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Elderly Woman Behind the Counter
It was a late August evening, the most generous of sorts whereby the simple act of rolling down a car window quiets aspirations to be somewhere other than...
I let hunger guide me back to one of my favorite restaurants for a quick to-go order. If you eat at this restaurant, you don't want to linger because it is not the most sanitary environment, except for the decision-making process of the chef/owner over what should be served.
They were open. Of course they were. Vacation, over. The wife of the husband/wife team that owns the restaurant gave me a big smile.
"Hello, Gweilo," she seemed to be saying with that smile.
I ordered my usual salt and pepper squid with side of Chinese broccoli.
A controversy erupted in Cantonese at the table next to me. The order came out wrong. There was no Beef Tripe with sour cabbage. The man's protestations were a bit too loud and prolonged. It was starting to get uncomfortable in this cozy space.
"I changed my mind," I said to the woman in the midst of the controversy. "I'll have my order for here."
"You sit down and relax," she said.
Perhaps, I had completely overreacted to the commotion. But I felt it was my duty to stay and support the wife and the husband and the missing Beef Tripe.
If this guy had a beef over his missing beef tripe, he had a beef with me.
The woman was dressed in a sleeveless summer house dress and sandals. Her husband is a tad shorter than her and his rough calloused hands can cut fresh ginger from a meat clever into precise match stick slivers.
They work seven days a week. He cat naps on rice sacks in the store room. I've seen him do this.
I never got into Pearl Jam because I'm a stubborn son-of-a-bitch. But I've been playing this back lately, hoping this guy and his missing beef tripe go away soon enough, so these two wonderful people can have their restaurant back.
They work hard enough to be forgiven for running out of something.