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November 12, 2020

Faces of Fauquier: Waiting tables like home for her

Photo/Don Del Rosso
“It keeps me moving,” Patty Savering says of her work with a laugh. “The older you get, the harder it is to move.”
Old Town (Warrenton) is great. I hate the fact that we have COVID. But, I really like the way they have it set up for outside dining. I think it makes it more homey.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The veteran Frost Diner server nodded over her right shoulder toward a burly customer at the counter.

“That man’s going to have eggs and sausage,” Patty Savering confidently whispered.

After 15 years at the old-style Warrenton eatery at 55 Broadview Ave., Mrs. Savering knows most regular customers by name and/or by the food that they order.

With a few detours, the Pennsylvania native has worked in the hospitality business — mostly as a server — for about 50 years.

“It’s fun,” Mrs. Savering said. “Basically, waiting tables is like being at home. I cook the food at home, I pass it out to everybody and I clean up afterwards.”

One of seven Frost Diner servers, she works eight-hour shifts Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Mrs. Savering wrote 100 to 150 “tickets” per day.

Because of the disease, the diner operates on a reduced daily schedule — 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday — rather than around the clock, as it always had.

Social distancing also has reduced the number of patrons the restaurant can handle at a time.

As a result, Mrs. Savering figures she serves about 50 people or groups per day.

Though she declined to discuss her income, “most tips are like $3 to $10” per ticket.

Despite her exposure to the public while on the job, Mrs. Savering said she doesn’t worry about getting COVID-19.

“I believe that if you’re meant to get it, you’ll get it,” said the server, who always wears a mask when dealing with customers. “If you’re meant to die, you’ll die. When your time’s up, it’s up.”

But, “I don’t want to get COVID, because I’m a heavy smoker,” stressed Mrs. Savering, who goes through about a pack of unfiltered Camels per day.

Because she likes the work, customers and her colleagues, the server has no plans to retire anytime soon.

“It keeps me moving,” Mrs. Savering said with a laugh. “The older you get, the harder it is to move.”

• Age
I don’t like to talk about that.

• Home
Near Warrenton

• Work
Server, Frost Diner, Warrenton, 2015 to present; server, Mike’s Diner, Manassas, 1984 to 2004; owner/server, Mike’s Diner, 2003.

• Why do you do the job?
I like the people. When we were open all the time — before COVID — I would write and average of 100 to 150 tickets a day. So that meant I saw at least 150 people. Mostly the same ones. They’ve all sort have become family and friends.

• Family
Husband, Robert; five children; 16 grandchildren, one great grandchild.

• Education
Central Cambria (Pa.) High School, 1968.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
About 30 years.

• Why do you live here?
We started renting our house. We really liked the neighbors and everything. And in 2000 we decided to buy the house. We didn’t want to move. Everybody’s really friendly. To me, that’s the most important thing. If you like the people around you, you’re usually happy.

• How do you describe this county?
It’s a nice looking, clean county. I would say most of the people are really nice and friendly.

The police are very helpful. They listen; they actually hear what you’re saying to them.

And, I think all of those things are really important.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I think the taxes are rather high, compared to where I come from. Pennsylvania doesn’t have a personal property tax.

If it would be possible, I’d probably would reduce the personal property taxes. And I would reduce the real estate taxes.

• What do you do for fun?
Date nights. My husband and I go out to dinner. We like to get together with our kids and stuff. I like to paint, play the piano. I like to cook, bake. I crochet once in a while.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Old Town (Warrenton) is great. I hate the fact that we have COVID. But, I really like the way they have it set up for outside dining. I think it makes it more homey.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
Hard to tell. It depends on how everything goes with all this (COVID-19) mess we’re in right now.

It’ll grow. It almost has to, because we’re so close to D.C. I think we need more things for children. There’s no movie theater. There’s no place for them to go.

• Favorite TV show?
“Criminal Minds”

• Favorite movie?
“Cinderella”

• Favorite book?
I like Stephen King books. But, I don’t really have a favorite one.

• Favorite vacation spot?
Virginia Beach

• Favorite food?
Submarines (sandwiches)

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
Take one day at a time and treat people how you want to be treated. It came from my mother-in-law.

You can’t do anything about tomorrow until you take care of today. I find if people treat me nice and I treat them nice, we usually become kind of friends.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My husband. He’s taken care of us all these years. He helps me with any problems I have. And, he’s my best friend.

• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
Same things I’m doing right now — go to work, see my friends, come home, see my family.

We're at the point now where there isn’t any great thing that we want or need. We could probably pay off our vehicles, which we don’t owe very much on.

Maybe help with some of the (grandchildren) with college.

Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? Email Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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