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As marriages do, my parent’s marriage was up and down. First they had their years when dad was ruler and monarch. Then, they had their years where they were happy square dancing around northern Indiana. Things kind-of-went sour when mom decided she did have a brain and wanted to use it, and dad did not like losing his kingdom. Their retirement years, in Arkansas, were spent with dad either in his recliner and mom off playing cards or them taking friends and relatives out on the pontoon boat.

I always enjoyed the story of how they met; long before internet dating.
Just out of high school, my mother took a job as a waitress. The first restaurant she worked at was in Hammond, Indiana. It was the kind of restaurant where she would clear the table and take the plates back to the kitchen and they would cut where the customer bit off the pork chop, reheat it and serve it to the next diner. Talk about re-gifting! If the meat was too small to serve again, they would just cut it up and use it the next day in a stew. I think we may all say a “thank you” to our own state’s Health Department for not allowing that to go on anymore.

Mom’s work ethic made an impression on the owners of the restaurant across the street. Who, by the way, did NOT reserve meat. They coaxed her away by promising more money and that she would not have to clean the bathroom. So, she went to work for the Indiana Barbeque in Hammond, Indiana.

Mom was happy working at the Indiana Barbeque. One evening a man walked in and mom looked up and said, “That’s the man I will marry.” She said that she just knew. He sat down, at the counter and asked for ‘mashed potatoes.’ He told her he had tried every restaurant in town and no one served them. It just so happened, that her boss had made them for his own dinner that night and had extra left, so dad got his mashed potatoes.

When dad left, mom found a circle of penny’s under his plate, for her tip. The extra effort it took to do that let her know he liked her too. They never served mashed potatoes again but she spent fifty-five years making mashed potatoes for that man.

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