My wife and I love to stream a good drama every now and then. It is great to get mindlessly lost in a show.
We have recently been watching a show where the main character drives a 1960s Ford Mustang. I am not positive on the exact year, but it might be a 1967, my favorite.
Seeing that car brought me back to high school, when I had a 1969 Mustang. Man, I loved that car. As I was flooded of memories of that green car that had no power steering (that was optional then) and was actually pretty hard to drive, I thought about how many great times I had in that car. Cruising with friends, taking a girlfriend to the drive-in movie and just cranking up the music on the way to school.
But one memory stuck out more than the others. My last couple of years of high school I had the greatest job I have probably ever had. Now, that is different from my career, which I love. But this job was the best. I was a pizza delivery driver for a local pizza joint that all the kids loved and everyone wanted to work at.
It was called Lujano’s, and I started there when I was 16. It was owned by a guy named Gary, and his last name wasn’t Lujano. When I found out his last name, it was clear why he didn’t name the place after himself. I won’t repeat it here because it is, er, not really fit for a family newspaper. But if you are an adult and very curious, drop me a note and I will tell you.
Pretty much everyone who worked there was a teenager. I think the manager was 21. Needless to say, we had a great time. I had no problem taking as many hours as they would give me. I had to pay for my own insurance and gas, so I needed the job.
But this job was not only fun, it was a way of life. When we weren’t working, we would hang out there. I ate there even on my days off. The pizza was incredibly good. I even made the dough and sauce myself many times.
Gary was in his 30s and was a super fun guy. One unique physical feature about him was he had huge thumbs. And I mean sideshow size thumbs. We would tell the new employees to give Gary a thumb’s up, just to watch him nail them in the face with a glob of cold dough.
We had some great and probably dangerous pranks we pulled on new hires. When you walked in the back door after a delivery, there was a long counter on the right. That is where you tossed your car keys. Between deliveries you would fold boxes, roll dough or answer calls.
Well, we would take the keys from the counter when the newbie wasn’t looking and put them in the oven. After a few minutes, we get the keys out and toss them on the counter.
Next up, simply tell the new guy that he had a delivery and watch him grab his keys and scream in pain. Good times.
Another one was waiting for the new person to go to the bathroom. The employee bathroom was outside the back door. The exhaust fan on top of the oven blew out into that bathroom – right over the toilet, in fact. So, when the new person hit the bathroom, we would grab a handful of flour, go to the oven and toss the flour into the exhaust fan.
You heard an almost immediate scream, followed by the newbie coming back into the kitchen covered in flour. What’s not to love about that?
It was hot working there – the kitchen where we worked had no air conditioning and it was 115 degrees in the summer, but we didn’t care. Lujano’s was our home away from home.
I left when I went into the military. Sadly, a couple of years later Gary died in a vehicle accident, leaving behind a wife and two young children. A long-time employee took the business over and ran it into the ground less than five years later.
Sad, but I still have great memories of that Mustang and some great and rowdy times working at the best job ever.