Thursday night family

Date April 24, 2008

Before I picked up my life and moved it to Colombia, I spent every Thursday night at a little restaurant right outside of Oxford.  I’d leave school, headed toward home, and stop at The Sizzler to wait tables and make some extra money for the week.  It was just a job at first and a chance to hang out with a family I’d worked for at a summer camp what seemed like ages ago.  But that sentiment didn’t last long.

Thursday nights were the slowest of the weekend, but packed full of regulars that weasled their way into my Southern heart.  The couple that always sits by the door and likes glass glasses and lots of sweetner.  A man and his aging mother, him with his paper and her watching him eat, glad to be out with her son for awhile.  Grandparents that drink real Coke with a straw and always order fried oysters and turnip greens.  And university professors whose husbands carry chocolate in their shirt pockets. 

A retired English teacher was the other Thursday night waitress and she and I would bustle through the place, slinging steaks, pouring tea over clinking ice, and topping off coffee cups.  She taught me how to carry four plates at once and two glasses in one hand and how to sweep like a mad woman and use a dust pan with a giraffe stance.  We dodged each other effortlessly, sweating, giggling occassionally at ill mannered diners, rarely slowing down before closing time.  And then we’d sit across from each other counting our tip money and talking about life a little before we called it a night.

Yesterday, I got two boxes in the mail.  Two boxes packed carefully and mailed from that little restaurant just outside of Oxford.  Magazines, peanut butter, gum, school supplies, and handwritten letters.  I recognized all of the writing easily and smiled at the thought of that rowdy cook scrawling me a note and teared up a bit as I read a letter from Judy who said, “I’m the new Thursday Emily although I haven’t been able to fill your shoes just yet.” 

But the letter that I read over and over again was the one in the flowing script of that retired English teacher.  The script I’ve seen on countless tickets hanging from an order board.  And I couldn’t help but smile a little and picture her sitting across from me talking about all the animals that she feeds, the children that she raised, the husband that she loved. 

It is, after all, Thursday.



17 Responses to “Thursday night family”

  1. Misty said:

    Your words provide a salve to my wounds. This week I have had sore muscles, aching bones, and a bruised heart. Your words rained down comfort.
    Perhaps it is because I know both you and I are on the same “battlefield” –
    We are fighting the INTERNATIONAL enemy. At times the enemy comes in the form of a bitter administrator, other times it is the overbearing co-worker, there are days when it is an apathetic sophmore that wants to give up and even worse sometimes the enemy is ourselves.
    We recognize and even accept that we are HERE on international soil for a purpose. We are glad to serve, eager to serve, desire to serve, YET….there are times when you just LONG and YEARN for HOME! Something familiar, a feeling of unconditional love and acceptance, an abundance of joy and peace.
    Only a fellow “soldier” can understand what I mean!

  2. Betty Anderson-Crane said:

    As a writer, you’re able to take what we see as the ordinary and make it what it really is–extraordinary. That is a celebration of life! Ms. Betty

  3. Stephen said:

    You were always so cheerful when you waited tables! I would want to shoot myself after five minutes.

  4. Summer said:

    Beautiful writing, Emily!

  5. Ritchie Miller said:

    Emily Witt, I swear you make me cry just about every time I read your blog. I don’t know where all this beautiful writing comes from and why it’s never surfaced before, but good Lord, girl, Welty, Faulkner, and Morris can just move on over into the “amateur” category compared to you! I love Carlos to pieces, but sometimes you just make it hard to be straight! 🙂

  6. Ritchie Miller said:

    Whoops — I meant to say “hard to be gay.” See what you do to me! 🙂

  7. me.. said:

    I think I need to get a new addiction… these just make me think of you TOO much!!!

  8. Lou said:

    Amen and ditto to Mrs. Betty’s comment. You put me in every moment of your writing. Please don’t stop. Love ya dear and have a great day.

  9. CEC said:

    Hello Emily, Could not help but think- its humanature for us to percieve ourselves as more than we are, maybe a little better or at least different from the way others see us.Wish I could say or put in writing what I really feel.I agree with the others, you do write really well.Made me realize I might not like the way others percieve me, if their being truthful and from the heart. So if someone ask you about me, lighten-up on the realty just a bit, maybe tell one of those little WITT lies. Keep safe!

  10. Chad Jarnagin said:

    just added you to my Link Love!


  11. Melody Milbrandt said:

    Hello Emily – I thank you for the prayers offered up on behalf of my dear Aunt Stacy. Her brain surgery went superbly and once again Christ was glorified. She is back home traversing the slow road of recovery with Jesus as her guide.
    If you ever have any prayer requests you’d like to share please do post them on the prayer page of my blog. I would love to speak your name before the Lord with a humble heart.
    “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified…” Philippians 1:19, 20

    In Christ – Melody Milbrandt

  12. sharon said:

    you almost made me cry. I miss you Emily, i’m sure they all do.Love you.

  13. Joyce said:

    If it is possible your writng continues to get better each time. You words make me so much more aware of all the ordinary things in life that so often pass us by withoit a second thought. To stop for a moment and be taken to a place of memories and dreams of a world of total beauty and peace, were contentment fills our soul.

    Love ya

  14. Brittany said:

    You and Ritchie need to conjure something up together. You are the most illustrative writer and he is the most comedic.

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