Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer 1987

That was one of the hottest summers on record. I remember temperatures were routinely at or above 100 degrees. During that time, I worked at Pee Wee's Diner. A family owned restaurant ran by my uncle. Grandma ran it back in the post WW2 era.

There was no green grass anywhere. It was all brown and brittle. It was like walking on hay. We had an air conditioner that was a creaky old box that sat in a back window. Looked really old, but it blew a jet stream of arctic chill that was unparalleled anywhere for its heatstroke relieving qualities.

I stood in front of that window at every break. At every moment in between customers. The table by that window was really the cleanest table of any diner ever. I went from sopping with sweat before I stood by the AC to sopping with sweat after I went back to work. But two minutes in that air flow gave me strength to keep working.

Some interesting things happened during that summer at. I encountered a couple of redneck racists. Saw a woman almost pass out from dehydration. Got the worst tip ever from a couple of jocks who made me, and the cook, work our butts off making something NOT on the menu. And I met an old man who set me on the path I would travel as a writer. I'll talk about them all at some point.

The summer of '87 was the hardest I ever had to work in my life. Not just to earn money, but to ensure the trust my uncle put in me to work there. Because of that back-breaking summer, I learned exactly what in life I could take for granted: NOTHING!

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