Gina, my favorite server at one of my favorite lunch spots, Hartley’s, is not only verrrry good at what she does, but she is fun and interesting. Worth a post of her own.
When Linda and I still worked at the truck manufacturer, which was near this restaurant, we got in the habit of going there once a week, always asking for our favorite server, Gina. But, now that I’m retired, this restaurant is on the other side of town, and also I don’t eat lunch out as much, so I don’t get there nearly as often as I would like.
So, last week when my friend Candy asked where I would like to go for lunch to celebrate my birthday, I chose Hartley’s. That was certainly all right with her because it’s a favorite of hers too.
I got there first, so Gina and I had a few minutes to catch up. Candy had told her it was my birthday when she called to make the reservation, so Gina had decorated the table. She does that any time she knows a table will be celebrating a special event. So when she wished me a happy birthday, it brought to mind a story regarding her birthday. I reminded her of the time that Linda and I were coming in on her birthday, but we didn’t have a birthday card at the office, so (necessity really is the mother of invention!), I took a sympathy card and adjusted the wording “a little bit” so that we could use it as a birthday card. Gina surprised me by saying that she not only remembered that card but still had it. I was impressed that she is a “saver”; I’m lucky if I can find my birth certificate.
In our conversation, I mentioned to Gina that I now wrote a blog, and that I felt a “Gina post” coming on. Her immediate response was, “Oh-oh, I see my Jeff story being told!” And, she’s right. Here it is.
Gina is a football fan, and her all-time favorite player was/is a guy who played both his high school and college football in our state, and for a while was even the quarterback of the NFL team based in our state’s capital. I’m not going to use his name because I don’t want to hurt his feelings if he uses Google to find things written about him. I’m just going to call him Jeff.
Anyway, after Jeff’s star had fallen (he found out just a rocket arm isn’t enough to be a top-notch NFL quarterback) and he was bouncing around the NFL as a back-up quarterback here and there, Gina went on a trip that took her through the Fort Lauderdale airport. When we saw her after her trip, and asked how her vacation had been, she said it had been great, but that the high point had actually been in the airport. As she was walking through it, she saw Jeff, her hero! She rushed over to him, told him what a big fan she was, and asked if she could have her picture taken with him. She said he readily agreed. Not a surprise to me, because by that time, he had been knocked around quite a bit both by the league and by the sportswriters, so I’m sure it was refreshing for him to meet a still very enthusiastic fan.
Now as it happens, Hubby and I went to a Sheriff’s Conference in Fort Lauderdale just a few weeks later so, of course, flew into the same airport. And as we walked through, I did actually keep an eye out, in case lightening would strike twice and I would see Jeff, because I would have loved to be able to tell Gina I saw him too! But, I didn’t.
But when we returned from our trip, I couldn’t resist telling Gina a little “fairy tale” to tease her about her hero. The next time I saw her and she asked about our trip, I told her it was great, but actually something interesting had happened in the Fort Lauderdale airport … I had seen Jeff hanging around, watching people. And, I was pretty sure he was doing that in hopes that his one fan would come through again!
Luckily she does see the humor in her faithfulness to her somewhat has-been hero. As proof of that, I offer this second story.
For Halloween that year, all the servers at the restaurant dressed up. Linda and I happened to go in that day, and laughed out loud when we saw Gina’s very clever (and appropriate) costume. She was dressed as Jeff, in the full football uniform even down to the black stuff under her eyes, but she had added a little something. She had made a small bench out of styrofoam and attached it to the seat of the uniform pants, in “honor” of Jeff’s current benchwarmer status as a back-up quarterback! So clever.
Candy and I had a “celebratory” serving of our favorite Hartley’s dessert … raspberries in a liqueur with whipped cream on top.
If I had only known, I would have worn a black top so that you would be able to see that, typical Gina, she had put a birthday candle in my whipped cream! (Notice Gina’s artwork on the table top?)
Thank you Gina, for making lunch on my birthday a real “event” and for all the great Gina memories!