snow und ice

Hail was falling in the mountains this weekend . It wasn’t a soft snow , not wind-swept drifting flakes dropping gently  earthward .  Hailstones clattered harshly on the metal chimney and vent covers on the roof .snow 1

I began thinking of the German lady who was my mean boss at the Town Talk Cafe .That’s how my mind works . Little bits from my memory  percolate up from time to time .  Anyway , that cafe job was my first real job , not counting mowing lawns and doing all sorts of odd jobs around the neighborhood . I mean , the Town Talk Cafe was a real live brick-and-mortar business .

I worked after school and Saturdays washing dishes . There were three or four tables in the place , but most of the customers sat at the counter and ordered coffee and donuts . On a good day a few people would order  hamburgers or a bowl of chili .

The German lady would yell at me for any little thing . She yelled that the apron I wore had dirt on it , that I had bent the handle of the little brush used for cleaning water glasses , that I had  put too much bleach in the rinse water . In a gutteral German accent . But  I put up with it and did my work for $1.20/hour  because it was a real job . I got a real paycheck every two weeks .

Meanwhile , overnight , the hail covered the mountaintop like a soft white snowy comforter . It looked soft and inviting and was beautiful , but it was hard and slippery and treacherous. I watched a white pickup truck race past and it never slid . That it didn’t slip or spin out didn’t make the driver any less of a fool , in my opinion .snow 2

One day the German lady brought a prospective customer back to the kitchen to show him around , a prospective customer to buy the place . He was a middle aged guy in a three-piece suit . The German lady walked him over to introduce him to me .

” And dis is my son Denny , ” she said to him . She meant the words to sift down like softly-settling  snow , but they struck  me hard , like hard-packed ice , slippery as could be .cafe sign

The weeks of being chewed out for everything under the sun flashed before my eyes as I watched her now playing the role of Little Miss Sunshine in the hope of selling the joint . She was all smiles and tender tones . I slowly took off my apron , with its dirty front , and  handed it to the boss . Then I turned to face the man .

” Sir , ” I said . ” I’m not her son and my name is not Denny .” The German lady  didn’t know how to respond with the three-piece suit man standing there . ” And I don’t work here any more , ”  I said .   I then turned and went out the rear door of the Town Talk Cafe and walked home .

It was a Saturday morning . My father was surprised to see me . I told him I’d quit .

Up at the mountain cabin with Ada and me was a young woman from Lichtenstein . She had told the story of her brother having been fired from a job . Ada told her story of quitting a job . The German lady popped into my mind . I feel a little sorry for anyone who’s never been fired from a job .three in snow

Snow provokes responses that reach right back  into childhood. —–Andy Goldsmith 






Filed under humor

11 responses to “snow und ice

  1. Great story. It’s amazing how just the right remark will trigger long-lost memories!

  2. I love this story. I’ve been coming by here so long that I didn’t flinch when you went from freak hail storm to old German lady. Good for you for quitting Denny 😉

  3. DanH, Your storyteller’s mind is a carnival of grand proportion. Hail to your imagination!

  4. It is amazing how a sight or especially a scent can open the flood gates of memory.

    I remember reviewing applications for an entry-level technical position and tossing aside the ones that listed no prior experience. There were a lot of them.

  5. I’ve never been fired, but have been “let go.” Sometimes it leads to better things. Great story.

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