My husband, Tom, and I visit the Village Inn Restaurant tonight for Free Pie Wednesday. The gray-haired seniors are customers just like us scrutinizing the menu in search of the perfect slice of free pie.
We hear a voice from the other side of the restaurant saying that her favorite pie is lemon supreme. We assume that this animated strong voice (with a lot of inflection, I might add) is from a waitress. Tom looks up from the menu and jokes that “she must be practicing voice exercises with Mary Spremulli’s CD, Songbirds.” The strong-voiced waitress arrives at our table, and her body matches her voice. She is a tall, big-boned 20-something blond girl with a pony tail, who looks like she’s of Scandinavian descent and plays volleyball.
Both of us order the same: a slice of lemon supreme pie. When she leaves to get the pie, I warn Tom that I MUST find out more about this young woman. Tom has been embarrassed in the past about my “talking to strangers” and "20 questions" approach to meeting new people.
When she delivers the pie, the conversation goes something like this:
Kate:I just need to know where you got that beautiful, strong voice.
Waitress: I don’t know. I go home and I’m quiet and shy and don’t talk much. I come to work, and my voice comes to life.
Kate: Have you had experience in the theater?
Waitress: No – if only I had the confidence (she sighs).
She is in a hurry, leaves to meet the demands of her many customers.
When she returns with the bill, I get my last chance to find out more.
Kate: Are you from Colorado?
Waitress: No, I’m from Idaho.
I notice her name tag with the name of “Jerica” and ask:
Kate: How is your name pronounced and is it of Scandinavian descent?
She pronounces it as if it rhymes with Erica.
Waitress: It’s not of Scandinavian descent. I don’t know how my parents discovered it. It’s not a combination of two names.
Before she runs to get the order from her next customer, I say “Thanks for your great service.” She smiles with a twinkle in her eye.
I leave feeling jealous of Jerica and her strong voice, and ponder what it would take to bring my lifeless Parkinson’s voice back to life.