Lyle's Blog

Race Night

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was up rather late on Tuesday night after renting the movie, Valkyrie, and watching it after the game with Casey and Jessica. What actually took longer was the fact that we paused the movie in the middle to talk about it a little and how it relates to modern day. I might write about that a little in the future but I just want to preface right now that I didn't get to sleep until the early hours of the morning.

I slept hard and well but was still quite tired when I was awoke early in the day. Judy was getting up early to serve her favorite group, the High Desert A"s. We have a Model A coming sometime this summer and have joined this group. Other than church, this is the first social group that we have ever joined and Judy is anxious to go on some short trips with them after we get our car.

While Judy got ready, I drug myself out of bed and began to make ready my day. I took the daily household chores of feeding the pets so that she could spend more time getting ready. I let Mia, our miniature Pom, out in the back yard to do her business while I fed the cats. Upon letting Mia back in, she rushed up the stairs to go and visit her favorite person. I noticed her running a little weird and she stopped at the top and looked back down at me like something was in trouble. Then I looked down and realized what it was. Mia has rather long hair and some of her business this morning had grabbed a hold of that long hair. A small log lay at the bottom of the staircase. Shaking my head and wondering if this was a sign of problems for the day, I scooped the small dog up and carried her rather gingerly into the bathroom where Judy was making ready. An effective cleanup over the toilet and then a follow up in the sink were needed to freshen up our little girl with Judy making sure that I had not put the hot water on to high for our precious little girl. It was not exactly what I had in mind to do first thing in the morning still dragging from lack of sleep.

Judy left and after a good cleanup myself, I was off to join her. We both had breakfast with the group and then I went through my list of things to do to get ready for the day. I checked with Jim on how many watermelons to get and he said that six would do us quite good. I had Summer start making our sign to go out on the road. She came to me and told me that the tape had ran out so I jumped in the car to buy some tape. While I was out, Judy called me to let me know that the Microwave in the waitress station had gone out. I decided to make the trip a multi task trip and picked up my ten watermelons at Cash and Carry, a local store for a small microwave, and a final stop at Ace Hardware for the tape. I figured that I would get some other things there that I found in their ad that came out on Monday. I asked for some of those things and was informed that the ad was not in effect until Friday and was only for Memorial day weekend. I wondered out loud if the items would still be there on Friday. The very nice lady said with a grin, "We open up at Eight AM.". She then went on to tell me that she would be at the BBQ that evening if her and her husband could get their car a running.

With everything picked up, I backed up my rig to the back door of the diner. While I opened up the microwave box, the crew unloaded the ten watermelon. Jim came up with a smile. "Did you get a really good price on the melon?", he asked. "I think so.", I returned. "How many did I ask for?", he questioned. "Ten.....er Six" I had bought nearly twice the amount that we needed as Jim figured that we would need five and asked for six to insure that we had enough. "We will have watermelon on the salad bar for a while.", he laughed.

Summer finished off the sign and I wheeled it out to the road and found a good place for it. Returning to the shop, I made ready the deck and Jim and I looked for a place to put his BBQ set up. We decided to put Jim out front where all could see him cooking the BBQ. That way, everyone could get the full effect of the experience.

I did the daily from Tuesday plus some other needed paperwork and business phone calls in my office and before I knew it, Judy was saying that it was time for lunch. She had been busy helping out the girls on the floor who were having a very brisk day of their own. I met her and Vivian (one of our customers who always wants to help out on our events). Vivian asked if she could help us that evening and I said sure. She asked me what i wanted her to do and I told her to help out Judy on the buffet line. A call to Richard secured my other big helper for the evening while I wolfed down my lunch.

Carrie called me to remind me that I needed to pick up Jay from school in less than an hour. He was to be in the Hersey track meet that evening with some of his buddies in a relay. I headed out to the bank, post office, drop off the movie, and to get Jay (once again multitasking) but was called by Casey to let me know that he was picking up Jay and taking him out Frisbee golfing. I instead headed back to our house to pick up a couple of other things for the evening.

The house was so quiet that I dropped on the couch just for a quick second. I was awoke an hour later by Jessica coming home after work. I jumped up and headed back down to the diner for the last minute affairs. Judy and Jim had done the buffet line beautifully. Every time we do this it seems to get just a little easier with everyone knowing what they need to do. I had the garbage cans placed out at various places on the lot and then helped Jim bring out the food to be grilled.

Some of the dragsters had already arrived with their rigs and I surveyed a empty lot hoping that we would fill it up in the next couple of hours. The speedway cars began to arrive and I told them where to set up. I looked over and noticed a couple of local cruisers were already snatching the prime spots next to the apple trees (best shade). The band showed up and I brought out needed things for them to set up with.

The last hour before was a little blurry with last minute decisions and problems to be solved. Jimmy was in full swing with his BBQ and the smell was tremendous. I had the cashier put out the signs with the cost and informed him on how I wanted him to handle the transactions. The lot began to fill up and I took the time to take a couple of pictures of the event.

A lady had called me earlier in the week and asked if she could come to the event to paint faces and make balloons for the kids. I helped her and her son find a place to set up their face painting area. I smiled realizing this would be something new and that it really added to the carnival air of the event.

By now, it was five o'clock and the lot was packed with cars and people. I could see that it was going to be a good night. Jimmy was ready so I went over to the band, got on the hot mike and officially started the BBQ. My plan was to have three waitstaff in the front room to handle customers who just wanted to eat off the menu while the rest of us worked the BBQ. Casey and Trin were there to help us out there also.

With the event now fully going, the lot became overfull with cruisers not able to find spots to park their rigs. They began to park on the outskirts of the lot. I was walking around talking to the various car buffs, thanking the reps from the Madras Drags and Madras Speedway, and looking for spots for more cars. I moved a couple of the crews cars out behind the building so more could park. Carrie and Jay showed back up after Jay was disqualified from his team because he was born ahead of the rest of them. He was born in Sept of 96 while they were born in early 97. They were all in the same class, however. Jay was really bummed so I gave him a hug and said, "You know how to feel better about this. Go get yourself a Hersey bar.". With a grin, he headed into the building and the candy rack. He then joined the cashier and helped him out while Carrie brought out her camera and took some pictures which I will attach to this in the morning.

A mass of people moved in between the cars and the BBQ. I spent much of my time just talking with them and asking if they were enjoying themselves. I was walking through the main floor and I asked a couple of friends how their food was and they said cold. At first, I thought they were joking but then found out not. I quickly went to the buffet line and found that the candles under the chafing dishes were expended. I quickly replaced and re lit them, grabbed Laura (our cook who was assisting Jim) and had her replace the food with fresh hot ribs and chicken.

The front room filled up and I was not sure if they really understood that we had a BBQ also, so I placed Trin at the front door to explain the options to people as they entered. Jessica showed up and her and Casey went out to the front room to help out the other two wait staff there. I noticed that they both were taking tables so I knew that the others must be overwhelmed.

Judy had been very busy on the buffet line and I asked her if she had seen one of the Model A guys truck that he had brought in on it's maiden voyage. I grabbed her hand and took her out into the packed lot for a couple of reasons. I wanted to get her away from the busy line for a break, show her just how successful the night was, and get her together with some of our friends from the "A" group. I left her talking and laughing with a couple of them and headed over to the tree line as I saw two police cars pull up.

One of the cars stopped under the trees while the other drove past the lot into the mobile home lot beyond. I crossed over past the trees and walked up next to the parked police vehicle. I asked him if all was OK and he said yes. I then asked him if there had been any complaints and he said no. I realized he was doing some computer work and was just listening to the band. Happy that their was no problems, I returned to the lot.

There is a new bank being built just down the hill. The landscapers have been putting some pretty smelly stuff out on the grounds and with the wind shifting, the smell was beginning to waft back up the hill to us. I noticed a couple checking their shoes. "Do you think you stepped in something?", I asked. "Yes, it smells kind of like dog poop.", the lady said. I showed her the bank and explained and we laughed at the problem and I openly hoped that the smell would go away soon. It did not.

The night started to slow and the cars began to leave. I busied myself with clean up in various spots while talking to happy customers. Judy was beat and decided to go home while the rest of us sat down and ate some BBQ of our own. Casey commented on us doing pretty good for the evening. I looked up from my ribs and said, "The evening is a success but not from the till. It is successful because people are enjoying themselves. All of those happy people will come back at a future event or maybe just on Sunday for breakfast. There is the true success of the evening.".

With everything winding down, I began the help of cleaning up. I pulled in the garbage cans from the now empty lot, and washed down the tables on the deck before bringing down the flowers, unplugging the water features, folding up the umbrellas, and securing the deck. As it all winded down, so did my adrenalin and I began to get quite weary.

With the diner almost to closing at Nine PM, I thanked the remaining crew, climbed into the van, and headed home. I drove by Frank's office and saw his light on so stopped for a second. A couple of people had asked about him at the BBQ. He had been at a doctor apt with his girlfriend and had not been able to stop by. He drove through the lot but did not see me and just headed back to his store to finish off the paperwork of the day. He said that he had seen the sign out on the road earlier. I realized that I had not taken it back in. I said that I should go back and move it in but I was beat up. I could always take it back in in the morning.

With that, I drove back home, drew a bath, and soaked, letting the warm water wash away the sweat and BBQ sauce. Drying off, I didn't even bother going back down stairs. I just pulled myself under the sheets and was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Thank you to all of you who showed up and made this event the success that it was. Especially those who parked way out by the highway and had to walk in. Any body up for some watermelon?

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