Remember the expression, "Today is the First Day of the Rest of your life?" Well, today was the last day of the past five months of my life. It was the last day of work for the seasonal work camping job we have had at the Grand Canyon.
My shift today is a closing shift, which means going in at 10:30 and finishing up at 7:30. Here is how this day went:
Sleep in until almost 8 a.m., (not typical), get up, shower, dress, coffee and breakfast. Because it is last day, do some readying of the coach. Check email, banking, etc. like normal.
Propane Company stops by to fill our tank and remove the bulk tank we hook up to.
Leave for bookstore about 10 a.m. with post office stop on the way. Turn in our P.O. Box keys, will set up forwarding instructions by internet.
Arrive at bookstore about 10:15 a.m. There's a bit of a rush going on, so I jump right in.
Being the last day of the month, we have a huge order coming in. So I get stockroom set for delivery.
Manager calls me in for exit/performance review. These are extremely important; it builds your work camping resume and opens up the opportunity of returning for another season.
Today, we have a little celebration for demolishing a sales goal and headquarters brings pizza for lunch! I demolished my own personal sales goal! I deserve an extra piece of pizza.
Lots of customers today; it's spring break and many families are here. The day is sunny and in the mid sixties. Great for viewing the Canyon and folks are happy.
The daughter of our friends in Florida is here on vacation with her family and they stop in to say 'hello.' Fortunately, they stopped during a lull. Always fun to see friends, friend’s family, or just folks from the same home area. Amazing how many connections you find with only a few questions.
Big order arrives, we get everything unpacked, checked off and entered, then comes 'put away'. It was tough, but it we got it done.
All during this time, we are greeting customers, helping them find the right book, artwork, or even postcard.
In the National Parks there is a program for Junior Rangers, when the real Rangers are not available, we are ‘authorized’ to swear them in. Today, I was privileged to swear in two new Junior Rangers. You have not seen serious until you tell the new Junior Ranger to raise his right hand and repeat after me. This is one of the really fun moments in the job.
Getting close to closing, I start making rounds to straighten up the store. Items not purchased and left in the strangest places, restock when you get a chance, and get ready for closing.
End of the day, lock the doors, balance the register, hit the lights. Leave the keys and go home.
That is the rundown on my last day here, but what else, outside of the workday is the friends made and hugged goodbye. "See you down the road, see you again, and best wishes, safe travels"
I hope my ‘play by play’ didn’t sound too much like work, but 'work' is the first part of work camping – it is a job. However, it is a job you pick, a job where you are in a great place, meet interesting people and have the opportunity to give back. Here, by raising money for the park they do not get from the government for education, for getting to do cool tasks like swearing in the Junior Ranger.
Life is full of Hello’s, Good-Bye’s and See You Agains. When full-timing and work camping, it happens a lot. In fact, it is part of the fun when you hook up with friends somewhere down the road.
See you in Yellowstone!
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