The world of food service can be a difficult way to make a living. It’s hard enough to deal with the public on a day to day basis but dealing with the public when they are hungry requires a whole new set of people skills.
Financially, a waitperson is dependent on and limited to the generosity of the patrons they serve. They provide the best possible service in the hope of making the dining experience more enjoyable and in the hope of receiving a form of financial gratitude from the customer. Basically, the server serves and the customer tips. That’s the way it usually works.
But in one particular town, the waitress not only left her customers with a wonderful dining experience, she also left the biggest tip of all. And it wasn’t just about service … it was about life.
Mary lived in a small Texas town 90 miles south of Dallas. It was the same town where she had grown up, attended high school and even led the school band as drum major. She worked as a waitress at a local restaurant for over 40 years before being forced to retire due to health reasons.
Mary had two main loves in her life: high school sports and the high school band. Although her own children were grown and out of school, Mary continued to attend every football and basketball game and every band marching contest for the next 28 years.
She knew the kids by name. She knew the coaches by name. She even rode on the band bus to out of town games. She was as much a fixture of local high school sports as the team colors or mascot. She would talk sports to anyone anywhere. Professional players who would sometimes eat at the restaurant where she worked knew her on sight and would always ask to be seated at one of her tables. Mary was a true fan in every sense of the word.
Mary passed away on December 9, 2009 at the age of 71 due to complications from surgery. That same year, both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams wore “Miss Mary” bands as part of their uniforms and declared her as their “guardian angel”.
And although she would never be seen again in the stands at the local football field or gymnasium, it was evident she would always be remembered. Because you see, Mary was a Fairfield Eagle. And as the last line of the school song which she had played and sung for so many years stated: “Eagles will always fly.” I should know. Mary was my mom. So long to the Fairfield Eagles’ number one fan. You are truly missed.
At the end of our lives, all of us will be remembered in some way. But the greatest impact we will ever have is the impact we have on people. In the end, it is not about the things we have … it is only about the lives we touch.
© 2013 Dave Davlin All rights reserved.