A little over twenty years ago I was living in a duplex in Poland, OH right down the road from the Springfield Grille in Boardman. I was a young manager at the time, in my late twenties and enjoying the single life with my cat. Being the new girl in town, I found myself immersed in my new career working often. Working often was my chance to be out socializing and meeting new people. I took great pride week to week knowing who to expect, what time guests would arrive, as well as where they would like to sit. I got to know all the names of our regulars and I would keep records of their special celebrations and eventually would get to the point that I would have all their addresses to send out holiday cards. I did it for so many years that I started to have their addresses memorized. I was the holder of the proverbial “little black book” which I still have to this day. Today I found that little black book in the top drawer of my desk. I started to thumb through the pages of names and the memories began.
In July of 2000, I was working around the house before work, sweeping the kitchen floor, listening to classical music on our local public radio station WYSU. I remember it was a hot day with the sun shining bright while I listened to Pachelbel’s Canon in D blaring from my speakers. Gary Sexton was the host of the afternoon programs and would announce during pledge week where the station was currently with their fundraising donations. During those announcements, listener supporters would be mentioned for their special celebrations. When I heard it was Mr. & Mrs. Wolfcale’s 40th anniversary, I got excited because I knew who they were. This memory really marks its place in time as I recall reaching down into my telephone stand to get the big book of white pages to look up their home phone number. When I called, I got their answering machine, so I left a message. I said that I had heard it was their anniversary on the radio and would love it if they would come in and I would buy them a glass of wine and a nice martini to celebrate. Later that evening around 6 o’clock I seated them at their favorite booth with their complimentary cocktails.
Through the years we would share many more fond memories together. I would sit with them late in the afternoon when they stopped at the Springfield Grille on their way home from doctor appointments. Mrs. Wolfcale and I would go on and on about the flowers in our gardens and what we were looking forward to watching bloom that season. We talked about animals, dogs, community and shared tons of laughter. It was a special moment in my life when Mr. Wolfcale gifted me with her very special John Deere lawn mower with the ever-needed gardener’s cart after her passing. Four years before I had purchased my first home and, in that year, 2008, I planted nine different gardens all around my house. I’m sure she would have been proud.
Mr. Wolfcale continued to visit the restaurant with family and friends throughout the years. I’ve come to know his son, his daughter, his granddaughter and even Gary Sexton from WYSU. I was invited to be a surprise guest at one of his birthday parties held at the Springfield Grille by two of his friends I know from Mercer. I’ve been to his house with my husband, listened to classical music on his back patio overlooking the magnificent gardens lakeside.
When I sat down to write this article, I didn’t have a topic or anything to say, but it became apparent to me that if I shared these memories with you, it would show the side of customer service, I have dedicated my life to. Sadly, Mr. Wolfcale passed away this year. He left strict instructions for everyone to have a party and have a great time. The celebration is this month, and of course it wouldn’t be anywhere else, but the Springfield Grille.

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