She always asked for me by name whenever she came to Webers, and when her old maid quit, she had Jonah call the restaurant and ask me if I'd like to go with her down to Florida, in January.

I guess I take my chances.

Mike said he'd hold my place for two weeks, but once we were there, she decided to stay three. The sky wasn't doing anything up in Michigan but spitting at them, and down there I let the dogs out, and took her lunch and dinner, and walked the beach. Josh had left the restaurant already or I might have stayed. As it was, the choice seemed easy: she offered me a raise, and started talking about coming back in February.

Whenever she went back, I thought, I'd drive down to the Keys, and figure out what I was going to do with myself whenever I had to, in the spring.

March 9,