December 18, 2015
Hotdogs For Christmas
Several years ago, I lived and worked in Wyoming. I lived in a small town called Evanston. The people there were awesome. I really felt like the people that I worked with and went to church with were good people who were hard working and wanted to live good lives. I can’t say much for the actual town and natural beauty of the place. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, but it was hard to find fun things to do. I remember before I lived in Evanston that I used to think it was odd that my wife would go to Walmart as a place to hang out while she was in high school in a small town known as Alamosa, Colorado. I teased her that they couldn’t find anything better to do than to go roam around Walmart. However, I distinctly remember one night on a weekend (because I usually worked too late to do anything during the week) that we wanted to go out and do something, but we had no good ideas of what to do. I remember sheepishly asking her, “Do you want to go hang out at Walmart?”.
Even though I liked the people, I hated having to drive to Lyman everyday which was about 40 mins away. Then I would get in the hyrdrovac and drive another 2 hours or so to a job site. Now that I think of it, it was a dangerous job. I worked on oil rigs and at compressor stations and myriad of other construction sites, but the real danger was in the drive. There is no telling how many sleep deprived individuals were out on the roads at any given time, not to mention how the danger compounded when the roads were icy with 50 mph winds. It’s a miracle I survived.
I worked crazy hours. There were weeks that I worked 100 hours, and that doesn’t even include the other 20 hours + a week that I spent driving. I hardly slept, and I had to be awake at 3:30 am just to make sure that I was where I needed to be on time. It wasn’t like I was taking a whole lot of time to get ready either. I mean it took me all of 2 seconds to throw on a hat and head out the door. There were nights when I literally fell asleep mid sentence while talking with my wife because I was so exhausted. Every single day I wanted to quit. The only days that I didn’t want to quit were on pay day, and we were paid weekly. I am sure that management had figured out that if they didn’t pay every body once a week that it would be impossible to keep employees for very long. The weekly reward helped me to put my head down and keep working. If I would have had to wait for 2 weeks, I am sure that I would have quit sooner.
I tried to work as much as possible because I wanted the overtime. I worked most every Saturday and some holidays. I remember working until 2 am the night before Thanksgiving, and I remember working on Christmas Eve of that year. My wife and I had a plan that I would get home early around 7pm and then we would have time to pack up and drive down to my parent’s house for Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with them. We were so busy at the last minute that we hadn’t made anything for dinner that night. We shrugged it off thinking that we would just grab something quick on our way out of town. What we didn’t realize was that everything would be closed on Christmas Eve. I don’t know why we hadn’t thought about that because obviously it wasn’t our first Christmas. I mean even Walmart shuts down for Christmas right? We did find a gas station that was open. It was a Maverick. We did our best to find a Christmas Eve dinner there in that gas station. After looking around at the variety of frozen foods and snacks, my wife settled on a ham and cheese hot pocket, and I ended up eating a Bahama Mama Hot Dog. When you eat a hot dog on the 4th of July, you don’t feel strange about it because you know that across the country there are millions of people eating hot dogs too. But, when you eat a hot dog on Christmas Eve, you feel like you have somehow missed the boat. I was a little sad that I was eating a hot dog that night, but I was happy too, because I was with someone I loved who didn’t mind being with someone that ate hot dogs on Christmas Eve.