An Homage To The Long Suffering Hortence

Hortence is one of my oldest friends. She’s at least 85!   (Snort! That was a joke.)  We’ve been friends since our kids were in chain saw juggling class together back in the 1950’s.  Hortence is the type of friend who would give you the shirt off of her back, and make damn sure it’s a nice one,  because she doesn’t want any friend of hers looking like a skank.

Hortence is the kind of gal who is happy to get plastered with you on the front porch on a summer evening, but she is also the type of friend who will help you when you’re sick or bake you a pie just to say “Thank You.”

We’ve spent a lot of time together over the years doing fun stuff together, like shopping, having tea parties,and trading recipes.  She’s such a great hostess, and check out her delightful parlor:

I was thinking, Mildred, next time we make margaritas, let's see what happens if we replace the Rose's Lime Juice with MadDog 20/20! Doesn't that sound like a hoot?

I was thinking, Mildred, next time we make margaritas, let’s see what happens if we replace the Rose’s Lime Juice with MadDog 20/20! Doesn’t that sound like a hoot?

Like a lot of women, Hortence has a lovely home and family.  She’s a great cook, she sews and quilts, does home improvement projects  I wouldn’t dare to try, and she even writes when she has the time, which is rare.  In a word, she’s a badass.

Hortence is always there for me, no matter what.  She has always supported me, made me laugh, been a shoulder for me to cry on, whatever I need, I know all I have to do is ask.

In all the years I’ve known this wonderful SuperWoman, she has only asked me to do one thing for her.  To help with her daughter’s graduation party.  I can’t wait to help, and will be thrilled to do what I can to see that Hortence Jr. has the party of her dreams.

Hortence isn’t my only good and trusted gal pal, I have a few of those,  and count myself blessed for all of them, but my dear friend Hortence is the only one who suffers daily at one of the crappiest jobs in the world.

OH God! Please, NO!!! Don't make me go there again today!!!!!!

OH God! Please, NO!!! Don’t make me go there again today!!!!!!

Every morning, without fail, my friend goes to the saltiest of salt mines to earn her much deserved wages.  I believe she is a salaried staff person, so the evil overlords she works for can squeeze every drop of life force out of her without having to pay her overtime.  Sunsabitches!

I’m not going to  tell you where she works, but I can describe it in enough detail that you will get a clear picture of the type of workplace this is.

It’s always crowded.  The workload is enormous and never-ending.  The staff drops like flies due to illness, early death or sheer terror at having to face one more day underground working for slobbering trolls with beady eyes.   People stream in and out of this place all day long, always demanding something of my friend Hortence or her unfortunate brothers and sisters in arms.  Most of the time they are impatient or angry.  I’ve seen my friend and her co-workers being verbally abused by customers (who should be ashamed of themselves) more than once.  Every time I have business to do at Hortence’s work place, I’m awed at how anyone can work there and not take an axe to Grandma’s beloved chifferobe when they get home.


So why am I telling you about Hortence today?  I’m sure that you or someone you know works a job  that seems like hell on Earth.  If you do happen to work in a place like that, I feel your pain and I want you to know that people really do appreciate what you do, even if it seems like they don’t.  Even if what you do doesn’t feel like it’s valuable to anyone, all jobs are needed to make the world go around, and yours isn’t any less important than anyone else’s.

I would also like to encourage you to lean on your good friends and family when you need support, and never fail to make use of your most powerful weapon in this type of battle: Your sense of humor.  Yesterday I stopped into Hortence’s workplace and customers were lined up like they were going to see TITANIC.  I’d never seen it so busy before.  Many employees were taking care of customers, but one window remained closed.

At that window, was my friend Hortence. Ducked down under the counter, working busily on what I’m sure is a very expensive machine that appeared to be out of order.  There was no time to talk, for either of us, so I sent her a text when I left the building.  Just a simple “Hey, what you do keeps the world spinning. Love Ya!”

Last night, she returned my text with something that went a little like this:

“I snuck in early to unplug  that machine myself so I could hide under the counter all day pretending to fix it.  It’s cool, I brought Jell-O.”

Don’t tell anyone it’s not really broken, okie dokie?

I laughed out loud at that.  So did she.  She said a few minutes later: “I even got a chuckle out of the idea of me lurking under the counter slurping Jell-O.”  It warms my heart and makes me admire her even more that she can laugh about this.  I’m not sure I could keep a sense of humor if I worked under the conditions she does.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that being a clown is silly.  Being a clown can save your sanity.  My friend is a fine example of that.

On a final note, I’m asking all of you to give a little thought to the people who have crappy jobs.  Think of the long lines and delays in a different way.  Think of the folks on the other side of that window or counter.  What about the guy who fixes things in your home or office.  The person who answers the phone when you call for help or support.  Yes, you’re in a hurry, but think about all the people waiting to be helped by this same person.

The employees are aware that many people are waiting, and are doing the best job they can to make sure that each customer is taken care of properly.  I’m sure you will appreciate being treated well by them when it’s your turn.Don’t forget to smile, be patient, and tell them “Thank you.”  Please refrain from showing them your Gary Busey Face.  Could you handle doing this kind of thankless job?  I’m not sure I could.



27 thoughts on “An Homage To The Long Suffering Hortence

    • Aw thanks! You know, I just talked to her, and she said she’d try to read on her lunch hour, if she got one today. Unbelievable. Your dear husband sent me a bunch of pics this morning of the lair. Wow wow wow! I’m so impressed with his collection. I’ll try and call him some night this week to get some info from him about it. Have a great week, miss you guys! 🙂

  1. For as much as I love you, I’m sure I would love, Hortence, too. She sounds like a great gal. … And what an awesome post, Cheeky. I love the way you get a wonderful message across with humor, and my son who works until 3:00 a.m. in a machine shop thanks you for the message, too.

    • Thanks Maddie! Hortence already read it and she said it made her day, which in turn makes my day. I hope she shares it with her co-workers and that it makes them laugh too. Maybe I should do a series about hometown heroes. I know a lot of other people who work less than stellar jobs where little credit is given for a job well done. 🙂

  2. I don’t know what Hortence does, but I have also been the slave in the dungeon & so I appreciate everything she does & I’m sure her fellow employees do too! If she is the bright light at work she probably makes her co-workers happy too!

  3. My hubby and I run a retail store for a living. It’s a tough gig and people can be so awful sometimes. Yesterday a customer swore at me and chucked a full cup of coke with ice from Maccas accross the counter because I didn’t know where the shop was that she was looking for. Umm it’s not directory assistance it’s a retail store sheesh! It is so nice to be appreciated. Thank you for making my day!

    • I’ve been in customer service of one type or another for most of my life, and a lot of days it’s just a thankless pain in the ass. I’m happy that this made you smile. Some people are just so inconsiderate that they shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house.

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