Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guests!
Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County guests!
Jim and I were thrilled to meet with another successful old A&W employee and his dear wife at the Pizza Hut for this week’s story. We are friends on Facebook and they are involved in so much in their small Montgomery County community that I just one day said to myself, “Okay, it’s time to tell their story!” So glad they said yes and do hope you enjoy reading about these two special folks.
One discussion topic was their bucket list. Guess what, they don’t have one! They just enjoy living day to day, helping others. Can’t get much better than that, I’d say. Also, they confirmed a fact I’d definitely picked up from watching them on FB. “We’re never idle!”
A CHS graduate, he said he wasn’t in much there, but as soon as he turned 16 and got his license, he went to work for us. She went to North Putnam and loved all the Home Ec classes. That certainly comes in handy with her current job.
Much of our discussions centered around food, beginning with his commenting that he missed the big sandwich with the slaw. That’d be the Poppa Burger at the A&W. Also, the broasted chicken, which was my favorite. Our catch phrase as we enjoyed our time together, though was, “Make plenty of gravy.” Her personal favorite food is Chicken Alfredo which she ordered but never got at Pizza Hut. Kind of a bad night to meet as they messed up her order then one of the other waitresses swiped it, so she ended-up taking hers home. We felt bad but it didn’t bother her too much, since she’s been on a diet and was splurging that evening; she said she didn’t mind so much. Actually her advice to the world is “Settle down and don’t take things so seriously.” She certainly promoted that in this case. Took the delay very well.
Back to the, “Make plenty of gravy.” With five kids and twelve grands, they decided they needed to add on to their Queen Anne 100+ year old house. The add-on began as a butcher shop for him but ended-up a large room with her a kitchen. She had been a contractor, beginning her career with Aker’s Construction as a painter. She has always loved wood-working and guess what, he built her a place for that, too where she says it gives her a place to go for “Me Time!” Bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Me, too! Seriously, she has always loved to cook and their kids said she needed to do something with that, so the commercial kitchen was built and she has been in the catering business now for three years. Heard her sugar cookies are amazing. She showed me a picture of some she was going to bring us but forgot and left on the kitchen counter. Shucks! I know, I know, back to the gravy. Well, their best selling item and both their favorite meals she fixes (although the chicken and noodles run a very close second) is Swiss Steak and the phrase is always, “Make plenty of gravy!” To go along with it, he loves her baked mac and cheese.
Then of course, the goodies (which is why they decided to diet). Cookies, candies, cakes … we laughingly said icing them was like mudding dry wall, which she’d had plenty of practice doing. Of course, the icing would be the much preferred taste. Kidding! She runs Robin’s Homestyle Catering out of Waynetown. He has worked for Ceres Solutions since 1993 and has been the Risk Manager (takes care of regulatory issues) since 1998.
I’m always quite impressed with their community activities. She is on the Merchants’ Association; he has been on the fire department since he moved to Waynetown in 1980 and Fire Chief since 1994. Recently the town was out of power and people came to the station (along with bunches of police, plus workers out in the cold) to eat. All homemade food. She said, “It was so much fun” even after having worked 24 hours that day.
They have five kids: Wendy, who works with insurance, lives in Coatesville, is married and has two children. Justin, a truck driver, married with three kids lives in Gosport. Chris lives in Lafayette, is married with three kids and works at Caterpillar. Jerad lives in Greencastle, works at the Walmart distribution center and has two kids. Nick just returned from the Air Guards on his third tour of Afghanistan. He has two children, lives in Crawfordsville and just began his own business, H&M Plumbing. Dad said, to make sure I write that “he’s looking!” There ya’ go, good luck Nick!
Now, here’s the neatest thing I learned and it was an after thought – so glad we talked about it. When Nick went overseas, Robin and Phil Pirtle talked about something they could do. They sent huge packages to him and others at the USO, homemade cookies for one. He got so much that he would put part outside his door and soldiers would come by and get taffy or gum by the handfuls. Homemade canned beef stew was one boy from the hills of NC’s favorite item. “He’d pop off the top, drink the juice and dig in with his fingers for the meat!’ Even though Nick is home, they are still sending cookies and items to the USO, working with the same gal who helps distribute it all. Having had a brother who went through Vietnam and two grandsons in the service, my heart jumped for joy hearing this!
These two are involved with Christmas in the Park, the Freedom Festival, bingo at the fish fry with other interests I’ve mentioned. They are fun and funny when the time arrives and action-packed with a flare when that need arises. They love riding their Rangers, camping, boating and each other. Thanks Phil and Robin for letting me share your interesting, powerful lives in this week’s Around The County!
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.