Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Donut Shop

When I was sixteen I had a job working for my brother-in-law. He and my sister owned a cleaning company which did any kind of cleaning from factory janitorial jobs to washing windows for little old ladies. My BIL did all the work, my sister kept the books and I helped out along with one or two other guys he hired. Actually there were quite a few guys that worked for him but they never stayed longer than a couple of paychecks. I had made a decision to quit the baseball team (I could have stayed and warmed the bench the rest of the year) and start making some real money working everyday. Although the $2/hour doesn't seem like much now, back then it... wasn't really much either, but it was money I wouldn't have otherwise. A couple of years down the road when I was out of school I was still working for my BIL, and since I was out of school I could now work all hours of the day. There were quite a few places that got their windows cleaned on a regular basis, and one of these was Mister Donut. It was once a week, or once a month maybe, that we cleaned the windows there but we were there every night, sometimes a couple of times a night. My brother-in-law had the "gift of gab" and could sit for hours talking to the waitress, the owner or just people sitting around the horseshoe-shaped counter. It was one of my favorite places to go because of a combination of several things; cute waitresses, great donuts and lots and lots of interesting people. A lot of times we were there in the wee hours of the morning, at which time the greatest variety of people walked in. There were always cops sitting there at night. No joke. As soon as one squad car would leave another would take their break five minutes later. Every once in awhile you'd overhear them talking about something that happened, and pick up a bit of information that didn't make it to the newspapers. Maybe gruesome details of a car wreck or a stabbing that no one else knew. It was kind of funny too, because when the bars closed at two the drunks would roll in to get some coffee to sober up. The donut shop was like neutral ground because the cops never bothered any of the drunks trying to sober up, and the drunks never caused any trouble with the police sitting across the way from them.
One of the waitresses was about a year or so younger than me and very cute. I left her lots of tips until I found out she was the girlfriend of the kid who worked in back. That made me sad. Another waitress was an older woman... maybe ten years older than me who was kind of cute and really nice. I didn't pay her as much attention but later my BIL told me that she said whenever I looked at her she would quiver all over because I had such penetrating eyes. Wish I'd have known that a little earlier, but I found out too late and missed any chance with her too. That was my luck back then. No luck.
There were lots of regulars who showed up through the day and night. Some who would talk to you and others you just nodded at in recognition as you sat down. I remember in particular two of them. Bob and Grandpa. They were always together so I suppose they worked together like my BIL and I did. Bob was a guy about forty five or fifty and Grandpa was about sixty or sixty five. Bob fancied himself a comedian and was always trying to say something funny. He was never funny, but Grandpa - who never said a word- always guffawed like it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.
I went back to Mister Donut after I quit working for my BIL, but since I now had a day job it just wasn't the same as being in there late at night. The owners got a divorce not long after I started my day job and it closed down before the building was reopened several times as different businesses. It's now a cell phone store I believe. I really miss going there, even after all these years. It was my hangout, much like the skating rink would become in a couple of years down the road. Part of my past that I file under "Remember when...".


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