The Enchanted Trail…LEMON PIE
I have held a number of jobs throughout the years. One of my favorites was as a waitress at a small restaurant in my hometown. The Enchanted Trail Restaurant was a place to grab a quick bite while catching up on the latest town news, a local hangout for teenagers, and the perfect place to hone my people and work skills for the future.
I started working there at age fourteen. During the school year I worked every weekend, and in the summer I worked full-time. When I left for college, they were flexible with my schedule. All I needed to do was give them a quick call to let them know I was coming home for the weekend. It got me a few extra hours and put much-needed jingle in my pocket.
Pearl and Aimé owned the restaurant. They had previously owned a number of businesses in our small town and were well-known. Pearl was a hard worker, a fair person, and she knew the business like the back of her hand. Her husband, Aimé, did some of the heavy work, hauling barrels and cases of beer, moving things that needed to be moved, watching the cash register, and keeping us all in check.
Years before, as a teenager, my mother worked for them, too. She and their two daughters were great friends. I worked with their granddaughter, Sonja. When Sonja started working, Pearl sought me out and asked me to train Sonja. I considered it a great compliment because there were other more experienced workers there.
Juliette, the baker, a relative of Pearl, worked a couple of days a week whipping up her delicious desserts, puddings, and pies. One day, after Juliette had worked her magic, there were several pies on the sideboard, lemon meringue, apple, blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry rhubarb, all calling out to the customers. Those tempting smells permeated the dining room. My order pad was ready and so was I.
I approached a large group of folks who had just finished their main course. I took their dessert orders. Each ordered something different. I ran back to the kitchen and started with the lemon meringue pie. I moved it closer to me on the sideboard, placed the pie cutter on top of the pie and started to cut it into eight slices. Just as I got to the last piece Aimé came around the corner and saw every single piece of pie slip and plop on the floor. I heard an angry gasp and then he sputtered and told me I had destroyed the WHOLE pie and asked why I do that! I held back tears and replied I didn’t do it on purpose. He glared at me and said I needed to be more careful and not so clumsy. Then he huffed out. Mortified, I ran to the bathroom while someone else finished my order for me.
Please understand that Aimé was very good to me. He always called me ‘little girl’ and was, more often than not, very patient. In fact, he was a bit more patient with me that with some of the others. But, the more I thought about his reaction, the more hurt and stubborn I became. I decided to buy every piece of pie I had dropped. I grabbed a slip and wrote down eight slices of lemon meringue pie, used my tip money and paid for every single piece. Then, I went back to work!
Later that evening, when Aimé gathered all the slips and was ready to cash out, he noticed an order for eight slices of pie. He approached me and asked if I had done this. I said that I had since he had been so upset over the incident. He immediately said he would not accept the money and tried to give me the full amount. I argued with him and let him know that I did it because he was so upset. He went directly to my ‘tip cup’ and put the amount in. I didn’t say a word, knowing he was chastising himself for letting his aggravation get the best of him.
Aimé and I never had another altercation in the many years I worked there. We respected each other and worked well together. He knew I was doing the best I could and I always gave one hundred percent on the job.
.Believe me, from that point on, each time I used the pie cutter, I remembered Aime and the Lemon Pie incident.