As I was driving through Braddock this afternoon running errands, I remembered a conversation that occurred on Saturday. At the venue where I bartend, we always have a City of Pittsburgh police officer on duty for weddings. It’s usually one guy on Friday and a different guy on Saturday; sometimes they switch it up, and sometimes they go on vacation and we get a different cop, but for ~80% of the weekends over the past almost four years, I’ve encountered the same two officers.
They’re friends with the other bartender, so they usually stop in to see us and hang out at least once a night. This past Saturday, the officer (let’s call him “J”) brought up the steel mills around Pittsburgh. As a college kid, he worked in one over the summers and was quickly able to pay off his tuition. The price for that was long hours, unbearably hot working conditions, hard physical labor, and incredibly unsafe working conditions. In addition to telling us how steel was made in the late 70s/early 80s, he told us quite a few stories about people who died in the mills. Like, one minute they were standing near the furnace, and the next they were gone (incinerated). I was completely fascinated, not least of all because my dad works in a steel mill and has for years. I know he’s told me a story or two, but I don’t know if he’s witnessed anything like that… but officer J has.
So that was what was running through my mind as I sat at a long red light, staring at a steel mill in Braddock today.
I really need to come up with better conversation starters for when I’m at work. 😉