My Summer Jobs

The Guideposts editor-in-chief reflects on summer jobs he's had in the past.

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I’m trying to type this while rolling up alongside the Hudson River at sunset on an Amtrak train (I love Amtrak). I’ve slipped away from the GUIDEPOSTS offices to get in an extra weekend day. Julee and Millie are waiting for me at the station in Hudson, New York, whence we will drive to our house in the hills.

I can’t help but think about how these summer days are dwindling. The sun is setting earlier and earlier (Julee reminded me to bring warm clothes). But one thing the end of summer always reminds me of is all those summer jobs I had as a kid coming to an end.

I was an industrious kid. I mowed the neighborhood lawns and cleaned the pools. I fed pets who had been left behind by vacationing owners (the Noonans’ rabbits were always happy to see me carrying a big smelly pack of their pellet food).

Later I got a real Social Security paying job at the HoJos my mom and her group repaired to after Mass every morning. I started out as a dishwasher and then was raised up to busboy. Later I had my own house painting business (exteriors only).

One summer in college I worked as a room service waiter at a Marriott in Ann Arbor. But by then I was looking for adventure in my summers (not that room service couldn’t be adventurous sometimes).

I crewed on to the big ore boats that plow the Great Lakes. No, not oar boats, where Roman slaves rowed under the lash. These were the great freighters that carry iron ore and coal and stone and occasionally sink. It was hard, filthy, incredibly dangerous work and I loved it. Loved the labor and loved sailing these great inland seas.

This time of year up on Lake Superior you definitely knew summer was waning. At night I’d put on a heavy sweatshirt, climb the crow’s nest up forward and watch the Northern Lights ignite the horizon with a kind of crystalline fire. At those moments I felt blessed. Blessed to be where I was and to be seeing what I was seeing, blessed to be working and blessed to be alive.

I’ve had a summer job this year too...blogging. I’ve enjoyed it and when our big new site launches in the fall, I plan to continue.

So, why don’t you tell me about some of the interesting or wacky summer jobs you’ve had? I happen to know that one of my fellow bloggers here at GUIDEPOSTS kept body and soul together as a singing waiter. What did you do?

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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