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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)

TITLE: Sammy Joe’s Place
By Delores McCarter


The magazine publisher waved me in her office as she finished up with her phone call. I took a seat in a nearby chair and looked around her office. Grace Glover was one of the most successful magazine publishers in the Southeast with three successful magazines in circulation. I was honored to be selected as “Charleston’s Woman to Know.”

I was a little nervous because I wondered why she wanted to interview me, a part-time stay-at-home-mom and Jane about town.

I designed my own career as a business consultant. My fiancé and I wanted to get married and start a family, so I designed a business that I could enjoy and would fit in a future with a busy husband and a growing family.

“Mrs. Duncan, I really admire what you do for this community. You are an inspiration to career women as well as stay-at-home mothers.”

“Thank you so much,” I said, feeling my face get warm.

“You have a great opportunity of working in so many professions. What would you consider to be your most enjoyable job?"

“Hands down, it was working in my mom’s restaurant,” I said.

The publisher looked up at me and smiled.

“Sounds like you have a few stories about the place,” she said.

“Oh, I could tell many stories about that place,” I said.

“What do you remember the most about working there?”

“I loved being able to cook the food that I wanted with the instant feedback of the customers.”

“How old were you that summer?”

“That was five years ago, so I was nineteen.”

“What makes it so special?”

“Well, I love create some of the dishes that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. While my mom was taking care of my aunt who just had a baby, I had those plates turning while keeping the food from burning.” I said, using a popular expression at Sammy’s Joe’s.

“I’d love to know what specials you served that summer.”

“Oh, I made a lot of food. I made all kinds of muffins for breakfast, rosemary roasted chicken, lasagna, turkey pot pie, roast beef for dinner and about a hundred soups and sandwiches.”

“Did I hear you correctly?” She asked.

“Yes. I worked Monday through Friday for ninety days. There were some soups that I tested and didn’t use and there were some soups that were snatched up by my family before I could even add them to the special.”

“So, did you also handle the work schedule, handling payroll, paying the vendors, handling deliveries, and all the other stuff that restaurant owners do?”

“I learned to do it all, but I have to admit, I had a lot of help. Mom had Ms. DeLuca and she made things flow so much easier.”

“Is that Ms. DeLuca, the fashion designer?”

“Yes. We are still very close.”

Greta jotted something on a notepad.

“Ok, let’s go back to those one hundred soups and sandwiches. I eat at Sammy Joe’s a lot, so I know I had some of those specials.”

“I’m in the kitchen a lot so I’m sure you probably had some of my cooking.”
“Did you make the grilled cheese and tomato basil soup?”

“That was one of my entrees.”

“What about the chili corn carne with cornbread muffins?”

“Oh yes. The firefighters eat that right up.”

“What about the chicken tortilla and those little pretty muffins?”

“Those were confetti corn muffins and
they were tasty. I added some peppers, carrots and just a hint of pepper jack cheese.”

The publisher sat back in her chair again and started laughing. First, I didn’t know what to make of it, but finally, my curiosity got the best of me.

“What is so funny?” I asked.

“I ate your lunch almost every day and I’m surprised that I didn’t get big as a house. In fact, by the end of that summer, I managed to lose eighteen pounds and I never gained it back.”

“I’m glad that you lost weight, but I hope that you enjoyed the food.”

“Enjoyed the food? I’m about to offer you the opportunity to be our next cooking expert! That is, if you’d like to join the team.” Greta said.

“Well, if I get to come up with cool recipes and work in that fabulous test kitchen, I’m all for it.”

“Welcome aboard.”

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This article has been read 329 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 03/15/12
Lots of vivid descriptions in this piece. Good job.
C D Swanson 03/16/12
The story was brought to life with this descriptive entry. Nice imagery and great dialogue. Good job.

God Bless~
Noel Mitaxa 03/19/12
I've just had breakfast and I'm hungry again already - no, make that ravenous!
This is so well written I can almost smell it.
Great work in your descriptions and in the flow of the story.
Edmond Ng 03/21/12
An enjoyable read. Excellent writing and plot. Well done!
Kathleen Langridge03/22/12
A very interesting piece. Lots going on. I do have some red ink for you, though.

“I’m in the kitchen a lot so I’m sure you probably had some of my cooking.”

This seems to be in the present tense while the whole experience is set in the past. Then the following is a comment by the Editor and should be in a separate paragraph. Probably an oversight.
“Did you make the grilled cheese and tomato basil soup?”

I sensed a story within a story with the mention of Mrs. Deluca. Not certain how the reference to her being a fashion designer fit in the story line.

I did like it though. In analysis I wonder if there was so many unanswered issues that the wonderful ending lost some of its spunk?
Nancy Bucca03/22/12
Oh, what a delicious entry! Congratulations on your win.
Nancy Bucca03/22/12
Oops, sorry about that last part. I was looking at the wrong column. But I did enjoy reading this - very, very much.