When you wait tables at the same restaurant for almost ten years like I have, you eventually develop a relationship with some of the customers and they become your regulars. Over the years, after sharing stories about each of your lives, one day you realize they are no longer just a customer. They’re your friends.
John and Mildred come into the restaurant pretty much every Thursday for date night. If they know they won’t be there, it’s not uncommon for Mildred to send me a text message giving me a heads up so I won’t worry. I know about their jobs, their vacations, their families and they know all the same things about me. One night, John called Mildred his betrothed and then looked at me for my reaction?
“Are you guys engaged?” I asked, full of excitement.
“Finally,” Mildred told me.
“When’s the wedding?” I wanted to know.
John held his hand up, palm facing outward. “Let’s not rush it or anything.”
This was easily two years ago and the date of their wedding has been a running joke ever since. The only thing more consistent than their order, (Caesar salad to share, a burger, medium-rare with goat cheese and bacon for John and the grilled salmon with no couscous and sub green beans for Mildred with a side of sweet chili sauce for her and a side of mayo and Tabasco for him), is there difference of opinion on when and how the actual wedding would take place.
It’s been four months since I’ve waited on them (thanks, COVID), but since we live in the same neighborhood, we bump into each other hear and there. It’s always nice to see them and I especially love when Mildred sends me a text on a Thursday night to say hello. A few weeks ago, I made burgers at home and decided to have goat cheese and bacon on mine which merited a text message to Mildred to tell John how delicious it was. A few weeks ago, another text message from Mildred pinged on my phone asking for my email address. They wanted to send me a link to their Zoom wedding! I guess with nothing else to do during the pandemic, John finally gave in to a date.
Yesterday, I sat in my bedroom with my laptop and watched my two regulars get married in a backyard in upstate New York. As John sang a song a accompanying himself on guitar, Mildred made her way onto my computer screen and into their life as husband and wife. Tears welled up in my eyes because after years of seeing them almost every night, I know how perfect they are for one another. They make each other laugh, she calls him “mi amour” ever since their trip to Paris, he encourages her to continue her ballroom dancing classes and they truly love each other. When they were officially announced as husband and wife, I threw confetti at my laptop and wiped another tear from my face.
As a server, I feel lucky to call so many of my customers friends. It makes me proud that Mildred and John thought enough of me to allow me to be a part of their big day. Congratulations to them! I look forward to when I can put on my apron again and bring John a beer (21st Amendment, Brew Free or Die! unless there’s a beer special that also has a 7% alcohol content) and Mildred a cocktail (only one though, because it’s a school night). Waiting tables can be a mixed bag, but when you get to wait on people you care about and who care about you, it hardly feels like work at all.