Thomas Klütts prepares meals during a busy spell Monday at Dave’s Coffee Shop. Klütts said many customers ordered traditional Christmas meals of turkey and mashed potatoes. (CNJ Staff Photo: Sharna Johnson)
By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff
Having to work on Christmas didn’t take away from the holiday spirit of many Clovis residents, who said they didn’t mind and found ways to celebrate regardless.
Heather Green, a clerk at Town & Country Food Stores on North Prince Street, said Monday was her third day of employment there. She celebrated the holidays with her family Christmas Eve because she knew she had to work.
“It’s not too bad. It’s been kind of busy,” the 23-year-old said. “It’s just another workday.”
Elsewhere at Dave’s Coffee Shop, business was good as customers trickled in and out of the crowded restaurant. A constant hum of conversations mingled with softly playing Christmas music and the clanging of dishes.
In the kitchen, Thomas Klütts bustled to and fro, checking items on the grill and readying side dishes.
“Lucky,” he said when asked how he felt to be working on Christmas, explaining it was his second day on the job and he felt good to have work.
He was able to celebrate the holidays with his family before his shift, the father of two said.
Dawn Martin, a waitress at Dave’s, was sitting at a table with her family. She had come in for dinner, but when they said they needed her help, she agreed to work. She didn’t mind, she said smiling.
Across town, Glenda Carpenter joined with about 40 emergency response personnel from all the local fire stations and their families for a holiday meal at the fire department on Mitchell Street Monday afternoon. AeroCare personnel from Lubbock, who do helicopter medical evacuations and were on shift for the holiday, joined for the meal, too.
When her husband died three years ago, the petite grandmother said she prayed for a mission — a purpose — and God gave her firefighters.
“They call me ‘Mom Carpenter’ and I claim them as my kids, there are about 75 of them,” she said with a smile. “(When my husband died) my family grew.”
Every holiday without fail, Carpenter bakes pies for local emergency responders and delivers them to each fire station. This year, however, she was their invited guest for Christmas dinner.
In November 2003 she began baking pies, usually six per holiday, and delivering them to the fire stations in Clovis.
“If there isn’t a holiday I create one,” she laughed, telling the story of one year when she baked pies in August and called them “back-to-school pies.”
“I love to do it,” she said.
Lynne Demento, a driver/operator with the Clovis Fire Department, stood in the kitchen at the station carving the second of two turkeys prepared for the group as children ran down the hallway and uniformed men and women drifted in and out waiting for the meal to begin.
“She brings us pies every single holiday, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Easter — every holiday,” Demento said, explaining this time the station asked Carpenter to come share in their meal, requiring she relax and leave the work to them.