My mother grew up in New York City never learning how to drive a car before she left. When she moved to Frederick, MD for college, she fell in love with the country life. She loved gardening and flowers. Her gardens were quite unorganized and messy compared with my father’s orderly rows of onions and cantaloupe.
When the daffodils came in, she would send my niece off with scissors and a grocery bag to gather them from the neighbor’s lane. I remember walking in the kitchen and the table covered with mounds of daffodils. My mother would put vases of these flowers all over the house. She was as reliable as crocuses in the spring.
“Aunt City, can I have some of your country ham and cheddar spread?” I asked.
“Yes, honey,” she said, and then she would move her big body around that small kitchen.
With Dad and my three brothers in there too, aunt City might bump into you four or six times, just putting things on the table. I think she enjoyed the contact.
“Stevie, do you want that on homemade bread and Ritz crackers?”
“Yes, Aunt City, and a big glass of your spiked Egg Nog please.”
The calories consumed in the next hour probably totaled in the millions.
The residents of the Record Street Home for the Aged are my responsibility as far as breakfast, lunch and dinner are concerned. Thirteen women with an average age of eighty-nine. While cooking I also have to answer the telephone.
“Good morning, Chef Stephen, Record Street Home, how can I help you?”
“My mother is in the infirmary and I would like to come by
with some of her Depends underwear,” some lady says.
“Let me send you to the Nurse’s Station.”
I have worked here five years and have not totally figured out the phone system. I have cut many people off by accident, especially when I am busy in the kitchen. The responsibility and the help that I am given have caused me to lose my temper on several occasions.
The residents, who are hard of hearing, have complained to the director of yelling and banging in the kitchen. She said one more incident and I am history. She yells this at me. She has threatened me with dismissal four times. The one time I quit she called me the next day and for the first time in four year she said, “You do a good job. Please come back.”
I don’t handle stress well. It can cause me to eat like a hog, smoke mother nature, and watch weird movies on Netflix. It is a good thing I only work on weekends…
I am the kitchen supervisor.
My assistant, seventy-four year old Loretta, suggested to me that I better get my ass in gear or breakfast would not make it by 8 am. Half-asleep, I flipped another pancake and told Loretta there was nothing wrong with getting a little behind, winked, and moved my hips in and out as if I was making love. As she went back into the dining room, she paused and said “Stephen,” making sure I noticed as she moved her rear end back and forth and then side to side.
For a second I thought, Not too bad, then I came to my senses.
Unbelievable. There was a trainee at work today.
She was seventeen, tall and lanky like a super model. I’m fifty-five, not bad looking for a fat person. She had short blond hair. My hair is turning grey, my excessive nose hair is still blonde.
In a busy kitchen you sometimes accidentally bump into a coworker.
This happened near the refrigerator. I was looking for something to eat, and she walked behind me and bumped her leg into my leg. I acted as if I didn’t notice.
Later, I showed her how to make cream of potato soup.
For the first time in a long time, I enjoyed being at work.
After a three week layoff for a broken rib, I get back to work tomorrow.
I am going to tell my kitchen assistant, Loretta, not to get behind me and smack my butt or anything. If I slip and fall, it could be fatal. If she sees me falling, she is to immediately get underneath me so I don’t hit the hard floor.
When I make comments like this to her, she says that I’m so full of shit my eyes are brown.
I may go to see who is the nurse on duty and tell her what my situation is. If it is Nurse Julie I’m going to tell her that if she sees me laying on the floor to immediately give me mouth to mouth resuscitation.
In a work environment you have to make your coworkers aware of your heath needs.