Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sibling Assignment #78: Sitting Around at Stein Brothers' IGA

Silver Valley Girl prompted me and InlandEmpireGirl to post an essay exploring the following:

Pick a business in Kellogg where you used to "hang out" in junior high or high school and tell a story about an incident that happened at this location that was really memorable.
InlandEmpireGirl remembers scarfing Awful Awfuls at the Brunswick Cafe in Coeur d'Alene, here, and here, Silver Valley Girl takes readers back to Pappy's Pizza and a Powder Blue Cadillac in Kellogg.

A lull.

A handful of shoppers, most just grabbing a box of Oly or a six pack of Lucky Lager. No need for a boxboy.

The store's shelves were restocked.

It wasn't time to start sweeping and dry mopping the aisles.

Grab a Darigold crate.

Have a seat.

Let's shoot the shit.

My favorite hangout in high school was the stock room at the back of Stein Brothers' IGA where I worked as a boxboy for three years.

It didn't matter if it was Merle or ReillyJ or ReillyT or Boosh or Jimmy or Dickie or Dale or LeRoy or Chico or 'Sidro or Red or who it was, when Kellogg mothers had finished buying out the store and when the price changes were done or when the canned green bean display was built, I loved pinching a pint of chocolate milk or a cream puff in the bakery or a can of Pepsi from the cooler and pulling up a milk crate or a box of Carnation Evaporated Milk and sitting down with my fellow boxboys or bosses and shooting the shit at Stein Brothers' IGA on Hill and Cameron in Kellogg, Idaho.

We talked about Led Zeppelin and Neil Diamond, basketball games and biology tests; the National Football League and high school football; high school girls who came in the store, and the couple or three gorgeous checkers LeRoy always hired to keep customers coming in the store; we told jokes, lied, picked on each other, and kept our morale up.

The work at Stein Brothers' IGA wasn't bad. We carried customers' groceries to their cars, kept product on the shelves, incinerated scores of cardboard boxes, cleaned up broken jars of Nalley's Dill Pickles, delivered groceries to a handful of shut-ins, and kept track of weekly bargains and answered customers' questions.

But, it was hanging out in the stock room that I loved the most.

I still pull up a milk crate at work and shoot the shit now that I'm an English instructor at LCC.

Outside MB's office a small round table sits in the corner and from time to time MB and sometimes KZ and sometime PM and pull up a chair at this table and shoot the shit.

We talk about Pink Floyd and student essays and the politics of our workplace and we crack jokes and tell funny stories.

It keeps our morale up and makes our work sweeter.

Now my favorite place to hang out is the round table in the corner by MB's office. It's just like sitting on a box of Del Monte cling peaches in the stock room.

I get stuff off my chest, laugh, and learn about the world I live in in a way that keeping my nose to the grindstone denies me.

Like drinking pinched Pepsis with Merle and ReillyT, it's what makes the workplace a pleasure.


Songwraith said...

Good to have you back! and enjoyed the post! It's sort of amazing what stays with you!
One of the managers (probably Chico) made a sign for the entrance to the back room (where we used to "shoot the shit") that read: "Employees Olny!"
Dickie took a magic marker and added underneath (in large letters): "This Means Yuo!"
Those were good days!

Inland Empire Girl said...

Didn't Leroy ever figure out that business picked up with teenage girls depending on what boxboys were working that shift? Forget the checkers out front...the boxboys were the hotties!!!

raymond pert said...

Geez. I wish someone had told me that.