The Skyline Terrace Bandaid Incident
The Skyline Terrace Bandaid Incident
By Chuck RitenouR
In July of 1979, I was between bands. My girlfriend, Bean and I were living in a tent on ten acres of woodland owned by my parents about two miles from the low water bridge on Happy Creek Road. Bean had taken a job as a waitress at the Skyline Terrace Restaurant which was located on the south end of Front Royal, Virginia. The restaurant was operated by Terry Mahoney. His brother, Tom was the "chef" and Tom's girlfriend Nan was the bartender. Every goof-ball and space cadet in town worked there. So it seemed reasonable to me that I should get a job there too.
Bean and I worked Wednesday through Saturday. She waited tables from five in the evening until closing. I waited tables from five until nine and then played guitar and sang in the bar til 1:30 in the morning. We made $2.10 an hour plus tips. I was the only waiter and made a bit more than the girls waiting tables. I played for tips in the bar and on a good night could make $200 between waiting tables and playing. After a hard night of waiting tables and raising hell in the bar, Bean and I would head on down to the low water bridge to bathe in the Shenandoah River.
One day Allison, one of the waitresses was making a huge bowl of potato salad. Tom had boiled 20 pounds of potatoes and cut the other raw vegetables earlier. Allison was elbow deep in potato salad for at least 30 minutes. When she went to the sink to wash her hands she shouted, "Oh my God!!"
It was about four in the afternoon and the restaurant was not yet open for business. Tom came running to the sink and said, "what the hell is wrong with you?" Allison answered, "my bandaid." "Your what?" Tom asked. "My damned bandaid, its somewhere in the damned potato salad." There were six of us there and Tom got five small bowls and laughed, "I wouldn't serve anything I wasn't prepared to eat myself." He gave us each a bowl of potato salad. We ate it...no bandaid.
Tom said,"if any of you say a word about this, I'll kill you. I mean it. I'll freakin' kill you." He grinned and said, "this is what we'll do. Everyone will put $10 in a pool and whoever's section has the bandaid wins! Hell, I'll even put in $10 and I can't win. That's fifty bucks and that should buy a little silence." Oh yeah it was wrong, but fifty bucks was fifty bucks, we were all in.
Evening after evening went by and the huge mount of potato salad got smaller and smaller. The customers loved it. Then, one evening the unthinkable happened. A lady in Bean's section had a "dinner from hell". The lobster tail was too tough and she sent it back. The steak was too rare and she sent it back. She was just about to take a bite of potato salad when she said to Bean, "the only thing worth a damned is this potato salad." She took the bite. She chewed. She chewed some more. She spit a chewed up bandaid into her hand and screamed as if someone had cut her arm off."A damned bandaid!!! There was a damned bandaid in my potato salad. What the hell kind of place is this??"
Do you think that lady got any sympathy? When she screamed, everyone working the floor was in the kitchen in hysterics. We were choking with laughter. Bean was yelling,"I win, I win, I win!" Tom appointed me to go out and try to smooth things over with the customer. "Promise her anything, I mean anything. I don't care what you do,but for Christ's sake, do something!"
I got myself back together and walked out into the dining room. All eyes were on me. I walked up to the lady and said, "I'm sorry, what seems to be the problem?" She handed me the bandaid but said nothing. She had a glazed look on her face as if she might actually passout any moment. I put the bandaid in my pocket. She took a drink of water and somewhat shaken got up from the table. I escorted her to the hostess stand where tried to pay for her meal. I asked the hostess to hand me two of the free meal coupons and told the lady," I'm very sorry for your distress. Please allow us to give you and a friend a free meal, any thing on the menu." She took the coupons without a word and existed the building.
I walked back into the kitchen. Tom was in a panic. "We're gonna get sued, we're gonna get sued. They're gonna close us down. Terry is gonna kill me!" I just smiled. "What the hell are you smiling at?" Tom yelled. I handed him the bandaid and said, "Tom, you owe me $50. No bandaid, no evidence." Tom walked into the bar and came back holding a crisp $50 bill. I took it from him and said, "it was wrong, it was definately wrong, but fifty dollars is fifty dollars."
I continued to play in the bar, but that was my last night waiting tables.