Concession Stand: Slice of Life #sol18 9/31

Process Note: I use paint chips as bookmarks. I love the bright colors and the unusual names. Yesterday I opened my current read, Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Textbook (soooo good), placed my bookmark on the table, and happened to notice the paint name in small letters: Refreshment Stand. And I remembered how much I loved being assigned concession stand duty at school events. I might try this exercise with my students—collect paint chips from the hardware store and have them write off of the names or colors.

refreshment stand

There was a barrel of pickles and tongs to remove them from the brine and small paper bags to hold them.
There was no way to avoid the juice on your hands. I don’t eat pickles. I don’t touch pickles. I don’t sell pickles.
“You got pickle phobia?”
“If it means you’ll handle the pickles, then yes.”

 

I liked to take the money and count change.
I liked to restock the candy and line up the edges of packages.
I liked to straighten the dollar bills and face them all the same way.

 

By the end of the night my hair and clothes smelled of popcorn.

 

Sometimes a kid asked for a Gatorade and when I asked “What flavor?” he’d say “You choose.”
And then I had to decide, was he blue or green or red or white?

 

The students wanted me to work while they sat on the counter dangling their legs, but I wanted to be the one sitting on the counter.

 

Everyone, except perhaps the students who wished I’d do their work, was happy to see me there, and everyone was happy eating candy and drinking soda.

 

I liked the slow, when the kids began to riff and joke and pick at each other and dip into the chips and popcorn.
I liked the busy, when the line got long and I made change and handed out waters and ladled cheese sauce.
I worked fast to make the line go away again.

 

I liked to say YES to “Miss E! Buy me a sode” and “Miss E! Spot me a Reese’s.”

 

I didn’t see the game when I worked the refreshment stand, but I saw everything else.

slice-of-life_individual

18 thoughts on “Concession Stand: Slice of Life #sol18 9/31

  1. My speech students and I ran the concession stand for junior high football games for several years. I always enjoyed working with them because it was such a fun environment.

    On a side note, in my poetry unit in Creative Writing, my students could choose to write Paint Chip poems. They chose a chip sample that had five colors on it and had to incorporate all the paint names into the poem. Some got quite creative and they turned out well.

    • I’d forgotten just how much I loved working the concession stand–so much fun and laughter and a nice way to get to know the kids outside of class, especially kids I didn’t necessarily teach. Paint Chip poems are a great prompt! I’m going to bring in a stack next week and see what my students choose to do with them.

  2. Your ending was perfect. I love this idea for writing inspiration. That is amazing that the name of a paint chip inspired such a detailed memory. Your slice reminded me of my job as a “cart girl” on a golf course. It was the best summer job as a teacher! Easy, but fun.

    • Being a cart girl on a golf course does sound like a really fun summer job–though I wish teachers didn’t need to have summer jobs! I’d never paid much attention to paint chip names before but now I’m intrigued and wondering how I might get more pieces of writing from them.

  3. What a rich slice – so evocative! I remember a teacher who kept some paint chips at school in a basket so that when students needed some variety to describe something – say, a sunset – the student could look through the chip colors and find a descriptive name to use. Lovely, lively piece – so vivid.

    • Thanks, Fran. This was a fun piece to write–and I love it when a piece is totally unexpected like this. Definitely wasn’t thinking about working the concession stand when I opened my notebook to write.

  4. Oh my goodness – your post really make the concession stand come alive. Ah, the memories! I really relate to these lines:
    I liked to restock the candy and line up the edges of packages.
    I liked to straighten the dollar bills and face them all the same way.

    I, too, like concession stand duty. I also like to pass out food at parties. I *also* like the paint chip writing prompt idea. Thanks for this evocative slice!

    • I like passing out food at parties too–or would, if I ever went to or threw parties! I like passing out food to my students! And they like receiving food, so it’s a win-win. I could never work in one of those schools with a silly policy like “don’t feed the kids.”

  5. Slice of the night! Thanks for this piece. A lot of fun to read. My favorite:
    “I liked the slow, when the kids began to riff and joke and pick at each other and dip into the chips and popcorn. I liked the busy, when the line got long and I made change and handed out waters and ladled cheese sauce. I worked fast to make the line go away again.”

    Just the right rhythm to match movement. Strong telling.

  6. So much to the craft of this slice. You gave enough information for me to follow but left enough out for me to want more. I found myself rereading and piecing together clues to get the full picture. I loved the last line: I didn’t see the game when I worked the refreshment stand, but I saw everything else.

    At that moment you gave it all to me and I immediately went to reread it. Well done!
    Clae

  7. Textbook was one of my favorite reads from last year! I adore AKR! Have you ever checked out her website? So great… I agree with Clare about your amazing last line, “I didn’t see the game when I worked the refreshment stand, but I saw everything else.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s