acquire before the age of sixty. She was here to give one of the lectures on communication disorders which she provides to several universities. Her husband is retired and plays golf. They spend part of each week together.
Last year I sat next to a 35-year-old man with a large book of music spread in front of him. I asked if he was going to sing us a song, which got the conversation started. He turned out to be Lucas Meachem, who had come from New York to sing the title role of the William Tell Opera at Century II. Upon googling him later, I learned that he was singing lead roles not only around the country, but around the world. One article called him America’s best baritone. We got acquainted and ate together several times. When he learned that I was going to be out of town at a bridge tournament the night of the opera, he invited me to the dress rehearsal. It was quite an experience having the auditorium almost to myself. After the rehearsal, we made arrangements to have lunch at the Doo-Dah on his last day here. Karla Burns, a local singer who has also made a name for herself around the world, plays bridge at the Wichita Bridge Center where I play. I called and invited her to join us, thinking they would enjoy each other. They did. If you look for them on youtube.com, you will, too.