Maggie McCann Pike


I’m guessing when the waiter woke up that morning, he had no idea the mortification he would suffer just hours later on his shift at my favorite Denver restaurant.

I’m guessing Casey clung to the hope which springs eternal in the server’s heart: a profitable day, generous tippers in his bay.

I’m guessing the waiter’s name wasn’t even Casey, but I’ll call him that to protect his identity.

From opposite sides of town, hearts light, sun shining bright, we each headed to Racine’s—he to serve tables, I to meet my friend Dana, as I do once a month.

But no, the outlook wasn’t brilliant for Casey in his bay. And the outlook wasn’t brilliant for me either on that day.

Our two worlds were about to collide.

Dana and I were deep in conversation, catching up on a month’s worth of news. Waiters bustled to and fro, the smells of deliciousness wafting past. Animated chatter in the background and laughter all around belied the fiasco that was seconds from transpiring.

But I could see it from my seat, the hoodoo to ensue.


Several feet from our booth, the circular tray slid from our server’s hands. Colorful meals of varying sorts soared past Casey in his bay.

My eyes opened wide when I saw what was headed my way. And here’s what seems impossible: the bowl stayed on the ground while its contents flew towards me. A sphere of something white came hurtling through the air, the arc of the trajectory flawless.

It was a slow-motion nightmare. Inch by inch, my fate approached as I sat helplessly in its path.

Then SPLAT. In an instant, my arms, my neck, my face, my hair were drenched in sour cream.

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of Racine’s.

There was no ease in Casey’s manner as he stood there paralyzed, no pride in Casey’s bearing, no smile lit Casey’s face. An awkward gasp erupted from the crowd in Casey’s bay, followed by a collective “Ewwwwww!” Out of nowhere raced the frantic manager, wet rags to help me out. He swabbed my hair, my face, my arms, all eyes on him and me. I thanked him kindly, said I’d do it, at which he breathed, relieved, “Oh, whew!”

Dana empathized, Casey sympathized, both asked if I was fine.
I laughed. “Of course I am! It’s good, all good.”
“Lunch is on us, ladies,” Casey promised. Well, actually it was on me, but I didn’t think he would appreciate a joke right then.
With grim melancholy on his face, he offered his regret. “I’m so sorry. I feel horrible.”
Endearing Casey in his bay.

This was one of those myriad junctures that come our way each day. I could choose to make Casey even more miserable than he already was, or I could woman up and be kind. It wasn’t his fault. I can only imagine what disasters could take place if I were the one trying to balance that behemoth tray laden with heavy plates.

I smiled. “Casey, it could happen to any of us. Don’t give it another thought.”

Why sweat the small stuff? I mean really, why? In the greater scheme of things, what’s a bunch of sour cream in the face? A little comic relief is what it is.

Casey may have struck out in his mind, but in mine, I thought he deserved a huge tip.

He got it.

And Racine’s still has my undying loyalty.

[Apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer for my blatant borrowing of phrases from “Casey at the Bat.”]

copyright 2015 Maggie McCann Pike

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Maggie McCann Pike

I’m an author in Denver, Colorado, where I write from my office, which looks out onto the Rocky Mountains and the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets that splash their colors across unsuspecting skies. My first three books sprang from my experience as mom of five, retreat director, and educator. Now retired from full-time work outside the home, I have the luxury of tapping into different chambers within myself. In addition to memoirs, I now write various forms of creative nonfiction.

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  1. Anne Perry

    Omigosh. Poor Casey! Or, rather, lucky Casey that it was you who received the sour cream bath and not someone else (anyone else). I have had my days as a server… Plate of mashed potatos all over a customer’s pants and shoes. Awkward!!

  2. Jan cheselske

    You rock Maggie! Great story. Great character in you dear cousin. Like you I couldn’t imagine responding any other way.

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