According to the website spaceplacenasa.gov, technically, there really is no such thing as moonlight, since the Moon itself emits no light. Rather moonlight is actually sunlight that reflects off its surface. So, from a purely scientific perspective, there really is no answer as to how long moonlight can last.
Now, when it comes to the word’s greatest musicians, in Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the piano sonata is comprised of three movements, and lasts about 15 minutes.
However, when the word moonlight is used in a metaphorical sense to describe an ancillary job intended to augment one’s income, well, moonlight can certainly last a long, long time. Like many teachers who toiled for some pretty underwhelming salary numbers, I’ve worked many moonlighting jobs throughout the years, some, in the evenings and some on Saturday afternoons, and, of course, one — my involvement in Lima’s playground program for 24 summers — certainly lasted a long time. However, there is one supplementary job I’ve had that lasted even longer, which, of course, makes it so very tough to leave.
My first bartending shift at the Knights of Columbus took place in the summer of 1978 during the Jimmy Carter administration, back when my older daughter Shannon was enjoying her not-so-terrible twos and her baby sister, Katie, had been ordered but not yet stork-delivered. My thought was, with another baby bird to feed, earning some extra money to a salary, verified by the STRS statement I still have, of 12,021, what my Boston-raised, Atlantic Ocean-loving father used to call, clams, wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Well, year in and year out — through two Reagan administrations, one of George Bush, the Elder, a couple of Clinton terms, a couple more of both George, the Younger, and Barack, and on to a snippet of our current Twittering Trump’s first term — I took my weekly shifts. During my teaching years, that was only on Saturday afternoons, because of the time it took during the week to keep up with the piles of student work that needed grading, but then expanding to Thursdays and Fridays, open to close, after I laid my chalk on the ledge for the last time in 2005.
Well, that all has come to an end, a bit unexpectedly I must admit, in the past three weeks during the K of C’s struggles with an inoperable furnace, one that closed the business for almost three weeks.
After I got a text from someone I think is a terrific club manager, Rick Evans, telling me that due to ongoing furnace problems, the second of my Thursday-Friday bar shifts was canceled during the first week of our new year, I began to think that maybe this just may be The Almighty’s way of telling me that someone else could being shaking up whiskey sours, snagging a bucket of Ultras and plopping down a plate of loaded nachos in front of someone.
The longer I thought about it, the more, on several fronts, it made sense. From an IRS and W-2 standpoint, the timing was perfect since my last shift was the last Friday of 2017, so it would be a logical cyclical completion.
On another level, while I’ve enjoyed immensely my conversations and cultivated friendships with my bar folks, the lateness of the hours of some shifts, especially when the hour hand signaled the first of a new day’s 12s, has worn on me.
Since I still work pretty much full time for Mid-American Cleaning Contractors as a customer service rep, my Thursdays and Fridays so often included both jobs, which made for some 15-16 hour work days, days my loving sis, Joannie, and beautiful daughters found concerning.
Also, somewhere in the back of every bartender’s mind, I harbored a thought, a dread actually, that someone who’d had, perhaps, a dram or two too many might leave my bar and find trouble on the road home, something in which I’d have felt complicit.
Finally, on a practical level related to how our daily 24s are used, I’ve been fretting a bit lately about finding time to edit a Dayton-area author’s first novel, which will be completed later this year. While my writer and I haven’t come to an agreement on price as yet, we have agreed in principle. Having edited my own work and others’ over the years, I know how time-consuming that process is.
And, so it’s time to move on, difficult though that may be for something that has been a part of my life for so long. While all of us who love to travel find joy in breaking loose from the routine, there is always contentment in returning to those same familiarities in our lives, which, for our jobs, is the comfort that comes from knowing where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing each day.
To all my regulars, many of whom have been with me for years, I apologize for sneaking off on you. If I was able to crease your face with a smile when you came in and made the room a little friendlier, well, then our time together was surely well spent.
And so it has gone, all far too quickly. I’ll leave you with a final thought: While your gratuitous gestures were surely appreciated, some, I’m sure that far exceeded my talents as a mixologist, there is one thought I have that will endure. The coin of far greater worth for me was your friendship.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.