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Family Business Part 2

Part of the service our family business provided was cleaning the equipment when we visited a customer be that a coffee machine, vending machine, pop machine, etc. This involved swapping out broken or dirty components usually no questions asked. The most common thing that needed refreshing (nearly every visit) were the coffee pots. It was typical for people to leave the burners on with a sliver of coffee in the bottom and unattended it would eventually evaporate and fester into a burnt mess at the bottom of the glass. We had large reinforced carboard boxes that we would leave home with containing clean units and swap them out throughout the day returning with the dirty caked on and burnt ones in the evening. This would continue for a couple of weeks till the supply of clean pots had dwindled and we would need to go through and clean them all.

We purchased this industrial strength cleaner that my dad would combine with boiling water in the kitchen sink and then wearing gloves he would scrub each pot one at a time. The steam and foam from the soap made it challenging to see if it was actually clean so he'd rinse it in cool water (yes, they would occasionally break from the temperature change) and hold it up to the light then return to scrubbing back and forth till it was spotless. Finally he would set it on the spread out towels to his left where they would await me. My job was to swap out the large boxes of dirty pots as he emptied them, dry the cleaned bowels and repopulate the boxes then cart them downstairs. As a young man navigating the steps and narrow passage when the family car was in the garage all while carrying an awkwardly large box of a dozen glass pots was challenging to say the least.

As I got older my responsibilities shifted and I was told to alternate with my father cleaning the pots which required some serious elbow grease and resistance to scalding hot water. The flimsy rubber gloves provided little protection. Eventually I became the sole operator handling the job from start to finish on my own. My grandma or stepmom would help if they were home and not busy but the lions share still fell to me. When I was 15 we moved south of Belton into a larger home. The garage was bigger and there was a deeper sink in the laundry room making both jobs easier.


5/5/2021

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