It was a Labor of Love, they Were Living the American Dream...

Part 11of the Judy Tomaini Rock Series


They poured themselves into their business, the caretakers never knew about the baby. And only a very few, very close friends, even knew about him. But no one ever spoke of him again. I found out, only after I had Tina, when I was 21. And the only time since, was when I asked where he was buried, and all she said was he had been disposed of, and the state and town, she didn't remember. She did tell Tina about him, but no one else.

Jeanie, along with her home chores, doing the linens for 25 beds a week, she was saddled with the cooking of the food, for the restaurant. There was a kitchen, for the making of hamburgers, and other short order foods. Al had decided to have a dinner menu, and expand the dining room, into what had been a large storage room. The bar was moved back, to make room for more tables in the front of the building. Now it was close to being what he wanted. Not just a "Beer-Joint", but a dine in, and take out establishment. He and Jeanie were not drinkers, and even though they always had a beer license, it was very seldom that he would even have a drink. They had a stocked bar in the house that was just used for the holidays, or when family members came for a visit.

Since they started to make changes to the restaurant, Jeanie was elected to do the heavy cooking. Spaghetti sauce, Pork roast, smoked ham, beef roast and Turkey, Beef stew, chili, anything that had to be cooked for a long time. Their dream was for a seafood restaurant, and curb service, for the boat people. In the early days, there were so many fish in the river, the fishermen would say, you could walk across the river on their backs, and not get your feet wet. Thanks to the Cargil company, that isn't the case now... There were 30 wooden row boats, that were at times rented 2 or 3 times a day. As with the sideshow business, it was booming. And Al took advantage of the time, and offered what the public wanted. He was very business minded, and had a knack, for being one step ahead of what would make money. And he would go all out to publicize it. Free Ink is the best way to advertise. He opened parks, like Lowery Park in Tampa, along with the mayor of the city, and the current Miss America, back in the late 50'. He would be seen in public as much as possible, and would do all the public appearances, that he was ask to do, free of charge. When he and Jeanie retired from the road, they would never take a dime for any work they did. It was their charity work. Kind of a payback, for the good life God had given them. To say they were retired from anything, was a joke. As now, they were working harder than they ever did on the road. But it was a labor of love, they were living the American Dream...

After a lot of very hard work, for both of them, they never complained. But the work went on. The friends that came here with them, and were still with it, would set up the joints that they used to make their living with on the road. The winter months was their vacation time. But the back acre of land, was where they would set up their joints and equipment, to paint and make ready for the following season. Banners would be replaced, and had been ordered in advance, so they would be ready when they  pulled out. They were something that took a lot of time to paint, and were not cheap, depending on who painted them. Al and Jeanie had several sets, that could be changed around each year, so they got more mileage. They even had extra ones made. for new acts they would introduce during the season. Snap Wyatt, was the main artist they used, but had many over the years. And always just gave away the old, or damaged banners. There were a lot of First of Mays, just starting out, and Al would always give them a helping hand, to get their act going. He was always very generous, if someone needed help, but never said, how he had done this or that for any one. He was also never heard saying how great a person he was, as his actions did that, without him ever opening his mouth...

2004 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights Reserved

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