My Office Has A Window
It was 1980. A new decade. A new hope. Hopefully a new job. I was 20 years old and a Junior in college when the planets cosmically aligned thus setting me on a strange and bizarre sojourn as a newly hired employee at a little red pole barn in Columbiana. This sojourn is titled, “My Office Has A Window” even though in reality, there were no windows at all.
Chapter Four – To Serve Man
I like mine with lettuce and tomato,
Heinz 57 and French fried potato.
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer,
Well good golly miss Molly which way do I steer.
Since I was going to be “Here” for a while, I needed to find some quality places for sustenance. Not knowing the lay of Columbiana at all, we set out to explore the area for lunchtime. For starters, we found a Burger King on the corner of Route 14 and 46. And that was about it. Little did we know that Burger King would be our lunch destination for the next 100 days in a row? Whopper, double cheeseburger, whaler, large fries, shakes and cokes. Imagine that for lunch every single day.
One night, late in June, Oz gave me 100 bucks to buy a late dinner for the crew that was working hard to get the days orders shipped out. I jumped in my car and off to Burger King I went. I pulled in the parking lot around 11:30 pm. I went to the counter and I ordered 50 whoppers and 50 fries. (This was 1980 folks, you could still get 50 and 50 for under a hundred) The counter guys just looked at me in amazement as they heard my order. They closed at midnight and had everything cleaned and prepped when I walked in. To their credit, they fired up the grill and cooked my order in a timely fashion.
Just as soon as I got back, Oz sent me right back to reorder the same. He had underestimated the hunger and the size of the crew working that evening. This time Burger King was locking up when I squeezed through the doors. The grill boy stared in disbelief as he heard my order over the loud-speaker. At this point I was glad I already had something to eat because I think the grill boy was going to add a little of his own special sauce to the Whopper’s.
A step above Burger King was a quaint little place called the American Legion. The food was good and the waitresses friendly. Mac Daddy, a fellow employee had the hots for one of the waitresses. I believe her name was Teresa. One day during lunch Teresa was telling us her tragic life story and all the bad luck she had. To top things off, she told us her husband got run over by a train. That’s right! Run over by a train. I had to turn away so as not to laugh directly in her face. That’s when Mac made his move. Mac and Teresa began dating and soon after that we were submitting lunch menu choices for the week. I’d like to thank Mac for taking one for the team. (Mac meets Karma in a later chapter) Now, we had catfish dinners, hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, seashell spaghetti in meat sauce, beef stew, and other assorted delicacies.
Alas, the honeymoon had to end. One day we were sitting around the Legion bar and Bob, a fellow employee decides to conduct a séance to conjure up some spirits. The séance was a success for now present at the bar were Bud Wiser, Jimmy Beam, Jack Daniel’s and even Old Granddad. Immediately the spirits took possession of Bob’s mind and body and forced him to act like Dudley Moore from the movie Arthur. (I race cars, fondle women, but I get weekends off) And out the door we got kicked.
Several years later, McDonald’s opened up shop along with a Sandwich Factory. We could now feast on Big Mac’s, chicken mcnuggetts, and cheeseburgers. And, at the Sandwich Factory, they had over 25 different submarine sandwiches to choose from. We had found Nirvana.
Marky and I also found another hidden lunch menu choice that we kept a secret so as not to spoil our hidden treasure. About a mile down the road there was a Mennonite fruit stand. Passing the stand one day, on a lark, we decided to stop and get some apples for snacks. As we approached the stand, we smelled a familiar odor. (No, not the pig shit manure) This was a pleasant odor. It was the smell of turkey and stuffing. Our eyes got as wide as plate saucers as there before us was roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, home-made hot fresh bread, and apple and cherry pies. We bought turkey dinners with all the fixin’s including a full cherry pie. All that for $2.00 each. We ate like kings for months until the stand closed down for the winter.
Sometimes things got desperate and we went so far as chasing pheasants on route 46 so we could cook them for lunch. Driving in to work one morning, we saw a flock (or whatever you call them) of pheasants in the field just minding their own business. We put our heads together and decided to catch one and cook it for dinner. (Yes, we were that desperate, and that stupid) We were not very effective hunters. We could only scrounge up three tools. A blanket, a clothes basket, and a broom. We looked like the Keystone Cops running around after the pheasants trying to throw a blanket and clothes basket over them. We never did catch any. And we went hungry that day.
Read Chapter Five Here…
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LURKING, I NEED SOME WINDEX ON THE GRASSY KNOLL