Submitted by John L. Lincicome.
This story was originally posted in late May of this year on the “You Know You’re From Lakewood” Facebook site.
There was a kindness in his eyes. The sort of thing that led you to believe that when he spoke, it would be the sound of kindness. Or timid. A softer shade of human comes to mind. And at the same time that notion conflicted with the big belt buckle and cowboy boots with a heel of an inch and a half that he sported.
His name was George.
He stood all of 5’6” at best, and that was with his cowboy boots on. Lean as a fella could be, too. He had a mustache that most fellas of any age would envy. Clear brown eyes and complexion, countenance becoming of a respectable human, he stood upright and solid, proud as could be sprinkled with something akin to humility. Plaid shirt and boot cut Wrangler jeans, I doubt he tipped the scales above 135lbs.
He could-a-been the star of a television commercial bent on sellin’ western wear. But he wasn’t. He was a cook at Kebo’s Big Boy in the early 1970’s.
At first sight he led a one to think there was a tough guy beneath it all. Time would tell. Turned out he was from Tulsa, OK, and living in Redmond, WA with some kin folk at the time.
…was the mid 1970’s. I was a night manager at a Kebo’s Big Boy restaurant in Lakewood, WA. George was one of the cooks that worked the night shift. He was short of physical stature, but long on fancy in a way that good humans and employees and friends are.
At work (Kebo’s) he had to trade his cowboy hat for a paper chef’s hat of orange and white. He wore it well, adapted well, white apron, black trousers, attitude and all, anointed with a plaid shirt with snappy, western appeal. Who he was busted through the paper hat and apron thing. The rascal in his eye lent to it, too. Wasn’t a one that worked there that didn’t adore George.
He was as honest as a fella could be, too.
Came a time…
He was fancy on one of the waitresses. In private he would ask about her in a very respectful way. Came the time he and she made nice, ultimately made a life together and moved to Oklahoma. Raised up a kiddo or two, too, or so I believe.
Came a time a few years back, 45+ years since the then of the story above, that I got word he passed. Been a million years since I’d seen him, but he was one of those humans that took up real estate in my remember, and in a good way.
His wife, the waitress from Kebo’s, is a one that was raised in Lakewood. Went to Lake City Elementary, Mann Junior High and Lakes High, too. Her home was on the bend of Veterans Drive across from the Park & Sea Plane Base.
But that was long ago. She’s now a widow somewhere around the Tulsa, OK area. I’m not sure if she frequents this site. But if she does…
I wish to send her a big, heartfelt hello.
Pfft. Damn Widow…