b'50 YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL WAITRESSING!DEB BURTON!Before her last day on Saturday November 6,drop by Jesters Court to wish her well.Picture this scene: A 15-year-old young lady, wearing a lime green dress with a bright pink apron, a hot pink flower in her hairnet, is waiting on customers at a coffee shop in a hotel in the west end of Toronto. First, she is given three stools to serve. Then the whole counter. Then tables. The management recognizes her skill and potential. They move her upstairs to work at The Runway bar. Theres glowing candlelight, fancy cocktails, soft jazz mu-sic, comfy seating and complimentary peanuts in little dishes.Now shes wearing a gown that brings to mind I Dream of Jeannie. Debs still only 15, and making a lot more money than $20 a day at the coffee shop.Thats the story of how Deb Burton began her career as a professional waitress. My family split up when I was 15, she says. I was on my own. It was a rough start. But Ive always been a survivor.PROFESSIONAL day.IdontlikedoingDebmetherpresenthusband WAITRESS CAREER paperwork. DrewJacobsonwhentheyworked Beingapeopleperson,DebWaitressinghasgivenherthetogether at Jesters Court, where he lovedwaitressinganddecidedtoflexibility to work different shifts, bal- was the chef there until he was head make it her lifelong career. When peo- ancing her time raising four childrenhunted by the casino. ple sometimes said, you have brains;(Melissa, Sarah, Jonathan and Daniel);JustbeforeCOVID-19hit,Drew youcandobetter!Debwouldenjoying travel, and even taking a dayleftthatpositiontostarthisown respondthattherewasntabetterjob selling cars at a dealership oncesuccessfulhotsaucebusiness,Hurt job to suit her. She says she couldntsomething else that she excelled at. Berry Farm. There are 360 varieties of imagine being stuck in an office allI like being able to set my ownchili peppers grown on their two-acre schedule, Deb said. property on Lakeridge Road.Flash forward to 2021: Deb Burton is retiring after a successful 50 yearJESTERS COURT GHOSTScareer as a professional waitress, in-Debs many memories involve the cluding 25 years as a friendly fixturefamous Jesters Court ghosts. at Jesters Court in Port Perry. Yes, sheIhavebeenabletoseespirits uses the word waitress, not server. sinceIwasayoungchild,holding At age 31, she was hired at Tradermymothershand,Debrevealed. Sams, which used to be in a plaza onOtherpeoplethinkthatbecause 7A. theycantseethem,nobodycan. That was a fun place to work,Themediumsthatdidreadingsat Debremembers.Byday,familiesJesters could certainly confirm their would come in for pasta and wings.existence. At night, the lights would be turnedWith the commotion of the restau-down,thetableswouldbepushedrantbeingestablished,Debrecalls back,andtherewasDJmusicandthat the ghosts were quite active at We had Deb drop her mask momentarilydancing. first.Pictureswouldfalloffwalls. before serving some of her many Friday night regulars. Shown here with Sara andMany people met and fell in love Adam Harrington. at Trader Sams, she recalls. Please turn to page 14FOCUS - OCTOBER 202113'