Hot Fun In The Summertime
Memorable Summer Jobs

Fun at the State Park

By Steve Kremer
Copyright 1995-1998

The next summer was another summer of the great outdoors. I got a job as a laborer at a State Park. I spent the summer painting, doing concrete work, and occasionally driving the garbage truck.

Because I knew how to double-clutch a truck I got the honored job of driving. I also got to run the controls to compact the trash in the back of the truck. The most important factor when compacting the trash was determining the wind direction. You always wanted to compact the trash on a very hot day up-wind of the ranger station. It was great watching those guys come running out yelling. It truly is a smell that cannot be described by the written word.

That summer I also learned first hand about government waste and a small town murder.

First the waste. The park was given the use of an extra patrol car for the summer by the state. The cost of the car did not come out of their local budget as long as it was driven under a certain mileage. The rangers were sure they would exceed that limit so they decided to disconnect the odometer. As the end of the summer approached, they panicked. They now realized the car would not have enough miles on the odometer. If it didn't have a certain mileage the state determined we didn't really use it and would not need it the next summer. They had to put some miles on the car quick, so the geniuses put the car up on blocks, stuck a garden hose pushing cold water into the radiator, and started it up. They stuck a brick on the accelerator pedal and let it run like that for two days until it reached the minimum mileage.

The Murder. There had been stories of a local woman who had vanished from her home one night after coming home from a date. The local police were treating it as an abduction or possible murder.

One morning we all showed up for work at the park and were told our scheduled work would be put on hold. A little boy had come into the ranger station and said he had seen a hand sticking up out of the dirt in the woods. He saw it but couldn't remember where. So we were to spend the day combing the woods to try to find the hand. We spent a couple of hours searching the woods then spent the rest of the day sitting around on a picnic table drinking Pepsi. The foreman told us he didn't want to find "no dead lady's body."

The next day it was back to the normal routine that was interrupted by a visit from the local police. They wanted to question us about a former employee named Ernie. He had left shortly after I had started and I never really talked with him. But everyone else knew him well. They knew his very short, mean, temper. It seems that Ernie was the last person seen with the missing woman.

Months after the summer ended I heard that they had arrested and convicted Ernie for the murder. He led the police to her body. It was in the park, very near where we had spent the day drinking Pepsi's.

NEXT: Shark! Shark!

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