Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Legacy..not a "lifer"

Today would have been my mom's 68th birthday.  And although there are many stories that I have and continue to share, I thought today would be a good day to talk about one of the most precious gifts she ever gave to me...
 You see, I'm a people person. And I got that from mom.  When people ask me if I came from a big family, after I go through the rundown of marriages, siblings and divorces, I attempt to explain our  house growing up.  There were always people at our house, mostly unrelated people!  But to mom, they were our family.  And thankfully me and Beck are still in contact with alot of these people.  They loved her as much as we did.  There were card games, cookouts, hair cuts and perms! (even for the was the 70's)  But lets get to the point.
  All my life my mom worked in restaurants..well at least the first 14 years.  Every time I'm counting down the money drawers at work I think of counting her tips when I was old enough to help.  And of course most of you know that she bought all of our birthday and christmas gifts with those tips..most notably that brand new Gretsch snare drum for me when I was 8!  Court and I save our change now..and when I watch her roll the coins it makes me think of mom.  Sometimes I have to do the math to realize that at the time she was only 33.  She loved the restaurants she worked at. She tended bar, cocktailed, cooked, and ended up manageing a truck stop cafe!  Which brings me to my favorite story...Mom was covering the graveyard shift at the truckstop on I-74 one night. She came home the next day (a saturday) and asked me if I knew who Ozzy Osbourne was.  I was 12 at the time, and big into KISS, but didn't really know much about Black Sabbath or Ozzy.  She handed me a piece of paper with three autographs on it..Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge,and Randy Rhodes...They had stopped in the cafe in between gigs in Cincinnati and Indianapolis..they were traveling by bus and Ozzy by plane..two weeks later Randy was killed in that infamous bus crash.
  Although I've always played music, and went to school for broadcasting, the restaurant industry has always been my home. She always supported my dreams, but when it came to having a job, she would always say.."Everyone's got to eat, just make them want to eat with you"  So for the past 24 years I've "worked" in this industry.  And from fast food, now it's called quick service, to home owned, to corporate, I've gotten through using mom's philosophy.  If they can't, won't, or don't eat at home..make them feel at home when they eat at your place.  There's a "label" in this business. For people that have worked for a long time..they call them "lifer's".  The reference to people serving prison is appalling to me.  So to all of those people you know that have made a "career" out of being a server, bartender, busser, cook, or even manager, this is not a "sentence" but a job that can and is very fullfilling.
My mom never got to see me go into management for my new company...but I know she's very proud and happy for me..after all I'm her legacy...happy birthday mom, thanks for making this a great Tommy's World.


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