Friday, September 23, 2011

Give My Love to Rose

My dad and two friends purchased a farm which would serve as our hunting camp back in 1986.  The Glenwood, Minnesota site featured a turn-of-the-century farmhouse that had to be among the most beautiful in the county when it was built, but was in horrific disrepair.  That mattered not to bunch of rough duck hunters, as the site also sat on a lake that happened to be fantastic for duck hunting.   

For 25 years it has been a place where we gathered for that grand fall tradition.   

Much has changed in that period, but one thing that was constant was Rose.  Rose was the waitress at the Minnewaska House, our Friday night restaurant.  When we first started going (I was still in college), my dad and his partners made sure that they tipped Rose well to keep the cocktail glasses full, and she hustled at a pace that was breakneck.  She pushed the bartender to keep up, and was demanding of the kitchen to make sure that we were served the finest cuts.  She was sweet, endearing, and took such good care of us that we'd ask to be seated in her section in subsequent visits.   

Every weekend, every year, with few exceptions, Rose was our hostess.  Not only did she take good care of us from a service perspective, but she also watched the skies for us.  When we arrived on Friday we would wonder if any new birds may have migrated into the area over the past week, and we could always count on a pretty accurate report from Rose.   

Over the years our ranks changed.  Dad got sick, and no longer came up.  But Rose always asked about him, every weekend, and told me to give him a hug when I saw him.  Ultimately, dad died, and when I told Rose about it she put her arm around me, offered her sincere condolences, and stressed that he was now finally in a much better place.  At this point, Rose was not a waitress.  She was a friend, and a full-fledged part of our hunting crew.   

When I went up for goose hunting opener a number of weeks ago, we went out to dinner and found that Rose wasn't working.  We were informed that she had finally decided to retire.  A couple of years ago, I asked Rose how long she had worked there, and she stated that she had started in the 1960's.  Incredible!   

So when we go up this weekend for yet another season opener, we'll not see her, and will need to start a new tradition.  However, on that day I've arranged a bouquet of flowers be delivered to an incredible woman in Starbuck, Minnesota that will be missed more than I can convey.   

Enjoy your retirement, Rose, and thank you for everything.

Seems only fitting that we close with this:

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