Bev Mathews ‘loves her customers’

Longtime waitress folds up her apron June 20 at Bette’s Place

June 15, 2005

“Sit wherever you’d like,” says Bev Mathews with a smile.

For eight o’clock on a Saturday morning, she has more energy than most people could even dream of having at that hour. And that’s just one reason that this Bette’s Place waitress will be missed after her retirement on June 20.

Mathews, a Missouri native who moved to Hood River 35 years ago, has been working at Bette’s since 1978. “She’s as good today as she was on her first day,” said Gay Jones, the restaurant’s owner. “You couldn’t ask for a better employee.”

This sentiment is shared by diners, too, both regular and new. “She’s always been the same,” said Allen Herzog, a windsurfer from San Diego who discovered Bette’s about 20 years ago. “When she should be slowing down, she’s not. You come here and look for that face.”

“I brought my girlfriend here, and she fell in love with Bev,” said Sebastian Cruz, who lives in Seattle and first came to Bette’s about two years ago. “She was like, ‘I want her to be my grandma!’ and we had only met her one time.”

It is customers like this who have kept Mathews around for so long. “Not in 27 years have I had someone that I wanted to throw out,” she said.

Mathews’ bosses have also been a big part of the reason she has stuck around. “I started working for Bette Walters, and then Gay took over. You couldn’t ask for better bosses,” she said. “I will miss the people, but it’s time.”

Mathews explained that she was involved in a car accident two-and-a-half-years ago, and that she still feels pain from it. “There are other things, but that’s the big one. My husband also wants me home,” she said.

“She loves her customers and her work, and it shows,” said Jones. “She never complains, and there’s not a bad thing to say about her. She will be missed.”

Mathews plans to spend more time with her six children, 15 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren after she retires. She and Dennis, her husband of 28 years, are also planning on taking a lot of “little trips.”

Bette’s Place will be having a retirement party for Mathews on Monday, June 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re going to have a big cake for her,” Jones said. The public is both welcome and invited to attend.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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