When you visit Mom's Cafe in Whitewater for breakfast or lunch, you often get home-cooked food brought to your table by 88-year-old Delores Walker.

"I've retired two or three times, but I keep coming back to work," Walker said. "I like doing this."

Walker has been a waitress at the restaurant for 16 years, commuting from her home in Benton.

"She puts her car on autopilot and it just knows its way here," said Lynn Frazier, owner of Mom's Cafe.

Walker started waitressing more than 40 years ago, starting her career at The Fife and Drum in Wichita, where she learned quickly.

"I had it down in about three days," Walker said.

After a visit to the cafe in Whitewater, Walker decided to come out of retirement once again to do what she loves - meeting different people and serving them delicious food.

"There's a lot of nice people around here... that's why I don't want to quit until I have to," Walker said. "I've been waitressing a long time, but I like doing it. I like the people."

"She's a good people person," Frazier said. "We fight like cats and dogs, but we also hug and love each other, too."

Being a waitress in a small town, she has seen milestones celebrated in her customers' lives.

"Some of them, you can't believe they're out of school," Walker said.

Those visiting Mom's Cafe for the first time ask her what the day's special is.

"I tell them everything we have is special," Walker said. "When they ask what they should eat, I tell them everything's good, which is true, because we've got some good cooks. It takes a good cook to have a good restaurant."

From the fried chicken to breakfast options of omelettes or biscuits and gravy, Walker makes sure everyone has a good experience.

"Whatever they want, we'll fix," Walker said. "You have to please your customers, because if you don't have customers, you don't have a restaurant."

"She works circles around some of these teenagers," Frazier said.

Walker admits she may not always be able to put a name with a face, but she's not there to gossip, she's there to serve.

"I know what they eat and what they drink," Walker said. "You have to wait on the customers and please them. You have to make sure they're satisfied. If the food's not any good, they're not going to come back and I want them to come back, so I try to make sure they're satisfied."

In her spare time, Walker makes jams and jellies that are served at the cafe, with flavors such as strawberry, grape, strawberry jalapeno, blackberry, strawberry banana, peach and strawberry rhubarb available for diners to spoon over their biscuits.

Walker is especially fond of the groups that meet at Mom's Cafe for breakfast, Bible studies and day trips.

"People ask me, 'are you mom?' I say 'no, she's back in the kitchen, cooking. I'm just a fixture,'" Walker laughed. "There's been a lot of good times. I've had a lot of fun here."

The customers treat her well and appreciate her sense of humor.

"You meet some who aren't in a very good mood, but after a while, they come around," Walker said. "I just do my thing. I don't want to nose in on people."

She is the mother of five children, two of whom are still living.

"They tell me I have to keep working, that it keeps my blood circulating. And you know, I think it kind of does," Walker said.

As of now, she has no plans to retire - again - from waitressing.

"I'll know when the time comes, but right now isn't the time, because I still want to do it," Walker said.

Mom's Cafe (213 S. Main St., Whitewater) is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. For more information, call 316-799-1904.