Lisa's Rants and Raves
This week I had another column about my darling mother almost ready for my friend Judy to peruse for the overuse of commas. (She has the honor of purging the plethora of punctuation from pieces on a weekly basis. Hey, I used three “P” words and digressed all at once.) Moving along, I had completed most of the Mother's Day dedication and then the course of action changed due to a very sad occurrence.
I speak not of the fact that my sweet man Bernie lost this state as I've cried enough over that. Instead I speak of “The Hostess of Linesville,” who passed away recently. Just in case you are not aware, that would be a gal by the name of Charlotte Kimple.
After discussing this with Mother, she happily told me to dedicate this space to Charlotte and save the MD salute for after the fact. Isn't Mother “adorbs” for doing such a thing? (OK that is an abbreviation for the word adorable. The above-mentioned Judy oft' attempts to be rather hip and youthful by emulating the language of the group known as the millennial generation. In addition to “adorbs” we also have “toats” which means totally and “deets” which means details.)
I promise this isn't going to be morbid or morose or any other word that starts with an M. I am simply going to share some memories of the woman known as “Charlie” to many.
It all began when I was a young, innocent and very obedient child. My father, Blaine Houserman, and I would oft' gallivant about the countryside together and find ourselves at the Driftwood Restaurant on numerous occasions.
I recall ordering the cold plate and inhaling it madly as my father entertained Charlotte and vice versa. This would have been back in the day when Herman Kimple walked the beat and Charlotte was his blushing bride.
I vividly remember my father flirting wildly in his unique manner, which included referring to her as a “cute chick.”
She was indeed a cute chick and shared some qualities with my own mother. The main thing that the two had in common was that neither would dream of entering the public arena without being certain that hair and make up were absolutely perfect. Now that I ponder, Charlotte told me years later that my father teased her mercilessly about how she was always at the beauty parlor.
I mean I don't recall ONE time that her hair was out of place and her make up wasn't applied with close attention to detail. What is with that generation? In comparison, I simply toss a cap atop my curly do and exit stage left with a naked face. Gasp! Both Charlotte and Mother would, and possibly did, recoil in horror over that unthinkable “Lisaism.”
Along with Daughter Diane, Charlotte packed the restaurant to the max with items of an historical and eye-catching nature. For instance, right above the window through which food was passed from the kitchen, a newspaper from the day of the Japanese surrender was on display.
A player piano graced the dinning room as did any kind of antique one could imagine. It was wonderful in terms of having dinner with a person to whom you did not care to speak. You see, one could simply gaze in astonishment at the décor rather than carrying on any kind of polite conversation. Clearly this would not be the case for anyone sharing a meal with me because I demand attention as I blather on incessantly. There would be no antique eyeballing permitted but I digress.
Charlotte was my boss several years back because I was a “waitron unit” at the Driftwood. By the time I began slinging hash for her, I had been in the restaurant business for about a thousand years, give or take.
One night in the midst of carrying out closing duties, Charlotte summoned me to sit beside her for a moment. I obeyed her direct order because that is what one did with Charlotte, of course. I wasn't sure if I was going to get a lecture or what but she surprised me by saying that since I had been in the business for many years, she would be open to ideas that I had garnered from other establishments.
I don't know if you are aware of this or not but it is quite unusual for the owner of ANYTHING to indicate that changes might be a good thing. That particular moment has remained in my mind simply because it wasn't the norm. It illustrates how open minded she was to new or different methods of operating, so to speak.
Also, she was super generous in too many ways to mention in this space. Just one example was how she seriously cared about her regular customers who might be under the weather or unable to get out and about. She would frequently have an employee run some lunch over to So and So because he or she was housebound.
Charlotte seemed to have an especially soft spot in her heart for members of the police department and always gave them prompt and personalized service. I don't think it's a secret that this probably stemmed from being married to Herman for many years.
When I said earlier in this piece that she was the Hostess of Linesville, I truly meant that. She would glide from table to table often sitting with guests in order to take in a local “scoop” and/or share a laugh or ten. The bottom line is that she made everyone feel welcome, in my not so humble opinion.
I recall how actively involved she was in the community as well. She honestly cared about the future of Linesville and went to great lengths to participate in promoting the region.
I'm running out of space here but just couldn't let this week pass without saying something about that dear woman! My heart goes out to her family and all who knew and adored her.
Simply put, the world would be a better place if it were populated by people with Charlotte's unwavering passion for her community and dedication to helping others.