Anticipation: A good ketchup bottle

by Jackie Stevens

Remember the commercial. Anticipation Song:  by Carly Simon released 1971.

Anticipation:  Definition from  Expectant waiting: the feeling of looking forward, usually excitedly or eagerly, to something that is going to happen.

A warm day reminded me of a gift I saw.  I recall observing an amazing bartender.  He worked at a country club—knew all the regulars and knew their game.  He knew who placed very well, and who played not as well.  He also knew from the grounds keeper exactly when each group would be finishing up on the 18th hole.  A simple call from a walkie talkie back to the bartender was the signal the foursome would be arriving back to the club house.

The braggers and defeated faces, tired and sweaty, approached the glass doors.  He could see the golfers tend to their clubs, and change their shoes before entering the club house.  The regular foursome approached the bar, and waiting for them was two frosted mugs with ice cold ale, a Rum and Coke, and a Jameson’s on the rocks.  Each drink was strategically placed in front of four stools facing the TV’s.  All waiting, the anticipation was priceless, the golf scores were all forgotten for a few moments when the look of pure bliss overcome each golfer’s face.  They were thirsty, and the bartender knew it. 

The first sip by all was followed by, “Aahh,” “That was good,” and “Thank you big guy.”  The bartender simply nodded, and respectfully did not gloat in the very good deed of the day.  He simply offered the golfers menus and gladly took their food orders.  Round two was near, not quite, but the mugs were ready for round two; chilled, frosted, with drips of cool water on the side, ready for their partners to be married with delicious ale. 

The golfers simply said nothing for a little while, and simply enjoyed being together, having beverages, and watching the latest game on TV.  After a while, round two approached, same drinks, good conversations, good food, and overall a great afternoon. The golfers smiled and thought the bartender was a good pal.

As other familiar golfers approached; the memory game continued.  In the bartender’s memory game, he knew all the matching pictures of all the cards faced down before him.  He could pick two cards and capture the match every time. He was never wrong, he was always right.  Every time he had a match, it was a simple nod with a small smile.  He felt good, and felt even better when they came back for more.  It was as if he was playing golf with each player.  Discussing the plays, the hits, the misses, the laughs, and the pure fun.

The memory and the gift of this bartender were clear.  The look of all the golfers approaching the bar with the look of pure anticipation was simply priceless.  It was like Christmas morning after each golf round.  Little individual presents waiting for each one.  It was like coming home after a long day, with dinner prepared and set before you.  The golfers finished up after a few hours, shook hands, hugged, and all tipped their imaginary hats to the bartender.  Another foursome was approaching the bar-and the drinks were already waiting.

TIP:  Really get to know who your guests are.  Ask questions, be genuinely interested, and above all listen.  Really listen to what they are saying: the words they say are priceless if taken to the next level.  It is truly a gift to listen; and follow-up with genuine gestures that anyone would appreciate and remember for a very long time.  It is truly a good ketchup bottle.

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