During college, I spent three summers working at a lodge a few hours from my hometown. Just one week after high school graduation, I packed my bags and moved up north. It was the best of both worlds, really—I had the freedom to explore and do whatever I wanted, but I could still go home on the weekends to have my mom do my laundry.
I always kind of thought the lodge was kind of like Kellerman’s from Dirty Dancing. Except it wasn’t like Kellerman’s at all. There were no Samba lessons or games on the front lawn. The only thing that made it like Kellerman’s was the fact that the “help” stayed in housing up behind the lodge. Every two weeks, our General Manager’s daughter came to visit, and I would watch her for two weeks until she returned to her mom's house.
During my second summer at the Lodge, I met Craig. He came on board as the Executive Chef, and I was a part-time server, part-time nanny.
Craig often jokes that I didn’t ever talk to him that year, but that’s not true. I distinctly remember a conversation about college football in the dining room one slow afternoon. I don’t claim to know much of anything about college football, but I did go to high school in Cornhusker country. For some reason, I thought it was necessary to defend them over his Seminoles.
The following spring when it came time to sign our contracts for that summer, my friend Kristi called me and wondered if I was coming back. To be honest, I didn’t really have anything better to do. I was just about ready to finish my sophomore year in college. I was still too young for an internship with the journalism department, and my little part-time job writing a newsletter for the engineering department certainly wasn’t going to pay the rent all summer.
“I know for sure that Craig’s coming back,” she said as she tried to convince me to sign my contract.
Shortly after I signed my contract, though, Kristi called and told me that it turned out Craig ended up buying into a little restaurant in town.
That May, I loaded up my little Chevy Cavalier and headed out to the lodge to work. Since Craig wasn’t working for the resort company any more, he couldn’t live in the housing behind the lodge. So, he would come out there to hang out, and we would occasionally go into town and hang out at his house. One night he and I stayed up until the sun rose, talking and snapping pictures, even though we both had to work the next day.
Eventually, I just started driving into town to see him. It was the best thing that could have happened. It kept me out of trouble at the dorms, and I grew to really like Craig. We were both pretty certain that it wasn’t going to last, though. I was going back to college, and I didn’t intend to return to work at the little lodge where we had met.
To be continued...