Velma’s youngest daughter
of all her children was the key worker at Wimpy’s, the café, and she was
concerned for her aging parents because of the work involved. Seventeen
employees on a 24-hour basis almost took a genius to manage. Every person
was hard working, loyal and needed the job. This put a stress on the owner
and her family to keep everything in the food business top-notch. There
could be no slip-ups to cause a loss of trade.
“What is the matter with
this water?” One of the waitresses asked.
“It smells like oil? The
customers won’t touch it.”
“Velma, you need to look at
the inside of this dishwasher!” Rosy, the elderly lady, who operated the
fast, powerful commercial machine watched everything about her job as if
she was a proud executive or C.E.O. of some great business. Nothing
slipped by Rosy. The woman was a little like a standard in the kitchen
with a steady devotion to her job. The dishes came out of the speedy
machine so hot she had to wait until they cooled a bit to put them on the
shelf above the machine. Rosy was Native American of the Cherokee tribe
and quietly went about her work with never a comment but she was not happy
“Something’s wrong with
this dishwasher!” Rosy told Velma.
“My goodness! Rosy, you are
right! Something is going on here I do not understand.”
“Lee! Come look at the
inside of this dishwasher.” Velma called to her husband. “It is as black
In his casual but careful
way Lee examined the machine. Pocket-knife in hand, he scraped some of the
black coal tar looking material off the inside of the metal cylinder. As
he stepped back from it, his gaze fell on the field across the road, where
a crew of workers, was drilling an oil well.
“Seems to me as if our well
has been contaminated!” Lee was a strong advocate for keeping water, air
and the land from pollution. “It’s bottled water until it can be decided
what to do. Sure can’t use this stuff. No wonder the folks leave it on the
table without drinking it.” Lee looked sick.
“City water will have to be
hooked up. That’s going to cost something.”
Velma was as depressed with
this happening as her husband. Part of their advertisement was the good
water they served.
“Might it be a job for new
owners?” Velma’s youngest daughter used this as a tool to encourage her
parents to sell the café. “I have someone who is interested in buying.
Will you be willing to let them come look?” She pressed for what had to
happen sooner or later, anyway.
“Kind of like, selling one
of your kids,” Velma observed. Velma and Lee’s heart had been in the café
business and neither of them wanted to let go. Velma’s new job was making
the sale inevitable, though. This last situation with the water was only
the tip of the ice-burg as far as they could see. Equipment was getting
old and replacements are very expensive with commercial equipment. The
air-conditioner was struggling along with needing constant repair. They
felt it was only a short time when that would need to be replaced, maybe,
for around 10,000.00 dollars. A new ice maker had already cost them
somewhere around 2000.00 dollars. The list was endless, it seemed.
If they had been younger it
would have been no problem. Certainly the business took care of itself but
continually dipping into the profits would require time to settle. They
didn’t have that time.
“Café business gets in your
blood,” Velma commented and it was true.
She had worked most of her
life doing café work. Her step-father operated a small café successfully.
Lee, when he was a young man, had served the public during Oklahoma
prohibition with a café that sold Near Beer, a non-alcoholic beverage.
That restaurant was the first Bar-B-Q place, The Pig, in town and he and
his brother’s business was the best.
Now, with some regrets the
sale of Wimpys went through quickly and that was the end of their café. No
more could their friends get a hamburger and pay for it on Tuesday.