During the summer of 1993, like most summers, I found myself with my parents at our annual family reunion in Hartsville, South Carolina. I remember talking with some of my cousins about how difficult it was to find work in my hometown of Thatcher, Arizona. It seemed that all of the businesses owners didn’t want to hire anyone unless they were family. My aunt Debbie suggested that I try to get a job with her kids, Josh and Meg at The Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia.

Josh called up his manager and asked if I could come to work with them for the rest of the summer. His manager asked if I was a Mormon. When Josh answered in the affirmative, I got the job. The fact was that Josh, Meg, and some close family friends, like the Ben and Andrew Thornal were among the best, hardest, and most dedicated workers at The Dillard House at the time and had totally given Mormons’ a good name. I never even had to interview for the job.

For the rest of the summer, I lived with my cousins in Franklin, North Carolina. While I was there, Josh told me so many stories about growing up in the area. Once he told me that as a boy scout, his troop got to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. I love to hike! I’ve been fascinated by this trail ever since that time.

Years later, when I was living in Baltimore, Maryland, I had the opportunity to go camping and hiking in the beautiful Shenandoah mountains with my roommates Jeff and Nate. I saw that part of this famous Appalachian Trail made it’s way through this beautiful country. This is when I decided that I would love to someday hike the length of the trail. I have added this to my bucket list (item #3). Obviously, I’m not going to take the several months off of work that this hike would require. The trail is 2,184 miles long, and stretches from Mount Katahdin in Maine, all the way down to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Like so many others, my plan is to hike the trail in segments, eventually having hiked the entire thing.

Going back to what I was talking about before- the summer of 1993 was spent, in part, working at The Dillard House. It was truly an incredible experience. Someday I would like to go back to The Dillard House and eat and stay there. This time I’ll go as a guest, not an employee. It’s a great place for a getaway! I have added this to my bucket list as well.


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