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Keeping up with the Jones: Sorry folks, park’s closed

By |  August 19, 2021 0 Comments
Seth Jones headshot (Photo: Golfdom)

Seth Jones

If you live in the South, you know the glory of Whataburger. I fell in love with Whataburger at an early age, on a family vacation to Dallas. What first drew me in was the flying W logo — it is a mirror image of what was then my favorite sports franchise, the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team. Then I got a hold of one of their cheeseburgers, and a lifelong bond was formed.

Perhaps the only people I know of who are bigger Whataburger fans than me are my wife Adrianne and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. So, we’re talking elite company here. And, Mahomes is bringing Whataburger to Kansas City, as if he hasn’t already done enough for the Jones family! (And my wife, of course, has also done a lot for the Jones family.)

We took a family vacation to South Padre Island recently, a recurring vacation spot for us. We always stop in Oklahoma for our first Whataburger cheeseburger in months. This year, we eagerly sat down and waited … and waited … and waited. Eventually, we were delivered cold cheeseburgers. As we left, we saw the confusion that was the drive-thru line. One old guy was trying to back out of the line, tired of waiting. As we drove off, I forewarned the kids: There might be more of this to come, wherever we go. The pandemic has made the labor situation a mess, and if our favorite places aren’t short-staffed, they might be worse: closed.

We stopped in San Antonio in hopes of visiting our favorite restaurant on the Riverwalk, Casa Rio. We got there and were stunned to see it was closed. The sign read, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot yet open. We hope to be back soon.” I told the kids, “Sorry folks, park’s closed. The moose out front should have told you.” (My kids haven’t seen National Lampoon’s Vacation, but I told them to trust me, Dad just nailed a perfectly timed movie quote.)

This labor quagmire goes beyond my vacation dining woes. A friend told me about the charity golf tournament he plays in every year. Traditionally, there’s a breakfast before the event and then a barbecue after. The starter announced to participants that regretfully the club lacked the kitchen staff to accommodate the barbecue this year.

If this is the norm for the kitchen staff, what has it done to the grounds crew? How has the pandemic and COVID-19 relief checks influenced your team? And what has it done to the higher-paid salaried staff? We’re working on this story now for a fall issue. If you have any insights you’d like to offer, my door is open.

Photo: Golfdom staff

Jeff Heide. (Photo courtesy of Golfdom staff)

For the past 26 years, Jeff Heide worked for North Coast Media and its publications. His name never appeared on the Golfdom masthead. He was our office manager, our behind-the-scenes guy. When new hires arrived on their first day, Jeff would give them the tour of the office. If a printer was fussing, Jeff would troubleshoot it. Jeff, a Cleveland sports nut, ran the office Super Bowl square pot.

We were all saddened when we learned that Jeff passed away recently at age 61. I’ll fondly remember the time I came into the office and Jeff lit me up because he saw me on TV in my Royals jersey celebrating a Kansas City home run in the Progressive Field outfield. “I’ve been going to games for 50 years and I’ve never been on TV!” he told me. I told him the key was I was in the visiting team’s jersey. He assured me he’d never try that trick.

The company will be attending the Cleveland Indians/Oakland A’s game on August 12 to celebrate Jeff. For the first time ever, I’ll be in an Indians jersey. Cheers to you, Jeff.

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