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The Villages
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Trading in my apron for a bathing suit

Lisa DeMarco

It’s been a few months since I was offered the opportunity to write for this column, and I have to say, it has been the most self-rewarding thing I’ve done in a long time. There is no greater feeling than having new and old customers come into Billy’s Cafe to tell me how much they enjoy reading my stories.

Telling my tales to regulars and unexpected diners is one thing, but having strangers come in and approach me in the hopes of getting the scoop on next week’s article before I have even written it is a whole new high. Sure, I have been given compliments on my stories before, and I’ve been the recipient of many very generous monetary tips over the years. However, nothing compares to the warm fuzzy I get when a new “follower” makes themselves known, especially when our first conversation starts with, “So, are you the funny waitress I’ve been reading?” 

I truly want to shout up to Heaven, “Hey Dad, did you hear that?”

It’s nice to know that my entire fan club isn’t only made up of passed souls up there on the other side of the Pearly Gates, especially seeing that I am positive I have more than a couple of faithful angels right here in Lake County. Despite my jokes about my job at Billy’s being a “life sentence without parole,” I truly feel blessed to have had the honor of serving all my Villages’ buddies over the last decade.

Not that I haven’t collected hundreds of kind and loyal patrons as friends over my lifetime. I have to admit, Billy’s has its own group of misfits that have somehow engraved themselves into my heart for life. Charlie and Miss Charlotte, who I have had the pleasure of seeing almost every day I have worked unless they prearranged to not be present, I could never forget. My always encouraging and incredibly sweet Ken and  Ruth, my Jersey boy Marshall, not to mention, Lee and all our Sunday regulars. My list could go on and on. Even with all of this, the coolest part is that all these wonderful, thoughtful, and generous men and women somehow managed to end up in my path and graciously invited ME into their lives. That tip, my friend, is PRICELESS!

With that said, I am trading in my apron for a bathing suit and my Chuck Taylors for some new flip flops, and I’m grabbing my boys and hitting the beach. I know Billy’s will be really quiet without me and I’ll probably have to stop in every now and again just to write the special board and throw a couple of new jokes around, but I believe it is time for Joey and me to take a break from serving the world and let the world serve us for a while. 

I know I’ll have to find something to do to occupy my time other than watching over my six-year-old grandson and my husband that acts seven, but thanks to Meta here at Villagesnews.com I will at least be able to keep in touch with the outside world through my weekly column. With this new environment,  I now hope to highlight the new characters I am sure to attract. 

It will be like “The Addams Family Summer Vacation.”

I can only imagine all the other fellow free spirits out there we will encounter. Between the Florida Gulf Coast locals and the beaches’ worldwide travelers, I can honestly say it should be interesting. Sun, fun, food, and no 5 am alarm clocks to start my morning workday! Just rest and relaxation – without being in “lockdown.”

What a wonderful way to spend my SUMMER 2021! After last year and all its unexpected circumstances, it will be nice to know I have nothing to do for a while by choice!

Don’t forget me though. Make sure to grab one of my pretty purple tie-dye cards by the front door at Billy’s. This way you can email me if you have new jokes to add to my collection, or you can call me if by chance you really miss hearing my voice. Otherwise, just ask “Sharona” for the weekly updates on my whereabouts. She’s always shined as my sidekick. Hopefully, she’ll be able to handle center stage without me. I’ll try my best to train the “new girls” to know all the regular’s special requests I have filed in my head. Jack likes his sunny side up eggs almost raw. Peter Pan likes his home fries “golden.” Skip likes white toast, not rye. Bernice always gets egg white omelets with pita bread instead of toast. Jay has no cheese in his veggie omelet. Mr. Clancey likes his biscuits grilled before you put the gravy on them. Vince likes real milk with his coffee, and Ed insists he is the first to be notified when Boss Man decides to start serving soup again.

By the way, I’m sorry for the echo of silence at the restaurant while I’m away, but the radio (and my friend Jimbo) will have to do the trick. I’ll miss you all more than words can say.

Laugh on. Peace out!

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com.

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