No.73 “Would you like your coffee black?”asked the waitress.

The Exact quote is : ” Coffee? Black …Please! ” The quote is from the movie series Lovejoy. Series 6.

There’s a book everyone should look at . It’s called  Counter Culture -The American Coffee Shop Waitress. by Candacy A. Taylor.  Copyright 2009  Cornell University Press

I found it because I was going through the stacks in the online service at our public library. I think I checked out 437 books related to coffee before I started this blog. Both out of curiosity as well as I wanted to protect myself from sticking my foot in my mouth in utter stupidity for a coffee fact that doesn’t exist. When you’re a creative being-like me- these things can happen surprisingly, with regularity. This book is really interesting -it’s filled with  stories of women that have waitressed most of their working lives, many of them started in their late teens for example Dolores Jeanpierre. She started waitressing in 1974. She described herself as the first black waitress in the city of Alameda, California. The town itself is south of Oakland and east of San Francisco and even though the name Alameda is a Spanish word …Dolores Jeanpierre said in her interview that  both Black and Spanish folks didn’t exist in 1974. Now it’s different. She actually worked as a bail bondsman for a large part of her life but went back to waitressing because it was the kind of  busy work -she liked to do and she loved her regular customers. Another one I liked was Rachel Leichuk who started to work in Louis’s Restaurant in San Francisco in 1947. Worked there for 55 years. She was born in China and her parents were from Russia. She talked about how waitressing was such a integral part of her life…that many of her regulars became life long friends .She stated that she had to quit waitressing when she became 82….82 ! That’s amazing! There’s also Jean Joseph who’s father won the restaurant in a high stakes card game. From then on she waitressed and loved it. Jean felt this was a good job almost like a calling. She felt gratefull she found her niche for work. Or what about Linda Exeler who described the restaurant and regulars as her family . She waited on tables for 38 years and knows how to make people feel they are the center of her world when seated in her sections.  She’s waited on generations of families in her restaurant. One waitress -Sammi DeAngelis had an experience where she had to make a snap judgement when a three year old and she crossed paths and she was carrying platters of Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and extra hot gravy. It was eithor him or me . Who would you have picked? I’m sure she was near other diners as well… because of quick thinking they were able to divert her from third degree burns. Thank goodness! Sammi still to this day loves what she does for work and wants to waitress till she’s ninety years old. This one sentance says it all…” They walk, schlep, reach, lift, write, pour, clear, walk, wipe, socialize, prioritize, bend over, pick up , memorize tedious details, argue with the cook, and then walk some more. ” (Page 5 from the book  Counter Culture by Candacy A. Taylor.)  I could also add a few descriptions…tease regulars, answering the phone, taking orders to go, filling coffee cups when low… view snapshots of grandchildren, ask after older clientele, help cook meals when others need breaks, sweep floors, fill ketchup, mustard and salt and pepper containers, wash off tables and counter tops, hugs good byes, hellos and sweet words to babies…I could probably say it’s the kind of job that if it didn’t exist the world would stop turning…and the sun would stop shining.

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3 thoughts on “No.73 “Would you like your coffee black?”asked the waitress.

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  1. I love this! My partner recently started serving and he never saw it as a career, but he has quickly found a lot of joy in it for many of the reasons you mentioned here! I will have to check out this book! Unfortunately, he serves more tequila than coffee, but it certainly makes the customers happy!

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