Summer beach job selling concession food as a child gave this North Carolina woman time for summer dreaming.
Between the ages of 11 and 14, I ran the concession at the beach. There were no adults to supervise; I was shown what to do, and I was expected to do it.
The concession was called Sam’s, named after the owner’s cat. In reality, the concession was a one-ton step van that had been wired for electricity and fitted with coolers.
Hot dogs were cooked in one of those old-fashioned hot dog rollers, and as they turned, roasting and browning to perfection, they could be smelled all along the beach. In no time, people would line up. They raved on and on about how tasty those hot dogs were.
Sam’s was also known for its frozen candy bars, which cost a nickle more than the unfrozen version. Ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, fudge bars and vanilla bars were on the menu as well, and people always had a tough time deciding which treat they wanted.
When things were slow, I would people watch as folks laughed, played, relaxed and enjoyed themselves. As the breeze came through the concession window, it was a time of lazy summer dreaming.
When the day was over, I placed the day’s money in a pickle jar and walked the mile or so home. Not once did anyone ever bother me.
I was lucky to have my summer beach job — summer after summer.
Danbury, North Carolina
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