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Our Most Memorable Summer Jobs

Dallas notables share stories about what they once did for a buck.
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Image
illustration by Eric Palma

Image
illustration by Eric Palma



Rock of Ages    |    Brian Luscher

Chef-owner of The Grape




We moved from outside of Chicago to northern Wisconsin in the middle of a forest when I was 12 or 13. My dad thought it would be a good idea for us to get summer jobs. So I worked for this farmer whose name was Big Rosie. He would take my brother and me and the Boettcher boys and drop us off in a field and tell us to pick out all of the rocks from a golf ball size on up.



The littlest kid would be put on a tractor, and he would drive a tractor with a big flatbed trailer behind it at about 2 mph. Then the rest of us kids would pick up these rocks and throw them on the flatbed until the flatbed got full. Then we’d take it over to the side of the field, throw the rocks in the ditch, and start over. That was about two bucks an hour.



It was an old cabbage field, so there were rotten heads of cabbage, which were the most vile smelling things I’ve ever smelled in my life. We’d stick them in the wheel wells of the trailer until someone got smart-mouthed or started talking junk, and then the rotten cabbage fight would break out. It was disgusting and fun at the same time.




It was the first time I learned to swear at an adult. Big Rosie would come back from the bar, where he’d go after he dropped us off in the morning, with a bucket of chicken. We’d pull the tractor over about 11 o’clock and lie in the flatbed until we’d hear the truck coming down the road. We’d get out, and he’d say, “What the hell are you lazy bastards doing?” At one point, we got tired of him yelling at us. We’d say, “Eff you, Big Rosie,” and we’d flip him off. And then the littlest kid, who was probably 9, he’d flip him off, and say, “Yeah, eff you, Big Rosie.”



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