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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 4

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 now.

“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 as tar!”

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.

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