Friday, February 5, 2016

Trunk Full of Beer Cans: Des Moines 1975

I was seventeen, maybe eighteen, still in high school and working at Yonkers at the Merle Hay Mall. I could walk to work from my house (my parents' house) in Urbandale. I worked in the stock room and the loading dock and hadn't been there long before there was a trucker's strike--the truckers picketed behind the dock but I was not the brightest of kids and didn't really understand fully what was going on, even though they called me a scab and put a knife to the tires of the people who tried to keep the goods moving. (Later I was decent friends with most of the truckers.) Anyway, there were a number of men who wore suits that were in charge in some capacity at Yonkers, and they were ferrying things back and forth between stores in Des Moines. One such suit was a guy--nice guy but not my direct boss--who only had one arm. He came and got me and needed help moving some stuff into his car, which was parked out back on the sloping concrete that led to the dock. So I got the boxes or what-have-you and went with him to his car and he popped the trunk and it was full of empty beer cans. I mean completely full. Cans came clattering out as soon as the trunk went up and he quickly gathered them and then closed the trunk. I don't recall what kind of beer it was--not Budweiser or Miller, but of that ilk--but they were all the same brand. I mean, that trunk was chock full of emptied cans. The guy, this one-armed suit guy--he was clearly embarrassed, but I was savvy enough to say nothing, to pretend as though it was normal to have your trunk stuffed with beer cans.

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