Thursday, November 23, 2000
Steamboat Springs Joan Zimmerman woke up early Thanksgiving morning, not to stuff a turkey, but to prepare for a day of work in Steamboat Springs.
Zimmerman put on her blue Clark's Market shirt and left her Craig home to work in the store's bakery starting at 5 a.m.
"I have worked holidays all my life," Zimmerman said, as she put price stickers on pecan pies. "To me, it is just another day. I do make more money, and I enjoy talking to the people who do come in."
Zimmerman, who was working until 3 p.m., was not alone when it came to working and being away from family on a day of thanks in Steamboat Springs.
Many of the people that had to work on Thanksgiving shared Zimmerman's sentiment. Others did not.
Maimie Swanson and Teresa Kettle were counting the hours until they could leave Kum and Go.
"I have worked holidays for years," said Kettle, a manager. "This year, it is hard for me because I have a 9-month-old son at home."
Kettle was working from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"I can hardly wait until I can go home, eat turkey, see my son and watch football," she said. "But this is not too bad. With this company you have to work a little bit every holiday. It is easier than working a longer shift."
Swanson was working at the convenience store from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"This is not the first holiday that I have worked," Swanson said. "But it sucks.
"I don't get to watch football, because I have to drive home to Craig and it will be over."
Swanson had to work a longer shift on Thanksgiving because she is off on Christmas.
Andy Wojtowisz, 16, was working at the convenience store from 10 to 11 a.m.
"I don't mind working," Wojtowisz said as he melted caramel. "Everyone is still sleeping at my house anyway."
Working on holidays has become part of the job for Steamboat Springs Police Sgt. Joel Rae.
For 10 years, Rae has worked in law enforcement. The past four years he has spent in Steamboat Springs.
"Crime never takes a break," he said. "We have to be out 24 hours a day every day. I have worked quite a bit of holidays."
Rae said he does not mind working on Thanksgiving or Christmas.
"It is usually quiet," he said.
Rae worked from 6:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. After his shift was complete, he was looking forward to having dinner with his wife of 12 years and his two children, Megan, 7, and Austin, 5, and family and friends.
"Right now, I have 16 people at my house," he said. "But my family understands. They know this is part of the job."
Cari Chopyak, a waitress at the Tugboat Grill and Pub, was getting ready for a day's work as noon approached.
"Thanksgiving is not a real big deal to me," Chopyak said. "I am going home for Christmas, so I don't mind working today."
Chopyak, who is from Pennsylvania, worked at the pub from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but from there was going to her second job at the Old West Steakhouse.
"I probably will not get home until 10 or 11 p.m.," she said. "Tomorrow, I am going to go have leftovers at a friend's home."
In the pub's kitchen, Andrew Wilson was busy preparing a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.
"I have been a cook for 12 years," Wilson said. "Working holidays is a part of life."
Wilson, who started working at noon, was preparing for a long day that probably would not end until close to midnight.
"I am going to go home, have a glass of wine and hide from the general public," he said. "I do not mind working on the holidays. I am glad they are here because I can make a lot more money."
The Showboat Gift Shop inside the Harbor Hotel was one of the few businesses in downtown open for the holiday.
"I have had some sales this morning, so it was worth being open," said Joanne Davidson, who was working from 9 a.m. to noon. "I am looking forward to going to have dinner at Boomerang's."
Chris Belluzzi was working at the Harbor Hotel's front desk from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"I would like to be with family," said Belluzzi, who is from Pennsylvania. "But they are all back east, so it does not matter. Today is not big deal to me. It is like a normal day."