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.