AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“The bill’s already been paid,” she yelled, waving the bills in the air. The golfers smiled and told Marilyn to keep the money. “That’s for you,” one of them said. And it’s that kind of honesty that makes Abt arguably the best-loved and most popular employee at the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area golf course. Popular, loved and certainly more honest than many of the thousands of golfers she’s been feeding over the years before or after they’ve hacked and lied their way around 18 holes. I know. I’m one of them. In nearly 50 years of waitressing at the Encino/Balboa Golf Course coffee shop, Marilyn Abt’s biggest tip has been $46. And she thought that was a mistake. “Three guys were having breakfast one morning, and one of them paid the bill while the other two went to the little boys’ room,” the waitress said Thursday, keeping an eye on the cook’s window for her order of scrambled eggs and bacon for Table 3. “He left me a $6 tip, but when I went to clean the dirty dishes away, I found two $20 bills – one under each plate. I figured they didn’t know their buddy had already paid the bill.” Marilyn didn’t put the two bills in her pocket, no questions asked. Instead, she chased the golfers to the first tee of Balboa. “I’ve never seen her without a smile and a happy greeting when you come in,” says Robert Johansen, who walked into the coffee shop Thursday morning after playing 18 holes with friends Jerry Frankel and John Stimson. “The usual?” Marilyn asked the men. They nodded and smiled. Who needs menus and an order pad when you’ve been the only waitress many of these golfers have known since the course opened 50 years ago? “I’ll look out the window, see my regulars coming and put their orders in before they even sit down,” said Marilyn, now 83. It’s a good thing, too, because golfers are notoriously rotten judges of time. “I’ve had guys sit down and order oatmeal, then have their tee time called,” she said, laughing. “They’ll pour their breakfast into plastic cartons and run out of here slurping it down.” Over the years, she’s served actors Clark Gable and Kirk Douglas, jazz singer Billy Eckstein and a host of other well-known personalities in the original coffee shop that sat where the driving range is now. It was moved to bigger quarters in 1968. “The first coffee shop had a four-seat counter and four tables,” Marilyn says, making the rounds with her coffee pot. “I was the cook and only waitress. “I’d make them breakfast and serve it myself.” Now she has more help, like waitress Linda Wilks, who has been there 20 years. “She still runs circles around every other waitress we have here,” Wilks says. “I’ve never heard her complain once about any aches and pains.” So, to what does she attribute her good health and long waitressing career, a few of her steady customers want to know. “Crown Royal,” Marilyn says, winking, referring to her favorite whiskey. When you’ve spent almost 50 years feeding a bunch of lying, cheating golfers, you need all the help you can get. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!