In my fifty five years I have held many jobs. I have spent twenty two years in the print business, started a pub in Cape Breton that lasted for six. Another six years I have spent commercial fishing in the Atlantic to name a few. Odd jobs and day jobs have gotten me by.
When I was sixteen I road the back of a Toronto Telegram newspaper truck dropping bundles of newspapers off at boxes, my first real job. Nic Dyke was in the driver’s seat.
We toured around Toronto sometimes driving fifty miles an hour on the wrong side of the road from box to box. When we saw a cop we would cruise up and hand him a paper and then off we were again. It was a good job.
My memory has me always going back to the times after we finished our run when we went to the Mars Restaurant for breakfast. We sat at the counter and not three feet away was the cook hovering over the grill, eggs, bacon, ham and home fries he lead like a conductor with his spatula into golden brown orchestrated scoffs for our hungry mouths. The way this cook moved a utensil in one hand reaching for a plate with another was such a joy to witness. The huge mound of home fries he worked until they were all perfect in colour and heat, adding garlic and paprika along the way, too. He was a sculptor or a surgeon with that thing. I have remembered this for thirty nine years. This has been so very important to me.
The other day for the very first time I was a conductor with a spatula. I am working now as a cook at a fishing lodge here in Northern Ontario. My first couple of morning shifts I followed the rules. The home fries went into the deep fryer, something I disliked very much. Tuesday morning I cut potatoes into cubes and piled them high on the grill. A huge mound I worked and coloured with utensil and chilies and garlic. One hand on a plate, one hand serving I cooked up fifteen breakfasts, eggs sunny, eggs over, omelets and poached all with a generous amount of home fries. All with the Mars restaurant memories of years gone by. It was beautiful, it just was.