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How My First Job—A Summer Job—Changed My Life

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2024 3:04 am

How My First Job—A Summer Job—Changed My Life

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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March 20, 2024 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, first jobs are important and often our first real taste of adult responsibility. At the Fenwick Crab house, though, Brent Timmons learned much more than just how to cut a cucumber and steam a clam.

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Welcome to 500 Greatest Songs, a podcast based on Rolling Stone's hugely popular, influential, and sometimes controversial list. I'm Brittany Spanos.

And I'm Rob Sheffield. We're here to shed light on the greatest songs ever made and discover what makes them so great. From classics like Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to the Ronettes' Be My Baby, and modern day classics like The Killer's Mr. Brightside.

Listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode is brought to you by Navy Federal Credit Union. At Navy Federal, it's been the mission to help the military community for over 90 years.

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Go to upfaithandfamily.com for your free trial. And we return to our American stories. And for many of us, our first job is one of our most memorable, which makes sense. First jobs help shape people.

And for many of us, become our first taste in real adult responsibility. Up next, a story about a first job. Here's our regular contributor from Delaware, Brent Timmons, with his story. During my high school and college years, I worked at a restaurant, the Fenwick Crab House in Fenwick Island, Delaware. The restaurant was owned by Casher and Mabel Evans from 1962 to 1983. In February of 2006, I sent this letter to Mrs. Evans. Mr. Evans had previously passed. Dear Mrs. Evans, this correspondence is long overdue. There were a few things I've been meaning to tell you.

This is no exaggeration. I have a dream about the crab house two or three times a year. It is always a similar dream. I come into the kitchen years after having worked there, and I'm expected to cook. But it has been so long that I can't remember what to do.

It isn't traumatic or anything. I just realized that time has passed and I need to relearn the job. Those years in the kitchen must have made quite an impression for me to still be dreaming about the crab house. I became aware of job openings through Michael.

It was the spring after we got our driver's license, 1977. Mike came to school one day and said he had gotten a job at the crab house. I asked what he would be doing.

Washing dishes and peeling potatoes are the only two chores I can recall. I could do that, I thought, and working with my best friend Mike would be ideal. A nervous phone call to Mr. Evans ended with an invitation to come to Selbyville to interview for a job. He told me where he lived, a white house in view of Rick's laundromat, the only house with a picket fence. I drove to Selbyville to a house with a picket fence in view of Rick's.

No one came to the door. A neighbor alerted me that I was at the wrong house. You lived in the other only house with a picket fence. I passed the interview and had landed my first job. Perhaps it was my relation to my grandfather Elias, a good friend of Mr. Evans, that made him feel obligated to give me a chance.

Well, that and how hard could it be anyway. Despite my inability to find your house, I did find the crab house on that first day of work. I drove down with Mike thinking the company would help with first day jitters.

I had known a few people who had worked there, my older brother Buddy included. He lasted about a week. My first day on the job, I came under the instruction of Will Daisy. Will was only a couple of years older than I, but seemed much more mature and wise. He became one of my mentors at the crab house. He seemed flawless in his job. He was universally accepted as our peer leader. While Will was our peer leader, we also had our teacher leader, Dave Baker, who coached basketball and taught school.

How did you find these guys? Dave had been there 13 years and Will about five by the time I came. They were wholeheartedly devoted to the restaurant, but most of all devoted to the crab house family.

I had great respect for both of them. You know as well as I that the crab house would have been a very different place without them. I learned from them what defined the proper relationship between us employees and you and Mr. Evans, the owners. That first summer, I washed dishes and did occasionally peel potatoes, although you had that nifty potato peeler. I learned that if you left the potatoes in too long, you ended up with potatoes the size of golf balls and cherry tomatoes. And I also learned, or actually relearned, to make salad. We made salad on that table on the back porch next to the coleslaw mixer. I was standing there one day during cucumbers.

It took no great skill. Cut both ends off and feed them through the slicer, but I managed to fumble on step one. I was cutting the ends back to where the seeds started. Mr. Evans came strolling in to see what we were up to.

Why are you cutting so much off the end of the cucumber? He questioned. Well, that's the way my mother does it, I responded. It was then I first learned about the quick wit and intolerance for impertinence of Mr. Evans.

How long has your mother been in the restaurant business? He bellowed. I don't think I intentionally determined to cut the cucumbers in a way that was different from how I was told to, but I did learn that day the importance of paying close attention to the cucumbers.

I was told to cut the cucumbers in a way that was different from how I was told to cut the cucumbers in a way that was different from how I was told to. We've gotten many a laugh recalling that story. My mother especially enjoyed it. It may have been about my second year when my impertinence reared its ugly head again.

I was a slow learner. Mr. Townsend, a very very old man, would come in to eat several times a week. I didn't really grasp the significance of what Mr. Evans was doing for him at the time because I was young and self-centered. Mr. Evans would hand prepare Mr. Townsend's dinner. It was usually, no, make that always, broiled chicken breast, no skin, sauteed asparagus, and boiled potatoes. Mr. Evans viewed the task of cooking for his old friend as a privilege. I viewed it as just a chore. Sometimes Mr. Evans would cut up the chicken himself, but often he would come to me and ask that I go get a chicken and do the honors as I was one of the resident chicken prep guys.

By this time in my crab house career, I had advanced to clam man, a job I took over from Rex Palmer. I thought that I was very busy one night when Mr. Evans requested that I cut up two chicken breasts for him. A little exasperated and wondering why he couldn't do it himself, I said, Mr. Evans, I'm really busy right now.

Wrong answer. You're not too busy to work for me, to work for me, he shouted. I had missed the whole point of Mr. Townsend's dinners. I was too young to have an old friend that I loved to serve. I had my first serious relationship while working at the crab house. She was a wonderful girl and Mr. Evans loved her, but he felt it was important to constantly tell me the hazards of first relationships. He warned me over and over about these hazards.

I ignored him and finally figured out on my own that maybe these should not occur your senior year of high school. I had my second serious relationship right after ending the relationship with my first, also a waitress at the crab house. She was a wonderful girl as well, and Mr. Evans loved her as well too. He did not warn me about second relationships.

His mistake was that he should have warned the girls about me, not the other way around. And you've been listening to Brent Timmons share with great detail, great emotional memory too, his first job at the crab house. From everything from his duties to, well, his loves, his first two loves, springing from that employment. And there's nothing like working to get to know people, especially in a business like that.

The amount of time you spent together and the stress you suffer through together and the slow times you get through together. When we come back, more of Brent Timmons on his first job at the crab house and the things he learned from it and perhaps is still gleaning some wisdom from. More with Brent Timmons, his first job here on Our American Story. Welcome to 500 Greatest Songs, a podcast based on Rolling Stone's hugely popular, influential, and sometimes controversial list. I'm Brittany Spanos.

And I'm Rob Sheffield. We're here to shed light on the greatest songs ever made and discover what makes them so great. From classics like Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to the Ronettes' Be My Baby, and modern day classics like The Killer's Mr. Brightside.

Listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. commercial-free stream anywhere. Get a free trial today.

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And let your creativity bloom with Behr Premium Plus Paint, starting at just $28.98 a gallon at the Home Depot. How doers get more done. And we continue with our American Stories and Brent Timmons' story on his first job at the Fenwick Crab House in Delaware working for Kasher and Mabel Evans. My point out that this story is actually a reading of a letter he wrote to Mabel Evans. When we last left off, Brent was telling us about some of the lessons he learned there from the pitfalls of young love to how to cut a cucumber properly.

Let's continue with the story. I mentioned that I had taken over the job of clam man for Rex. Rex had a way of joking and kidding that I really enjoyed. One day, while training me on the clam steamer, he mentioned that if you aren't sure if a clam is good or not, you can tap two together. If they make a solid clicking sound, they are both good. If one is dead, it won't hold its shell tightly together and it will make a dull thud. It was legitimate instruction, I think.

You never knew about Rex. He may have overemphasized the necessity of this task because I took him to mean that you should do this on every clam you put in the bucket for steaming. So if you were to observe me doing clams, you would have heard an incessant tapping. I can be a little compulsive and it became a compulsion to tap clams together.

I didn't want a dead clam in the steamer. Mr. Evans caught me doing this early on. He asked why I was knocking the clams together and I told him, not impertinently mind you, that I was checking to see if they were good.

Rex told me to do it, I added. I had learned from the cucumber episode to follow instructions to the T. Mr. Evans roared in laughter. From that day on, he referred to me as Knock Knock.

It makes me laugh just thinking about it. The following spring, working some before the season started, he had forgotten what nickname he had given me. I reminded him and Knock Knock stuck for the rest of my time at the crab house. Eventually, I moved up to line cook. It wasn't until recently that I realized I wasn't really cut out to be a line cook. My favorite thing to do at the crab house was to cook out of Siberia II. Siberia was a long stroll to the other end of the kitchen and was given that name due to its remote location. Siberia II was a smaller line in that kitchen. I like Siberia II because it's just a couple of waitresses and would be able to work on one or two orders at a time.

What I realized just a few years ago is that I am not a great multi-task person. I don't do well trying to do a bunch of stuff all at once, thus my attraction to the small line in Siberia. My next favorite job was Siberia I. It was not as busy as the main kitchen and much less chaotic. So even when it did get busy down there, there were fewer things to distract me from cooking. Plus, working in Siberia I normally meant you would be the first to get off work. I don't know if everyone else knew this about my abilities or not.

If they did, they were sensitive enough not to make a big deal out of it. But my guess is that you all understood our strengths and weaknesses and put us where we would work the best. It was wise on your part and as I look back, much appreciated on mine. One of the things I really enjoyed was the pre-season work. I enjoyed going with Will and Mr. Evans down to the crab house before we opened for the season. I liked being in that select group of people who could be on the inside.

Perhaps I was really seeking to be a right-hand. I wanted to be a go-to guy for Mr. Evans. On a Saturday morning after the restaurant season had ended, Mr. Evans called me at home.

He invited me to go to a University of Delaware football game with you. It was the same day that my grandfather chose to dig out his potatoes, a yearly task for one Saturday in the fall. He would plant rows and rows, enough to feed everyone in our family who wanted them, for the entire winter. We would all go and dig them out after he turned over the dirt with the tractor.

It was an all-day affair of digging, loading them in the baskets, and transporting them to the pump house for storage. I enjoyed it to a degree, but I also viewed it as sort of an obligation, partly so we could share in the free potatoes all winter, and partly because Pop-Pop couldn't do it alone. Today Mr. Evans called. I can't really say I was totally thrilled about going to the game. I had never been to a college game, and there were the potatoes. Looking back, I am sure my family would have given me the go-ahead to go to the game, but I dug potatoes instead. I should have gone to the game with you and Mr. Evans. I should have taken advantage of your generosity.

It was a great privilege to have been invited to spend the day with you, and in my short-sightedness, I missed it. There is a brick wall in front of Prince George's Chapel in Dagsboro. Sections of it have been replaced over the years due to cars driving through it. Some of those bricks were due to Kendra West driving her car through it late one night after work. She fell asleep on her way home. I don't exactly know what you did, but I recall hearing that you either loaned her the money to buy a new car, or gave her some money towards a new car. Either way, it was a very generous and caring thing for you to do, and I took note of it. It was completely in character for both of you. One summer, Dorothy had a hernia repaired. You made a place for her out front, seating customers while she recovered.

Perhaps it was a wise move on your part of the family, but it was not. Perhaps it was a wise move on your part, as she was so cheerful and chatty and cute, but I was very aware that you were taking care of her until she was well enough to go back to waiting tables. While I was dating Sherry, you invited us to a New Year's Eve party in Rehoboth, the old Landing Country Club, I think, or perhaps it was the Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club. It was a very classy affair, as one would expect.

The old folks did the jitterbug and whatnot. We felt privileged to spend the evening with you. I knew that we were much more than a couple of kids who just work for you, and that is my whole point. You and Mr. Evans made us all a part of your lives. We were not just employees. You loved us, and we loved you back, because you earned it by investing yourselves in our lives. I learned in those five years that life isn't just about work.

It is more about people, and when you do it right, some of us end up dreaming about it for the next 24 years. I've often wondered if I could have better spent my summers someplace other than the Crab House. At least one spring, I was considering looking elsewhere for a summer job. I waited until late spring to call Mr. Evans and let him know I would like to return to the Crab House that year. Mr. Evans seemed to know what I had been contemplating.

He didn't say much about it, but he said just enough to let me know it bothered him that I had felt the need to consider going someplace else. I could only recall thinking about not returning that one year. If I had, in fact, done something else with my summers, I would not have learned about the pitfalls of young relationships. A first-hand experience, I shall be sure to try to relate to my own children. I would have missed the opportunity to work with a wide variety of young kids of all kinds of backgrounds. The Crab House was a training ground for relationships. I would have missed all of that, and I would not have had the opportunity to work with a couple 50 years my senior, and to develop a friendship with that couple that went far beyond an employee-employer relationship.

I don't think the fruit of that experience is over yet. I fully expect someday to have an opportunity to befriend young men and women 50 years my junior and be able to influence their lives as you and Mr. Evans did mine. And at that time, I expect to hear an awful lot of bell go off in my head, and I'll say to myself, now this is why I spent five of the most impressionable years of my life at the Crab House with Mr. and Mrs. Evans.

And a terrific job on the production by Monty, and a special thanks to Brent Timmons for sharing his story of his first summer job. And by the way, he did that by reading a letter that he had written to Mabel Evans. She and her husband Cash were the owners of the Fenwick Crab House, where young Brent did so much learning. Working for a couple 50 years older than him, well, that memory still burns in him because he's now hoping to transfer his knowledge to a generation or two generations behind him. And that's how so much of our learning happens.

It gets passed along from generation to generation. And we love sharing these intergenerational stories, because old and young have a lot to give each other. The story of Brent Timmons, the story of a first job, of first loves, and so much more here on Our American Story. Welcome to 500 Greatest Songs, a podcast based on Rolling Stone's hugely powerful and influential and sometimes controversial list. I'm Brittany Spanos.

And I'm Rob Sheffield. We're here to shed light on the greatest songs ever made and discover what makes them so great. From classics like Fleetwood Mac's Dreams to the Ronettes' Be My Baby, and modern day classics like The Killer's Mr. Brightside.

Listen to Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, I'm here to tell you about Upfaith & Family, the leading streaming service for uplifting entertainment. This season, enjoy soul-stirring movies like Southern Gospel, an uplifting series like The Chosen and Jesus Calling.

If you're in the mood for something lighter, there are feel-good movies like Heart of a Champion and Country Hearts, or catch up on the beloved series Heartland. There's a curated collection that's perfect for the whole family. It's commercial free. Stream anywhere. Get a free trial today.

Go to UpfaithandFamily.com for your free trial. want. Immerse yourself in entertainment with premium 4K picture and sound for every budget, with sizes for every room. Find your perfect Phillips Roku TV today online or at your local Walmart and Sam's Club.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-20 04:37:04 / 2024-03-20 04:46:14 / 9

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