A Country Bumpkin’s First Job
With fear and trembling, I met with the boss of Canton Café at his restaurant in Mason City, Iowa. I was l7 years old, and had seldom been off of the farm.
I was staying at my boyfriend’s home, that is, I would be if I could find a job. It was nice to have some parents in the home. My boyfriend, Paul, had a job on a farm and was only home for Sundays, usually.
Well, I took a taxi to Canton Café, and tried to walk in looking as neat and mature as possible. The owner began to fire questions at me. “How old are you?” “seventeen” What experience have you had?” I replied,”I have never worked in a restaurant, but I have done a lot of work on the farm. I do hoeing in the garden, and a lot of other chores, like washing dishes and canning vegetables.”
“Well, if I should hire you, do you think you could wait on people, clear the tables, keep water glasses filled?” I assured him that I felt that I could.
“Would you be on time to work? This is very important, if my employees are not on time without a good reason, I will let them go.” Again, I assured him I would be on time.
Then, the bomb fell. He added, “And, I will expect you to work every third Sunday.”
I’m sure that my face fell. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, and I did not believe it would please Him if I worked on His day, and I told the restaurant owner that. He said, “Well, I don’t agree with you, but you stick with what you believe. I will hire you, and you will not have to work on Sunday.” “I will expect you to do a good job while you are here.” “You may report for work tomorrow morning.”
Oh how I thanked the Lord. When he had mentioned working on Sunday, I visualized that he probably wouldn’t hire me and probably no one else would either.
Bright and early the next morning, I was there. The other waitresses, Faith and Mary, informed me of my duties, showed me how to perform my duties, and I was assigned 5 tables which I was to be responsible for. Things went amazingly well.
At first, the other 2 waitresses were angry that I didn’t have to work on Sunday. They thought they would have to work fewer Sunday’s when a new waitress was hired.
After about 3 weeks or so, I felt that Faith began to like me, and mother me somewhat. One day Faith caught me as I had just finished filling glasses on my tables. She turned me around and said, “do you realize Mary is taking your tips?’ I said, “What is a tip?” She said, “Just stay here a minute and watch when she goes by the table where your people are just leaving.” I said, “Of if they left, I must go and clear the table.” She said, just wait a minute.”
Sure enough, Mary swiftly picked up something from my table, and slipped it in her pocket as she walked by. When Mary came with her dishes, Faith asked her, “Where is Verna’s tip?” Knowing she had been caught, she replied, “I was just picking it up to give it to her. They just left and I saw them lay it down and I thought I would just bring it to her.”
She handed me the tip, and I really believe she never took any more, as I began to watch for tips, and retrieved quite a few.
Well, the next summer, I got a job packing eggs for a produce company, and was married the next fall. I had several employments at seasonal jobs during the early years of marriage which prepared me for the life of a farm wife when we began to farm, and I had to run tractors, combines, etc.
The little seasonal jobs were not lucrative, but in the end, farming treated us well, and I feel that I matured a great deal from the opportunity I had been given, to work at the little Canton Café.
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