Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here's To The Waitresses Who Serve

I was going to call this post "Here's To The Ladies Who Lunch," (from Sondheim's musical "Company"). But, given the lunch in question, I thought I would instead toast the waitresses who have to serve the ladies who lunch.

But First, The Dowager Duchess
My Mother The Dowager Duchess continues to improve dramatically as a result of the surgery. Unfortunately, she's very weak and very tired and unable to appreciate the other improvements. The only pain she currently feels is from the surgical healing. The nerve pain and back pain are gone. Amazing. The splint came off her hand yesterday afternoon and she's been exercising that arm and hand ever since. She couldn't close her hand yesterday. When I arrived this morning, she was holding a pen and signing her name to something. Stunning. She has physical therapy and has actually been able to sit in a wheelchair, take a few steps, and do some other things -- with no pain. Exhaustion, however, doesn't allow her to do much. So, she tells me she's miserable and I tell her it will get better.

The Ladies Who Lunch Eat
To maintain my sanity, I've been taking long (and fast-paced) walks every day during my afternoon break from the hospital. Today, I walked more than 4 miles round-trip (6.5 km) just so I could have a meal at Jay and Lloyd's Deli on Avenue U in Brooklyn.

When I arrived at the deli, after my 2-mile walk in the sweltering heat, I was greeted by the stares of a group of 16 women.

All were in their 70s and 80s... except for one, as I later told my mother, who was I thought between 112 and 117. She, however, had some new parts -- nose, lips and cheekbones, at minimum, topped off with a platinum wig that would make Dolly Parton proud.

Since they were all staring (well, glaring) at me when I entered, I smiled and said, "Hi." No one responded. They just stared/glared a bit longer and then turned back to their conversations, punctuated with very loud complaints about the food, the waitress, the chairs, the water, the air-conditioning, the busboy, and each other. All in stage whispers.


I learned it was a birthday party when the woman next to the platinum blonde roared, "Well, is anybody going to bring out the birthday cake?!? Some of us want to leave!" And then in her stage whisper, "My God! These people are idiots." She then continued,  "You know, we're going to have to pay for Betty too. She likes to pretend, but she never has any money." Betty called across the table, "That's not necessary. I can pay for myself." "Shut up, Betty," her dear friend snapped. "I'll tell you when you have to pay." And then the stage whisper, "My God, that woman hears everything!"

The waitress brought out the cake (that the group had brought to the restaurant themselves) with one candle. They (the staff) sang the birthday song to the honoree, while the 15 other women continued their conversations.

My pastrami sandwich (on rye), square potato knish, Dr. Brown's Cream Soda, and cole slaw? Delicious!

The floor show? At least there was no cover charge.


  1. I am sure you are even happier that the DD is your mother after witnessing some other possibilities! Such good news on her progress, but I can imagine that she is tired and frustrated. Keep those feet of yours moving; good for body and soul. Cheers.

  2. I bet the staff appreciated your glowing positivity! Yikes, what a bunch.

  3. Mitchell it is nice to hear your mother is better.I love your story about the lunch

  4. good news this, and a delight to read too.

  5. I want that lunch! Especially if I can have you as a lunch partner... if that's the way ladies who lunch behave, may I never be one!

    That the Dowager Duchess is doing so well thrills me to the core; forward progress! It may not be quick enough to suit her (not that I can fault her for that) but she IS moving forward and that is wonderful.

  6. Are you sure that all those stares weren't because your buttons/zip were undone?

  7. I'll need some new part if make it to 112. Good to hear mom is improving. The strength comes back - it takes time.

  8. So happy that your mother is doing better. I always tell myself that it's good to see the sorry side of folks... that makes me appreciate the nice folks even more. However.... I might have a hard time with that theory if I'd encountered that lunch bunch.

  9. I would have loved to be in that deli and see that show. How fabulous.

    And, was the DD signing an autograph? i imagine she's quite the celebrity!

  10. That sounds like the perfect Lunch! with the exception of the Brooklyn chatty Cathie's.. who will most likely be down here in FLORIDA in just a few months! In the meantime.. I'll be wishing I didn't have to count my calories so I can go to 3 G's and get the identical lunch you had.... In my dreams! :-) Bon Appetite!

  11. Good news about your mother!

    As for the ladies who ---, my mother used to work for the state of Texas. She told me when the women in the office went out for lunch together -- this was the 1960s -- they would not tip the waitress because men were supposed to tip. My mother always tipped and the others complained that she was spoiling the waitress. Even today, waitstaff in many places make a very few bucks -- well under minimum wage -- on the gratuitous assumption that diners will make up the difference in tips.

    I suppose if the waitstaff could view the whole episode as free entertainment, maybe it helps them get through the day!

  12. I bet the staff appreciated your glowing positivity! Yikes, what a bunch.

  13. That sandwich looks incredible. But cream soda makes me hurl.

  14. You have wonderful observation and description skills - the 'ladies who eat' made me laugh out loud. Could be a radio sketch.
    P.S. I'm a regular reader of your wonderful blog but hardly ever post a comment, so thought it was about time.

  15. Im sorry the Duchess is so weak but I am relieved her pain has improved!! Please give her my best wishes and a hug. Hugs for you too! I know it must be very stressful and worrying. xox


Please visit if you would like to comment or stay up to date. I stopped posting here and reproduced all previous posts, as well, 25 September 2018. Thanks!!!