Brandi & Randy
What a day!
This morning after Willow and I walked I came home, loaded the truck of stuff we no longer need or want and donated it to a thrift store.
I came home from that, took a shower and left again to the nursing home to visit my high school friend Jerry. Jerry had two strokes about eleven years ago. I had some pictures of the Bell Reunion that he was in that I thought he would like. I sat on the edge of his bed and had we had a nice visit. He is a very appreciative person. His cute life-long friend Donna had been by before this day and also brought him some pictures. I was in one of Donna's pictures.
It is a shame to be only a few blocks from Brandi’s World Famous Hotdogs and not go there. In fact, it is probably a sin. I arrived just a few minutes before noon. It was stuffed with people sitting and standing.
In due time Brandi asked me what I wanted and I told her. She wrote it down but I did not actually see her hand the order to the lady preparing the food. I don’t know how that lady does it. She sees all and knows all.
While I was standing there a lady about my age, or a couple years older, asked me how long Brandi’s has been there. I gave her a brief history of the Marble Mill BBQ owned by the Ravan family, and it became Betty’s World Famous Hotdogs, and Betty retired and sold it to Brandi. And I told the lady you couldn’t beat Brandi's spicy chili.
The lady said she owned a vacant building in Smyrna and wanted to talk to Brandi about maybe opening a second store. I told her that Brandi already had a 2nd store in Cartersville, but maybe she’ll expand to a 3rd store.
All the time Brandi was standing near us on the other side of the counter, and glancing at us from time to time. I think she was keeping up with our conversation.
Brandi asked me had I ordered chili slaw dog and fries and I said yes. She was sacking it all and I caught what I said .. I ordered onion rings not fries… she handed me the sack and I handed her a $20 bill. She gave me change, and bills and as I threw the change into the tip bucket I said, “You did put the onions rings in the sack?” I just wanted to make sure.
Brandi said, “No, I put fries in.” A lady behind me holding a baby said that sounded like her order.
Brandi always appears relaxed and in control. She laughed at the mix-up. She gave me the $20 bill back and took the bills out of my hand and then gave the sack to the lady holding the baby and took money from her.
The change she gave me on the previous transaction, I dropped in the tip jar. I wonder how that would be straightened out?
I felt sorry for the lady with the baby and a sack of food so I held the door opened for her to leave.
Then Brandi had my sack with the onion rings. She told me price which was 10¢ more than I previously paid her. I told her I liked the other price better. She laughed.
Again, I gave her the same $20 bill and she gave me change and bills back and I again dropped the change into the tip jar.
They got tipped twice, on the same order….. but whose pocket did the first tip come out of? It is mind boggling.
When I was backing up out my parking place I noticed in my rearview mirror that the lady with the baby was backing up also – straight towards me. We were meant to cross each other up. I immediately jumped all the way back into the parking spot.
I drove home, gobbled down my chili—slaw dog and onions rings and dressed up and drove to Powder Springs, Georgia, to a funeral home.
Randy, a postal carrier had died. Randy worked at the Sprayberry Post Office, the same as I, for a bunch of years.
Then he transferred to the Kennesaw Post Office and delivered my mother-in-law’s mail for, I think he said 18 years. Sometimes when I was there I would try to be near the mailbox when he drove up and we talked.
Then he quit coming. It was months since I had seen Randy. I asked a female carrier delivering the mail where was Randy. She said he fell and broke some bones and while undergoing treatment for that they found a bunch of other things wrong with him. Now, he was trying to get a disability.
Then yesterday I got the mail out of my mother-in-law mail box and there was a handwritten note saying Randy had died over the weekend. I got on-line, found his obituary. He was cremated and his memorial service would be today.
Sometimes you can know somebody from a work standpoint and when you see people from his home life it is completely different from what you perceived his life would probably be.
Randy worked very hard to go by the regulations of how the mail should be handled, as far as things like the letters on top and the magazines on bottom when delivered… and bulk rate mail would be after the magazines, etc…Randy wanted it right. He seemed to fret over his mail more than most other carriers. He was a perfectionist.
He was slim, had natural curly hair, and big glasses…. He would probably look completely unnatural without his glasses.
When I arrived at the funeral home I went as the sign directed me. There was a little parlor with a monitor showing with a digital picture sideshow of Randy in progress. I was about 20 minutes early, and I didn’t know a thing about Randy’s personal life, so I thought I would sit down and relax and watch the slide show and educate myself on Randy.
It showed Randy as a little boy on a little Shetland pony, and several other typical pictures of a kid growing up. The rest of the many pictures were with him with his daughter, sitting talking with her, sitting in the water with her, sitting here, and sitting there. Then, I thought, “I bet the daughter had an early illness and she is crippled.”
There were a little alcove of a room that I signed the guest book, picked up a program, and walked into the chapel.
It was ten minutes until the services began and only three or four people (including me) were there.
A few more people drifted in.
A young lady in a motorized wheelchair wheeled in. Although she could operate it, she was leaning way back and one armed seemed to be drawn up. His daughter! I thought.
Somebody bent over her and said her name and how sorry that he was. I looked at the program. Yep, the program said survived by a daughter with the same name.
Wait! The other named that said Randy was survived by was a partner named Ron.
I am not critical of this arrangement; I would have never thought it that is all. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Just as the time of the service was to start people suddenly lined up outside the door signing the guest book. The line went out the door. As they came in and took their seats they mostly sat in the section reserved for the family. They were family and I doubt if they are known for being early for events and things.
It was a two man show. The preacher preached and the funeral home person put on CD songs, appropriately for the event; for instance the first song was BLOWING IN THE WIND; we are just sand bowing in the wind.
The bad thing playing about using this CD was that it was a concert CD which had applause with people whistling - which took something from the quiet dignity of a memorial service.
After the last prayer and during the last CD song a lady stepped up on the little rise, and sat in the chair next to the preacher behind the podium.
As the music drew to a close the preacher left his seat, stepped down off the rise in front of the podium. The lady stayed there.
Then the funeral director raised his arms and said, “All Rise!” And everybody shuffled to their feet.
Suddenly the lady sitting behind the podium stood up spoke her booming voice into a mike saying she would like to say a few words.
The funeral director lowed his hands down and I think he said, “Be seated” Which everybody did.
The lady, by things she said, I figured was Randy’s ex-wife. She more or less put the people sitting in the family section in their place. She told them that Randy loved them as well as his new friends and if they had a problem with that, they need to learn to live with it.
Then she mentioned his sisters and how they treated him. And she talked more in her booming voice.
The family members were squirming and crying and handing each other tissues to cry with.
The preacher looked helpless.
After that the partner, the best dressed man there, carried the urn out through the just-opened doors. In funeral precession-order the family followed, row by row.
When the family emptied out we (non family) went out aisle by aisle also.. because I was sitting alone on the last pew I was the last to leave.
There was a crowd of people and a lot of loud talking. I don’t know what the conversation was about.
Why stand around there with some people I didn’t know? I went back through the funeral home and went out another door.
An elderly couple fell in behind me. Since they were not with the bunch outside the door I figured they were not family.
“Are either one of you a postal worker?” I asked.
The lady said she works at the Kennesaw Post Office. I asked if she knew a friend that used to work there and she said yes.
She said to tell her “Dolly said ‘Hi’!