Mirror Images

March 31, 2022, Americus, GA- The young server’s energy seemed to fill the room, as she took my order one minute, helped her boss set up for a birthday group the next and returned with my drink and two sets of checks for departing patrons, three minutes later. It was clear from her focus and poise that P enjoys her job, and equally clear that she is destined for higher ground. For now, she is everywhere at once, in Cowboys Firepit Grill.

Earlier in the day, I had a couple of lengthy conversations with T, who seemed to be almost a permanent desk clerk at the motel where I stayed, in Weeki Wachee, Florida-more a sign of the times, than an overwhelming desire on her part to hang out at her workplace. Shining through our talks were her love for, and worry over, her daughter (what single parent doesn’t wish for more time with their child?), and her focus on the quality of service provided by the motel.

When I went to a branch of my bank, in Lutz-about forty minutes southeast of Weeki Wachee, in order to take care of my April apartment rent, long distance, D, the teller, took the time to walk me through navigation of the bank’s application on my phone, and processed the transaction as quickly as my account’s minders back in Arizona would allow-which was ten minutes. During this time, D also helped three other customers get either started or finished with their transactions. He also showed me that the bank has an electronic money transfer system that is shared by my landlord’s bank-for future reference. This will certainly make things easier, the next time I’m on the road at the end of a month.

There have been several slackers I’ve encountered on this observational journey, but the three people I mention above, a teenaged woman, a thirty-something single mother and a man in his mid-twenties, embody the kind of work ethic that so many people my age see as having gone by the wayside. Diligence and pride in work are far from dead. None of these people gave an inch in their attention to detail or maintenance of professional standards. Thus did they also mirror my younger sister-in-law, who works two jobs, and with whom I had dinner on Wednesday evening. They mirror my middle brother, who worked diligently in the management of four companies, over a forty-year period, and who hosted me at his home, at the beginning of this trip. I see some of myself in each of the three, though I wish I’d had their focus, at a comparable stage in my own working life.

In short, pride in work is far from passe’. P told me to be sure to stop by again, if I am in the area. I’ll do her one better and pass the word on Cowboys Firepit Grill and Bar, Lake Park, GA, to my brother and his crew back in Atlanta. It’s worth the time, especially as he likes exploring small towns around Georgia.

2 thoughts on “Mirror Images

    • I have no doubt of it. I can remember a fair number of slackers in both my parents’ generation and our own. My mother had a few stories about the layabouts of HER parents’ generation. They gave my grandfather fits. (He was the consummate go-getter.)


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