1940. Lethbridge Alberta. The Safeway meat department.
A whopping $.25 an hour.
A fifteen-year-old new employee had just gotten his first glimpse of Heaven . . .
Moving into the big city had been an adventure. For a boy used to chores and hard work, it was a reprieve. For someone accustomed to few people, it was an education.
For a lad whose only source of income to date had been an allowance, it was admittance into the world of high finance.
Mark loved working at the meat counter. He soon got through the basics of sorting, assisting and wrapping and was working on learning to cut—first with knives and then with the machines.
Nothing says ‘you’re a man’ quite like a job that involves things sharp and deadly.
And to add to the perks of the job, he got along well with his co-workers.
Life was perfect.
However, like most work places, there soon proved to be a joker in the midst.
Garth, one of the younger cutters, sent Mark on an errand.
Back to the storeroom for a ‘sky hook’.
Obediently, Mark disappeared.
For some time, he searched the orderly shelves and office, growing more and more alarmed when what he sought simply couldn’t be found.
Finally deciding he would have to return to Garth to report failure, he started for the door.
Another cutter was standing there. He asked Mark what he was searching for.
When the young man told him, the cutter smiled. “You’ve been duped, son,” he said.
Huh. Mark turned this over in his mind.
Remember, this is a boy from the ranch. One who had been the butt of pranks by professionals.
He smiled and hurried back to Garth. “We were out of those hooks,” Mark told him. “So I went next door to the hardware and ordered one.”
Then he went back to his duties, but kept an eye on the young cutter.
He didn’t have to wait long.
As soon as he turned away, Garth was out the door like a shot and headed to the hardware store.
Oddly enough, Mark never heard the term ‘sky hook’ used again.
There was a joker among the staff at the meat counter in the Lethbridge Safeway.
Just not the one everyone knew.