It all started with a snowball. Not the icy, slushy kind Jake squished together with mittened hands and stacked behind the snow fort when he was a kid. No, Jake lost his job as a grocery store delivery boy because of a pink SnoBall. The kind that comes in a package of two, each filled with creamy white filling, enveloped by yellow sponge cake, and sugary icing, encased with pink-dyed coconut. Jake never even liked SnoBalls. His favorite lunch box snack was HoHo’s, chocolate cake and icing with just the right amount of cream filling.
“Mom, Dad, I talked with Mr. Siedelman at the grocery store today and he said I could work three afternoons a week and all day Saturday if it’s okay with you.”
Jake shoved the last two string beans around his plate hoping he had timed his news well. He knew his father wanted him to demonstrate some responsibility now that he was old enough to drive. Jake hoped that getting a part time job and saving some money for college might score some points with his old man when it came time to ask for his own set of car keys.
“Mr. Siedelman is getting in the delivery business?” Herb Farley helped himself to another spoonful of mashed potatoes.
“Well, yeah, kinda, I mean…” Jake hadn’t expected his father to challenge his plan.
Sarah Farley, as always, took her son’s part. “Herb, I think he’s a smart man to hire Jake. Carrie Newman mentioned the other day that she was having trouble carrying her groceries up the stairs to her apartment and the girls at bridge club agreed and…”
“And Siedelman’s afraid the new supermarket will undercut him.” Jake interrupted. “Since he can’t compete in pricing, he thought he’d add service. That’s where I enter the picture. I’ll run the groceries home to shut-ins and old folks – no offense, Mom – and he’ll pay me and I get to keep whatever tips come my way. It’ll really help for college, Dad.”
Herb Farley sighed and rolled his eyes. Jake caught his breath and waited as his father chewed the last bit of brisket.
“You would use the store’s station wagon?”
“And you’d be covered by his insurance? Your mother and I can’t afford higher premiums.”
“You bet. Siedelman will take care of all of that.
“And if your school work suffers, the job goes away, no question?”
Jake pushed his chair back and tossed his napkin on the table. “I gotta go call him right away.” He kissed the top of his mother’s head and turned to leave.
“One important thing,” Herb’s tone was stern. “You should always refer to your employer with respect. It’s Mr. Siedelman to you.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Farley!” Jake smiled at his father and ran upstairs to make the call…