Summer of Snack

We’ve been seeing some nice afternoons recently, haven’t we? I’ve driven home from work with the music blasting and windows down and it’s felt almost like summer. On a recent car ride home, the combination of weather and the iPod playing Shimmer by Fuel and Trust by Megadeth back-to-back took me back to the summer of 1998 – perhaps the most care-free summer ever. Well, for me at least, considering I was getting ready to go to college and every summer during that time was going to include working a “real” job.

I’d just graduated from high school and I was working the snack bar at our local pool. I started about a month into the summer after my mother got tired of me sitting on my ass at home all the time, but it was an easy decision considering that Deep Cover was already working there along with C (class of 98 also), W (96) who were both I-66 High Almuni, along with a smattering of other kids our age from the area.

We spent the entire summer eating snack bar food (free to us) like cheese fries, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, and drinking unhealthy amounts of soda. We also gave free food to the lifeguards (though prohibited from doing so) who were either nice, hot, or both. When we weren’t eating the food, giving it away, or actually selling it to pool patrons, we sang and danced and played broomsticks and mops to the songs blasting on the radio – such as Trust and Shimmer, as well as Closing Time by Semisonic which was a snack bar favorite, though Iris by Goo Goo Dolls probably was most played. Naturally there are tons of memories – sampling…

  • One of our co-workers writing something defamatory about someone we all knew and disliked on the back of his car. About an hour later, 3 or 4 tennis players (!!!) angrily stormed in through the back entrance of the snack bar and demanded to know who was responsible. We pled ignorance, but W left immediately to “go get my shotgun, just in case”.
  • As lifeguard break was the busiest time for the bar, since all the kiddies would have to get out of the pool, we quickly grew to hate the sound of that first whistle telling everyone to get out of the pool. On our last day at work, Deep Cover, C, and I closed down the snack bar (we were the only ones there that day) during break and sat outside at a table in plain view of everyone and smoked celebratory cigars.
  • W’s girlfriend stopping by to visit (as she often did) and telling W to “stop by after work, the backdoor’s always open” as she was leaving, and us miraculously being able to hold in our laughter until after she’d gone (though W was just about convulsing) and subsequently erupting into hysterics once she’d closed the door.
  • My summer-long desire to drink from the soda fountain, and finally getting my chance to on the last day, only to get Root Beer up my nose after sticking my head underneath and pushing the button.
  • Deep Cover and I closing the snack bar early on the final day after C had left and getting caught lying on the deck after a quick swim… by our manager… who we only noticed as he stood over us because he was obscuring our sun. Too bad he couldn’t fire us.
  • Some years later, we learned that our legacy at the snack bar lived on. Deep Cover’s brother, who I believe graduated from I-66 High in 2002, went to work at the same pool and the same snack bar one summer. I don’t know whether they recognized his last name, but they told him that Deep Cover was part of a group responsible for the snack bar operating 4 figures in the red one summer. Guess we ate and gave away more food than we thought…

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