by Emmett R Smith
THIS Is a story of our time. It is part of the history of our time. It took place on the mysterious common level of life where all history is actually lived day-by-day by ordinary decent people, the people no one knows enough about:
ON BBC “Radio 4” today I listened to a broadcast about the wonderful old art-deco diners of old New York. The presenter, a young English woman, asked an old New York lady who has worked in these places for decades what had been her most difficult experience in her work? Was it perhaps with difficult customers? The waitress replied that it was not with the soreheads:
“I treat everybody special,” she said.
Once though a three-year-old child was running around in the place when the waitress came out of the swinging kitchen-doors with half-a-dozen hot-beef commercials and other dishes all swimming in boiling gravy. These were stacked down her arms in the days before the now-more-widespread tray-service.
The little child ran bang! into the waitress:
“I Had a choice, dump on the kid or dump on me — I dumped on me. Now I’ll tell you hot mashed potatos and gravy stick like glue to nylon. I mean my boss rushed over and tore off my clothes right there in front of God and everybody and they took me the ER where I had second-degree burns.”
THIS Is how adults behave, and in no other way, when it is a question of really protecting little children, and one can only hope to do as well when the time comes as this woman did in New York City, this lady whose name I did not hear….
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 14 August]