If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Opening stanza from “If” by Rudyard Kipling

I was reminded of one of my favorite Kipling poems the other night while waiting for a table at one of the area’s more popular dining establishments.

We had worked at some unaccustomed chores Saturday, washing both vehicles, cleaning and storing junk in the garage and finishing up a yard moving job.

We felt we owed ourselves a treat and I suggested a short drive to the aforementioned restaurant.

Dinner partner predicted a wait for seating, but we decided to plow on. As usual, she was right. The place was surrounded by folks with the same hopes for quick seating.

Between slicing homemade pies and answering questions from other hungry folks, the lady at the register said 40 minutes. We had driven about 20 miles so we decided to wait.

We found seats just inside the front door and the next 40 or so minutes proved really educational. The owner was on duty and was the picture of cool under pressure.

He was continually being asked when a table would be available, while at the same time signing up new arrivals. One really persistent lady represented a group of 14 and would reappear every few minutes to see if they were any closer to getting a table. She reminded him on every visit that she had called ahead.

The owner never lost his cool and replied that the restaurant does not accept reservations on Friday and Saturday and patiently pointed out a prominently posted sign that said so. She never seem to comprehend it.

We marveled at his patience with people fussing at him or wanting to chat as they paid their bills. One couple, probably acquaintances, tried to engage him in a conversation while he was obviously quite busy. But he tried to talk to them and continue what he was doing at the same time.

What really impressed us was the fact he didn’t lead anyone on and didn’t make promises he couldn’t keep. Around deadline time here at the paper, we can get pretty testy. This guy could probably handle that with equal aplomb.

We were seated after about 40 minutes, received prompt service, and the food arrived within a reasonable period, despite the crush of people.

We were just finishing when that group of 14 was seated. When we left, the crowd in the parking lot was as big as when we arrived.

By the way, the food was great, and well worth the wait.

I ENJOYED Ronnie Ellis’ recollections Thursday of Uhel Barrickman. I particularly appreciated Ronnie’s observation that Mr. Barrickman could be intimidating. He was a true friend and confidant of my old boss Carroll Knicely and I always had the impression he felt our paper was not quite the same after Mr. Knicely’s departure.

More recently, I had the opportunity to join Keith Ponder for a grilling by Mr. Barrickman on his cable show, “Glasgow Wants to Know.” He put some tough questions to us. Luckily Keith was there to field them. After 48 years in the newspaper business, Mr. Barrickman could still make me feel like the deer in the headlights. A good trait for a great lawyer.

Joel Wilson is editor emeritus of the Glasgow Daily Times. Contact him by e-mailing jwilson@glasgowdailytimes. com


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