I had had enough. I was working at Trito’s Uptown (the only Italian “Grinderhaus” I’ve ever known), on the main drag in Campustown, and I simply didn’t want to be there anymore. It was May 1987, I was working there one Saturday morning, something snapped, and I simply walked out, still wearing my apron.
I was walking home, and had no idea what I’d do for work. I was a student and needed the extra money, and had put myself in a bit of a spot. Coincidentally, I walked past Nature’s Table, where Terry was out back, emptying stuff into the recycling bins. I had always loved being there to hear Bontuku, Sorgum and some of the other music I didn’t quite understand yet. I sheepishly asked if he was hiring.
It seemed he was incapable of saying no, even though he acted like he wanted to. “Come by tonight around 8. We’ll see what we can do. We have aprons here, though.”
I was unemployed for about fifteen minutes.
And so began a two-year experience of me working at the Table. I developed a taste for Augsberger Dark, poppy seed dressing, Troublefunk, and a lot of jazz. There was always somebody willing to cover my shifts when I went to see the Grateful Dead.
There are too many stories to list. It was simply a way of life for a while.
I wasn’t always the best employee. Terry and Shelley kept with me, though. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I learned a lot about toughing it out and working with people with different backgrounds.
I never could repay Terry for what he gave me. After some time, when I was able to reflect on those years and see more clearly what I had learned, the best I can do now is to try and give those things to other people.
That’s a great legacy.