07. My First Day of Work in the U.S. (October 3, 1975)
I was told to come for work at nine o’clock.
A short distance across the road from the motel.
My first task was to vacuum the dining room.
Wanting to be a good worker, I asked for more.
Jim DePhillips often observed me working, I noticed.
When I finished one thing, he’d find something else, no waiting.
It was my first time using the vacuum machine;
My back was in pain, but I dared not to complain.
Jean and Fred came downstairs checking my work.
The dining room was so clean, they agreed.
“Jim, do you need anything else from Lay?
Let’s keep him busy for today,” Jean insisted.
I worked long hours without a break,
Trying hard to give them a good impression.
Although I’d been working like crazy,
I would say, “I’m fine” if Jim asked me curiously.
The lunch break seemed like it would never come,
While my back hurt like it was about to crumble.
But when I saw Jim walking from a distance,
My pain vanished like I just took a godly medicine.
My back was hurting and my stomach starved for food,
I had to keep on working – not the time for wishing.
“Lunch time.” Someone shouted.
Oh! It’s lunch time. I was saved by the bell.
That was the best sound of the day,
There was no need for them to ask, I would eat.
Unlike last night’s dinner,
I ate for my stomach’s avenger.
We had half an hour for lunch,
Which was better than ten minutes in my old navy boot camp.
As soon as I sat down, I ate,
Stuffed my stomach to the max, good food! Mate.
I thought that I was done for the day,
After having my lunch break.
But Jim did not wait long,
“Lay! I have something for you to do.”
“Come with me! I’ll show you.
Clean the restrooms and take out the trash.
Wesley will show you how.
Work together to get it done fast.”
Unaware that it was already 4 o’clock.
Getting ready for the customers to come in.
We’d expected a very busy night,
Get ready everybody, inside and out.
“Harry! Lay will help you,
Wash the dishes, stack them up in the cart.
After the cart is full of plates,
Take it to the dining room, stack them up on the racks.”
Tonight the customers just kept on coming,
Lots of work, however, it was exciting.
Coffee must be made fresh frequently;
Busboys would empty the leftover coffee into the pots promptly.
Waitresses and busboys were in and out like crazy,
Altogether about ten people working like bees making honey.
Waitresses waited on guests, getting the coffee and water;
Busboys were standing nearby ready for help whatever.
Tonight looked different than other night,
There was an Asian man working in the dish washing area.
He was quite small, but overall a pleasant looking guy,
Curious, everyone came in to check out the Asian man.
Waitresses and busboys were in and out, doors swinging,
Talking, joking, laughing, and even smoking.
Several waitresses were about my age,
But two were very good looking with beautiful faces.
One came over to say hello,
Shaking my hand and saying, “You’re doing a good job.”
She was small in size and about my height,
She had gotten my attention, and I liked her since that time.
After all the customers were all gone,
Waitresses gathered in a corner room,
Emptied out all the tip money in their apron bibs
Placed it on a table and counted their tips.
All waitresses received an equal amount of tips;
Each one would throw in their share for the busboys.
Jean also threw in her two cents:
“Give Lay some tips will make him happy.”
Jean came back to the kitchen to give me the tip.
I was thrilled, and so was Jean for having a crowded night.
Back to my motel, I was such a happy man on my first night.
Counting those dollar bills: one, two, three, four, five.